Stop spending money on your websites. Don’t hire “professional” dental marketers. Stop Your Google Ads. Don’t pay for direct mail. Forget Facebook. Don’t do what everyone else does.
And here’s why: it doesn’t work to bring in and keep high need / high IQ patients. You’ll get bottom feeder patients who will simply look for deals, have no loyalty and will leave you once your campaign ends. Websites and direct mail, etc. have limited chance of success UNLESS they are part of an overall brand and marketing campaign. If you’re just going to do what everyone else does, then be prepared to be disappointed (and be out of pocket LOTS OF MONEY!)
Understand this: 90% of your ideal patients come from word-of-mouth referrals. Read that again. Now take a look at your marketing budget (if you have one) and DECIDE RIGHT NOW to invest in your existing patient base. And here’s how:
Step #1: Identify Your Ideal Patient Within Your Patient Base. How old? Male or Female? Single, Professional, Family? Where Do They Come From? What Language(s) Do They Speak? What’s Their Income Level? What Life Stage Are They At?
Step #2: Develop a brand that caters to your ideal patient. If you want to know more about what a brand is, read this blog and this blog too! I also HIGHLY recommend you read Contagious, Sticky Branding, and the Brand Within.
Step #3: Get Your Brand Out There. Your Brand should be both online and offline. It should be in the hands of your patients (don’t depend on REFERRALS from third parties; go direct to your ideal patient!). And not just any patients: but those who will help spread it through social dissemination (likely in person to others). I high recommend you read the Tipping Point to understand the3 types of patients who help spread brands.
Let’s look at an example, shall we?
Step #1: my ideal patient is a wedding couple about to get married. They aren’t afraid to spend money to make their smile more aesthetic before their big day. And their afraid of those pictures (which Photoshop won’t be able to correct).
Step #2: I want to make my dental office look like a banquet hall. I want a giant chandelier. Bright white everywhere. Elegant. I want my ideal patients to seem like I’m part of the wedding process. My team should be trained to help promote that brand. Using the right language when they speak to patients is so important. Having the right smell and imagery in the office is equally important. I want to show patients what they look like how their life would be significantly better by having me fix and whiten their smile (instant gratification using the language of lifestyle enhancement).
Step #3: I need to be present where wedding couples are looking. That includes trade shows, in bridal magazines, etc. I should network with other wedding professionals (photographers, banquet halls, florists, etc.). AND ONLY NOW should I spend money to promote my practice online (including Google Ads, Facebook, Websites, etc.) but keeping my brand in mind at all times. I’m not interested in targeted everyone; only wedding couples. I’m not wasting money. I’m engaging my ideal patient and niching my practice to survive and thrive in a competitive environment.
Other tips and tricks: when I’m promoting my brand, I need to show my target patients that I CARE about them; that I’m trying to solve their pain; that I’m not just trying to ‘sell’ dentistry. I need to understand what motivates them; what they’re afraid of; and what would make them want to SWITCH to my practice from all the other practices near their home / work. It may take 18 months to get the word out there that I cater to couples about to get married, but by the time I’ve invested in this niche branding, I should be on solid financial footing.
Note: this is just an EXAMPLE. You can use this example to give you ideals on how to target just about any ideal patient. Also remember to review the RCDSO guidelines on ADVERTISING and read this previous article I wrote so you don’t get into trouble. Also take a look at this article that was published about niche dental practices – are they the future?
Happy New Year everyone!
I hope 2017 brings you health, happiness and prosperity!
A quick update: just as everyone was getting ready to celebrate the holidays, on December 23, 2016 the Ontario Labour Board certified the staff of YET ANOTHER dental office for unionization.
The staff of Pathways Dental Care (Bryan Stein Dentistry Professional Corporation) in Hamilton, Ontario were certified for unionization after more than 50% of staff eligible to vote voted to unionize. Dr. Stein’s practice makes the 3rd dental practice in Ontario to unionize since mid-2014.
Unionization in dental offices doesn’t seem to have gained too much momentum (approximately one unionization per year) but it is still something you should consider when thinking about your staff and HR issues. If you’d like more information on the unionization process or what unionization would mean for your dental practice, you can read my articles: Unionization in the Dental World – What it May Mean For You and Unionization in the Dental World – Another Unionized Dental Office in Ontario.
Please note that the information provided herein is not legal advice and is provided for informational and educational purposes only. If you need legal advice, contact me (Ljubica Durlovska), Jonathan Borrelli, David Mayzel or Michael Carabash. We are your legal dental team.
A dentist used DMC LLP to sell their practice and here’s what they said afterwards about the entire experience (this particular dentist had used us to put staff and associates on contract years before selling, as well as doing a corporate re-organization and re-negotiating the lease):
“Great Job Everyone at DMC !!!
I want to thank Michael , David , Ljubica, Jonathan, Ben and the entire team at DMC for their excellent work and the fantastic experience I had selling my practice. My relationship with them began four years ago when I wanted to start “slowing down”.
I attended a couple of seminars about transitioning into retirement and quickly realized there was more to doing it properly and efficiently than I had originally thought. In 2013 I hired an associate and had DMC draft the agreement . This went very smoothly as my associate and I felt it protected both of us very well in the event there were any future disputes. Following this my lease came up for renewal and seeing how DMC did such a great job with the associate agreement I hired them to renegotiate this. Again , some more excellent work done.The landlord was very receptive to the changes that were made and the alterations to the lease made it very acceptable to any potential buyer. After this DMC , along with a competent accountant, reorganized the “mish mash of things” that had been set up by other lawyers and accountants , over the previous 25 years , to create a professional corporation. Again, everything was done efficiently and anytime I was confused about what was going on it was clarified immediately. At the same time this reorganization was proceeding Ljubica drafted , and help me introduce , employee contracts to my team. Admittedly, some push back occurred and once again the DMC team came to the rescue and got everything under control , the contracts were signed and I felt the practice was now ready to be listed.
DMC then began the sales phase. It went great !!! Like ” one stop shopping ” . The listing, marketing , negotiating , dealing with accountants and all the legal matters were taken care of by them. I had never sold a business prior to this and couldn’t believe how much it entailed. There were a couple of hiccups along the way , as expected, but once again they were handled very efficiently by the DMC team. The end result was that my practice sold much easier than I had anticipated and for an amount I was very satisfied with.
In summary, I would advise any dentist who is contemplating selling there practice to start the process well in advance of when you want to transition and use DMC law for ANYTHING related to it. There professionalism, attention to detail, ability to clarify any confusing matters in a timely fashion and there personalities were excellent. I also felt I received a great deal of value for what I spent.
Thanks again for a job well done!”
Dr. J, DDS
You can click HERE to see all of our dentist testimonials.
I’m temporarily taking off my employment law hat and putting on my privacy law hat, because I wanted dentists to know about a change to privacy laws – specifically spam messages – in Canada. Read more
David Mayzel is your legal risk manager. He is a trained courtroom lawyer and has spent many years resolving disputes both in and out of court. He knows how to prepare documents and execute transactions in a way that avoids or mitigates legal risks. He can be reached at 416.528.5280. or email@example.com.
Michael Carabash is your business law adviser. He is an entrepreneur at heart who helps you see the big legal picture. He drafts clear and effective agreements that protect your rights while promoting your interests. He can be reached at 647.680.9530. or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ljubica Durlovska is your transition lawyer. She helps you with staff and associates, maintaining your corporation, and other business matters. She can be reached at 416.443.9280, extension 206 or email@example.com.
Jonathan Borrelli is your employment lawyer. He helps you with staff and associates matters, including hirings, terminations, switching staff to written contracts and resolving disputes. He can be reached at 416.443.9280, extension 204 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Benjamin Kong is an experienced business law clerk. He assists David and Michael with corporate matters and purchase / sale transactions. He can be reached at 416.443.9280, extension 207 or email@example.com.
Julie Whitehouse is an experienced business law clerk. She assists David and Michael with corporate matters and purchase / sale transactions. She can be reached at 416.443.9280, extension 203 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
David, Michael, Ljubica, Jonathan, Ben and Julie are a truly dynamic team. Their diverse knowledge, skills, and experiences will help you get the best deal possible while promoting your interests and protecting your rights. You can read dentist testimonials here.