Friday, February 27, 2015

Organic Marketing: A Real Life Study

100% grass fed, no hormones added, no artificial preservatives, farm-raised organic beef.
And, you’re hungry now, right? Go grab a snack and then come back and read my blog…

If you’re a “carnivore-connoisseur” like me, you know what a difference there is in such a quality cut of meat. It just tastes different. Like, a WHOLE lot different! It’s a tenderer, fresher, higher quality variant. Its post-operative effect on your digestive system is different, too (yes, I went there).

So what the heck does this have to do with a dental blog, you ask? Well, I thought it would be a poignant analogy for selective dental marketing in today’s crazy world. I honestly get an email, call, piece of literature, or live sales person every single day I’m at the office regarding some form of potential marketing:

It’ll gain you 200 new patients in a week!
You’ll literally double your bottom line overnight!
Do this, and you’ll put the dentist down the street out of business!
You’ll lose 10 pounds from using this product!

Well, I may have thrown that last one in there by mistake, but you get the idea. These are all very tempting sales pitches. Ones that I’m sure some dentists jump at or these companies wouldn’t be in business. But I have news for you—they’re extremely misleading and, most of the time, downright false.

I call it window dressing marketing. Sure, if you have an unending supply of money, do everything in the book. Commercials, radio spots, newspaper ads, magazines, internet, billboards, t-shirt cannons at the Little League game, you name it. You’ll be the talk of your peers, but you’ll also be out a heck of a lot of cash. I think we could easily spend $75,000 a month on the various marketing programs I’m presented with.

You undoubtedly will gain a few patients out if it but, in the end, what are you looking to spend PER new patient attained? This is something you should know or at least decipher before you sign up for these “slam dunk” marketing methods. And when I say this, I say it with experience in trying these tactics, and in most cases wishing I had spent the money on something else worthwhile. Like a WaterLase® laser….

I kid.

Do you know what really gets the patients in the door, and keeps them coming back?

Being a real, honest, and available dentist to your patients. Treating them like family. Truly caring about their well-being, treating them fairly clinically and with your procedure costs. Not nickel and diming, or asking them to take out a second mortgage on their house to pay for their dental work. Spending quality time at their appointments to find out how they’re really doing; asking about their family, kids, and lives. Shaking hands. Giving hugs. THIS is what gets you those lifelong patients everyone so desires. Let’s call it organic marketing.

Certainly there are basic needs you have to meet to get your practice’s name out there. A good website, social media platforms, SEO/online review building. Toss in some community events, supporting local businesses/causes—all good and necessary methods that also won’t break the marketing bank. These are the backbones of how we’ve built up a pretty successful practice through organic marketing. When you do these basic things, and you treat your patients like family, you’ll be impressed at how many people they in turn tell about their experience at your office. People see through the froufrou nowadays. It’s not just about a pretty (or poorly produced, in the case of most I’ve seen) TV commercial anymore. People want content/depth/honesty. They want to know that someone THEY know had a pleasant, painless experience at the practice they’re looking to join.

This is not a blog meant to put down all of the marketing methodologies that are out there today, but simply a call to action to my peers of 1) doing your due diligence by researching and selecting only those methods that pay off in the end and spending your well-earned money wisely; and 2) being able to back up that window dressing marketing you’ve thrown out to the masses.

So, let’s start ridding ourselves of the highly processed, preservative-filled, decade-old marketing and move toward a more organic program. Your wallet will thank you but, more importantly, your patients will be happier, healthier, and more apt to tell everyone they know what an awesome dentist you really are!

Donald Murray III, DMD

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