How do you plan to attract new patients this year?

With many dentists and medical consultants’ financial years coming to a close at the end of March, now is the perfect time to start your Marketing Plan for the year ahead. Marketing can simply be thought of as communicating to the outside world about what it is you offer, i.e. your service and the benefits of using them. Planning is essential for you and your team to know your aims and targets, the budget requirement and how you are going to track results. Download our simple Marketing Budget Template to help get you started.

Setting targets – what do you want to achieve?

The first thing to consider when assessing your annual Marketing Plan is the question of what you want to achieve this year. If you want just more new patients in general then make that aim number one. Or, if there is a particular niche that you know is profitable for the business then set an objective around that; over 60’s for example. A good place to start is to assess the new patient activity from last year and consider if achieving the same would suit you or if you want to set your aspirations a little higher this year (hopefully it is the latter). Remember, not all marketing activity will create instant results; some initiatives take months and even years to come to fruition.

How and where to attract the new patients you want

The next stage is the creative bit and it involves working out the best channels to communicate to your desired audience. Consider a mix of the following channels:

Digital marketing:

  • Development of your existing website (or a new one)
  • Social media marketing, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn
  • Online advertising
  • Sending a newsletter

Word of mouth marketing:

  • Running special offers
  • Presentations and open evenings
  • Creating a referral culture
  • Networking

Print and advertising:

  • Advertising in local papers
  • Sending a print mailing

Your Marketing Budget – how much is required?

As are probably aware, most marketing activity takes investment of some budget and also an investment of time. Depending on how high your aspirations for generating new patients and how quickly you want to see results will depend on how much investment of both time and money is required. How your team is currently structured will also play a part. Do you have anyone with marketing experience working with you? Perhaps you would want to consider recruiting someone full-time to fulfil this role, else agencies or freelancers could also tackle the work for you on an ad-hoc basis. It depends on your requirements. Do some research though and figure out your options and the relevant costs for each. If you can afford to invest £2,000 per month into marketing then you stand a good chance of achieving some decent results, especially if you don’t place all your eggs in one basket and spread the investment across different types of marketing activity.

Tracking the Return on your Investment (ROI)

It is essential that for each marketing initiative, you track the results. If an open evening is held at your practice and you spend £1,000 on advertising, refreshments and hiring equipment for the presentation, then shortly after you need to calculate the success of the campaign in exchange for your investment. This could be in terms of simply non-patients who attended. Essentially this is thinking of the marketing campaign as a means of brand awareness. The success could also be measured in terms of enquiries following the event, or, you could record results in terms of new patients actually signing up as a direct consequence of your communications. Ideally, you would track all of the above as all are valuable metrics to monitor success and learn from for future campaigns.

Your Marketing Plan as part of your Business Plan

Your Marketing Plan should include all your ideas along with a detailed Marketing Budget. Try to be specific when noting your ides but be open to amending them nearer the time as new thoughts take place. This document should also be directly included as part of your overall Business Plan for 2015/2016. If you haven’t started work already then also consider the following: Figurit work with over a hundred dental and medical businesses and know that obtaining a regular stream of new patients is high on the list of priorities. Keep an eye on our blog this year for more Marketing ideas to grow your business. T: 020 7376 9333 E:

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