Open for Business – Marketing Your New Medical Services
Many dentists are beginning to branch out and offer services that are outside the dental mainstream. Sleep apnea appliances are fitted exclusively by dentists. Practitioners are being trained in Botox injections to ease the pain of migraines and TMD. Orthodontics have long been used to address congenital defects and anomalies in conjunction with oral surgery. Now you’ve decided to venture out into the brave new territory of medical procedures. You’ve taken your CE courses, trained your team and purchased your equipment. Now how do you get the patients you need? If you’re a general dentist you are probably used to sending out a direct mail campaign or promoting your Facebook page. While social media can still be helpful in niche marketing you may need to work a little harder to attract patients to your new venture.
Other doctors. A good place to start is with local specialists that diagnose and treat for the conditions you are providing solutions for. For sleep apnea patients pulmonologists, neurologists and general practitioners are good places to start. For migraine/TMD patients neurologists and ENTs are going to be a main source of referrals. Make a list of these practices and schedule a day for you and your assistant to take referral pads, information packets and a small gift for the doctor’s team. Introduce yourself to both the doctor (if they are available) but especially the office manager and supporting team. The majority of the time it is these team members that will remember your visit and suggest referrals when patients need assistance. Offer to take the doctor and the office manager out to lunch and try to schedule the get-together before leaving their location.
Health departments. Health departments are also a great place to put literature for your services. Most low-income clinics still see patients with insurance and many established doctors are not willing to see these patients. Many low-income programs outsource benefits to BCBS and other major carriers so patients still have commercial insurances you can file for benefits to while providing a valuable community service. You can also offer a discounted fee to health department referral patients who do not have insurance as a community service.
Local employers. The Department of Transportation recently instituted new regulations for tractor-trailer and commercial drivers who suffer from sleep apnea. If your area is high in industrial occupations and the associated freight companies you can send literature packets to the human resources departments at these companies. Have your office manager call and offer to give a brief talk to employees about the dangers of sleep apnea and associated treatments. Many companies will use this as an OSHA training course to fulfill their requirements and it opens your practice up as a provider to these patients. If you can attend these lunch and learns/seminars then it is can be very beneficial to do so.
Social media. Targeted social media ads can be the most effective form outside of grassroots marketing techniques. Take out targeted ads on platforms like Facebook or run campaigns on your social media pages. Look into Google Adwords. Not all social media advertisement opportunities will fit your demographic, services or location but there is almost always a decent campaign strategy to bring patients into your practice.
Lastly, do not be discouraged. Building a specialized practice is not the same as building a general dentistry or even specialist practice. You are targeting a very small audience of patients but one that can produce an amazing amount of revenue in comparison to your general dental population. The effort is certainly worth it if you target your audience correctly. Availing yourself of marketing seminars and professional articles is a great way to stay ahead of the trends in dental advertising and make sure you are getting the most for your marketing dollars.