The Four Phases of Practice Marketing

There are two distinct sides to running a dental practice; the procedural side and the business side, both of which are important. Let's face it, you weren't exactly inundated with business classes in dental school and you have a lot to worry about just to maintain the procedural side of your business. Ultimately, it is how you manage the business side of the practice that makes the difference between a good practice and a wildly successful practice.

Think of visiting your practice from the perspective of one of your patients for a moment. When they come in for a procedure, you can bet that they expect you to know exactly what you are doing and that any work you perform will be of the highest quality and competence. You may be the best or worst dentist in town at performing that particular procedure, but as far as the patient knows, the actual work performed is flawless. Otherwise they wouldn't have come to you in the first place. Therefore, it is not the actual quality of the work you perform that determines your ultimate success. That's assumed before the patient even arrives at your practice.

The ultimate level of success you achieve is determined by how well you manage the business aspects of your practice. This would include finances, scheduling, insurance claims, employee training, marketing, etc.

I want to focus on marketing. Remember, marketing is the attempt to control perception in order to produce a desired action. Therefore, anything that can influence perception should be thought of as marketing. Additionally, our satisfaction with any product or service is a result of how well our expectations were met.

Every practice will have some natural patient turnover. The goal is to keep a steady influx of new patients to replace the natural attrition and a consistent or increasing number of visits from existing patients. This is a healthy growth curve. This growth pattern can only be achieved through consistent marketing efforts. At Dental Branding, we help dentists understand the Four Phases of Practice Marketing.

  1. Creating Awareness
  2. Building Trust
  3. Retaining Patients
  4. Cultivating Referrals

Ideally, each patient you have should spend time in each of the four phases. By focusing some resources on each phase and understanding how to communicate with current and potential patients in each phase, you can implement a marketing program that attracts new patients and retains existing patients.

I will spend the next few newsletters discussing each of the four phases and how to properly market your practice in each. If you can't wait for the newsletter, 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

Author: Doug Sligting
Published: 08/21/2009
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