Recently, we’ve been pounding on why having a smart inventory management system like ZenSupplies is so important for dental practices, and just how much money there is to be saved simply by having access to real-time price comparisons. And while that’s certainly all well and good, today we want to talk about the things you can do with your savings.
Sure it’s great to put the money you save with us away, or pay off your building’s mortgage a little quicker, or buy that shiny new tech you’ve had your eye on for so long. But there’s a problem with those things: they aren’t going to help drive revenue for your practice. When allocating your savings, it’s absolutely critical that you invest in things that will continue to grow your practice and attract new patients.
That being said, here are five things your practice can invest its savings in, if you’re not already. And if you haven’t worked with us yet, well, then consider these as ideas for the future!
These days, simply having a well-made sign that says your name and “D.D.S.” next to it isn’t enough to draw in new patients. It’s the practices who have the strongest web presences and engage their patients and target audiences the most who grow. This doesn’t mean you have to hire some fancy ad agency to build you a “cross-channel marketing campaign” or even hire a marketing employee. No, it’s actually a lot more simple than that.
Put shortly, social media has made marketing easy and affordable for just about everyone. Simply by having a social media web presence where you actively engage, entertain or educate your audience (2 - 3 posts a week), you’ll spread your practice’s name. And if you do it really well, you’ll even start attract some new patients. We recommend focusing on Facebook and Instagram exclusively, to start. Consider Facebook the place you promote deals and discounts, or share patient stories, or insightful articles. They key here is quality of content - only share or write things you would read yourself.
Conversely, look at Instagram as the place to tell your own story, giving viewers a window into you and your staff’s personalities and daily lives (community events, sponsorships, office culture, employee highlights, etc.). But because Instagram is a platform with very little, if any self-promotion, it’s important you avoid promoting on it at all costs. This will serve as an immediate off for any potential followers. If you do want to promote your practice, or a current promotion you’re running, or perhaps your new website, do so on Facebook where it’s far more customary. You can even “boost” posts by backing them with nominal amounts of money ($1, $3, $5, etc.) to increase their reach!
For beginners, My Social Practice is a great resource for free advice and tips on how to best leverage social media. And if you’re feeling extra ambitious, start a blog on your website where each week you share some powerful insider tips you feel strongly about, or an inspiring story of how you helped transform a patient’s smile! The more quality content you share, the better.
No, we don't mean “remodel your whole office top to bottom through a contractor.” That would be unnecessary and expensive, and probably defeat the purpose of this post. Rather, focus on the look of your reception area and what could be better about it. Is it welcoming in its appearance? Are there comfortable places for patients to sit? Is it a room you would enjoy waiting in? If the answer to any of these questions is “no”, or you have to spend more than a few seconds thinking about it, then your reception area likely needs some updating.
When you have a break in your day, or perhaps at the end of one, have someone that knows you well and has a good eye for things - it could be a friend, patient, or perhaps even someone you know with interior design experience - assess your reception area. Ask them what about it is most uninviting, outdated, or deterring. Then, replace or update these things according to your budgetary limits.
Whether it’s getting a new waiting sofa at Home Goods, or installing some simple shelves to hold quirky decorations, or giving the room a new, more calming paint color, there are a litany of affordable things you can do to improve the look and feel of your reception area for patients. And if you see this as a fairly non-essential endeavor for your practice, just consider the fact that your reception area is the room where all of your new patients develop their first impressions of your office. Pretty important, if you ask us.
We don’t want to assume, but if you’re like most practices, you likely still have a few of those anatomical diagrams of teeth or macro photos of mouths hanging up somewhere in your office. Our advice? Get rid of ALL of them. Pictures like these are huge turn-offs for new patients and are part of the reason why so many people, especially kids, fear going to the dentist. If you have any pictures remotely similar to things like this, get rid of them!
Once you’ve done that, hire a professional photographer, or simply exhaust your personal network to find someone with photography skills and experience. Prior to their upcoming appointments, ask 7 - 10 of your patients if they’d be willing to have their picture taken while they’re there. You can even incentivize them with a $5 - $10 gift card for participating.
Be thoughtful in which patients you select, considering ones who would be most willing and inclined to smile for these pictures. Make sure you have a few pictures taken of each patient so you’ll have something to choose from (in different rooms, from different angles, with/without you or another employee in the shot, etc.). Then, after selecting your favorites, have them developed as large prints (portrait or landscape), and hang them on your walls. Now, next time your patients walk through your office, they’ll see other smiling patients and not weird diagrams of the human mouth! Much more inviting, right?
Attending a seminar dinner, or having a distributor you partner with wine and dine you is one thing, but taking your team out on your own dollar is entirely different. It shows that not only do you care about your practice, but you care about them individually.
It doesn’t have to be at the fanciest, most expensive steakhouse in the area, but personally taking your team out to dinner can only bear positive things. Not only will they feel personally appreciated and valued as a member of your team, but it will also contribute to their motivation levels in their work. And as practicing dentist and team leader, maintaining your team’s motivation levels is critical to your practice’s success.
But don’t let that be the primary reason you take your team out to dinner - do it because you care about them and want to take the time to connect outside of work. The benefits from doing this will be immediately evident in the morale and camaraderie your team gains from it.
This is probably the least essential facet of your practice to reinvest your savings in, but it’s important nonetheless. If you’re like most practices, you probably either don’t have an official logo, or have had the same one for years. If you believe your logo has stood the test of time, and has a strong level of recognition associated with it, then disregard this portion of the post.
If you don’t have a logo however, or have one and consider it outdated or visually unenticing, our advice is simple: get a new one. Hire a local graphic designer or conduct the same personal network search you did to find a photographer, and sit down with them one on one. Talk with them about your practice’s values, the sort of qualities you want to exude as a business, and exactly how you want to be perceived by prospective patients. If you’ve contracted a good graphic designer, they’ll come up with something that aligns strongly with your description and conveys what you want to your patients.
Once you’ve created your new logo, do things like sharing it on your new social media pages, updating your office’s signage to match it, and maybe even coming up with a new slogan to go along with it! The key here isn’t just to look current, but to imply to your patients, both new and longstanding, that you care about how you’re perceived. Because, as unfortunate as it may be - and as you likely well know - it’s far too easy to judge a book by its cover.
We hope these tips for reinvesting your savings with ZenSupplies back into your practice were helpful and inspiring! We firmly believe that if you do these things, and do them well, your practice will continue to grow, and you’ll become better equipped to provide your patients with consistent quality care and a more holistically enjoyable patient experience.
As always, if you have yet to work with us or don’t know much about ZenSupplies, you can give us a call at 872-225-2ZEN!