Now that you are (hopefully) posting regular updates and content on your social media channels, it is time to consider the season.
Of course, there is the holiday sales season that seems to start earlier every year. Think Black Friday with its advertising onslaught. But the season also means that you can think outside the box even if you’re not a traditional retail business with a tangible product.
Winter promotion for your dental practice might mean positioning your business as a community partner or developing content that solicits some sort of response from the community. These kinds of campaigns are great because they allow you to quickly generate some buzz for your practice.
People are used to seeing campaigns around the holidays. They are receptive to it. So use this window of receptivity to deliver your message.
As an example, think about Halloween. Halloween is great in terms of trick-or-treating. There is a lot of surplus candy involved. What some businesses do is a candy collection and then they use them in the care packages they send to our military troops abroad.
The benefit is twofold for a dentist. First, the kids eat less candy which helps their teeth. And second, the troops will appreciate the candy and know that someone is thinking about them. It builds morale. It’s about community and the meaning of the holiday season.
Now let’s look at Thanksgiving. Family time is very important. So in terms of your promotions, you could have a turkey giveaway. You could sponsor a meal for a community group in need. Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa are other opportunities to connect with your community because at the end of the day, that’s what you want to do. Make your community a better place and build a relationship with your neighbors.
A more direct sales promotion involves flexible spending. There are a lot of bad promotions around flexible spending. We hear that phrase ‘use it or lose it,’ but because people say it so many times, it’s falling on deaf ears.
It is better to repackage that flexible spending approach. Instead of just saying use it or lose it, you can position it around the holidays. There are college students coming home for break and it is an ideal time for them to get the treatment they’ve been too busy to get earlier.
College students don’t have the best oral hygiene. So there are cavities that may need filling. Cracked teeth from stress grinding are a thing too. A dental checkup during a college break is always a good idea.
A lot of practices don’t talk about their services from the human perspective, so using it or losing it means nothing. But if I have a child who is coming back for the holidays and needs a tooth extracted or a wisdom tooth pulled, a trip to the dentist is important. Maybe something wasn’t an issue when they were 17, but now that they’re 18 or 19, it’s time to take care of it.
College winter graduation is a time when some young adults will roll off their parents’ insurance and move to the plan of a new job. That can be a challenge because they may not have the seniority to have that full-fledged benefits package. So maybe they opt out of the dental service and a dental issue becomes a bigger issue down the line.
A parent or guardian could help their child get needed dental work done while their insurance will still pay for it. This situation is relevant for families, and it is relevant for your practice.
Something to keep in mind too is the need to carry your promotions through January, which sometimes tends to be a lost month for marketing. And it shouldn’t be because ad rates are lower in January, so you get a lot of bangs – and a lot of reaches – for your buck.
The first two weeks of the new year are great for marketing. But you need to prepare for it. A ‘New Year, New You promotion starts in November and December. Starting early allows you as a dental practitioner or dental practice owner to capitalize on all the marketing and ad investment that the gyms and fitness centers have put out there.
Fitness businesses are delivering a message about getting fit, both physically and mentally. But nobody’s talking about fixing your teeth. And you should be because there are a lot of great things happening for people in the new year. Someone could be starting a new job. Your smile is your first handshake.
Maybe somebody is looking for a new job. A lot of people hold off on searching because they are waiting for a winter holiday bonus from a present employer. That bonus might be used on dental services.
In terms of flexible spending, January may also be the time that the benefits of some potential patients will renew. So expensive surgery or procedure that they couldn’t afford now becomes an option. Combine that with seeing your winter promotional, and that person converts into a customer.
That’s why you can’t wait until January to think about New Year’s. September and October is the time to plan for November and December. You don’t want to miss that window of opportunity to promote yourself as a community partner for the holidays.