2023 Outlook: Positive Dental Office Growth
As we launch 2023, the outlook looks very positive for dental office growth.
- Dentistry has always been resilient. People need dental care, and the pandemic forced governments to acknowledge that dental care is essential.
- The dental industry is projected to reach incredible growth numbers in the next few years. Billions. Dental entrepreneurs who continue to proactively go after their target market will garner their fair share.
- The results of our client marketing campaigns since COVID recovery and through the end of 2022 demonstrate that those who invest in gaining ground reap the rewards, posting production numbers that are 25% ahead of the industry average.
- The December 2022 ADA HPI Economic Outlook and Emerging Issues in Dentistry report indicated that dentist confidence in economic recovery has improved from a low point last June. Practice schedules continue to trend around 85% of pre-pandemic levels with patient no-shows and late cancelations continuing to be the biggest obstacles, but these issues can be overcome with better communications.
- According to the president of Small Business, Bank of America, “Entrepreneurs are focusing their efforts on marketing and promoting their businesses, investing in technology, and boosting headcount.” This aligns with the ADA HPI findings, which report that 42% of dentists will be hiring more staff, 72% raising fees, and 36% planning to drop out of some insurance. These activities will require finely tuned education to attract and retain good patients.
There are a few easy moves that dental offices and DSOs can incorporate into their marketing strategy for 2023. Number one: Schedule a fast, 15-minute discovery call with one of our experts to discuss your situation and find out how we can help you generate the type of results our clients are experiencing. 2023 marks our 30th anniversary, which is pretty amazing. For 30 years, we’ve been helping dentists stand out and grow. You don’t have to learn by trial and error – leverage our 30 years of expertise!
The director of Small Business Success at Constant Contact says that small businesses must “…improve the way they communicate with customers … lean into their strengths – their connection to their communities and the great experiences they can give customers.” Successful dentists understand and prioritize educating current patients and prospective patients on the importance of dental care, and this will be a key strategic move for offices in 2023. Not that we’re having one, but during past recessions, not only did non-insured patients cut dental spending, but even consumers with insurance cut back simply because of a saving mindset. Being proactive with the patient base around their practice will help dental offices continue to attract and maintain a steady flow of quality patients.
Here's what a few of our clients have to say about practice marketing and success for 2023:
“It’s always most important to be consistent with your marketing! You have to commit and trust that this is the best way to have the best results from your dollars spent!” – Dr. A. Sielicki, DDS, AZ
“It’s vital that you have excellent branding and do everything you can to ensure that brand is put out there in as many ways and in as many places as possible so that you, your office, and your brand are always top of mind for prospective patients. People may not be ready for a dentist when they receive your first newsletter or marketing material, but when they are, if they have seen your logo, your face, or the faces of your team month after month, it will make sense to them to call you.” – Dr. S. Friedman, DDS, ON
“Make sure you have a solid Google presence, along with an updated, clean, and effective website.” Amy Pennino, IL
“It is most important for practices to do what others are not: direct mail marketing and providing patients with an exceptional patient experience.” – Lauren Johnson, Bizrock, GA
Considering what all these very smart people are predicting, recommending, and forecasting for 2023, dental offices looking for growth and improved valuation will want to consider an omnichannel marketing approach.
- PRINT advertising is the most trusted medium among consumers, and when making a buying decision, the newsletter format we feature the most is the top of the top TRUSTED ad channel. Direct mail very consistently is the number one driver of high-value new patients for dental offices, and it results inour clients averaging a 6:1 ROI within 6 to 12 months. Where else do you get a 6:1 return on investment?
- Digital marketing will continue to evolve, but one thing is certain: patients will continue to go online to research dental. Users want a convenient, fast experience with good and recent online reviews. In fact, consider that online reviews will support differentiation, which is why it is important to continue to focus on a strong online presence that includes a steady flow of patient reviews. Our clients generate three times as many reviews after implementing Review Booster, our best-in-class review tool. It’s the cat’s ass – ask for a sample!
As recently covered in Dental Economics, dental office owners “will face the same challenges as other industries or sectors of the healthcare industry” in 2023. Meaning consumers will continue to be fickle, open to options, and looking for a superior and convenient dental experience, which will lead to an increase of inadvertent competition if patients aren’t engaged and connected to their office. This also provides market share that’s prime for the picking for offices that implement a good new-patient acquisition campaign with an exceptional onboarding experience.
A consistent strategy that includes practice visibility – both online and off – with positive and relevant content and messaging that resonates with the target audience will return the biggest gains.
In addition, omnichannel marketing will be critical for a local dental business. It might sound like “lingo” coming from a dental marketing agency, but it simply boils down to using various channels, from print to digital, to reach your target audience in a way that provides convenience, consistency in brand and messaging, and a seamless patient experience that allows patients to respond and refer. The more your marketing materials can get current and prospective patients to feel like they know your practice, and that your style/vision/philosophy (whatever you want to call it!) resonates with them, the more likely they are to appreciate the efforts your office is making to communicate, educate and provide value to their lives. And ultimately the more likely they are to select your office!
Dentists will not find any marketing expert in dental, or local, who is not promoting an omnichannel approach that includes digital, social, and direct mail. Recently Karen Galley, president of Patient NEWS®, was at The Making of a StartUp’s annual retreat, where Scott Leune of Breakaway Practice stated that “direct mail is king” of new-patient acquisition.
Now marketers will have to weigh the extraordinary ability to target direct mail to the right audiences with the right message at the right time, against digital marketing investments with the pending removal of cookies for online privacy. This move will significantly impact digital marketing, making it even more clear that for dental offices that want to “own their backyard,” direct mail IS king.
- New-patient acquisition and awareness campaign use the right format to gain attention, enhance practice reputation, and get responses from targeted households – with branding and messaging that is consistent with your online presence and vice versa?
- Website provide a great user experience with a strong local strategy?
- Practice make it easy for patients to post Google reviews?
A successful dental marketing plan for 2023 for your practice or group of dental offices should begin at the local level and include direct mail, social, and web. What is your brand promise and how does that align with the practice area demographic? Which households choose the practice and are these the same folks the practice wants to attract? Where are quality potential patients searching or finding dental services? How can your practice be more proactive in reaching both patients and potential patients, pre-educating them, improving engagement, and winning them so that more visit your website, check out your location, and schedule with your practice? What will the best combination of strategies be for your practice or group in order to gain the most market share and keep production steady and growing?
Start with a free discovery call and see what the possibilities are.
A successful dental marketing plan for 2023 will be clearly tracked to continue to improve results and boost overall practice production. The number one way to reach 100% of a target audience is direct mail, but not all direct mail works the same. Is every neighborhood responding? What happens to new-patient flow when marketing campaigns start and stop? Where do like-audiences (of your best patients) reside? Is your website converting as much as your direct mail campaign? Is everyone on your team effectively converting new-patient calls? What are the reasons quality patients don’t schedule? If you haven’t started, it’s time to track your marketing campaigns using marketing technology that provides accurate attribution so you know where you’re gaining and where your leads drop off. Practice ZEBRA® is the software you want running alongside your marketing campaigns to maximize results.
A successful dental marketing plan for 2023 will focus on the patient experience. Consider the experience of a new patient versus an existing patient. There is a lot of focus on that first visit, as well as diagnosis during the initial “dating” phase with a new patient. Because of that, it is the ideal time to ask for referrals and reviews – but successful dental teams don’t forget the lifetime experience. The average dental practice has 25% of their patients in what we call “danger” status. Meaning they haven’t had a transaction with the practice for somewhere between nine months and two years. Those are lapsing patients. They’ve been forgotten, they’re mostly not scheduled, and they are primed to select a different dental office if they don’t hear from the one they’re lapsing on. Ongoing communications – by mail, email, and text – keep the practice visible to patients. When you make it easy for patients to remember you, post positive reviews, and refer, they will and they’ll do it more when the effort is reciprocal.
Interestingly, the ADA HPI report also found that almost 90% of respondents indicated they had received online patient reviews (3% weren’t sure), but only 50% responded to a review. How about you? Not only will those responsive patients feel unappreciated, but new patients who look at your reviews will notice if you’re not bothering to respond. Respect goes both ways. Take the time to say thank you for every review.
While digital fatigue is real, your practice website has to be great and reviews have to be plentiful and positive. From educating consumers who “think” they’re healthy and not in need of dental care, to making lapsing patients aware of the potential impacts skipping appointments can have on their smile, there are a bounty of opportunities for dental entrepreneurs to capitalize on with an omnichannel approach… with direct mail being your big hitter.
- It’s the most trusted channel, and dental offices need patient trust.
- It’s the most targeted channel and it enables dental offices to target more high-value patients.
- It’s been driving a 6:1 ROI for our clients, who are achieving production that’s 25% higher than industry average. Clearly, our proven system works!
On average, 6:1 ROI is what our clients generate within 6 to 12 months of launching their direct mail campaigns – and today I just looked at a client that’s achieved 30:1 over three years. Consistency is also key! Direct mail works, but there is a system to it. When you leverage our 30 years of experience, you don’t need to go through trial and error. Leverage our expertise!.
With a 6:1 ROI, why wouldn’t every dentist be going for it?! Incredibly, many dentists aren’t, and that’s leaving their market wide open for competitors to pluck all the quality patients that live around their office. Consumers are LOOKING for companies that treat them better, and dentists who use our proven, scientifically designed formula with value-added educational content are hitting the mark – big time – with their audience.
Book a free discovery call today. We are dental people and we’ve been doing this for 30 years. You will get value from us whether you choose to work with us or not. We just want to help!