The majority of new dentists that call us are looking for more new patients, but most dentists also realize the importance of staying connected to patients-of-record. Both audiences should be built into a successful marketing plan.
Here are a few tips to help your practice grow.
- Consistent visibility – Monthly direct mail sent to the homes within your defined target audience will generate the best results. Only direct mail provides 100% reach and incredible readership. Studies show that delayed or sporadic distributions (that may be targeting the wrong area) will negatively impact practice awareness, allow room for competitors to jump in and reduce response. Average dentist to population ratio is 1/1600 – if your area is lower, it’s likely you’re facing more aggressive competition. Maintain consistency to achieve anticipated response.
- The Right Offer – having a strong offer strategy is imperative. Since patients usually don’t engage in elective services for 12-36 months after starting with a practice, it’s all about driving leads into hygiene. If you have a lower priced product, you can drive direct to sale with your marketing offer –however if what you sell requires further contact or consultation, then you need to drive leads with an instant gratification “act now” new patient offer. Most dentists recognize that they mine elective cases via hygiene – doing it effectively requires the right systems. Does your team know how to identify opportunities, and introduce the first step? Try to move a patient along before trust has been established, and you might be left in the dust. Be patient. Get them in the door. WOW them with your service. Continue to nurture the relationship with value added communications in order to realize their potential value.
- Patient Friendly & Welcoming – Do you offer what patients want? Are your operational offerings, patient conveniences, technologies, expertise, pristine environment, and friendly welcoming service top priorities? Talk to your account manager about our 25 point rating system to see if you’re hitting the mark for maximum response. And don’t forget - ten times the people who respond directly from a direct mail campaign will look you up online before calling. Your website must be up to date and easy to navigate and your online reviews should be top notch.
- Communication – a patient reminder program is extremely effective, but it’s not how you build and strengthen patient relationships. Patient education and nurturing takes a special customized approach. Increase case interest by planting seeds of information about your services. Women make 92% of all healthcare buying decisions, and they need quality information and confidence building before committing to a high value service like dentistry. Every practice with an established patient base should be sending a patient newsletter quarterly (in the mail). This could be supplemented by a monthly e-NL blast, but do the math.
- Print or email: 2000 families
You have 100% of your patients mailing addresses versus 50% email addresses (on average)
Mailed Newsletter = 1700 views, even if only one person per household read the piece. If 20% share the newsletter = 2,040 views. *85% of patients enjoy receiving and reading their dentists patient newsletter.
Email Newsletter = 350 views. *email average open rates 25-45% for Patient News clients. (versus industry averages 15-20% open rates).
We recommend sending a quarterly patient newsletter supplemented by a monthly e-Newsletter blast. This will keep your name present when a need arises, and mitigate attrition when competing dentists target your patients (which is happening regularly).
- Focus on Referrals. Have fun with referral contests! Offer a big ticket item plus a token thank you for maximum impact. A 50” TV can be purchased for $500 these days which will generate the excitement you want – promote your contest in your newsletter. With average annual patient value at $653 and lifetime value close to $5,000, just one new patient would pay for your event. Change it up monthly and build awareness with patients – that (A) you welcome new patients and (B) they’ll be rewarded for talking you up. Word of mouth should be your number one source of new patients.
There are many more ways you can improve your marketing results. For more tips and tricks to help your practice grow, contact your account manager. We are happy to consult and share our 21+ years of dental marketing experience. We’re available from 9am – 5:30pm Monday through Friday. Here’s to your success!