In today’s ever competitive environment, what is the best approach to take when starting a dental practice? Should you start to create lots of hype amongst the community before you open or should you open by stealth? That is, have a quiet opening and only begin marketing elements when you open.
If I’m opening in or around an area where there are some marketing savvy dentists, I tend to delay allowing people to know I’m opening until as close to open date as possible. The rationale for this is because of what I do myself when I hear of a competitor opening nearby.
From the last few years, after discussing the ethics of it with others, if I hear of a competitor opening, I really increase the external marketing of my surgeries around both my surgery as well as the area the other surgery is opening in. Sometimes I run an offer too. This has three effects:
1) It means I get patients that may have otherwise gone to the other practice.
2) when the other practice does do marketing, they don’t get as many patients and they may thus (falsely) conclude that a particular marketing element does not work. This is great for my practice if they falsely conclude something doesn’t work very well and never do it again.
3) their initial momentum and enthusiasm is completely lost if they have a slow start.
I have a pre-planned marketing campaign ready to start close to opening date and because there is a lead time to start many external marketing elements, by the time competitors realise and respond, I’ve gotten a big head start.
If you are an existing owner, these are some things you may wish to consider if you hear of a competitor opening nearby.
I don’t know how many practices think about things to this degree so I can’t answer what is best but as things get more competitive, these are some things you need to consider for your dental practice startup.