As I have mentioned before, my office refers to a marketing calendar of activities to make sure that we are continually doing our best to let new patients know about our office.  It is easy to ignore marketing needs during times when your operatories are full.  The problem with this soon becomes apparent during slower times which may have been avoided with a little more forward thinking.  A marketing calendar allows the dentist to assign certain routine marketing duties to staff members who can see each month which tasks need to be accomplished.  Our dental marketing calendar reminds us to assess our marketing efforts at least on a quarterly basis in order to determine what approaches are working and what programs should be eliminated due to poor return on investment.

At this time of year, we are preparing to look at our first quarter marketing efforts.  My business manager will examine reports regarding patient referrals, website activity and referrals from other sources.  If we notice a decrease in any of these activities, a plan will be put into place to determine how to improve in these areas.  We will look at the cost of external advertising projects, Internet advertising and internal marketing efforts to see which items are producing new patients and accepted treatment plans.  As an aside, my dental practice currently only uses Internet advertising to promote our office as we have found it to be the most cost effective advertising.

This is an ideal time to run a report on children’s overdue recall appointments.  We send out postcard reminders to these families stating that is time to visit the dentist and they should call now to schedule summer appointments.  With work schedules and school demands it is becoming increasingly difficult for parents to schedule their children’s appointments.  A reminder to take advantage of the summer break or school holidays often results in parents calling to schedule.

Now is also a good time to prepare a newsletter or e-newsletter to send out to patients which can be used as another opportunity to remind parents to schedule summer appointments.  As sports activities increase at this time of year, we use our newsletter to remind our patients about the use of mouthguards during these activities.  Cold drinks and foods become more popular as the temperatures rise so it is an ideal time to include an article about sensitive teeth solutions as well.

My dental office uses a multi-media approach to getting this information out.  We send out postcards to overdue patients.  We include reminders to schedule appointments and patient education articles in our e-newsletters.  Social media through Twitter, Facebook and our patient blog  gives us opportunities to spread the message of dental mouthguards, tooth sensitivity solutions and appointment scheduling as well.  A new avenue we will be exploring soon is patient education videos on YouTube.

What is your dental office doing this spring to maximize marketing efforts?