In this edition of Inside Dentistry, Naomi Cooper talks about setting S.M.A.R.T. goals for a successful marketing plan.
She explains how S.M.A.R.T. which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-specific will help frame practice goals. This context will help ensure that the marketing plan is achievable from the outset, and that the dental team is able to maintain momentum throughout the planning and implementation process.
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"Chances are, the dental office is not alone in its difficulties in coping with those sometimes referred to as “the 1% of patients who cause 99% of the problems.” People who are unreasonable, aggressive, and demanding with their dentists often have problematic relationships in other areas of their lives as well. However, this may be difficult to keep in mind while they are attempting to direct their own treatment, pitching a fit about their unmet expectations, or either cowering in fear or instilling it in others with their bullying rages."
By: Ellen Meyer
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"Different digital and social media channels are suited for specific purposes. For instance, blogs provide a broader canvas for patient communications and, over time, can build the patient relationship by providing a medium for practices to promote new services, share news and updates, express gratitude towards patients, and stay in constant communication without being pushy. Micro blogging with services like Twitter allows sound-bite messaging to be delivered in real-time, giving practices a level of flexibility and speed. These channels are better suited to maintaining contact with patients, while Facebook and other social interaction channels are optimal for allowing patients to share their experiences and provide an excellent patient referral platform."
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"First of all, Facebook is where patients are. Of the more than 845 million monthly active users on Facebook, 50% of them log in every single day. There’s never been such a rich and immediate channel for patient interaction in the history of marketing. On top of that, the average Facebook user has 130 online friends. In the past, the volume of word-of-mouth referrals was limited to the number of people a patient might see or speak to on a given day. In contrast, today patients are communicating with college friends, extended family, acquaintances, past coworkers—and their potential referral networks have exploded as a result. By tapping into the power of Facebook, a dental practice has access to more potential new patients from word of mouth than ever before."
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"For many, these new Internet-based communication tools may not be quite as easy to master as the very excellent equipment of the erstwhile Bell Telephone company, but master them you must. In addition to having outstanding clinical skills, astute practice management skills, and excellent patient relationship skills, dentists are now finding themselves—in many cases at the midpoint or end of their careers—needing to learn and embrace an entirely new set of skills, and these are skills that very few people on the planet could even dream of having a decade or two ago.
Instead, dentists are finding their social-media footing along with the rest of the global village; some are trailblazing, most are sort of stumbling along, and many more seem to have stopped dead in their tracks. Whether it’s because they think they aren’t tech-savvy enough for it, too busy for it, don’t know enough about it, or, worse, are downright terrified of it doesn’t even matter—what does matter is that the longer dental practice owners stay anchored solely to their that’s-so-20th-century newspaper-ad and direct-mail marketing campaigns, the longer they’re going to miss out on the wealth of opportunities that the social-media revolution offers for the taking—and that can mean getting left behind entirely."
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