1. Have you ever dreamt of having such a busy practice that you didn’t have time for anything else ?
  2. Do you wonder why you aren’t living a luxurious lifestyle even though everyone says “dentists earn a lot”?
  3. Have you started your dream clinic but struggling to get patients?
  4. Do you see other clinics doing well but wondering why yours isn’t?
Dentist marketing

If you say ‘yes’ to any of the above questions, then read on –

Our country’s dental education system teaches us to be a dentist and to treat patients, but it doesn’t teach us how to run the business of a dental clinic. Yes, our dental clinic is a business and contrary to popular belief, should be run like one. There’s income coming in, expenses to be paid & profits to be generated. Sadly by the time we realize this a lot of precious time has been lost since running a business and being a good dentist, are two completely opposite concepts!

The success of a dental clinic includes

– 20% of what happens on the dental Chair &
– 80% of what happens outside of it.

In other words 80% of running a clinical practice is your

– soft skills
– clinic interiors
– location of the clinic
– and most importantly marketing!

And 20% is your skills as a competent dental surgeon.

– Soft skills are the personal attributes of dentist that enables him to interact effectively with patients. This is an important skills as it convinces the patient of your treatment plan. The patient needs to be convinced that you have their best interests at heart and you will treat him efficiently.

– Clinic interiors are important as before the patient meets you, he feels the aura of the clinic which can either make him comfortable or uncomfortable. Simple example, the difference between a 5 star hotel, a 3 star hotel and a dhaba is the interiors and presentation. A plain bottle of Bisleri water can be sold for INR 20 at a dhaba, INR 120 at a 3 star hotel and INR 520 at a 5 star hotel. Well to be honest interiors don’t play as big a role in pricing for a dental clinic as a lot of other factors are involved, but I think you get what I’m trying to explain here.

– Location of your clinic is a step towards marketing itself. If your clinic is located at a place, say, a market where a lot of people walk by (foot fall), then there is a higher chance of people turning up at your clinic as compared to a location where your clinic is not visible to the general public. In this case you have to solely depend on word of mouth, online and offline marketing.

Coming to the open secret for running a successful practice, MARKETING!

What is dental marketing exactly?

It is the activity of showing and advertising product or service (your clinic) in the best possible way. If your clinic is a car then marketing is it’s fuel. If you don’t fuel your car, it’ll just cost you maintenance and not give you any value, same way, if you don’t invest in marketing, your clinic will only have expenses and expenditure and no actually income.

There are various ways of marketing a clinic and I’ve written a separate blog post about 12 effective ways to market your clinic for free . It has been observed by me personally on speaking with a lot of doctors pan India that a lot of them aren’t in the favour of marketing their practice. Lot of them feel marketing makes them unethical and money minded. Is that how you think as well? If yes, please do let us know in the comments below!

In recent times marketing has changed many faces especially Dental Marketing {from pamphlets and banners, to Practo and Just Dial, to Google and Facebook} but the basic principles remain the same –

1. Engaging a possible patient (prospect) outside the clinic

2. Inviting the prospect to our clinic

3. Convincing the prospect {checkup and consultation}

4. Treatment {Closure of sale}

Steps 4 is what our core strength lies (if it doesn’t, make it your strength before starting a clinic 😛 ). This is what we’ve been doing since the 3rd year of our college and that is the step where all other steps lead to!

Step 3 is where our soft skills come into play and is mastered with experience. Best way to learn this is to observe any senior dentist while he’s consulting. No course or soft skills training seminar can teach you this with as much expertise as watching a senior dentist talk to his patients and convince them for the costliest treatments, and trust me it is a treat watching veterans cast their magic on patients!

Step 1 & 2 are the core part of marketing. Finding, engaging and bringing the patients is the toughest part and decides the succcess of the clinic. These steps follow the “sales funnel” (which I will explain in the next blog as it’s a separate topic altogether) , but in simple words, the number of people keep on decreasing at each step (fig), so the more people you have at step 1, the higher the chance of them converting at step 4. All forms of marketing (be it camps, word of mouth, Facebook, Google, Practo, Just Dial etc) focus on increasing the number of people at step 1 and 2 so that you have more conversions at step 3 and 4. The more patients you have, the better “word of mouth marketing” will be so it all finally comes down to how many people know about you and your practice (step 1) !

Have you heard every single dentist saying “A clinic takes 3-5 years to run profitably” ? Ever wondered why? It is because that amount of time is required for people to get to know about your clinic, your location, your expertise etc. This is an age old saying from the times when marketing meant sending out a bunch of pamphlets in the morning newspaper once in 6 months. So much has changed since then! In this day and age of technology where everyone is glued to Facebook and searching on Google left right centre, do you really think it’ll take 3 years for people to know about your clinic?

If I could tell you right now, that your clinic can turn profitable in the first 3 months of starting, would you believe me? Even better, if I tell you that it is possible to run treatment specific ads within a 1 km radius of your clinic and target only the prospective patients having a monthly income of 1 lac, and you get a full mouth implant case in the first month, would you believe me then? If you don’t believe, but still want to know how this can be possible, let me know in the comments and I’ll write one blog explaining how that works in real time!

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Doctor Ankit Jha. A Dental Marketer from India

If you want us to cover a specific topic related to digital marketing or dental marketing please do let us know in the comments below. Let’s start hearing from our readers.