Like anything else, when you start a new adventure, planning the journey is key. If you’re traveling across country and are looking to get to your destination quickly and efficiently you wouldn’t leave home without a road map. The same rules apply in marketing. Strategic marketing planning is crucial. In a world of rapid multi-tasking and multi-service offerings, not many of us have time and resources to waste on arbitrary marketing efforts and aimless, costly campaigns.
Demographic consideration also plays a significant role in the development and execution of dental marketing. Take the time up front to understand and realize your demographic area and needs. For example, a market in New York City is very different from one in Sarasota, Florida or Pontiac, Illinois. What works in one area may not be effective in another area. Be open and receptive to what communication methods are most effective within your area and demographics.
A marketing roadmap approach we found successful as a base for strategic planning in dental marketing is structured into four simple categories: Inside the Practice, Outside the Practice, Online, and Offline. Within Each of these levels, various marketing tactics can be implemented and done so simultaneously among the categories. The combination of layering and targeting all of these levels is essential in maximizing marketing efforts and campaigns. Here are some additional tips, in conjunction with marketing efforts, found within each of the four categories.
INSIDE THE PRACTICE
Get your staff involved, as they are the lifeline of your practice! Specifically, in practicing sleep medicine, staff members need to understand the severity of health issues that may occur with untreated Obstructed Sleep Apnea and realize they have the power to help people live better lives and even help potentially save patients’ lives.
As we all know, knowledge is power. If you teach your staff to have passion for the subject matter, it will become apparent to patients that you are not just selling oral appliances. Your patients will immediately recognize and appreciate the staff’s genuineness. At this stage, it is a good idea to acquire screening forms and marketing collateral, such as brochures, posters, awareness stickers, etc., to help the Staff engage with patients inside the practice. Keep in mind that it is more important to empower the staff on an emotional level, than it is mandating a full understanding and exact medical terminology. Ask the staff to keep the conversations with patients brief but engaged. The dentist should provide the details about available oral appliance therapy in a consultation appointment.
OUTSIDE THE PRACTICE
Remember to not only focus marketing efforts to patients but to also consider fostering relationships with local physicians for referrals. Timing for engaging with physicians is important as it is best to have a few cases under your belt and feel confident on the process. At this level, implementing direct marketing campaigns, hosting physician study club lunches, newsletters, press releases, blogs, etc., are all good marketing strategies. My personal favorite is to set up an evening with your local library to host a discussion for the public about the dangers of untreated sleep apnea and CPAP alternatives. This seems to be s a win-win scenario in which the public receives information on a concerning Health issue, the dentist is recognized as an advocate on the subject by the community and local physicians, and often times new patients are secured all at the same time.
Having your own separate sleep website that is optimized for Google’s search engine is great but could be very time consuming and costly. Splash pages are also good but pay close attention to your cost per click and analytics of the campaign as this could quickly drain your marketing funds. For a faster, more efficient way to be found online, try associating your dental sleep practice with a large Sleep Website that already ranks well in Google. I would suggest trying and searching on Google for your target keywords such as, “CPAP alternatives” Or “curing sleep apnea”, etc., and see who pops up on the first page.
Social media has also opened up a large marketing window. Online communication through blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin can all be utilized to help spread the awareness of the dangers of the untreated sleep apnea and CPAP alternatives. Always keep the information current so your content is always fresh.
Consider television, radio and print advertising. Look into local sponsorship opportunities, such as health fairs and other community favorite events. Think about collaborative marketing and teaming up with other local businesses such as florists, restaurants, coffee shops, etc., where you offer special promotions To each others clients. Becoming invested in the community through advertisement, sponsorship programs, collaborative efforts, and lecturing opportunities offers many local promotional benefits.
In each of the four categories assess the value of the marketing opportunity and build your plan accordingly. Promote yourself and your practice through becoming an advocate within your area. Employ several marketing strategies within all the categories. Lean on available resources. Be smart about your time and marketing efforts and roadmap your plan to success.
Good luck on your sleep medicine journey!
Written by Elias Kalantzis for Sleep Group Solutions.
Sleep Group Solutions offers comprehensive dental continuing education courses focusing on the dental treatment of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. Our two day seminars are designed to teach dental and medical professionals proper protocols for identifying, diagnosing and treating this life threatening condition. SGS offers a complete suite of products to fit the needs of sleep physicians, ENT’s, primary care physicians and dentists. If you have patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) or are non-compliant with CPAP therapy you have come to the right place. See course schedule at Net32.com/Sleep Group Solutions