5 Dental Practice Marketing Mistakes To Avoid

What makes professional marketers cringe?

By Joanne Bishop  |  February 20, 2018

Woman on computer

Our most popular blog in 2017 was the Top Dental Marketing Mistakes a dental office should watch out for. You can imagine in our twenty-five year history we've seen and made a few, so we hope you can learn and glean some good takeaways from this blog.

It can get very frustrating when we see some of these mistakes being made. We put so much time and energy into our clients success. We're providing advice and direction based on our tenure in dental marketing, the extensive consumer research we've completed, and the results of hundreds of thousands of campaigns for thousands of dentists. 

Mistake #3 is one that we can immediately help rectify. And it's not just you. We're not pointing fingers – we want to help. Earlier this month I was at the AADGP (DSO) annual meeting where I attended a session on marketing success. The speaker had extensive experience across the industry and confirmed that new patient marketing works in 99% of markets. Where marketing fails is when the phone isn't answered live and the call handlers have low conversion rates. This is probably one of the top mistakes we encounter. That's why we offer Phone Power telephone training and certification. If you're engaged in marketing to attract new patients to your dental practice, you must have everyone that answers the phone at your practice take advantage of this FREE – best-in-class – telephone training program. 

That's just a no-brainer. 

If you haven't been getting the marketing results you want – and need – we can help. Book a session with your Account Manager to review your current situation and put a stronger strategy in place for 2018.  

Read on to see the mistakes we reviewed last August:

Mistake #1: Basing business decisions on inconsistent attempts at marketing.

Repetition builds recognition when it comes to any advertising campaign and this is especially true when it comes to dental practice marketing. Consistent marketing to your target audience will improve recognition and recall and it will begin to generate appreciation and trust. Many dental offices will “try” or “test” a marketing campaign over the course of a few or several months, but often abandons much too early. Most successful dentists understand that their dental practice marketing efforts must heighten their practice’s presence in patient and prospect homes each and every month – at minimum – to (A) continue to generate a steady flow of new patients and (B) secure patients-of-record by reminding them how great they are thereby generating more referrals and re-engaging and reactivating lapsing patients.

Mistake #2: Trying to attract patients to your practice that simply won’t come.

Even the most consistent dental practice marketing campaigns will not deliver a steady new-patient flow if the incorrect areas are targeted. Today’s dental consumer wants convenience and the majority are unwilling to travel for dental treatment – especially if that travel takes them out of their demographic and into a lower-end one.

Dental practice marketing managers may desire (or have been mandated) to target a higher-end neighborhood outside of their current market draw area to generate “better quality new patients.” It’s best to view these areas as possible development or niche dental practice marketing campaigns – but not the place to invest heavily. Allocate test dollars over a yearlong awareness campaign to determine the potential return. For dental practice marketing campaigns to work their best, the practice needs to analyze their entire market area and understand their core market penetration. This will allow the practice to confidently invest in the future growth of the dental practice.

Mistake #3: Relying on team members to magically know what to say to callers.

The person who answers the phone at your dental practice IS THE PRACTICE to your caller. It’s amazing how often this critical and important role is overlooked at most dental practices because this role is instrumental to the success or failure of all dental practice marketing campaigns. The way your phone is answered and the experience the new patient has during that first interaction will make or break your marketing campaigns.

For an increase in 2018.

The person who answers the phone at your dental practice IS THE PRACTICE to your caller.

Track your results. Industry-wide, most inbound new-patient calls are answered less than 70% of the time and less than 50% of those calls are converted into a new-patient appointment. Think your dental practice marketing campaigns aren’t working? Include professional telephone training with call tracking and call scoring to help your front office team become more efficient and effective … and then incent them for their improved results. This one step could transform the results of all dental practice marketing campaigns you conduct in the future.

Mistake #4: Thinking like a dentist rather than a patient.

It may be surprising to you, but according to a variety of studies, 50-75% of adults reading skills fall between grade 5 and grade 8 levels. When creating your dental practice marketing campaigns, it’s important to use copy that readers will understand, with a focus on the benefits to the patient rather than the features of the procedure or technologies. Create your dental practice marketing campaigns with the goal of helping your recipients get through your message quickly to absorb and understand your message easily, because the goal is to trigger action. You don’t want to make your target audience work hard at understanding what you are saying. Reduce complexity and increase your dental practice marketing results. Our dental neighborhood newsletters fit the bill when it comes to increasing readership and increasing new-patient response from your direct mail marketing campaigns.

Mistake #5: Running dental practice marketing campaigns without tracking.  

Relying on manual results tracking is so unbelievably inconsistent – and consistently incorrect – that it often allows a dental practice marketing manager to make decisions they feel are correct when in fact these decisions could lead the practice to declining revenues. Today’s technologies allow us to see exactly what is happening with all your marketing campaigns.

Every successful dental practice is implementing the full scope of analytics and tracking to ensure that every facet of their dental practice marketing efforts is working like a fine-tuned machine. Measuring your advertising ROI as well as identifying where to tweak and train is an ongoing process for every dental practice. Track everything from visits, click throughs, open rates, call volumes, answer rates, conversion statistics, and patient revenues. Analyze activity areas and campaign results.

THE expert team at Patient News can assist you with all aspects of your dental practice marketing campaigns. Book a DISCOVERY SESSION today. We are here for you and we want to help your practice STAND OUT and grow.