You’re probably running a relatively successful dental practice. You’ve got regular patients, a reasonable treatment schedule, friendly staff, and a good location. But you’re not quite busy enough, and you’d like to see a few more people come through the door.
You talk to colleagues, research online and find a good marketing agency. After a consultation, you decide to take them on at a $2,000 - 6,000 a month marketing budget. You think you’ll see a return on investment in about three to six months.
Stop right there - Marketing by itself won’t get you the results you want. "Corporate Dentistry" understands this, and it’s critical that you do too.
Because success isn’t about just being busier.
The issue isn’t with marketing, taking on an agency, or spending $2 - 6,000 a month. The issue is that marketing in isolation isn’t optimal, and could even cause more problems than it solves. For example:
If you want to prevent these types of problems, you need to look at marketing as an important part of a bigger picture - your whole business, and that means thinking about your dental practice differently.
Many dentists and dental practice managers still see their operation as more of a practice than a business. You might think it’s a subtle distinction, but with increasing competition, corporate dentistry, and the rise of PPO’s, running your practice as a business is critical.
The main difference is that having more patients and delivering efficient dental services and treatment is no longer enough. It’s a very competitive, hyper-local landscape out there. When you combine this with changes to marketing, treatment costs, profitability, and the cost of doing business, it’s clear that you need to look at your overall direction and strategy.
It’s the difference between just being busier (probably temporarily) and increasing the underlying value and profitability of your dental practice. That comes from:
Marketing is the fuel you add after the rest of the business systems are in place.Good business management brings your marketing together with operations, sales, competitive strategy, and more, so you get the best bang for your marketing buck. The purpose of dental marketing is to drive growth, increase profit, and improve the valuation of your business.
The best way to explain this is to show what happens when you integrate your marketing with other business functions.
A competitive analysis will help you understand what other dentists in your area are doing. This means understanding and benchmarking their services, rates, reviews, reputation, online visibility, and more.
When you combine competitive analysis with your marketing, you can:
Remember the “Alpha Predator” approach - Competing requires a shift from simply trying to “attract new patients” to acquiring new patients at a higher rate than your competition.
Marketing can attract a patient to your practice, but sales makes sure that they follow-up with the treatment they need. This is good for the patient and it’s good for your business. Sales should go beyond just selling. It should include analyzing your treatment plan sales to understand what treatments are performing best, why certain treatments are being rejected, and which treatments are the most profitable. When you combine sales with your marketing, you can:
One of the main issues with marketing by itself is that it’s difficult to track what marketing is attracting new patients and how much they’re spending. Once you get a referral and marketing / patient measuring system in place you can:
Efficient business operations mean that you have the right systems and procedures in place. This includes the proper management of staff, dealing with the practice's workload, looking after patients, following up on treatment plans, and more. When you combine marketing with good business operations, you can:
When it comes to pricing, it’s important to have good relationships with the dental insurance companies. When you’re able to agree fair terms and the best price with them, you can see the right patients on the right plan at the right price. This means:
Accountability is all about making sure the right people are responsible for doing the right role, in the right way. It’s a vital part of using management and strategy to grow the business, by making everyone accountable for its success. When you combine accountability with marketing:
Good marketing isn’t just about how and why you integrate it with other parts of the business. Timing also plays a very important role. When you understand the timing that drives patient patterns, competitor behavior, and more, you can combine that information with your marketing strategy:
Ultimately, the goal of a business owner, dental practice manager, or dentist, is to grow their business (which requires sustainability), increase its valuation (which requires repeatable business systems), and build profitability.
That’s about much more than just increasing your marketing efforts to get more patients into the chair. It means having a business that is:
At OnwardDental, we’re specialists at helping you to integrate all of your business functions together. Get in touch to find out how we can help you work across your whole business, grow your patient base, and increase your profitability through scale. We also have a calculator, where you can visualize your practice's potential growth.