New Marketing Tips for the New Year
We hope y’all rang in 2009 with bells on, or that you at least had a happy evening with family and friends. Hamilton Wright Mabie, an American essayist, said, “New Year’s Eve is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights.” Even though the passage of time from New Year’s Eve to New Year’s Day is simply another tick-tock of the clock from 11:59pm to 12:00am, we still tend to think of it differently than almost any other night of the year.
Many of us think of new starts with plans for new habits. Too often those new plans fade into just new starts on old habits. Charles Lamb, a British essayist, said, “New Year’s Day is every man’s birthday.” This year, resolve to give yourself the New Year’s “birthday” gift of keeping your resolutions!
You’ve Made Resolutions for Yourself, so Why Not for Your Practice, too?
Resolve to add something new to your practice this year, maybe something you’ve been meaning to incorporate into your marketing efforts or practice services and amenities but haven’t had the time, energy, resources, or commitment to explore. Even small additions, like a perforated business card for referrals or an ad specialty item like a magnet, can help you start the year off better. Updating an existing advertising tool that is already working for you, such as your website, can also help you feel refreshed in your marketing endeavors. Not letting your marketing fade into monotony is imperative to smart marketing, and it can be fun, as well. Amenities that you can add on a conservative budget include a beverage bar, warm scented towels, and stuff for kids—if you treat children—like some new books and a few new toys, or a small treasure chest of prizes.
Another great way to energize your practice, and yourself, is by investing in a new Continuing Education course. Whether you’re working on a start-up practice and want to enter your market as competitively as you can, or whether you’re well established in your practice and area and want to mix things up to not let your work fade into monotony, CE courses can be just what the dentist ordered. They can be extremely worthwhile and rewarding, personally, professionally, and monetarily, and your patients will thank you, too, for offering them more. Two courses that we recommend often are Dr. Scott Leune’s Breakaway Practice Seminar and Dr. Ryan Swain’s Six Month Smiles™ short term ortho course. And no, we don’t get paid to say that! We’ve just worked with both of these exceptional doctors and have seen how much more marketable the application of their classes can make you and your dental practice. Dr. Leune’s seminar is for dentists who aren’t satisfied with mediocrity and who want real-world business training to fuel their breakaway success. And any dentist looking for an enjoyable, hands-on CE experience need look no further than Dr. Swain’s STO course. Adding STO to your practice not only expands your new patient potential, it can also add $100,000+ to your yearly production. Now that’s a happy new year!
Have We Mentioned?
Have we mentioned before that January is a fabulous month for dental direct mail? We thought so. More specifically, the second and third weeks and on have proven ideal year after year for a number of reasons. With the new year come renewed dental insurance benefits, and many people have made resolutions to take better care of their health and appearance. Additionally, households are not only receiving less promotional mail after the holiday season has passed, they also aren’t budget crunching as much to buy that Wii or High School Musical toy to put under the tree. So it’s an opportune time to let them know that what would go perfectly with their Wii Fit body is a cleaner and brighter smile, courtesy of you and your friendly team!
Contrary to popular belief, starting the new year right with an 8-panel 11” X 17” direct mailer campaign doesn’t have to break the bank! In fact, with our interest-free financing, finding the needed place for marketing in your ‘09 budget just got a whole lot easier and more manageable. Call us to find out how we can accommodate you and your budget.
Ready or Not, Here ‘09 Is!
Are you, your staff, and your office really ready for new patients? The beginning of the new year is a fitting time to make sure that your team’s telephone etiquette and techniques, and all-around customer service, are up to muster. Consider, also, ordering new scrubs or matching shirts, or instituting a new incentive program for your employees. Other aspects of your practice to evaluate are the aesthetics of your reception area and operatories. Make updates where you see opportunities for improvement! New artwork (we love turning photos into canvas art prints: http://www.canvaspress.com ) and warmer lighting thanks to a new lamp are a couple ideas for sprucing up your office. Ask us for more budget friendly ideas!
Some Chronological January Facts of the Matter
- On January 10, 1789, the polls for the first presidential election closed. Having opened on December 15th of the previous year, the election that named George Washington the President and John Adams the Vice President of the United States remains the only election in an odd-numbered year. As the newly-formed country's first Commander-in-Chief, we hope old George kicked off his stockings, removed his wooden teeth, and took a moment to celebrate. (Good day for democratic republics, bad day for cherry trees.)
- Edgar Allan Poe, American poet, short-story writer, and literary critic, was born on January 19, 1809. Author of such genre-defining gothic classics as "The Fall of the House of Usher," "The Raven," and "The Tell-Tale Heart," Poe was a respected literary theoretician and alleged opiate connoisseur who married his 13-year-old cousin. Quoth the Raven, "Happy birthday, you old dog." Perhaps some resolutions were in order there...
- On January 24, 1848, James W. Marshall discovered gold in Sutter Creek, California. Despite the fact that he was also a poor mountaineer who barely kept his family fed, no one ever made a show about him.
- Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863.
- Since January 25, 1915, Americans have had the luxury of transcontinental telephone service. Coincidentally, historians have traced the beginning of the longest-running debate in U.S. history to January 26, 1915, when 16-year-old Timmy Edison instructed his girlfriend, Peggy, to "hang up first." No you hang up first!
- January 19th is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This day, which falls each year on the third Monday of January, marks King's birthday (January 15, 1929) and celebrates his contributions to the Civil Rights Movement. An advocate for nonviolent social protest and civil disobedience, King was one of the most influential figures of the 1950s and ‘60s, and he remains an integral and exemplary figure in American history. He was assassinated on April 4, 1968.
- Excepting Washington’s first inaugural, when he was sworn in on April 30, 1780, all presidents up until 1937 were inaugurated in March to avoid bad (or worse) weather. However, the 20th Amendment to the Constitution, which passed in 1933, changed the date to January 20th. We hope that any of you who will be braving this year’s Inauguration will pack warm clothes to wear as you witness history.
Happy New Year! Come back for the love in February, because Practice Cafe will be spreading it.