If You Own A Dental Practice, Don’t Make This Rookie Mistake!
The importance of a call-to-action
By Joanne Bishop | November 1, 2018
Adding a compelling reason to call your practice NOW is critical to maximizing marketing success.
If you feel that offering a new patient special is like “buying” new patients or you don’t want to offer discount dentistry while at the same time wanting to increase your new patient flow – then I compel you to rely on the data before making this marketing mistake.
Special offers in a campaign always help to increase new-patient flow into a dental practice faster than a campaign without one.
First, let me say, it’s great for those who simply want to increase practice visibility in your market with an awareness-building marketing campaign. However, if your goal is to increase new-patient flow, then a clear offer – a call to action (CTA) – will help move new patients (and lapsing patients) along their buying journey.
A good offer will instruct the new patient to take immediate action. The easier you make it for prospective patients to take the next step, the more new patients will do so.
Patients also expect something extra. When every other dental practice in your market has some form of offer, they are an expected part of your marketing strategy – and by including one, you can actually build trust because they are predictably anticipated.
Once your practice gets that new dental patient in the door, you can wow them with your service. After evaluation of hundreds of dental offices’ production data, it’s clear that the value of a new patient is ALWAYS higher than your active-patient average value. Despite any discounted new-patient offers in play. In fact, often new patients are almost twice as valuable as an existing active patient’s annual production. On average $1,977 vs $1000.
So special offers get more valuable butts in chairs. And if you and your team are great at diagnosing and presenting, you will generate far more production from each new patient in the first year than you’ll ever lose from any discount.
Special offers are a key element to any effective marketing campaign, otherwise you must ask yourself, what’s in it for the new patient? You’re a nice dental office that offers a range of services, but most consumers perceive that all dentists are the same.
So, if you don’t have every speed and convenience, before-work, after-school, and Saturday appointments, street front access, sedation, extra services … and a solid reputation in your market with tons of loyal patients and positive reviews … then you’d better have a great reason (aka call-to-action) for the new patient to contact your practice.
Our most successful dental clients always have a strong new-patient offer strategy.
They know how to win in their markets. They understand the value of a new patient to the practice, not only from a production standpoint, but also in relation to attrition.
You’re all naturally losing 20% of your active patient base each year. If you don’t replace that with more than you lose, your practice will decline.
I just analyzed a new office coming on board, despite adding 400 new patients per year (33/month), the overall active patient count was dropping by 50/month. Imagine doing all that work and still declining. As a general benchmark, we’ve found that a minimum of 50/month/dentist will keep your head above water and predicts future marketing success.
In the sea of sameness, how do you stand out and get the patient to call your practice when you’re marketing to them to get their attention to book a new-patient visit?
A special offer doesn’t always have to be a discount. It can be a value-add which can be a very compelling offer in an insurance-rich market. Don’t be afraid to get creative – an electric toothbrush is a winner, but we’ve had solid campaigns with non-dental gifts, welcome baskets, and more.
New-patient offers are what every new patient wants (consciously or subconsciously). Your prospect has read or scanned your newsletter – the right offer at the right moment can push that patient to your website, your phone, or your door.
Excluding a special offer when you can clearly have one (and most guidelines are fairly flexible when it comes to offer strategies) is a rookie mistake that could (and does) impact results. P.S. Free bitewing x-rays with a comprehensive exam isn’t a compelling offer!
To help drive your results, your Account Manager at Patient News has the experience of hundreds and hundreds of dental marketing campaigns in every demographic. Their recommendations are never based on what “we want,” rather they’re always based on proven methods to drive new-patient results. That’s what you need in your dental marketing partner.