How to make your dental practice marketing plan rawk!
1. Building Your Brand
When you are building your brand to build your business, you are marketing to increase community awareness of your practice. When you are building your brand to sell your business and marketing pre-sale, you want to build awareness of the practice itself – the technology, convenience, and location. This way, when you sell, your patients and prospects are more likely to remain long-term loyal patients who continue to refer their friends and family.
Consumers visit “the dentist,” so as the primary care provider and business figurehead, you are the practice. That’s why it’s imperative to think strategically regarding your sale, because when you sell, you likely won’t be there anymore.
A consistent dental practice marketing plan pre-sale will help your practice stay current and relevant – and the practice that people in your target audience will call when they have a need.
2. Becoming The Expert To Trust
Your dental practice needs to be perceived as having the expert team that your community members can trust, and by ramping up your marketing spend pre-sale, you keep your and your team’s expertise in the minds of the patients you want to attract.
Your primary marketing goal is to convince prospects that your practice is best suited to their needs. A thorough SWOT analysis will show where you stand out and where your challenges are. It will help you determine your…
- Internal Strengths And Weaknesses – How your team’s strengths stand out from other dental practices is the backbone of your marketing. Addressing your practice weaknesses with team training, additional technology, or other adjustments will help ensure your practice valuation is as high as can be.
- External Opportunities And Threats – When looking at your competitors, find the opportunities their weakness provide, e.g. if all your competitors offer the same hours as you, then you have a huge opportunity to extend office hours and speak to the flexible appointment times that busy working moms will appreciate.
Regularly and consistently sharing your competitive advantages (strengths and opportunities) with your patients and prospects keeps your practice top-of-mind as the local expert team that can be counted on.
3. Acquiring New Patients
When you identify and address your prospects’ needs and receive those vital new-patient calls, your team must effectively convert those appointment opportunities.
What is the key to practice growth?
- A top-tier call-handling team who has the tools and training they need to consistently convert callers to new patients.
- A steady flow of new patients that will not only replace the patients you lose to attrition naturally, but will keep you on a growth trajectory.
Each new-patient call has the potential to generate $15,000 in lifetime value for your dental practice from both direct patient lifetime value as well as the 1-2 referrals you can expect, but nearly 50% of potential patients are lost at the first phone call.
After your well-targeted marketing campaign gets the phones ringing, it’s up to your call handlers to convert. Telephone training turns a receptionist into a call conversion expert. They will have been successfully converting patients for years leading up to the sale, giving the incoming dentist increased confidence that your practice valuation is true and maintainable.
4. Patient Retention
One of the top features that the practice purchaser know is that your patients loyal and will stay with the practice. Retention programs, conversion rates, and how many patients have visited within the past 12-18 months are three patient retention key performance indicators that you need to be in control of before you place your practice up for sale.
If you haven’t enjoyed the results you want in these areas, placing a dedicated focus with your internal dental practice marketing programs can turn these results around and significantly increase your practice valuation.
5. Patient Reactivation
Do you know why your patients keep coming back – and why they don’t? Starting with a patient survey, you can find out what your existing loyal patients love about your practice and what they’d like to see done differently. Remember that the top three reasons people – even those with insurance – fail to attend regular dental appointments is because of fear, perceived cost, and the belief that they are healthy.
6. Treatment Acceptance
When you complete a thorough analysis of how many patients are failing to go through with treatment recommendations, results may be shocking. Just like new-patient conversions, converting treatment recommendations will add significant dollars to your bottom line and practice valuation. A strategic process should be set for all areas of the practice that can generate revenue. Establish a process established that anyone in your practice can refer to for…
- Business and marketing decision-making
- Recall booking and reminders
- New patient marketing/offer strategy
- New patient onboarding
- Treatment presentation and follow-up.
Consumers are fickle. They want what they want when they want it. By consistently educating your market area on the benefits of your services and keeping patients engaged, your practice will capture more revenue – revenue that might go to the competition if you’re not following a process!
Your hygiene department provides a wealth of opportunity for your dental practice. Giving this team scripts to follow allows them to upsell your patients for whitening treatments, bonding, veneers, new crowns, implants … the list goes on.
7. Team Engagement
When your team is engaged and supportive of where your practice is heading – before and during a sale – it increases patients’ trust in your practice. This means that when a transition takes place, your patients are more likely to be accepting of the new dentist. If the dental team that patients trust is accepting and supportive of practice direction, this trust will be transferred to your patients. This also means that the purchaser knows that your practice valuation is accurate and that they can reasonably expect that the practice will remain successful after your departure.
8. Community Involvement
One of the best ways to create buzz around your dental practice is to get out there in the community. Be seen. Be relevant. It’s the first rule of marketing and it allows you to do good for your community while raising brand awareness. It also creates valuable goodwill that could account for up to 80% of your final practice valuation when it comes time to sell.
9. Practice Measurement Tools
Marketing Performance Dashboard (MPD) from Patient News – Tracks all marketing results (that's all – not just your Patient News campaigns) in one easy location so that you can see – in real time – how your practice is performing against your goals and whether you are tracking to achieve your sales projections.
Call tracking and scoring – Shows where your dental practice has opportunities to improve and opportunities to reward. Listening to the calls that come into your dental practice also gives you the ability to fully understand what services callers are looking for and whether you can meet their needs.
Knowing which marketing efforts are bringing you the results you want allows you to target your marketing spend towards the efforts that bring you the most new patients. When you have good practice measurement tools, you can also do some testing on all of the different methods you use to attract and retain patients. This will keep your practice on the path you need to stay successful and lets a potential purchaser know, with concrete numbers, exactly what results they can expect if they purchase your practice.
10. Business Plan/Strategy
Having a complete business plan in place is always necessary and becomes even more important when it comes time to sell your practice. With the Marketing Performance Dashboard, comparing results to the plan becomes even easier.
A business plan doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does need to contain your practice goals and how you plan to achieve them. As the driver of your marketing efforts, a solid plan gives you the ability to make smart strategic decisions and will help the purchaser of your dental practice obtain the financing to carry the transaction through to completion.
Patient News has been helping dentists grow their practices for almost 25 years. Through a wide variety of dental marketing solutions for patient acquisition and retention, thousands of dentists like you have benefited from our unique solutions.
Our dental practice marketing experts are happy to give you a Free Discovery Session to discuss how you can find the best patients in your neighborhood. No cost. No obligation. Call 888-883-6142 today!