Dental Marketing in a Competitive Landscape
Acquiring new patients and engaging existing ones are always top of mind with dentists. Learn how you can grow your practice in a tough economic environment.
The dental practice landscape is highly competitive, and that competition is on the rise at a time when many dental practices are struggling to grow. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), after decades of growth, dental expenditures started to flat-line before the economic downturn, with two out of five dentists stating they are not busy enough, and they have the bandwidth to see more patients.
Which begs the question: why? One 2014 ADA research brief entitled, “Why Adults Forgo Dental Care: Evidence from a New National Survey”, found that cost and a low perceived need ranked as the top reasons adults of all ages and income levels had no intention to visit a dentist over a 12-month period.
While arguments persist over whether dentistry is a profession or a business dental services are largely privately financed and delivered. Thus, being mindful of the challenges and constraints of any private business cannot be summarily dismissed. Given our economic recovery remains fragile, and with industry experts confirming over 90% of solo practitioners’ revenue is stagnant or declining, the impetus for dental offices to be creative and communicate consistently with their existing patients and communities has never been greater.
Dental Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Dental Practice
There are five straightforward things you can do now that can help you overcome a patient slump and grow your practice in a short period of time:
- Publish a Newsletter. Communicating regularly with your existing patients of record is vitally important. Studies show the No. 1 reason patients leave a dental practice is perceived indifference. Establish a bimonthly e-newsletter and invite your patients to subscribe to it. By consistently publishing an e-newsletter which explores and examines topics of interest to your patients, it will help strengthen loyalty, and increase new patient referrals.
- Mark Your Territory. Target the homes and businesses surrounding your practice, and “own your backyard” with a monthly direct mail campaign. Direct mail is the only way to reach 100% of the market area, and it’s the best way consumers of all ages prefer to learn about a business and service.
- Patient Convenience Comes First. Did you know that 85% of patients would prefer their dental appointments did not interfere with their jobs? Your practice should offer patients the opportunity to book early morning, after work, and weekend appointments. Moreover, make sure you have established relationships with all insurance companies in your region, and make it easy for new patients to sign up and book their first appointment with your practice.
- Train Your Front Desk Team. First impressions always count. Half of new patient calls are driven away at the front desk simply because of poor phone manners. To a caller, the person that answers the phone represents your practice. Calls should be answered live and handled professionally and enthusiastically. Make the new patient feel at ease, or they will search elsewhere for a dentist. Don’t assume that new patients will leave a voice mail message, most will not.
- Hire a Professional Marketer. Find an experienced dental marketing partner that has a proven track record and the expertise to tackle both new patient acquisition and existing patient retention. Most successful dentists don’t try to hash out their marketing plans in a piecemeal fashion. Hire an expert and get the results you need.
Need professional assistance marketing your dental practice? We can help. Call us now at 1-888-377-2404 or request a callback. Let’s get to work growing your practice and delighting your patients.