Two thousand and eighteen. What will this new year bring?
We’re living the future dreamed up by sci-fi writers decades ago. Telephones have gone from huge to small to huge again. Cars and trucks can drive themselves. Appointment television is a thing of the past. Logins, texts, tweets, and emails reach billions daily. Apparently there will be 75 billion connected devices within the next two years. “Smart” is the latest – although I’m ready to throw Alexa in a snowbank; she’s too smart.
The way we interact is rapidly changing…
…and this means marketers are going to have to stay on top of their markets. Google has confirmed that mobile search has paced ahead of desktop, so you can no longer live with your outdated dental website. Transactional “mail” is a thing of the past, opening up a significant opportunity for advertising mail visibility.
The latest dental marketing “idea” isn’t anything new. Contextual and purposeful marketing will continue to outperform traditional marketing. We saw this trend unfolding when our newsletters, featuring relevant and supportive content, outperformed our jumbo postcards. The context and purpose of a newsletter created a more authentic experience for our dentist consumer base.
Competition in dentistry is at its highest.
- Corporate dentistry continues to expand.
- Solo practitioners are beginning to market more heavily.
- Attracting and keeping quality patients is at the forefront of every dentist’s mind.
Data is accumulating. And consumers know it. We all expect companies we work with to make their interactions with us the best they can be. We know our conversations are being recorded so that service can be improved. We expect improved servicing from all of our providers because of the emphasis many place on this. If we, as business owners, don’t use the data we’re collecting to give our clients a better experience, they will shop and move on.
Access to choice is too easy.
Platforms that present data in a way that business owners and consumers can use it to make good decisions are on the rise. Business owners and marketers need to open our arms to all of the data we can get, while at the same time paying attention to proven and relevant data of the highest quality. Anecdotal data plays an outlier role.
Making a connection with your ideal consumer by sharing relevant content – consistently – will make the big difference in 2018. “Being there” to help consumers identify they have a need, then “being there” for consumers the moment they have a need, will be pivotal. Dentists have to keep their name in front of consumers amidst the monumental amount of marketing and advertising vying for consumer attention.
In fact, that single factor – being there – will be critical for not only dentists who want to increase production, but for those who don’t want to decline.
Without a strong commitment to local marketing in 2018, more dentists can plan to see profits decline. Last year, more than ever, we had dentists join Patient News who had been silently struggling with declining production and profits. When I say silently, I mean they hadn’t had the guts to lay off staff. They had been silently struggling to keep their good team employed, but spending countless sleepless nights trying to figure out what to do.
Is this you? Do you want to increase production?
There is a solution. It’s not easy. It won’t happen overnight. It will take your entrepreneurial chutzpah.
You need data. You need team training. You need to commit. You need to commit with your mind, with your money, and with your resources.
1. Get a handle on your data. If you can’t pull a simple report that identifies your monthly new-patient flow and associated production, you need to get that fixed. Track your data methodically (not anecdotally); make sure you know exactly where your patients are coming from and what they’re responding to.
3. Up your customer service on the telephone. Missing calls during regular business hours is not acceptable in 2018. Not focusing on the value of every new patient call will cost a dental practice far more in the long run than dedicating a few hours a week to team time.
If you are serious about increasing practice production in 2018, please call your account manager to set up a marketing strategy session. Have them help you run a profit analysis based on your current production levels, expenses, and profit margins. See how those numbers played out for 2017, and what it will mean to you in 2020 or beyond if you don’t embrace change and pull up that chutzpah.
Dental Marketing Ideas continue to expand and grow as we celebrate our 25th year helping dentists and their teams continuously improve practice production. Happy New Year!