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Competitive Marketing to Make Money

By: Bryan Durocher
Posted: June 23, 2010, from the July 2010 issue of
Dollar on top of coins

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Practice marketing. Your office environment is the perfect showcase for before-and-after photos, product posters, a video demonstrating your procedures, tester products in your restrooms, brochures in your consulting room and a makeover portfolio in your waiting area. Use these opportunities to let your patients know about the range of treatments you offer, as well as treatments that pair well together.

Direct mail pieces. Create a newsletter for your practice. It can be weekly, monthly, quarterly—whatever works for you. Also, it can be printed out and mailed to your patients, or you can use an e-mail newsletter format to save on costs. A good newsletter should include concise information on your practice and its services, any special offers you have available, information about upcoming events and new products or services, and possibly a section where you relate current events or news to your practice. Personalize it to keep it from being dry, but make sure you convey all the relevant information you can.

Retail area marketing. The appearance of your retail area should be constantly changing with the seasons and holidays, and you can have your team create spontaneous themes that inspire customers to explore the area. Use fresh colors and props, and rearrange products frequently. Shelf-talkers can promote features and benefits. Give away a slow-moving product with a popular one in a “gift-with-purchase” gift bag. Put samples and testers on shelves at eye level, and display your most profitable retail item prominently on the front desk, remembering to change the item each month.

Front desk marketing and closing the sale. The front desk is where the sale takes place, so it’s arguably the most important point in the transaction. Educate your staff on closing statements, so these statements become second nature to them. Good closing statements can include: “Which of these products would you like to take home today?” and “Let’s pre-book your next three visits—are Tuesdays or Thursdays better for you?”

Attracting patients

Getting new patients in the door is necessary for any business to survive. But before you start marketing for new patients, you need to answer some important questions: Who is my target market? What specific income streams do I most want to promote? What percentage of profitability am I expecting to gain with my marketing? What’s uniquely different about this practice? What needs does it fulfill?