No time. No time at all. Do you fall into this category? If running your practice, managing your team, attending CE classes and conferences, seeing patients, managing finances, and actually spending some time with your family (or by yourself ) have sucked all the minutes from 2014, and you’ve had little or no time to actually market your practice, you have a problem. It’s called White Rabbit Syndrome. You feel like the White Rabbit, shouting, “No time! No time! I’m late!” You may even have developed a nervous twitch.

At some point in your future, you’ll want to retire. The more profitable your practice looks on paper, the more money you’ll have for your retirement. A profitable practice needs a steady flow of new patients, not only to grow the practice, but also to replace those who move away, pass away, or go elsewhere for dental care.

Don’t take White Rabbit Syndrome into the New Year. Reclaim control. Let’s look at how Dr. Smith and Dr. Jones deal with this issue.

Two Docs, No Time for Marketing

Dr. Smith and Dr. Jones suffer from lack of time. They, like you, have White Rabbit Syndrome.

Dr. Smith tells his office manager to send out a quarterly direct mail postcard and keep a fresh offer in the Valu-Pak. He also requests that she call the Yellow Pages and get a larger ad for next year’s edition. In his mind, Dr. Smith checks “2015 Marketing Plan” off his agenda, then welcomes the patient in Exam Room B.

Dr. Jones has a pile of surveys from 2014 that tell him how people found his office, how they liked their care, and whether they’d refer friends to his office. He has the email address of those who have opted to receive emails from his practice, as well. Dr. Jones asks his office manager to log all the information into a spreadsheet to accomplish specific goals. One, he wants to know how most people find his office, whether that’s online, by word-of-mouth referral, by seeing the sign, or through one of his mail outs. Two, he wants the emails in a spreadsheet that can be uploaded to an email distribution system, so should he ever want to send a special offer or news about the practice to his patients, it will be easy. And three, he wants to find ten patients who had great things to say about the practice and would refer friends to him — because he heard that patient reviews are great for marketing. Hearing his request, his office manager looks at him over her spectacles, hand on her hip, and says, “Can I just pull the info from 2013? You never looked at it then, and not much has changed.”

Sigh. The White Rabbit strikes again.

Good Intentions Only Go So Far

Both of these dentists have good intentions for their marketing, but they have no time to follow through and learn what’s going to work best in 2015. Dr. Smith is doing what he has always done, since 1980. Dr. Jones is taking a more proactive approach, but he has no strategy (and no time to create a strategy) to get more new patients in the doors in the coming year.

Often, the closest a dentist gets to a marketing plan is a prerequisite to step one: having good intentions.

What Do You Do When Your Car Breaks Down?

You’re driving along the highway and hear a rattle. The car jumps, shakes, then putters. Seriously concerned, you pull the car to the side of the road, turn off the engine, and call AAA or your mechanic. You need transportation as soon as possible, and you can’t fix the car yourself. Goodnight, nurse! You have patients to see!

Similarly, when your dental marketing is broken — not moving, going nowhere — call someone who can help. You might be putting time and money into efforts that yield little or no return. Bad idea. What you need is probably a combination of local advertising and online marketing. Perhaps you need a new website. Maybe you need to be blogging. What’s your target demographic? Where do they hang out online? What motivates people to find a dentist in this day and age?

I’ve been in dental marketing, including website design, SEO, and copywriting for blogs, for over a decade, and I can help you. I am the cure for White Rabbit Syndrome, at least as it effects dental practice marketing. I’m Shauna Duty of Identiwrite Creative, and you can reach me at 940-395-5115 or by email here.

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