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ADA Q3 results & what you can do

Direct mail newsletters make a big impact!

The ADA HPI Q3 report just hit and it reveals some important metrics for dental practitioners and office owners. After all, with knowledge comes the ability to act proactively to improve your practice results.

The report finds that the overall outlook of dentists is somewhat positive for their own dental practice. It has “slightly” improved since a low in the summer, but thoughts on the economy are not so great.

Schedules continue to hover at 86% full, with the following factors listed as the main reasons for their unfilled schedules: 

  1. Patient no-shows & cancelations.
  2. Not enough patients making appointments.

But here’s some good news: the difficulty with finding staff has declined. And with our help, you can successfully overcome these scheduling challenges. Keep reading to see our solutions below!

Overall healthcare spending has recovered to pre-pandemic levels, and while dental spending is up significantly over the previous year, it’s still below pre-pandemic levels by 9% (though this isn’t the case for Patient NEWS®clients, who have remained 25% higher than average over the past year).

The report surmises that inflation on dental services is lagging compared to the overall economy, which isn’t typical and may be caused by stagnant insurance reimbursement.

At Patient NEWS, we’ve seen our US clients benefit significantly from the introduction of their own private dental membership plans, where patients generally spend double that of non-insured patients. A great resource on these programs, How to Grow Your Dental Membership Plan, written by our long-time industry friend, Dr. Christopher Phelps, is available on Amazon. And when it comes to dental insurance in general, you’ll find a great resource in our wonderful client, Dr. Travis Campbell, with his new comprehensive book now available,

Do you already have a membership plan in place? That’s great! Make sure you’re spreading the word to your patients with patient newsletters, and with Practice ZEBRA®, our automated email/text membership plan booster campaign, which will regularly get the word out to non-insured patients to boost your subscriptions. Our data shows that membership plan patients – despite the low monthly buy-in – are more valuable to a practice and contribute much more production than non-insured patients.

Not Enough Patients Making Appointments

If this issue is plaguing your practice, that means you have capacity. Now’s the perfect time to invest in new-patient generation. You add production without an increase in overhead.

We are currently experiencing the greatest transfer of patients with average practices lagging in recovery while others pace well ahead. The decision is yours: which end of that spectrum are you on, and which end do you want to be on? The variance is the result of successful practices continuing to focus on both retention of patients and acquisition of new patients. Many of our clients never stopped marketing despite COVID closures and struggles to ramp up right after. And their decision to keep plugging away and investing in their success continues to pay off.

New patients bring more production and more referrals than active patients. They are “fresh blood,” so to speak. When you consider the fact that most of our clients are running new-patient acquisition programs, and that their revenue has steadily been tracking 25% higher than industry average, this strategy is effective – and it adds up to big bucks.

The average new patient contributes $1700 to $1800 per year in production, while an active patient hovers around $1000. Top-performing practices have average patient values of over $4,000 and higher. So, if a marketing investment to acquire quality new patients was around $3500 per month and it added just two more new patients to your roster per week, the average practice would add $14,000 in production each month. That’s an annualized increase of $160,000 for just two new patients each week. This is a very conservative example of how few new patients the average dental practice needs to generate a terrific ROI and easily cover the cost of an acquisition marketing program. And right now, with active patients not making enough appointments, this is a proven investment. On average, our long-term clients experience a 6:1++ ROI on new-patient acquisition.

If you’re curious about how this would work for your practice and community, give us a call today and let’s discuss your situation. We’ll provide you with a free market area analysis and see where your best opportunities lie. It’s easy and there’s no obligation. Go for it!

Patient No-Shows & Cancelations

Do your patients know you care? Maybe. Probably when they’re in your office. But stop for a sec and list the ways you show them you care when they’re not at an appointment.

I recently had my teeth cleaned. The experience was great, and I love my hygienist. Everyone in the office was super nice and friendly. But my transaction is over and I won’t hear from them again until my next reminder. That’s just the way they are. It’s okay because I live in a non-competitive dental environment. But, if a new office opened that did something special, they might lose my business. I know they care on some level, but I don’t feel appreciated when I’m not in their office.

When you think of what you do for patients after appointments, are your methods mostly email- and text-based? That’s not how all patients will stay connected and come back. I know we’re all tired of hearing about pandemic impact, but patients have changed because of the pandemic. And this is especially true in highly competitive areas with less than 600 to 800 families per dentist. People want to feel more appreciated by the brands they’re loyal to. A great and VERY EASY way to make a positive impact on your patients – right now – is to send a holiday newsletter. It isn’t hard when you hire a Patient NEWS Account Manager to help you create the whole thing!

I just checked the stats. Across the industry, 25% of active patients have not been seen by their dentist in over nine months. That doesn’t count patients who have not visited their dentist in over 24 months. After 24 months, patients are gone. And FYI, you can’t reach those patients by email anymore.

Top practices only have 6% of patients at risk, and those might be ones they don’t care to lose! But for an average practice with 2,100 patients, 25% over nine months means 525 patients have not been in for a visit in 2022!

Do you have more than an average number of patients? Top practices have over 6,000. I’ll meet you in the middle. If you have 4,000 patients, this could mean that you have 1000 (ONE THOUSAND) that have not visited in 2022! 25% is the average. That means half of you have more than that in danger of not returning. Yikes. But the almighty patient newsletter can change all that!

Consider for a moment the dental patient journey and the touchpoints patients have before contacting you. First, they need to know they need a new dentist. Then they must want to take action. Next, they have to find out you exist. Doing research and overcoming any preconceived notions they have follows. Next comes the call, which may take a lot of courage to follow through with. Maybe they’ve just been busy and haven’t prioritized their oral health, but now they’re ready and so they contact you.

From start to finish, the patient journey can take a lot of time, consideration, money, and effort … but now they’re your patient and it’s all about cultivating a great patient experience. How do they “feel” about you and your services? How do they feel when they’re in your office, when they leave your office, and when they’re not thinking about you at all? This is where you can STAND OUT in your community and connect in a meaningful way – a way that most other medical/dental professionals do not bother to consider or prioritize.

With all that in mind, how can you reach all your active patients in a positive, impactful, meaningful way – RIGHT NOW? With a printed and mailed holiday newsletter. It’s easy, personalized, and connects with patients in a way that other marketing materials can’t. 

Interested in learning more? We’re here to help.

Dan Kennedy, the marketing guru many of you LOVE, says that every dentist should be hitting patient doorsteps with a PRINTED newsletter every month. Why? Because it has a higher perceived value. It lingers in households as an ongoing reminder of your existence. He goes on to say that [a printed newsletter] makes you “no longer a memory of some service once rendered.”

Don’t you want to remind patients that you’re their dentist in a way that adds value to your relationship outside of your practice? Mailing customized printed newsletters is an easy and cost-effective way to accomplish this.

Your Holiday Patient Newsletter can include …

  • A message from the dentist/team
  • Holiday greetings & a picture of the team
  • Elective service promotions/offers
  • Oral health education & wellness tips
  • Healthy recipe & seasonal content
  • Reminder about referrals & welcoming new patients
  • Your contact information & calls to action to encourage scheduling.

When you mail a printed newsletter, you reach 100% of the households on your mailing list. Compare that to email, which has a 20% to 50% open rate of only those guarantors you have on file. What if that newsletter encouraged just a few of your lapsing patients to re-engage with you? What if that newsletter encouraged an active patient to ask about more elective services? What if that newsletter helped educate and increase case acceptance when you have patients in the chair? What if that newsletter educated and created awareness of oral health and its importance, and increased referrals of friends and family? There is no ‘what if’ here – a patient newsletter will do these things and pay for itself over and over.

Best of all, you can do whatever you like with your patient newsletter. Have fun. Be serious. Send updates. Share your personality and strengthen those relationships. Newsletters reassert your position as an authority in your field, remind patients you’re an expert they can trust and rely on, and increase their connection with your awesome team!

Fill those open appointments. Here’s how you could add $120,000 in top line production this year.

When asked, most business owners say the number one thing that prevents them from taking action is time and the ability to be sure a decision will be the right one. The good news is, our team can clear that confusion. For example, with your metrics in Practice ZEBRA, you’ll gain insight into how many patients are lapsing, and the value of your new patients to determine your marketing strategies. We also provide Predictive Analytics, which allows you to see into your future! What type of revenue can you expect from adding a retention and acquisition strategy to your marketing mix?

Here’s a practice that’s doing a great job at $2 million in production but look what happens to their revenue when they simply add two new patients and save two active patients each week. It equals $120k in production! That doesn’t account for the additional new referrals you’ll get and their overall lifetime value … and that’s just for these patients this year! The results of “just two more” are exponential when you start considering the lifetime of your practice, in your location, if you’re not moving. These are the people you need to attract and keep!

Having a multi-channel, multi-pronged marketing strategy in play will help every dental practice grow production. So many of you are joining groups to learn how to build a more profitable, efficient, and successful dental office. That’s great, and the advice of those KOLs is incredible – but the onus is on you to take action. With our solutions, results are reported in black and white in Practice ZEBRA and there’s no guessing about what’s working and what isn’t. You see the impact every step of the way, from start to finish.

Practice ZEBRA empowers dentists and teams to make educated choices about which actions you need to take. AND, not only do we provide you with the metrics, we have the solutions to help you improve those numbers.

If you’re:

  • Experiencing too many patient cancelations – retain more with printed and emailed Patient Newsletters
  • Not getting enough patient appointments – add more with Neighborhood Newsletters
  • Not scheduling enough new patients – improve techniques with Call Coaching
  • Struggling to educate patients about your membership plan – our Membership Plan Booster builds awareness
  • Frustrated with your website provider – refresh your site with WebLift®
  • Wondering what your revenue forecast looks like – check out Predictive Analytics and see what’s possible.

No one reads to the bottom but if you have, you must call 1-888-377-2404 to schedule a free tutorial today!