Grow Your NHS Dental Practice

Posted on by Neil Sanderson

How You Can Beat Corporate Dentistry

corporate dentistryThere seems to be no let up in the rise and rise of corporate dentistry in the UK. But how can you take them on and beat them when you are a single handed practice or a small partnership?

First of all can I state that I don't have anything against corporate dentistry, I think they have a place in the market just as a single handed practice does. This article is about giving you smaller guys some help to take on the big boys.

When a corporate moves into your area, they are backed by a lot of finance, they can buy materials cheaply simply by their size. They they also have a marketing budget, they will have a marketing team driving it. So how can you possibly take on corporate dentistry and win.

Branding

One of the things that most corporates are very keen on is their brand. Whilst this may be important to them, by and large it doesn't matter a jot to the public, simply because they have never heard of most or any of the corporates.

So don't take them on trying to push your brand because (a) you won't win and (b) it's irrelavent.

Where you can take on corporate dentistry is in your marketing. As I mentioned earlier most of them will have centralised marketing teams and they simply can't act as quickly or smartly as you can on a local level.

Don't try and out spend them with press, radio or even TV advertising because again you won't win.

Google and Facebook

The place where there is a completely even playing field is with Google Adwords and Facebook advertising. Google and Facebook don't care how big you are and you can get just as much coverage in your local area as the corporate dentistry guys can.

If you run your Google Adwords campaign correctly you can out rank just about any other practice especially corporate dentistry one's. It's highly likely that they won't have a local guy running their Google Adwords so this is where you can win and win big.

If you don't know anything about Google Adwords don't even try, call me and I'll do it for you.

The same goes with local Facebook advertising. Just as with Google you can set up your adverts which will run locally. You can change them as often as you need, knowing that the corporate dentistry guys aren't doing this on a local level.

Sell benefits

As I mentioned earlier, in dentistry branding is irrelevant, the public simply have no idea who these corporate guys are. So don't advertise your brand, you need to advertise the benefits you bring to your patients. Why patients come to you and why they stay. This is a great story and one that will win for you.

Ensure that your local website is relevant and up to date. Most of all make sure it's mobile ready.

Have headlines on it that are compelling for people to come and see the local dentist. One who lives in and is part of their community rather than a corporate based hundreds of miles away.

Put video on your site that tells your local story. Have testimonials, ideally video testimonials.

If you do all this you'll win.

But if you think you need help running your own marketing department, call me and I'll help you. You can reach me on 01767 626 398. Email me at sales@dentalmarketingexpert.co.uk. Visit my website www.dentalmarketingexpert.co.uk. Go to my Facebook and Twitter pages.

Posted on by Neil Sanderson

Getting Referrals To Work For You

referralsBefore I get onto referrals I'd just like to tell you a little about one of my best clients who I had a meeting with last week. She isn't one of my best clients because she spends more cash with me than most. No it's because she's totally switched on to marketing her practice and making it work.

She has been with me for just over a year and has just completed a new surgery, has taken on a new hygienist, a new associate and is just starting a new podiatry service all in the last 12 months.

Her website is specifically designed to attract new patients and get them to take action. We are running her Google Adwords campaign. Her Facebook and Twitter accounts and her Facebook advertising as well as her search engine optimisation and yes it all works.

But what I want to talk about is her referrals strategy. Yes she has a strategy in place for this too and so should you.

Every patient knows about her referrals strategy. They know that if they refer a friend, colleague, relative etc. to her they will receive a voucher worth £25.00.

She has one patient who is saving up the vouchers to have her teeth whitened. Whitening is £300 and she has £250 worth of vouchers already!

This means that this single patient has referred ten of her connections already and when she has two more, she'll use the services of the practice even more. Its a complete win/win scenario for the patient and the practice.

It doesn't really matter what rewards you give your patients for referrals, but it is vitally important that you let them know about it.

How To Make Referrals Work

  • Ask everyone if they know anyone who is looking for a great dentist and would they recommend them to you
  • Advertise your rewards in the practice
  • Talk about your referrals rewards on social media
  • Email the rewards information out to all your patients
  • When you send out a reminder text or letter, mention the referrals rewards
  • Put your referrals rewards information on all communications you have with your patients

We provide many of our customers with a mobile app which has referrals built in to it and manages the whole process for you. But it's not about the technology it's about making sure that all your patients know that you want them to refer people to you. A referred patient is without doubt the best patient you can have. They are normally more loyal than other patients and tend to spend more money with you. So get your referrals strategy in place and start benefiting from it now.

If you want help getting new patients into your practice. Call me on 01767 626 398. Eemail me at sales@dentalmarketingexpert.co.uk or visit our website at www.dentalmarketingexpert.co.uk. See our Facebook and Twitter pages too

Posted on by Neil Sanderson

Holiday Silly Season

Don't Waste The Holiday Silly Season

Holiday Silly SeasonSo summer is now upon us and we're entering what many people in business refer to as the holiday silly season, as nobody really does much of anything because of the holidays.

It used to be that Christmas consisted of two days, we had two days at Easter and the odd bank holiday through the year. Whilst the kids had a six week school holiday this didn't mean that things changed much for we business people.

That now has all changed, effectively business all but grinds to a halt the second week of July (about now) to the second week of September because of the summer holidays.

The same happens at Christmas, you can pretty much write off from the 20th December to the second week in January as people just aren't interested in doing the normal stuff, as holiday silly season has kicked in.

Most families only take a maximum of two weeks holiday in the summer, but the problem is that when you add all your staff's holiday entitlement together, it pretty much takes up the whole of August, the end of July and the beginning of September.

So why not use these periods to do something useful and really make the holiday silly season productive?

Make holiday silly season productive

These slow times are exactly the right time to get you marketing strategy and tactics into place. For instance if you need a new Mobile responsive website (if you don't have one get one now). This is the ideal time to do it as you have extra time.

If you want to get an app set up for your practice, again this is the time to do it. Even planning your Google, Facebook and SEO strategies this is now the time to do it.

Just remember when the silly season ends and everyone gets back to normal in September you won't have the time to devote to these activities.

Mobile Responsive website

Let's just have a think about why you should spend time now ensuring that your website is mobile responsive. I keep on going on about this, but 60% of all search is now done on a mobile device. Google have changed their search rules and if your website isn't mobile responsive you won't rank.

So you could be doing all sorts of great things to get your website up Google's rankings, but if it isn't mobile responsive you'll miss out on 60% of all search, which puts things into perspective doesn't it.

You also have to pray that your website is ranking for the 40% of desktop search which isn't a done deal either. It is reasonably likely that if your site was on the front page of Google a year ago, with the new changes it is highly likely it is now on page two or three if you're not mobile responsive. This means that you may as well not have a website at all.

So why don't you use this holiday silly season to check you website and if it isn't mobile responsive get it done, we can do this for you for around £250.00 + VAT. Equally this is a great time to get your mobile app up and running too, we create these for just £200.00 + VAT

For more information on how you can make the holiday silly season into the most productive time of the year, call me on 01767 626 398 or email me at enquiries@dentalmarketingexpert.co.uk or visit my Facebook page

Posted on by Neil Sanderson

How To Grow Your NHS Dental Practice

So here's the big question how do you grow your NHS Dental Practice? Unless you are in the fortunate position of being offered more UDA's effectively there is no growth in NHS dentistry.

I recently attended an event in Portugal where one of the speakers was talking about the new contract and how it could affect your NHS Dental Practice, the upshot of it is that there is very little information coming out of the Department of Health but one thing that we do know is that the OFT have questioned why NHS Dental Practice contracts have no effective end date.

So based on this one fact we are pretty sure that when the new contract comes into play (whenever that is) they will be for a fixed term. This could have serious consequences for those with an NHS Dental Practice now and those looking to buy one.

The biggest issue is the banks willingness to lend. At the moment the banks look very favourably on anyone wanting to borrow money to buy an NHS practice based on the current contract e.g. it lasts forever. If the new contracts are fixed to say three or five years, that puts a completely different perspective on the view of a bank who is looking to loan money to purchase an NHS Dental Practice or even fund expansion.

So if you are going to visit your local bank manager for extra funding and you now have a contract which is only guaranteed for a set number of years how do you convince him or her to lend you money to grow your NHS dental practice? The answer is it is going to be a lot more difficult then it is now.

But lets look at the concept of just carrying on with your NHS Dental Practice. How many businesses do you know that don't want to or can't grow? If you can't grow your business you are not just standing still you are actually going backwards. Whilst the UK inflation rate is now at a reasonable 1.8%, over the past four years the average has been running closer to 4%.

So if your business had had the same income during that period you have seen an overall reduction in revenues and profits of between 12% and 16%, which will not please you or your bank manager.

Certainty of income is a massive plus for having an NHS contract but it still won't grow your NHS Dental Practice. Most businesses would look enviously at a business such as an NHS practice simply because at the beginning of the financial year you can say exactly how much you are going to earn by the end of the financial year. I really don't know of any other business that can do that so it is a massive plus.

However whilst you know that if you achieve your UDA's you will earn exactly what you thought you were going to earn, it is still static and with inflation falling.

The event I was at in the Algarve was attended by most of the large corporate groups and all had concerns about the future of income from the NHS and were embarking on plans and looking for ways to grow your NHS Dental Practice for all the reasons I have outlined above.

I will tell you more about how to grow your NHS dental practice in the next publication.

If you would like to know more about how you can grow your NHS dental practice or private practice, call me on 01767 626 398 email me at sales@dentalmarketingexpert.co.uk or visit the website www.dentalmarketingexpert.co.uk