New York or… New Year?

Karen Galley and I have been at the Greater New York Dental Meeting this week and the city is all abuzz. The tree is lit, the stores and city are adorned with decorations – it signals that the New Year is just around the corner. That leaves us roughly 15 business days to get our January marketing campaigns prepared so they go out on time.

Are you ready? Are you 100% confident that all of your plans are in order so that you can close down the practice and relax with friends and family – with the knowledge that your team will be able to hit the ground running in January? Or are you a little worried about patient cancellations or being able to schedule enough new patients in January?

We’ve spoken to many prospective dentists over the past four days, and those who haven’t marketed or haven’t remained consistent with their marketing plans feel or suspect they’re falling behind. They recognize that they must do something to ensure they are raising their practice awareness in their community and among their patient base. They’ve identified their websites and Facebook pages as passive methods which are not providing the proactive results they need. I’d be prepared to experience a possible increase in competitive marketing in your community come the new year.

Just like all businesses, they’re facing challenges with staff, front desk call conversion, dealing with insurance – or not – and handling patient demand.

It was great to see many clients and hear how they are doing. Dr. Constantine, Dr. van As, Dr. Delson, Donna Magliano and others said hello. Of course they’re all utilizing a variation of our patient retention and acquisition programs based on each unique practice goals. We talked about program enhancements like our new inactive patient outreach campaigns, patient survey and tabulation services, email newsletters, and call tracking analysis and front desk training.

We had dinner with practice management consultant Joe Lancellotti on Sunday night. He noted that clients who have not missed an issue of their newsletter in years are the ones that are maintaining and increasing revenue. Those that shifted their practice to cosmetic, missed mailings, or have had an inconsistent marketing program are the ones that are facing the biggest challenges now. Inconsistent marketing always impacts practice reputation and rebuilding image takes a strong consistent effort.

I spoke with a doctor yesterday who wants to generate one full day of new hygiene patients per week. She recognized that an aggressive goal like this can only be accomplished through proactive direct mail outreach (hitting 100% of her target). Along with lead generation, a strategic approach to front desk call handling can make a huge impact. At Patient News, we’re undertaking a call review to ensure that our client calls are handled appropriately and effectively. Like us, if you don’t know how your new patient calls are handled, a review is required – and of course, we can help.

We were exhibiting beside www.dentosystem.com, a new online perio analysis tool. It’s in the range of $30/month and they suggest it could be a great way to lure new patients to your practice. It appears cost effective and could be worth a peak.

On Monday night we had dinner with our friend and mentor Ernan Roman – www.erdm.com. Ernan works with Fortune 1000 companies (and Patient News), and has most recently assisted us in developing our coaching program and effective diagnostic tools. (Karen and I were honored to celebrate with Ernan in October at the Direct Marketing Association Annual Session where he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.) We dined at Keen’s Steakhouse, a fabulous historic building from the 17th century featuring the largest selection of clay pipes in North America (90,000), all hung on their ceilings. Pipes smoked by Theodore Roosevelt, Babe Ruth, Albert Einstein, and many more were on display… If you like steak served with a bit of history, we’d say Keen’s is worth the visit.

Call one of our Account Executives today for a free consultation. Discuss your plans for 2012 – how to be ready for launch in January so you acquire more new patients, retain or reactivate existing ones, and increase your topline and net revenue in 2012.