When creating a marketing plan for your dental practice, it is essential to treat this strategy as an investment into your growth and not an expense you need to minimize. Without marketing, how do you attract your ideal patient? Without a strategy, how do you reach your goals?
Creating a marketing strategy forces your team or the agency you are working with to define short and long-term goals for your practice and the steps you can take to get there. There are many factors to consider and many marketing initiatives your practice can utilize, but how do you pick the right ones to ensure you see a return on your marketing investment (ROI)?
At SmileShop, we’re passionate about working with dental practices like yours to help them understand the performance and ROI realized every month with their digital marketing plans. This is why we have created a list of the three points that dentists should consider when making a marketing plan.
Consider the Buyer Journey
When you first begin creating a marketing plan for your practice, you need to consider the entire decision-making process that a patient needs to go through before choosing you as their dentist. Sometimes, practices can get stuck in a one-stop solution – thinking they are already implementing digital marketing because they utilize one aspect such as social media or Google Ads without considering the whole story: the patient journey and the decision-making process.
To discuss this process, we can think about it as a funnel:
This is where the patient goes from not knowing your brand to knowing your brand. This phase is not about generating leads. It’s about planting the seeds and creating a need for when patients require your services later.
The key is to show up with a unique and memorable brand that stands out to potential patients.
Generally, the consideration phase is shorter than the awareness phase. Potential patients in the awareness phase who feel they have a problem to solve will move into the consideration phase. These individuals are now in the market for a new dentist and maybe Googling or asking friends for recommendations.
To appeal to this segment of prospects, make it clear that you can solve their specific problems.
Individuals in the Action/Loyalty phase of the funnel have most likely chosen your practice in the past, but a lot of time has gone by – maybe six months to a year since they last visited your practice. It’s essential not to forget about these people! They have already chosen you and need to be reminded about why they should keep choosing you. There are many ways to engage with your patients through compelling content, which can be distributed through the use of blogs, email newsletters, social media, and more. The main goal is to ensure you are nurturing your existing patient community.
At the end of the day, dentistry is a relationship business, and respecting and staying in touch with prospects and your existing clientele is vital to ensuring success for your practice.
Avoid Reactionary Planning by Planning Ahead
We too often see practices reacting to situations as they happen, and while this is important, it is also essential to plan ahead. At SmileShop, we start by understanding your current state, which includes aspects such as:
- Your financial figures for the last fiscal year
- How you are currently communicating with your patients
- What you are spending to reach those patients
It’s important to understand the baseline and use this information to plan and create future goals.
Determine 1-Year & 3-Year Financial Goals
Once you understand your current position, you can create one and three-year goals for your practice. Whether you are looking to grow your practice or sell it eventually, having a plan in place allows you or a marketing agency to create specific marketing to reach those goals.
Patient Demographics Today & Tomorrow
Understanding who your patients are and who you want them to be will help cater marketing plans towards the correct persona. At SmileShop, the more we know about who you want to target, the more specific we can get, and the better the marketing plan for your practice.
- Are your patients interested in teeth whitening?
- Are they interested in preserving their health?
- What are their interests?
- Where do they frequent?
Is Your Marketing Working for You?
So you’ve created a marketing plan, but how do you know if you’re planning to spend the right amount? This is a frequently asked question at SmileShop, and rightfully so! The answer is that it depends on your marketing budget.
Determine your Marketing budget
Once you get to this point, your practice has determined its short and long-term goals, as well as who you are looking to target with your marketing. The next step is to understand the numbers.
Your marketing budget should be calculated by taking 8-10% of your annual targeted growth. This formula is calculated using additional growth and not on your overall revenue.
To understand the return on your marketing investment, it’s essential to know the key performance indicators (KPIs) for your practice. At SmileShop, we go through all of your marketing data with you in a Dashboard review. We take the time to provide you with a tactical understanding of indicators such as:
- What marketing funnel strategies are we using to drive traffic to your website?
- How is your website converting?
- How are we reaching your ideal patient?
- How much do we spend on marketing relevant to how many leads we generate?
It is imperative to understand the data to understand your ROI. It is also crucial for your practice to bring offline data such as new patient numbers and production to ensure you feel the benefits of the marketing in your practice.
For you, as a practice owner, to see value in marketing, you need to understand the marketing strategy and how it contributes to your practice’s overall success.
One of the first things your practice needs to think about before starting a conversation with a marketing agency such as ours is to understand the main objectives for your practice – where do you want your marketing to take you?
Creating a marketing plan is an exciting partnership between a digital expert from our team and the practice owner. At SmileShop, we recommend that you come to the table with specific goals so that together we can create a successful marketing plan.
To learn more about creating a marketing plan for your practice, check out the video below with our Marketing Directors Shy and Sadie, and reach out to us if you have any questions.