When running a local business like a dental practice, one of the most important things to cultivate is community awareness of your business. Ultimately, your patients will always come from your community – and the more of a positive, well-known presence you are in your community, the more your patient base and business will grow. When it comes to building community awareness, there are a number of strategies I found successful when I was growing my own practice.
These days, one of the most common ways for a business to grow its customer base and increase community awareness is online marketing. This may take the form of social media marketing, search-based PPC (pay-per-click) marketing, or more traditional banner ads. In my opinion, social media and search-based marketing are the more powerful of the three forms, as they allow you to target patients more specifically and measure the impact of your marketing dollars.
Online marketing, however, is not enough. What many young practice owners fail to understand is that community awareness is a two-way street: in order to build community awareness, you need to actively participate in and give something back to your community. This may simply take the form of excellent care and compassionate customer service, but I always encourage practice owners to do more. Sponsor your local children's sports team, get a float in the 4th of July parade, or organize a day where you provide free dental care to community members. In my experience, I've found that the most valuable form of marketing doesn't come from traditional advertising or marketing techniques – it comes from the old-fashioned, time-honored practice of giving back to those around you.
While traditional advertising and marketing is important, it's equally important to take the time and energy to invest in your community. By consistently being a positive force for those around you, you'll grow the credibility and awareness of your business in your community.