Levin: For dental practices, online marketing can be frustratingly difficult. Dentists don't have the same resources for digital marketing that larger corporations do, and it can often be difficult to justify spending money on an online marketing campaign, especially if there isn't a clear return on investment. That said, practices often benefit from a network of tight connections within the community, and, as a practice owner, there are things you can do to leverage the strength of your offline connections within the community to boost your online presence.
Roger P. Levin, DDS, founder and CEO of practice management consulting firm Levin Group.
Vidal: I couldn't agree more. The most effective online marketing includes a "real world" component. For example, when a dentist or the practice's marketing coordinator ties an event to a well-written and well-planned online campaign.
Levin: Levin Group has many marketing strategies that it teaches to clients -- for example, event sponsorships. One strategy is to do some research and reach out to schools, nonprofits, and other organizations in the community to find out when they'll be holding events or fundraisers, and then offer some sort of sponsorship for the event: either a cash donation or a donation of your services. Donating services will let event attendees get to know more about your practice, which may generate future business.
Vidal: And depending on how you negotiate the agreement, you could ask the organizers to promote your brand, which often results in social media likes or email list signups at the event.
Bekkah Vidal is an online marketing specialist at Wpromote. Image courtesy of Wpromote.
Levin: Another idea that Levin Group clients have successfully used to market their practice is supporting the fundraising efforts of worthwhile organizations in their community. While you may be well-known in your area, you can gain even greater exposure by partnering with the right organization. Offer to hold a fundraiser for a local charity or nonprofit group. This could be as simple as picking a day to donate 15% of your practice proceeds to the organization.
Vidal: What we see when our clients do this is that they not only create goodwill around their brand, but they also encourage the beneficiary organization to promote the event -- and consequently the practice -- through their entire marketing apparatus, benefiting both parties.
Levin: The most important point I'd like to emphasize is for you to get involved. As the owner of a dental practice, you are an expert in your field -- so share your expertise! Keep on the lookout for community boards, panels, and speaking opportunities relevant to your practice, and don't be shy about reaching out. If you can act as the "expert advisor" on a panel or community board, you'll raise both your own personal brand and the brand of your practice.
“As the owner of a dental practice, you are an expert in your field -- so share your expertise!”
— Roger P. Levin, DDS
Vidal: I like to call it "making it all mesh." As with many aspects of business, the important thing is to realize that the distinction between "offline" and "online" marketing is only one that marketers use -- to your customers, your brand is seamless across any medium. Accordingly, you should always look for innovative ways to promote yourself both on- and offline. You should also be especially mindful of where those two mediums overlap.
Levin: Dentists need to take a comprehensive approach to marketing their practices. By comprehensive, I mean internal marketing, community marketing, and online marketing. That's what we emphasize in our marketing consulting program. Internal marketing generates word-of-mouth referrals from your current patients. Community marketing, which we've been discussing, builds awareness about your practice throughout your local area. And online marketing encompasses your website, social media, search engine optimization, and other strategies.
Vidal: Today, you just can't rely on one type of marketing. It's about being diversified.
Levin: The most successful practices are capitalizing on the opportunities to grow production through a variety of marketing channels. While often overlooked, offline marketing should definitely be part of your marketing mix.
Roger P. Levin, DDS, is the founder and CEO of Levin Group, a dental practice consulting firm in North America. For the complete list of dates and locations where you can attend his latest seminar, visit www.levingroup.com/gpseminars.
Levin Group has developed the leading comprehensive dental marketing program, incorporating internal marketing, customer service, and, importantly, the rapidly changing world of online marketing. The firm has partnered with the online specialists at Wpromote to provide the expertise needed to implement effective online practice-building strategies for our clients.
Bekkah Vidal is an online marketing specialist at Wpromote and is responsible for assisting dental practices with their online marketing needs.
For more information about online presence and other components of the Levin Group Marketing Consulting Program, please speak with a Levin Group dental practice specialist at 888-973-0000.
The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of DrBicuspid.com, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.
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