Dental marketing is a waste of money. There, I said it. I know you’ve all thought it at some point anyway, so we might as well be honest about it. For a lot of dentists, marketing feels like a dumpster fire of cash and wasted potential.
But here’s the secret. Done right, dental marketing is the thing that can transform your practice. I should know; I’ve spent 25 years building and growing thousands of practices through strategic dental marketing.
The challenge is that many dentists fall victim to the hype of a high pressure pitch, and suddenly they are the proud owner of a random marketing tactic that doesn’t dovetail with a larger strategy. And that’s where your investment can feel like a waste.
Despite what you’ve been told in that high-pressure pitch, there is no special offer, or catchy headline, or magic script that will pull your previous marketing efforts out of that flaming dumpster.
Your marketing is there, and on fire, because you’re not using a solid, foundational strategy to put your marketing investments to work.
BEWARE THE TRADE SHOW PITCH
As I type this, I’m taking advantage of a little downtime at a national trade show. I’ve already walked all the aisles (twice) and scouted the vendors. Thanks to COVID, attendance is down from previous years, meaning that vendors have to hustle to make this time worth their while.
Trade shows are not a small investment for most companies. The cost of the booth space, the “mafia” fees paid to show handlers, the travel costs for several employees to come work the show…it’s nuts.
As a result, there is immense pressure on company representatives to close deals right now.
Vendors (of any type) are here for one primary reason: to drum up new business.
They want to talk to doctors who have a problem that only they can solve by pairing you with their services.
Given that vendors have short bursts of time to get your attention between classes, many will use deeply discounted show deals or high pressure pitches to get you to commit now.
“Don’t walk away, this deal expires once the show ends and you’re never going to get it cheaper. Results? Sure we produce results! Just read this carefully curated testimonial while I dazzle you with terminology you probably don’t understand!”
DON’T GIVE IN TO THE PRESSURE
If you want to start burning through your marketing money, this is the place to do it. When you’re under pressure to sign a deal for a new dental website or SEO contract (or worse, a rented template website), you don’t take the time to stop and ask yourself:
- “How does this solution dovetail with my overall marketing plan?”
- “What marketing goal of mine does this solution address?”
- “What kind of ROI can I expect by signing this deal?”
- “What kind of results have other people had with this company?”
- “What do their reviews indicate about how they take care of clients?”
- “Am I going to work with this sales rep (that I like), or am I going to be handed off to someone else?”
- “How long should it take for me to see results?”
- “What will I define as success for this product or service, and can this company deliver?”
- “How long is this contract I’m committing to? What is the exit clause?”
I could go on, but you get the point. STOP. Take a breath. Tell this vendor, “I’m interested, but I want to do my due diligence before I commit. I need to make sure this solution supports my marketing goals. Will you honor this show deal in a few weeks, once I’ve had time to do that?”
I promise you, 99 times out of 100, you will get a “yes.”
DO TAKE YOUR TIME
If you talk to a vendor who can’t solve your marketing problems in a 5-minute conversation, and they ask for a follow up call, it’s because they too are doing their due diligence. The really good dental marketing companies want to get to know you, your practice, your goals, and your unspoken expectations, just to make sure they can deliver what you want.
The dance goes both ways with these marketing companies, because both doctor and vendor are looking for the right fit. Most doctors end up with a better, more personalized result when they slow down and take their time finding the right marketing partner.
At your next show, here’s what I want you to do. Use the show to gather intel. Fill your bags with literature, and as a reminder, take photos of any booth whose product or service you liked (they will all blend together later on).
Explore your options and pinky swear with me that you won’t immediately sign with the first company you speak to. The good ones (and there are plenty) will still be good once you get home, and the bad ones…well, you will have escaped a very expensive lesson.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Xaña Winans is the CEO and founder of Golden Proportions Marketing, the leading dental marketing company dedicated to the growth of private, group and DSO dental practices throughout North America.
Founded in 2001, her agency provides strategy driven, full service solutions including branding, internal marketing, advertising, websites, and digital marketing. Goal driven results are at the heart of everything she creates.
Xaña is a board member of the Academy of Dental Management Consultants and lectures nationally on the topic of dental marketing.
She publishes regularly in Dentistry Today and Dental Economics, and is a frequent guest on industry podcasts.