Achieve your organization-wide goals in 2020
2020 is here. How strong is your dental marketing plan for your group practice?
But first, have you had a chance to evaluate how last year went?
Did you hit your production, patient growth, and revenue goals at each of your offices? If not, you need to meet with your office managers about team performance and how they’re meeting the expectations of patients, but also examine the full spectrum of marketing initiatives you have in place.
It’s also vital to look at how effectively your teams have been managing the patient journey. This journey (see more in tip #3) affects what patients think of your brand. It’s the combination of these five stages that make for the full patient experience.
Once you’ve gathered this critical intel, it’s time to establish the overarching goals for your business going forward as well as the transformation you’d like to see at each individual office. It’s the sum of those achievements that will lead you to your major wins.
Ideally, this type of planning would be completed in advance of the fiscal year. But don’t fret if you’re not there yet. Once you know what your group practice goals are, have a look at these 6 tips we’ve prepared for developed a unified marketing plan that will help you reach those goals. It’s not too late to adjust what you already have in place.
Group Dental Marketing Tip #1 – Review Your Budget
Before committing dollars to your dental marketing plan, you must determine where you’re currently spending too much, too little, or just the right amount. Doing so will put your mind at ease and give you the confidence to go full force with a carefully thought-out dental marketing plan.
What’s the magic number? That’s a great question. Based on Patient News’ data, the average marketing spend for group practices is 1-2%. But if your group practice is just getting off the ground and you’re acquiring new offices that need a bit of a push, it could take more than that – up to 30%. If your group is generating more than $1.5 million in revenue, 6-8% is a good target. While you have an overall goal, it’s important to be flexible with your plan for each of your locations so that you can adjust in real time to capture opportunities that may present themselves.
Group Dental Marketing Tip #2 – Take Stock Of Your Branding
A brand promise is what your patients will receive or experience every time they walk into one of your offices. If your teams consistently live up to that promise, the more value points your patients will give to your brand – the recipe for ongoing loyalty and a steady flow of referrals.
“The brand promise is a brand’s fruit – it's the tangible benefit that makes a product or service desirable. A brand promise can be spelled out to the market, or it can be manifested more subtly in the expression and delivery of the brand experience.”
– Dr. Marc B. Cooper, Emeritus Faculty of The DEO
For your group practice, this brand promise may vary from office to office. That’s okay! In fact, it’s appropriate if your offices have different competitive advantages (aka their unique selling features).
Or, you may have one corporate brand with one main mission that each office works hard to fulfill. A good example of that is the fast food chain McDonald’s. They aim to be their customers’ “favorite place and way to eat and drink.” Each restaurant, regardless of where it is in the world, embraces this mission as part its team culture.
No matter how your group practice is structured, what’s non-negotiable is that each team delivers on the promise as advertised. If, for example, your practice commits to providing “trusted, caring, and comfortable dentistry,” they must get it right at each visit and with their marketing and communication . One slip-up will hurt that office’s reputation – and that will eventually extend outward to tarnish your brand.
Group Dental Marketing Tip #3 – Pay Attention To The Patient Journey
Along the way, you must also consider the patient journey. It’s something every group practice owner needs to understand and keep in mind for ultimate growth and success. This journey is comprised of five specific stages each person experiences as a potential patient and your patient-of-record. It starts at awareness and goes all the way to advocacy and growth.
If you can deliver the best customer service at each phase, then you’ll not only gain more patients but keep more for the long-term and generate more referrals because of their loyalty.
It’s highly recommended you conduct a gap analysis early to determine how well your offices are performing at each phase, as this ultimately impacts your bottom line. Key aspects to look at include brand awareness, online search, front desk conversion, patient experience, and lifetime value (LTV).
Group Dental Marketing Tip #4 – A One-Size-Fits-All Approach Might Not Work
Because you oversee multiple locations that are in different stages, it’s best to tailor marketing strategies that will deliver the desired results for each. This is where that gap analysis will be worth its weight in gold. It allows you to weigh out everything you’ve done to date versus what you plan to achieve, so you can make the right adjustments to get to where you want to go.
For instance, if one of your locations is well established with a large patient base, you may want to focus your efforts and investment on improving patient loyalty. Offices that are in a growth phase, on the other hand, will require a heavy focus on new-patient acquisition.
When it comes to acquiring a new location, it’s important to keep the following in mind:
- What do current patients think of the practice and the service they’re receiving? Before making any major changes, seek valuable input from them. Most patients will take the time to fill out a satisfaction survey if they know it means their future experiences will be better.
- Rebranding the office. You want to have branding synergy between your offices. The moment a new patient visits your website, sees a paid display ad appear on their browser, or opens a piece of direct mail addressed to them, you want your group’s image and messaging to stick. If it’s done right, it will be imprinted on their mind, and they’ll instantly recognize your brand the next time they see it. New patients will gravitate toward a memorable brand.
Just keep in mind… a strong brand doesn’t just look and sound good. It also motivates patients to respond to your call to action and buy.
Group Dental Marketing Tip #5 – Uncover Your Target Demographics & Competition
Have you identified who your ideal patients are and where they live? With offices in multiple locations, it’s very likely that you need to target different demographics. The good news is you won’t have to go door-to-door to find out who they are. There’s technology for that.
A dental marketing agency like Patient News uses advanced mapping analysis tools to give you a deep understanding of who you’re targeting and what they’re interested in. This increases the likelihood of getting patients who will make their appointments and have the highest lifetime value. With this technology, it’s also possible to conduct an analysis of your current patient base to identify location trends of higher value patients.
You’ll also find out which practices are nearby and what that means for your marketing. If you have an office in an urban center with high levels of competition, a paid media campaign may generate the most response. If, however, you have an office in a more suburban locale, it will take a mix of online and offline campaigns to raise awareness of your practice.
As a result, you can create marketing messages that resonate with your target audiences and get the phones ringing at your locations.
Group Dental Marketing Tip #6 – Use Practice Intelligence To Monitor Your Marketing
This is an important one. If you want to know exactly what your marketing ROI, this is the only way to get real-time information so you can identify what’s working and where adjustments need to be made. Plus, your teams will be able to make better use of their time. No longer will they have to try to manually track what’s happening with spreadsheets and other outdated methods.
With an advanced software platform such as Practice ZEBRA™, at any moment you and your team can see:
- how many new patients you’ve generated
- their production value to date & projected future value
- average number of patients per household.
And with a practice intelligence tool, you’ll get all the key performance indicators you need to make data-driven decisions that will impact the operations at each of your offices and their unique marketing strategies.
Interested in expert advice to kick your year into high gear? As the director of group business at Patient News, I encourage you to contact me directly.. I’m committed to helping your group practice grow – with sustainable, tried-and-true marketing solutions that deliver big results. Change can be tough, but I’ll help make it so much easier.
A FREE Consultation, is yours! You can also call me at 888-377-2404. If you’re ready to make 2020 a year of transformative growth for your group practice, then take advantage of this valuable offer.