As experts in our respective fields, it’s challenging to see the positive and negative impact of our client behavior. But if we can train ourselves to see the world from their perspective, then we can better help them help themselves.
In general, consumers are less loyal and less trusting than ever before. We’re bombarded with advertising messages from all angles that are offering us more choice and more opportunities to make comparisons or to find the conveniences or services we want.
As a dentist, it’s imperative to recognize that this is magnified for the dental patient. To win in dental marketing, we must truly understand our unique consumer preferences and behaviors, and to use this knowledge to be smart and proactive with our marketing efforts. After all, patient flow is cash flow. Here’s what you need to consider:
#1. Dentistry is elective – patient education matters outside of your practice.
- Consumers don’t really understand the connection between mouth health to overall health. The ADA states that the #2 reason patients skip dental visits is because they “think” they’re healthy
- People may recognize the social implications of bad oral health, but they don’t know what to do about it. And that’s a tricky subject for them to address face-to-face
- Often patients don’t realize the range of treatment options available from your practice, and I’ll bet your team doesn’t have the time to cover off every possible item at each visit
- Your patient newsletter reinforces your expertise in the comfort of patients’ own homes. This helps strengthen the emotional connection patients have with you and your team, builds trust, and inspires action.
#2. Stand in your patients shoes.
- No surprise … the ADA confirmed that cost is the most critical barrier for dentists to overcome. Look at the full range of choices your patients have – including not seeing you or anyone else.
- Complete a competitor review and look at their patient offers and services.
- Why is your practice is different and better? How are you communicating this to patients.
- Your patient newsletter is one of the most valuable tools your practice has to differentiate your service. Your competitors are reaching into your patient homes as you read this. Make sure they know why they chose you in the first place and why they should keep coming back.
- Add an annual patient survey to your retention program – it’s inexpensive to insert it with your next newsletter mailing and your Account Manager takes care of all the tabulation – so you get actionable results.
#3. Be there when a need arises. Seed desire before pain or problems do.
- When is the last time you heard from your personal doctor or other professional support person in a valuable way? Have you thought about how they could help you more? Do you remember to regularly refer your friends?
- Staying top of mind in a way that sticks means standing out. Women, who make more than 90% of all dental buying decisions, want quality information. Regular and consistent education using a combination of messages and stories makes a big impact on patient loyalty.
- People will tune out throughout an in-office visit, so your full message may not sink in.
- You might think that your reminder program is doing its job, but unless you have a 100% reappointment rate, you’ve got lapsing patients that haven’t heard from you in months.
A quarterly patient newsletter system is a great start but as we continue to gather results and metrics, it’s clear that clients who send their distinct patients-of-record newsletter every other month have the best overall practice results. Now that might sound like a lot of work, but it’s not when you have your fantastic Patient News Account Manager to take care of all the details!
Call today to ensure that your New Year’s edition is ready to go … and if you’re not on a bi-monthly campaign, ask your Account Manager to improve your 2016 schedule and to get you a reduced rate while you’re at it!