marketing campaign
While attending a BBQ last fall, I met a dentist I knew of but had not met in person. He sat next to me at one of the round tables provided by our host. We made the customary introductions. During our chit chat I asked where his office was located. He gave me a physical address that was very familiar, as I had rented a mailbox across the street from where his office is located. I also rented movies from a movie rental franchise two businesses from his office, in one direction. I opened my business accounts less than a block away and frequented the gas station just two businesses from his office, in the other direction. Less than a block from his office is another dental office, which I was well aware of. But I could not visualize the location of his office on that one block.

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I was astonished to have not seen his office! I made a point to take a slight detour on my way home to look for it. I had driven past his building for over two years and still do! He has a lovely red brick building that could look very inviting if a few changes were made to the exterior. The first change I would recommend is signage!

I am sure he could see my surprise to not know where his office was located. One marketing idea that is crucial for business is signage. I think of the many cars passing his office that are as unaware as I was. I continue to look at medical offices, hospitals and pharmacies because of my years in pharmaceutical sales. Being a Dental Consultant, specializing in Orthodontics (they get their referrals from dentists), I deliberately seek out dental practices even when traveling.

Sadly, this dentist is missing out. I know his competition located less than half a block away, is getting more "drive-by" referrals than he. I drove past both offices over the weekend and the differences of each practice's exterior were startling!

The visible dentist's exterior:

-Well-manicured and landscaped yard with very colourful perennials.
-Large colourful signs matched the building's exterior.
-Bright and cheerfully inviting on an overcast winter day.

The invisible dentist's exterior:

-Sparingly landscaped yard with no flowering plants or colourful shrubs.
-No sign whatsoever.
-Dark and gloomy and a turn-off on an overcast winter day.

Closing a case begins with the incoming call or walk-in to make the initial consultation and continues when a patient drives in your parking lot. If the exterior looks rundown and poorly maintained, it sends a negative message to the patient and/or financially responsible party. So often, the interior of such an office is not as up-to-date if the exterior is not well maintained. Studies have proven this translates to a lack of confidence the patient places in the practitioner's skills and they are unlikely to pursue treatment. With this information, I know it is not me being 'picky' or attempting to generate business.

If you own a small business where customers are on the premises, it is suggested you "clean up your act" from the exterior to the interior! If you are under the impression marketing is a cost center, think again. Marketing is a revenue center, but sufficient budget and time must be allocated to succeed. Your dollars can be tracked to determine the return on your investment. You will learn which elements are effective or ineffective.

The invisible dentist should begin with signage and landscaping. He would very likely generate enough walk-in traffic from those no longer driving by to pay for this much needed investment.

A word to the wise: Waste no time in the planning and implementation of a marketing plan for your practice. Marketing consultants specializing in promoting dental practices are available to help if you do not know where to begin.

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