Coming out of dental school, many new doctors gravitate to spending thousands of dollars on expensive branding and marketing services in an effort to grow their practice fast. While strategic Facebook marketing for dentists is a wise investment, spending thousands on complex marketing strategies is often not wise, especially for newer doctors.
A much better alternative to grow a practice fast is to focus in your own community. Form relationships with other businesses in your community and you can earn more referrals and build a strong reputation as a community destination. Here are three ways you can support local businesses in a way that helps you grow your dental practice.
1. Form strategic alliances with local businesses.
With a strategic alliance, you partner with local businesses who serve the same people you want to serve and create offers to encourage their clientele to come to your practice. For example, my practice often partners with a local bridal shop to offer brides a deal on teeth whitening. We’ve also given a local Day Spa and Optical $50.00 gift cards to give to customers who spent over a certain threshold or who purchased specific spa packages.
Each of those arrangements was true “win-win-win,” benefiting our practice, the other business, and the other business’ customers. We benefited by being able to earn new patients with a special offer but no advertising costs. The only cost to us was a little bit of our time reaching out to the local businesses.
The other businesses benefited by being able to offer greater value to their customers (our deal) without costing them anything. And the other business’ customers benefited by getting a deal with a dental practice that will treat them like a VIP!
2. Engage in host beneficiary promotions.
Host beneficiary promotions were huge for my dental practice in the early days. They work similar to strategic alliances with one key difference. Specifically, instead of offering something of value to the business’ customers, you make a new-patient offer to the business’ team members and their families.
Host beneficiary programs work well with local banks, investment firms, bakeries, and even local associations, especially ones that are smaller or mid-sized that don’t offer many benefits to their team members. Similar to strategic alliances, host beneficiary promotions allow other businesses to add value to people important to their business without costing them anything. At the same time, we save money and get new patients because there’s no advertising costs involved, only the cost of the offer itself.
We recommend starting by choosing one local business a month and deciding whether to grow from there. After identifying the local business, call up the office manager and let them know how the program works and that their business has been chosen for that month.
When we were doing host beneficiary programs on a regular basis, we had to hire an additional hygienist to serve all the new patients!
3. Use local business products and services in your practice.
Another great way to grow your practice is to use local products and services in your office and to proudly display the local connection. For example:
- If you have a local gourmet coffee roaster, consider stocking their beans for some of your gourmet coffee and tea offerings.
- Give pastries from a local bakery to your patients.
- Display local artwork and invite them to host art showings at your practice.
- Use furniture from local manufacturers in your waiting room.
- Subscribe to community-produced magazines and newspapers.
Don’t let those five ideas limit you, though. Look for local options for other services you purchase in your practice.
As you integrate local business products and services, promote those relationships through your social media channels. This can be as simple as posting a picture of the local coffee bean with a caption that reads “We love our locally-roasted Pete's coffee beans at Beautiful Smiles Dentistry.” You could also post pictures of the local artwork with a caption saying how much you love walking by the local artist’s beautiful painting every day.
The options are endless. And most of the time, they won’t cost you any significant additional money to utilize local businesses. In fact, you may find some local business owners who will offer their products or services at discounted rates, and sometimes free, for the opportunity to be displayed to your patients.
How will you grow your business fast while supporting businesses in your community?
Supporting local businesses will help you develop deeper relationships, attract more patients, and build a stronger local brand. These three examples can help you get started growing your business while serving your community well.
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