08 Aug Learning the finer points of dental marketing – on the job
Marketing is more than a bottle of ‘Bolly’ and a bulging Filofax
Last year we made the decision that we needed to invest in ‘marketing’ in a big way for the first time. We had reached the limits of what ‘word of mouth’ could do for us. No matter how good our reputation, we needed to invest more in our marketing to compete against the R4 and Exact market ‘giants’. Very shortly afterwards we were contacted by a new marketing agency, Precision PR Limited who were keen to establish themselves in the dental industry.
Although Precision is a new company, Chris and Cary won’t mind us saying they’ve been around the block a couple of times. Chris has worked in marketing and PR for more than 25 years, and Cary is an experienced social care professional turned dental nurse, who originally trained as an artist. A partnership was born.
Working with them, we’ve massively increased our presence in Social Media. We’ve also overhauled our website to project an up-to-the-minute look and feel. And we’ve started publishing case studies and blogs (like this one). We’re even now talking to magazines and receiving requests from their editorial teams to write contributions.
So what? Has it made a difference?
Well, yes it has. We now get noticeably more phone calls from people interested in buying our software. We get enquiries from other businesses looking to partner with us (or sell stuff to us). We also get more positive comments from existing customers – thanks, guys.
We have a mid-term goal to significantly increase our market share without compromising on customer satisfaction. We think we’re on track.
How do you do it?
This is always the big question with marketing. The honest answer is usually ‘ask Chris’. Because while Precision doesn’t do EVERY marketing activity for us, they usually know how, or else they know a ‘man who can’ (so maybe Chris does have a fairly well-stuffed Filofax). But there’s always something new to do.
Most recently, ‘something new’ was filming for three promotional videos in the practice of one of our lovely customers.
While Chris has worked on videos before, this was both entirely new and slightly alien to us. When the camera crew asked Ben what previous acting experience he’d had, his response was; “I studied maths and computers”.
After several on-the-fly revisions to the script, after many ‘takes’, and after creating utter befuddlement amongst the people of Coalville as we filmed Chris repeatedly walking in and out of the practice front door from several angles, we completed our day of filming.
Now, this is not like a home movie. You don’t just ‘shoot and show’. It turns out we (i.e. the camera crew) now had several days of editing ahead before we saw any results. We’ve posted the finished items on this website and promoted them on LinkedIn and Twitter as soon as they were available. But if you haven’t seen them yet, click here.
And the point is?
Marketing is, without a doubt, becoming more and more important. The world moves too quickly these days to rely solely on a great reputation -you have to seek people out and TELL them that you have a great reputation.
This may be an obvious statement for a software company (even with a specialist product like Pearl), but these days it’s true of all businesses. Even dentistry.
If you provide private treatments, you need to tell people about it. You need to show your customers that you do more, and why it’s important to them. And you need to show them that you’re good at what you do, and explain why they should choose you to do it.
So, how DO you do it?
There’s no simple answer. Have a look at what your competitors and friends are doing. Your goal should be to make yourself look more professional and attractive than them.
The first step might be to ask the members of your team if any of them are interested in running a marketing project. You could ask them to create social media profiles or to refresh the website. You could ask them to create a new set of posters, or just to help you find a suitable marketing consultant to help you.
There are also plenty of projects you can do that don’t cost a penny and only take a few hours. Helping a supplier to create a case study, for example, can help you gain a bit of exposure and provide something for you to tell your patients about. As JDRM discovered, lending us a surgery in which to shoot a video creates ‘a fair bit’ of local interest!
Marketing consultants don’t have to be expensive. And while a good one might cost a bit more, by definition a good one should help you win more business. There are plenty of local freelancers, and there are both specialist and generalist agencies if you need to spread the word a bit wider.
Either way, we are making sure that you see and hear more about us. We would love to see and hear more about you.
A word of caution – GDPR
Marketing and particularly the use of personal data for marketing purposes is highly regulated. Please see our blog about how GDPR impacts dentistry.
A word of thanks
We mentioned that we filmed our videos at a client’s surgery. This was JDRM Coalville, and we’d like to thank Jai and Ruby for agreeing to that, and Abbie and Anooska for their patience and enthusiasm after they were co-opted into the cast of the video.
For more information on how you can integrate marketing campaigns into the Pearl Dental Software practice management solution call us on 0116 275 9995 or email us.