Ideally, each of your patients should go through four distinct phases as they move through their patient experience with you. As they move through each phase, their understanding and perception of your practice changes, so they need to be communicated to differently in each phase. In this newsletter, we will be talking about phase 1, Creating Awareness. You could be the best dentist in the world but if no one knows you exist, it wouldn't matter. If a patient isn't aware of you, they will never use your services no matter how great you are. So what are the most effective ways to create awareness, and what is the best message to convey in this phase?
Let's start with the best ways to create awareness. Far and away the best way for you to create awareness is through patient referrals. Because of the unique effectiveness of patient referrals however, it has been designated a phase all its own, and we will cover referrals extensively in phase 4. So phase 1 looks at other methods of creating awareness, while not forgetting that ultimately everything you do in each phase should ultimately point to referrals. Right now you may be asking, well, if referrals work so much better than other methods to generate awareness, why use anything else? For some practices, you shouldn't, but for many practices there are factors at work either within their control or beyond their control that require other methods of generating awareness outside of patient referrals. Some of these include a naturally high attrition rate, a new startup practice or a practice that isn't currently generating the kind of growth they desire through their current patient referral efforts.
So, beyond patient referrals, what is the best way? Well, that depends on your particular situation. A practice in a big city might see the best results by focusing on web marketing while a small town dentist or a dentist with a very specific audience might do best with a targeted direct mail campaign. There are four questions that will help you determine the solution that is best for you.
Next time I will discuss phase two and how you build the trust necessary to turn a prospect into a patient.
If you can't wait for the next installment in this series, contact one of our consultants to find out how best to market your practice at 1-866-375-5511, or visit us on line at www.dentalbranding.com.