- Carla Collier
5 Methods to Market Your Practice on a Shoestring
Updated: Oct 29, 2021
I am often asked about the least expensive ways to increase new patient numbers. I like to start by asking about the current methods of marketing the office is using to acquire new patients. Unfortunately, the answer I often get is that the office has a very limited marketing budget. The follow up question is often, ‘How can I market without spending a fortune?’
Marketing for any business is an ongoing process and takes constant focus. There are internal and external marketing techniques and studies have shown that attention to both is important. Internal marketing is typically less costly yet can be very effective. While there are many ways to market, and most advertisers will tell you that to get your return on investment, it still takes money up front.
Below are five ways to market on a shoestring and enjoy yourself while doing them.
Build your relationships with your patients so that when they are with their friends they think of you and your team. This will lead them to tell their friends how great you are and how they love going to the dentist. Well, maybe not the dentist, but going to see you! It is all about the experience. When your patient compliments you and your team thank them, and ask them to send their friends and family. Let them know you love taking care of them, you are glad they are part of your dental family.
This is the most successful method of internal marketing. Statistics show that word of mouth marketing brings much more loyal patients.
Get involved with your local chamber. Be willing to volunteer and give back to the community. While this does require some of your time, goodwill goes a long way and people notice. If you are unable to do this yourself think about your team and who is the office cheerleader. When you choose a cheerleader, ask them to represent you in the community.
Create a beauty network. Today is seems that almost everyone is concerned with their appearance. They see a hair stylist or barber, most get massages, manicures and pedicures and let’s not forget facials, Botox and fillers. Do some research and find the service providers that have superior ratings then go visit them and offer them an opportunity to be part of this elite network. Remember the people who are getting these services are paying out of pocket for them, since these services are not covered by insurance. You have just found potential patients that may have insurance benefits but do not mind paying for services that make them feel good and look beautiful. When establishing this network, you should have marketing material that promote things like whitening, veneers and teeth straightening options.
Host an event at your office after hours. Generally, I recommend hosting a fundraiser for a charity of your choice. Ask local businesses to be part of this event. They can set up at your office during the event if they are willing to donate an item (you set the value) to be used to generate funds for the fundraiser. Please keep in mind some states do not allow raffles or 50/50 drawings so you will need to check your state laws. You may have to be creative. If you contact the charity of your choice they generally will help you in this area. Be sure to contact local media letting them know about the fundraiser and promote it on social media. You may be thinking, ‘This is going to cost me, I should have food and drinks for those attending.’ You do not have to spend money for that. Go visit the local eateries and tell them what you are doing and ask them to participate by donating food or drinks. It is ok to have several different food choices. Remember to give them thanks by listing them as a sponsors whenever possible and have their menus or cards out for display at the event.
Get your team excited! This seems like a no brainer, right? Do you know how many patients your team has referred to your office? We ask our patients for the referral of friends and family. Have you asked your staff for the same? If you love your staff you will love the people in their lives.
These are just a few of the methods you can use to market your practice on a shoestring. Now go have some fun marketing and get creative! I would love to hear your ideas and things that have worked for you. If you have thought about a marketing idea and are just not sure how to put it in action, let’s talk. Remember the only thing that limits you is you! Start marketing today!