People & Dental Marketing

Many business people often ponder, why is it so hard to make positive change last? Well, that’s life isn’t it? Nothing lasts. There are no constants without focus, work, and effort … change is inevitable.

The new year always signifies a time for change and we usually think of it as a time for renewed personal commitment. Gym enrollments increase, the advertising bombardment by Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, and a myriad of weight-loss solutions tell us this is the highest response time of the year. You personally may have made your own new year’s resolutions: work out more, read more, eat better, spend more time with your families, work harder, work less … yet have you made any resolutions for your practice?

Shouldn’t this time of year also trigger us to review our business goals, budgets, and plans? We all need to ensure that all of our goals are covered off, that initiatives are moving forward, and in particular take a close look at our dental marketing plans and ensure they are moving forward and accomplishing what we need.

Is your patient retention program as strong as it could be? Do you have a plan of attack for your inactive patients? What about new patients? Is your plan as effective as it could be in attracting more high-quality ideal patients to your practice? Is your team engaged and excited about the activities in your practice? Do they know and understand each marketing initiative and how to answer questions about each of the offers that are currently active in your target market? Are they equipped with the knowledge they need to maximize each patient interaction?

In the book Switch by Chip and Dan Heath, they talk about how successful change follows a pattern. They script their book around “The Rider,” “The Elephant,” and “The Path.” The first two are from a book called The Happiness Hypothesis by psychologist Jonathan Haidt. He said that the emotional and rational sides of our brain were like the rider atop the elephant. The rider appears the leader, however if the 6 ton elephant disagrees with the direction the reins pull, then the rider (rational side) is overridden. We’ve all had moments where our elephant overrode our rider … we were going to have that healthy fish and veg for dinner … but while cooking the stress of the day overrides us then three peppermint patties are down the gullet! So how can we help our rider stay in control of our elephant … make sure there are no easy ways for us to sway off our path or change direction. (Get the peppermint patties out of the house!)

To change, the Heath brothers say, “you’ve got to direct the rider, motivate the elephant, and shape the path.”

  1. It’s important to help people be clear on the right direction or decision
  2. It’s important to engage people emotionally
  3. It’s important to offer a clear way to maintain our course

So, getting back to your practice, what it is that you want this year? Once you’ve really identified your direction, and you’re clear that it’s in the best interests of your practice, your employees, your patients, and your community, get your entire team together and talk it through in a supportive and encouraging environment.

Does everyone on your team feel that the goals are realistic? Do they have ideas to enhance the ideas and help the goals come to fruition? Can you identify any barriers or obstacles to achieving the goals? What are the various components required for each initiative? Will different team members get involved in to tackle individual projects? What will the mutual rewards be when goals are achieved? By sharing the responsibility you’ll engage your team emotionally, you’ll create accountability, and probably create a more motivated and enthusiastic work environment.

Now let’s think about your patients and prospective patients. How can you direct their choices? How can you motivate them to change? You need to help them understand the end goal and the clear path they can take to get there. You need to make them feel the need for change. Knowing facts is not enough; they need to emotionally connect with the change so that it is desirable. Compelling stories, specific patient before-and-after articles will connect people with their goals. That’s why Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig use real examples, in fact, aren’t the words to the current WW ad with Jennifer Hudson, “I am you, I are me”? Tell patients how easy it will be for them to achieve the change they want (clear the path) – whether that’s through the advanced technologies you have, the convenient appointment times or location, quick treatment, gentle approach, or the financing options available.

This is why our multi-format dental marketing approach is so effective. It provides you with the marketing real estate to educate, build knowledge, engage, and build desire.

I encourage you to talk to your Account Manager about the myriad of ways we can help you more effectively connect and engage with your patients, active and inactive, and prospective patients living around your practice. Your Account Management team is working on thousands of dental marketing campaigns with hundreds of different dental practices at any one time, so we have a depth of information and knowledge to share with you that we want you to take advantage of. If your Account Manager doesn’t have the answer to your current challenge at their fingertips, it can be tabled for our entire team to review and brainstorm and help you address and overcome. Open your next dialogue with your Account Manager by sharing your top business challenges and see what we can do for you. I’m confident they’ll be able to find a solution for you.

At Patient News we are very excited about the New Year and the opportunities it’s going to present, and we’re excited to share this time with you. Thank you for choosing Patient News as your dental marketing partner.

For information about patient acquisition or retention, please call 888.377.2404 Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 6:00pm EST to connect with a live person. All inquiries/messages will be returned within one business day.