To some, advertising in your own dental practice might seem redundant. After all, your patients wouldn’t be seeing those marketing materials if they weren’t already through the door. But here’s what you should remember: You aren’t only advertising yourself as a dentist.
Even if patients are entirely sold on you being their dentist (which, by the way, a visit to the practice doesn’t necessarily guarantee), there are many ways you can use marketing on-site to encourage greater loyalty and more engagement.
In this comprehensive list of in-practice collateral, we’ll review the types of topics and offerings you’ll want to showcase.
What You Should Advertise
This in-practice collateral is the materials that you are going to be producing and publishing. Take some time to brainstorm with your team about what you wish your patients knew more about or were taking better advantage of. Then you and your team can build out in-practice collateral concepts from there.
That said, here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Brochure explaining a new whitening procedure
- Brochure outlining your dental membership plan
- Discount booklets focused on a theme, for example “Back to School” with a series of coupons parents can use for their children’s visits from July through September
- Poster in the waiting room that explains, in a child-friendly way, how “sugar bugs” are created; i.e. the formation of cavities
- Poster in the x-ray room that shows how you can view a cavity on an x-ray or what pulp damage looks like
- Poster next to the television on the ceiling of a cleaning station that features an infographic on just about any dental health issue: the three keys to great flossing, what certain types of tooth pain could mean, how a cavity is filled, etc.
- Small sign in the waiting room that reminds patients of a special sale
- Small sign on the front desk that conveys any manner of “housekeeping” info: the location of the new practice if you’re about to move, a change in the way appointments are booked, etc.
- Small sign on the checkout desk that outlines the basic details of your dental membership plan
Now that we’ve given you some quick takeaway concepts, let’s dive a little further into why each type of in-practice collateral is well worth producing.
Brochures may be an advertising method as old as the trade itself, but they remain one of the most effective ways to capture and retain attention, and to remind them again later of your products and services. The reason for this is simple: People can take these home with them.
There is power in the natural process of someone reading a brochure while they sit in the waiting room and then going about their visit only to find that brochure tucked into their purse or wedged into their back pocket later that day. The brochure serves as a subtle reminder that doesn’t seem directly connected to you and your team, which can feel less salesy to your patients.
If you aren’t sure how much you believe discounts pay off, we touched on that in a previous blog post: Mythbusting: Are New Patient Specials Really a Good Thing for Your Practice?
But, the gist is this: Yes, discounts do work, and the ROI is there, especially if you’re smart about those discounts.
Everyone loves to see a discount booklet sitting on the table of the waiting room. A Claremont University study discovered that receiving and using coupons decreased stress and increased a person’s oxytocin levels—yes, that’s the love hormone—by as much as 38%.
A coupon has a marketing impact for your practice regardless of how great a financial boon it actually is. In a discount booklet, you could even include three coupons that all only work exclusive of one another, such as 10% off of one child cleaning, 15% off of one whitening procedure, and 20% off of a root canal that all remain valid for one month. It would be surprising if a patient utilized all three in the span of 30 days.
We particularly like the use of infographic posters as in-practice collateral, because they also spruce up your white walls! Patients will likely feel more comfortable in an office that has colorful graphics for them to look at while waiting, so that too is a bonus.
But posters are also an impactful way to position yourself as an expert and inspire patients to maintain their oral health. That includes their own dental routines at home and the cleanings and treatments your practice provides.
In general, posters work best when produced to be more informative than an obvious sales gimmick. This is not the place to advertise a discount or outline the costs of a procedure; a brochure or discount booklet would be better suited to those things. Posters should feel friendly and helpful—decidedly “not sales-y.”
When we say “small signage,” we mean something the size of a piece of printer paper, but sturdy and in a format that can be propped up on a surface. This offers you an opportunity to showcase little bits of important information that don’t necessarily need an entire brochure or poster dedicated to them.
This is also the perfect spot for financial information. If you want to advertise your dental membership plan in the office (which we absolutely recommend doing), this is one place where that marketing collateral should go!
Now that we’ve talked about the different types of in-practice collateral you should be considering …
Production and Design
After all, you’re a dentist, not a writer, graphic designer, or printing press!
You have several options here: You could hire a marketing firm that specializes in creating these sorts of things from start to finish, as a package. You could hire your own freelance help (this particularly makes sense if you have a talented writer on staff but just need a graphic designer) and work with a printing press on your own.
Developing your collection of in-practice collateral may require an investment of time, money, and focus, but can have a positive impact on your dental practice and marketing initiatives in the long term.