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Public Relations to Attract New Dental Patients

Jul 2, 2008
Your practice should have a plan for community initiatives. This means you should take some interest in your community events, and show support for the goings on in your target area. This ties your practice in with many people, and when it comes time for the public to make a choice in who completes their dental care, this will come into consideration.

If you are struggling to find a way to set yourself apart from the crowd, this is it.

I coach girls soccer at a local high school, here in Salem, Oregon. I have played organized soccer since I was 4 years old, and use this experience in sharing what I know with the youth of today.

Now, I am not suggesting you commit your time to coaching a sport. Some of our clients do take time away to coach little league, or soccer, but you do not have to take time away from your dental practice to show support for your local teams and youth.

One of our clients, here in Salem, took a simple approach to getting their practice involved in the community. Knowing that anything the practice does as far as advertising needs to generate new patients, we planned an 11 x 17" poster featuring my soccer team, the season schedule, and yes... an offer for a FREE teeth whitening.

We threw the design together and printed 500 of these posters at a cost of just under $200. Upon delivering them to the girls after a recent victory, I received many thank yous and hugs. By showcasing the girls, we had created plenty of gracious parents, relatives, and friends... I even noticed a few fans for the other team grabbed a couple.

An important part of this equation is showcasing the community event, and not yourself. This poster (as shown) was 95% Sprague High School, 5% my client's practice. By doing this, we gave the girls self esteem, created a memory these girls will have forever, and by having the girls distribute these to hang in local businesses, we created a buzz about the program and its success.

What did my client get out of it? Even though the advertisement is small, they get the attachment to this successful soccer program. By these posters getting distributed around town, they get notoriety and distribution of their "FREE Teeth Whitening" message, and they can show their patients how they support the community (positive PR).

With a cost of $200, this already is a great marketing tool for the practice. Even if it results in zero new patients, it can be considered a success just through showcasing one of these posters in the office. With the location, it will be sure to create some conversation in the office, and with the quality of the posters, it creates more interest than the normal "practice art".

Look for these community opportunities in your area. Whether it be with local sports teams, boys and girls clubs, Habitat for Humanity, or any other way you give back to the community. Make sure to take lots of pictures, and feel free to show those off to your friends, family, and current patients. (Great content for your monthly newsletter too!)
About the Author
James Erickson is the President of EMC Dental Marketing which gives Dentists a resource for turn-key dental marketing programs and dental practice marketing education including new patient attraction, and internal marketing systems. Visit www.EMCdental.com and get a free practice
building kit sent directly to your home or office.
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