It’s September. The back-to-school rush is over, and most people are trying to get back to their typical work and school routines. The end of the year may still seem a little far off, but it’s really just around the corner. And as September is historically one of the slower months of the year for dental practices, it’s the perfect time to start planning your year-end marketing campaigns.
The first step is to open up your calendar and start thinking about your overall goal for the last quarter of the year, including any general ideas you may have for events and activities. Consider time commitment, staff involvement, budget, upcoming vacation plans, and anything else that will affect what you will be able to do. Make sure to write it all down so you can refer to this information throughout the planning process and, most importantly, communicate it to your marketing partner.
When it comes to events and activities, there is a wide range to choose from, especially during the fall and winter. Perhaps there are specific treatments you would like to promote, or maybe you want to launch a patient referral contest while new-patient traffic is a little slower.
Early fall is also the time when many charitable organizations begin planning their own fall and winter fundraising events and are seeking sponsorships or other types of commitments from local businesses. There are volunteer opportunities too, such as food drives.
Regardless of what you decide, if you want your end-of-year promotions to be successful, it is essential to start planning them well in advance and involve your marketing team right from the beginning.
As you probably already know from previous experience, successful marketing strategies don’t happen overnight. They take time to build. Waiting until the week-of to begin promoting a new campaign or upcoming event will certainly yield less than desirable results. This is doubly true during the fall and winter, the busiest commercial season of the year.
If you start planning early, when there is plenty of time to flesh out a winning strategy, your chances of success are going to be much higher and you can build on that momentum for upcoming campaigns until planning ahead becomes part of your marketing ritual.
For any event or promotion, a good plan should start with a carefully crafted message that matches the feel of your practice and perhaps even builds on a theme you’ve already started with a previous campaign. Once you’ve got the exact message you want to convey, you’ll want to plan the timetable for getting that message out to current and prospective patients through your practice’s website and via Facebook, Instagram, email, blogs, and any other tools you normally use.
This communication should begin several weeks, not days, before the actual event begins so that you, your staff, and your dental marketing agency will have time to create some buzz, build awareness, and physically prepare for it. This strategy will also give you more time for a smooth rollout, which will, in turn, lead to more satisfying results.
While you may groan inwardly at retailers who start promoting Halloween at the end of August and barely clear the shelves of back-to-school items before stocking them with holiday gifts and decorations, these businesses are really teaching us a lesson in marketing strategy. They understand that early and constant attention is needed if you want your message to reach the maximum number of prospects.
So while the weather outside may still feel like summer, it’s not too early to start gearing up for the end of the year. Starting the planning process now will help ensure your success in the future.
With more than a decade of experience in corporate dental laboratory marketing and brand development, Ms. Ulasewich–Cullen decided to take her passion for the dental business and marketing to the next level by founding My Dental Agency. Since starting her company, she and her team have helped a wide variety of practices all over the nation focus their message, reach their target audience, and increase their sales through effective marketing campaigns. She can be reached at (800) 689-6434 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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