While everyone is focused on online marketing tactics like Instagram Ads and Facebook Marketing, you can increase exposure for your dental practice by going offline. Sure, online marketing is essential, but don’t be so quick to dismiss offline as an old school, and therefore ineffective, marketing method. “Old school” doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work. It simply means that it’s been used for years to achieve the right results.
In this post, we look at things you can do offline to grow your dental practice.
To get on the radar of prospective patients, consider throwing a celebratory event for your current patients—and encourage them to invite a friend. This is one of the best ways to activate referral marketing. People like free things, and they’ll definitely attend your free event if you provide something of value.
For example, a pediatric practice may host a skating rink party for their patients. But because patients are asked to invite friends, the pediatric practice increases their exposure with new families who may not have considered that practice before.
In addition to parties, you can also host different events such as luncheons, picnics in the park, and “backyard” BBQs. Be sure to give away goodie bags with branded products (i.e. “swag”). You can offer t-shirts, hats, toothbrushes, and more.
One of the best things you can do for your community is to support a charity that’s actively helping your community in some way. This includes soup kitchens, educational initiatives, and youth ball teams.
Doing a good deed is its own reward. However, you can also build exposure for your practice by partnering with a local charity. Not only can you network with those who work at the charity, but you can also reach more people.
For example, when the charity holds an event in the future, such as a fundraiser, they’ll list your dental practice as a sponsor. People will see your practice and, while they may not immediately book an appointment with you, they’ll likely remember your practice in the future when they do need your services.
To get more local awareness for your business, you often need to do something newsworthy. This is why it’s a great idea to offer scholarships. Gifting scholarships to college-bound high school students in the area can capture your community’s attention, as well as attract press and local bloggers who cover human interest stories.
Your scholarship gifts don’t need to be huge to make a huge impact. Gifting three high school seniors scholarships of $500 each is more than generous. And, in addition to spreading good in your community, you’ll also be generating exposure for your dental practice in the best way possible.
You likely have business cards. But do your business cards stand out in any way? Or are they the standard black print on white cardstock?
Create business cards that people won’t want to throw out. Change the orientation from horizontal to vertical. Use different color cardstock and fonts. Include a QR code that links to a super-secret coupon/ special promotions page on your website that’s frequently updated. Use magnets instead of traditional cardstock.
There are many ways to switch up your design so that it doesn’t seem like the same old, throw away business card. Research additional ways to make your card unique.
Flyers are an oldie but a goodie. They’re dirt cheap to produce, and take little effort to distribute. Create a flyer that advertises your dental practice (or a fun upcoming patient event). Be sure to include something free or of value on your flyer, such as a coupon. Then pass your flyers out at a popular event, like a festival or ball game.
To take this another step forward, consider adding a special reference code to the bottom of your flyers. You can create unique codes based on different factors, such as who handed out the flyers or what event the flyers were handed out. Then, when you ask a new patient how they found out about you, you can also get the reference code to track your marketing efforts. This will help you determine what works and what may need to be adjusted.
Turn your patients into walking advertisements for dental practice. You want to know how? By gifting them t-shirts with your logo on the front and a blatant call to action on the back. For example, your call to action can be “Now accepting new patients” or “Check out our tooth whitening special.”
You can even add a QR code to your t-shirts. However, depending on the print type, your QR code may rub away, so it’s not a foolproof option.
However, creating a self-promoting t-shirt is definitely worth the price. It’s a useful gift that will delight your customers when you hand it to them and continue to generate business in the future.
Educate prospective patients on oral health care. Believe it or not, there are many people in your area who would be happy to attend a free workshop where you share dental hygiene tips and best practices. You can host the workshop at your office or a library. Just be sure to advertise for your upcoming workshop. You can post or hand out flyers, and spread the word through your social media pages and email newsletter.
You can also open up your dental practice to field trips for local elementary and middle schools in your area. Educators are always looking for new ways to expand young minds, and a “behind the scenes” trip to your dental office will provide a unique learning experience. Get in contact with the schools in your area and pitch your dental office as a field trip idea.
These activities do more than just educate a person on dental hygiene. Workshops, field trips, and the like will get your practice on their radar. This way, they’ll be more likely to think of you when they need a dentist. They’ll have forged a personal connection with you and your team, which is more powerful than other forms of marketing.
Winning an award can raise awareness for you and your practice. It can also boost your credibility and give you an infinite amount of bragging rights.
Did you know that you can apply for a dental award? If you're worried that applying for an award sounds narcissistic, it's not. After all, you're not giving yourself the award, you're simply throwing your hat into the ring. Your patients and professional peers are the ones who decide.
There are many dental organizations that offer awards to dentists. Look for local, regional, national, and international organizations that offer dental awards. And don’t be afraid to nominate yourself.
Use the above offline marketing strategies to generate leads, make connections, and increase appointments in your dental practice. While these tactics may not be as shiny and new as online marketing, they are proven to work.
Magic happens when you combine online marketing with offline efforts, so be sure to check out the additional resources below: