It’s the 1st week of January, and some of us will be considering our New Year’s resolutions and how to start 2021 off on the right foot. I’d like to know how many of you have a marketing plan set for the next 12 months to make sure your dental business has its own clear goals for 2021. If you don’t, you really need one.

Maybe your practice had a great year financially and you are tempted to keep everything the same. While your short-term success may have been achieved, nothing is guaranteed.

Successful marketing is an ongoing process that determines how your brand and services will be perceived by your target audience. A well-researched marketing plan will act as a guide to the successful growth and promotion of your business.

A strong marketing plan involves a significant amount of research to allow you to gain an objective understanding of your business. You will need to understand your target market to ensure that you are successfully communicating with them and that your services have been developed with them in mind.

Whilst there is no right or wrong way to develop a marketing plan, a great place to start is by asking yourself the following questions:

What did we do in 2017 and where are we now?

Take a critical look at your practice and consider what went well and what didn’t go to plan in the previous year. This will help you suss out what is working for your target market and ensure you’re making informed decisions, rather than continuing to make the same mistakes well into 2021.

Who is our audience and what can we offer them?

Research the key demographics around your practice and outline an appropriate practice USP (or Unique Selling Proposition) accordingly.

Once you know your audience and USP, you can look at the specific channels that you can use to reach them.

How will we reach our target audience?

This is where you plan your activities. We recommend using a blend of online and offline activities to achieve the best results.

It is important to know why your business is different as it helps you select the most suitable blended marketing tactics to attract your target audience.

What is our Marketing Budget?

Look at how much you spent last year and allocate a sensible amount for this year’s marketing activities. As a guide, we recommend up to 5% of turnover is assigned to marketing activity. This will help you plan what and when you will spend money on your marketing. For example, your chosen audience could be more likely to use the internet to book an appointment or research a treatment; therefore it could mean that you need to invest more money in Google Adwords or Search Engine Optimisation.

What are your goals and how will you measure them?

Your main marketing goals should be related to your business goals. When setting these goals they need to be realistic and achievable, and you need to refer back to your previous year’s figures. If previously you had been getting 8-10 implant cases a month it may not be realistic to set the goal of getting 30-40 implant cases a month whereas a goal of 12-15 could be more realistic.

It is vitally important to set aside time each month to measure your success and to track it against any marketing activities.

Remember that your plan is not set in stone and all marketing activities should be reflective and adaptive. If your figures show that a particular activity is not working for you then you will need to redirect some of your marketing budget towards an area that is.

If you don’t have a marketing plan or need help developing one for your practice please get in touch on 01872 300232 or email us at [email protected].