You wake up, roll over, and groan. It’s the day you’ve been dreading all week. Mrs. Gorky is coming in for her new crown, and you know how it will go. As always, she’ll complain. Nothing will be right, even though you’ve created a stunning, lifelike restoration. The sad thing is that today is not that different from other days. Sure, you’ve got some great patients, but what you really want is to be treating kids and young families. It’s time to take control of your practice! Part of creating a dentist business plan is deciding what kind of patients you want to treat and then developing a marketing scheme to draw them in.
Choosing Your Patients
Although patients spend a lot of time choosing their ideal dentist, believe it or not, you actually have some say so over the type of patients you see. Perhaps you have always had a passion for treating children. If so, you should start to develop your practice to cater towards pediatric patients. Maybe you enjoy seeing a wider age range, yet you seem to have a practice full of grumpy, noncompliant patients. In this case, you should think about the patients that you do enjoy treating and figure out how you can draw similar individuals in.
Write down your favorite patients, and then list what it is you like about treating those people. Perhaps young twenty-somethings give you more energy. Maybe you love children’s eagerness to learn. You may have a passion for enhancing the lives of senior citizens. In part, your ideal clients will largely depend on the treatments you most enjoy performing. Passionate about implants? You need to develop an older patient base. Love cosmetic dentistry? You probably need to attract more young professionals.
Marketing to Your Target Audience
Once you have determined the kind of patients you want, it’s time to figure out how to draw them in. All too often, dentists adopt “schizophrenic” marketing campaigns. They are promoting themselves, but their promotional materials are reaching a different audience than the one they want to attract. For example, if you want to focus on restorative dentistry for middle aged and senior patients, advertising in a local beauty publication will get you nowhere (or it will draw in young cosmetic patients, which you don’t want.) On the flip side, if you love cosmetic procedures, leaving business cards at the local senior center is not going to do you any good, either.
The key is to figure out what marketing strategies will reach your unique patient base. Of course, you may want a wider range of patients, in which case you will need to adopt a more sweeping marketing strategy. The best methods will vary, depending on your community. You may want to hire a part-time PR expert, who can help you identify the best marketing opportunities in your area. If you are still struggling to identify your ideal patients, working with a dental coach may be in your best interests. A coach can help you identify your specific goals. He will focus not only on your clientele, but also on practice growth, efficiency, time management, personal fulfillment, and much more.