In last weeks’ episode of Big Bang Theory, the US Air Force was tracking down Howard Wolowitz. He wasn’t interested in responding. His friend Raj had a different opinion. “You can’t ignore it – it’s not that postcard that says it’s time to go back to the dentist.” <<Insert laugh track here>>. Unfortunately you know and I know that this stigma is not that funny.
It just perpetuates consumer misconception that it’s okay to skip a dental visit. In an age with immediate information at our fingertips, consumers are more misinformed than ever. That makes it a battleground for dental marketers because the media just loves to propagate the negative image of dentistry. “I’d rather do this awful thing called X than go to the dentist.” Hahaha.
Sadly, because consumers believe they know more because of the immediate access information, they believe they are also living healthier lives … but data proves the opposite.
Adult dentistry is in decline because adults (age 35-64) BELIEVE they are healthy and simply don’t need to go to the dentist. They also BELIEVE that dentistry is expensive and they don’t want to “waste” money on something for which they don’t perceive a need.
They are taking care of their children – and older adults still follow the rules – but your primary target audience? They’re lapsing.
Consumers don’t understand that gum disease is the silent disease.
And that’s why they ignore your reminder call, their recall appointment, and your postcard. That’s a bummer because you are fighting hard to attract those patients to your practice. You need a way to break through this changing marketplace and get the attention of these primary adults. You need your practice to STAND OUT.
Consumers NEED education.
And they’re not getting from the media. It’s up to you to change the perception of dentistry in your backyard. After all, that’s all you really need to worry about. You need your target audience to understand why they need dentistry and why your practice is the one they should choose.
Consumers NEED convenience. When you’re spreading the word about your practice, emphasize all of your conveniences: easy access location, appointment times that don’t interfere with work hours, faster turnaround, higher-quality services … and don’t make them look for you. Place your name and great reviews in front of their noses.
I’ve talked to many dentists that will flippantly say they don’t want their patients to know more … but I’ll bet those guys may be sitting on one of the 90% of dental practices that is now in decline or plateauing. The fact is, patients want AND NEED education because they want to make good decisions for themselves and their families.
All of my friends fall in this age bucket. All of us want to know how to live healthier lives, we want to know how we can look better longer, and we’re interested in sharing ways to do that. We don’t have a lot of time, so we get frustrated when our healthcare providers aren’t proactive with advice and information.
At Patient News, we have the stats that prove that maybe Raj would have had another joke if he was receiving his dentist’s fantastic patient newsletter rather than a postcard. With 100% reach and 70% higher response than postcards, there’s nothing better than a dental newsletter to make your practice stand out and grow.
Without a solid foundation of trust, patients will continue to ponder, delay, and avoid decision making. Without a good understanding of what services are needed or even available, patients and prospects may not even talk to you about taking the next step.
For growth, you must help your target audience call your practice for the first time, come back for a second, third, and fourth, and accept higher-level treatments. Keep your newsletter mailings and marketing performance dashboard tracking in place to create a “big bang” in your area! (I love that show!)