Let's cut right to the chase - more always seems like more in marketing. It seems that in order for your marketing to work, you'll need to spend at least something to acquire patients. Whether your marketing efforts happen traditionally or virtually, marketing costs money. So, what are your options if you're a newer practice with a smaller budget? Believe it or not - you have options. Here are 5 things you can do to start ground marketing for zero dollars.

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5 Things to do to Start Ground Marketing with Zero Dollars

Everyone has to start somewhere, right? When it comes to crushing your ground marketing efforts without having to spend big, these will not only help you get started, but they'll strengthen your efforts when you do have some marketing dollars to spend.

So, let's kick this off with...

Perfect Your Pitch

We all know that having an elevator pitch is important. Chances are, you'll only get 90 seconds to woo someone into your corner. Make sure that your pitch is persuasive, straight to the point, and has the ability to generate excitement from your prospects.

Want to know how to nail your elevator pitch down?

Refer back to your starter list! (psst... you can grab a free starter list template here)

Your starter list is where you'll know...

  • What motivates your audience
  • Where they spend their time
  • What their lifestyle is like
  • What they value

Perfecting your pitch will help you with cold calling facilities, restaurants, and other establishments. Which brings me to my next point...

Cold Call Relevant Businesses, Facilities, and Establishments

Don't listen to what other people are saying - cold calling is still a highly effective way to obtain new clients. The best part? It's free (like everything else on this list) and only requires some time. To be quite frank, the simplest way to get what you want is to go right after it.

On the other hand, I get it. Cold calling gets a bad rep because many people approach it with the wrong attitude. To help you out, here are some pointers to help you master the art of cold calling:

  • Do your community research before cold calling. You want to make sure that the businesses, establishments, and facilities you're reaching out to are places where your target audience is.
  • Prepare a script. Make sure you know exactly what you want to say so you don't have to think on your feet. You'll also want to prepare your pitch (told you this would come in handy), your answers to any potential questions they might have, and other useful notes to help you steer a comfortable and enjoyable conversation.
  • Don't be pushy and salesy. Doing so will make for an uncomfortable conversation. Remember, focus on the value you are providing. This is why preparing a script ahead of time will help you navigate your cold call with ease.
  • Be pleasant and persistent. No one likes to talk to a jerk. As for persistence? It's no secret that sometimes, it often takes a few attempts before you can get your foot in the door.

By the way, I know how scary it can be to formulate a captivating and inviting script for your cold call. The Ground Marketing Course has a ton of scripts already written for you, including scripts for your cold calls to fitness facilities, children centers, apartment complexes, community stores, and so much more.

Get Involved with Your Community

There's this idea that ground marketing comes with a large ad spend. From street marketing like distributing promotional pamphlets and flyers to marketing tours on a larger scale (think wrapped buses and vehicles), the truth is the most effective way to ground market is to get involved with your community.

You can do this by (you've guessed it) doing your community research to find out what's happening in your area. For example, if you know of a charity event happening in your area, you can volunteer your time while simultaneously getting your practice's name out there.

Another way that you can get the scoop on what's buzzing around your community is to find out what's happening locally. The easiest way to do this? Type “Events” followed by your city name into your internet search bar and hit enter. Or you can snoop around your local Chamber of Commerce's website to find out what's happening – but more on that later.

Offer Your Expertise

There are people out there who are looking for your skills and services. Your job is to find these people and get in front of the right eyes. The best way to do this is through what I refer to as “social media ground marketing”. This isn't your typical social media marketing campaign. In fact, it combines the best practices of ground marketing with the virtual world.

I wrote more about social media ground marketing in an article all about how to start ground marketing (especially in a post-pandemic era). But to simply put it, you'll want to take your community research off Google and apply it to Facebook. Search Facebook groups where you know your target audience is active (again, emphasizing the importance of your starter list), do a quick keyword search within the group for any questions that you're an expert in.

And hey – bear in mind that you'll want to come from a place of delivering value and not from an overly pushy, salesy approach.

Build a Pipeline with a Relevant Business

Last but not least, you can build a pipeline with a relevant business so that you're continuously getting referrals and new patients from the businesses that you've managed to collaborate with.

Here are the basics of how a pipeline works: say, for instance, you've cold-called a local coffee shop and they're interested in collaborating with your practice. The pipeline that you set up with this coffee shop will (in the best-case scenario) pump patients to your practice continuously. Just be sure to nurture your pipeline so that your pipelines can continue to contribute.

An example of a pipeline in action would be if you partnered up with this coffee shop by giving them a sweet (incentivizing) offer for their employees (and their employees only). They come in for their appointments, build a rapport with you, and one day you ask about setting up a small booth in their coffee shop so that you can provide their customers with dental hygiene kits and mouthwash as they wait for their coffee (you know, to prevent that morning coffee breath). At that same time, you (or the person in charge of your booth) can sign up new patients to your practice or to whatever service you're promoting.

The key to building successful pipelines? Building rapport. The Ground Marketing Course provides you with all the tools you need to build these abundant pipelines as well tips on how you can keep nurturing them. When it comes to ground marketing, these pipelines are quite literally the gift that keeps on giving, and you can get started on building your pipeline with zero dollars.

Start Ground Marketing Without Spending a Dime

5 ways to start ground marketing with zero dollars

There's a time and place for ad spend and big marketing bucks. However, it wouldn't be wise to pour too much cash into a campaign that may or may not lead to conversions. These 5 things are tried-and-true as they rely on the foundational elements of a successful campaign.

When it comes down to it, building relationships, positioning yourself as the go-to practice, and getting your name out there requires little to no money. So, put the time in and be sure to download the free resources you can grab here so that you can get started right away.

Did you scroll to the end without reading a word? This free downloadable e-book will get you started off on the right foot with your ground marketing strategies. The best part? You'll start seeing results within a week.

Michael Arias is the host of The Dental Marketer podcast and founder of a ground dental marketing firm.