Seven ways to make your marketing work hard for you

marketingBhavna Doshi takes a look at focusing on a targeted approach to marketing, and how to make it work for you.

In order to establish a clinical practice where you are able to continually perform the type of dentistry that you enjoy you need to be attracting the right calibre of patients to your practice. Many clinicians work hard on acquiring the dental clinical skills they feel will be useful to their practice, only to find that they are not able to perform that type of dentistry as much as they would have hoped for. 

The part of the success equation that seems to be missing is having a focused targeted approach to marketing, attracting the right type of patients that may find those clinical services beneficial.

Here are seven ways to make your marketing work hard for you:

Establish a marketing plan

This is a fundamental aspect of achieving results when it comes to marketing. However, many clinicians simply carry out ‘activities’ that they assume will attract the right patients. These assumptions are made by blindly following those activities dentists see other dentists carrying out. When marketing is carried out in this way the results are inconsistent and randomised.

This is because there is no clear methodology to reach specific objectives of activity. The reasoning behind why one practice carries out a certain marketing activity may be completely irrelevant to your practice. Actions taken in this way will lead to inconsistencies in the number of patients you are able to attract to your practice. It is also an unproductive way of using your resources. 

The key to successful marketing is to have a plan of action for the entire year. This allows you to make the correct decisions and allocate the proper resources in a realistic and achievable manner.

Make sure you have a prioritised list of how you are going to execute that plan. This will make efficient use of your marketing budget. It will also maximise your exposure to the population in the most efficient way that is possible for you. For example, why would you want to conduct a marketing activity in a holiday period, when there aren’t as many people around to notice it?

Use a multi-generator approach

Utilising only one arm of your possibilities to attract patients will leave you stranded when situations change and when that modality no longer works. It’s much better to create a marketing plan that incorporates a whole host of activities from different categories that are still relevant. For example, you should have a mix of external marketing, internal marketing and a widespread of online marketing. 

Prioritise cost-effective activities

When selecting which marketing activities you should carry out, make sure that you pick the most cost-effective ones first. These are the ones that give you the greatest number of targeted patients for the most minimal use of your resources, for you have a huge return on your investment.

It sounds very simple, doesn’t it? Yet, it surprises me when I investigate what activities many clinicians are using. I often see that they are pouring huge budgets into the most expensive marketing options. Yet at the same time neglecting the most cost-effective ones.

It is critical that you prioritise your marketing plan according to your most cost-effective options first.

Target your ideal patients

If you conduct marketing that is exposed to ‘everyone’, you may dilute your overall marketing budget. This means that not enough of the right type of people are being exposed to what you have on offer. Hence the return on your marketing investment will be low.

On the other hand, if you were marketing mostly to your ideal patients, that are more likely to be interested in the clinical services you offer, then you will give yourself the greatest chance of getting pre-motivated patients coming to you. Pre-motivated patients are more likely to accept your treatment recommendations, provided you have communicated this to them correctly.

Communicate clearly

So often, I see dental marketing messages in various advertising or online content, compacted with multiple objectives and agendas. This makes it hugely confusing for patients to decipher whether you are the practice or dentist for them.

Conversely, other marketing is composed with aesthetics in mind as opposed to enticing patients into the content, where the copywriting involved is very poor. Disconcerting confusing messages such as these do not achieve their objectives. This leads to poor attraction and low return on any financial investment.

It is also important that the team clearly understands how to communicate the same messages to meet and even exceed a patients’ expectations.

Prevent unselling pre-motivated patients

When there is no clear assessment or communication process in the practice, there can be inconsistencies in patient management. This can lead to a defective process where it demotivates patient who originally had a high level of want to proceed with a specific treatment.

What is required is a sequential system that enables the proper communication in an organised manner from the entire team. Unravelling the expectations of a pre-motivated patient can lead to poor results perceived in your turnover. The blame is often attributed to the marketing. This in itself is a precarious situation. You try to fix something that is actually working for you by altering the functioning aspects. This is yet another reason why a multifaceted approach is critical to practice success.

Transformational leadership

To make all the key areas that support your marketing work effectively, it is important in order that you have a leadership style that is in line with your practice. You need to help your team to work autonomously under the guidance of your leadership. This will enable you to you can accomplish your marketing objectives with a return on your investment in your practice.

This is true of your immediate team employed by you, and that part of your team to which you outsource work. Cost-effective marketing takes impactful leadership, direction and knowledge. For example, marketing companies will not be able to create a powerful marketing strategy unless you equip them with the relevant information and direction. Only too often, dentists hire companies only to leave the entire process to them with no follow up or monitoring.


A bird’s eye view of all the key components of your clinical practice is required. This is if you are to attract the right calibre of patients that are actually interested in what you have to offer.

The above points will help to provide you with some direction. This will mean you do not leave potential on the table and are able to compound your results.   

This article first appeared in Private Dentistry. You can read the latest issue here.

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