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In the 30 years we have been helping dental offices attract new patients and retain existing ones, we have never seen successful results from a one-hit wonder or urgent, kneejerk reaction marketing effort to fill the schedule.
You know your patients and the new patients that visit you. You’re all too familiar with the methodical, and often too slow, consideration patients put into choosing your dental office before contacting you. It takes time to educate and motivate patients.
Consistent dental marketing is important for several reasons. First, it helps to improve practice valuation. A dental office that is consistently marketing itself will be seen as more valuable than one that is not. Second, dental marketing helps to attract new patients. A dental office that is visible and active in its marketing efforts is more likely to attract new patients than one that is not. Finally, dental marketing helps to keep existing patients. Patients who see that their dental office is constantly working to improve its reputation and grow its customer base are more likely to stay with the dental office than those who do not see such efforts being made. As such, dental marketing is essential for any dental office that wants to succeed in the long term.
And then there is the data. At Patient NEWS, we’ve seen the impact of consistent marketing efforts to new patient numbers. It’s not anecdotal. Here’s an office that hadn’t been marketing in their area consistently until February of this year. The result did not happen overnight, but the upswing is on the move.
Dental practices that struggle the most often hop in and out of marketing, identifying too late that their schedules have open blocks, and flying by the seat of their pants to figure out a fast and cheap way to get butts in chairs results in a bumpy up and down flow to new patient numbers.
You would never tell a patient that they should floss this month and then wait to see the results and then floss again in three months if they thought they needed it.
Dental patients need confidence builders, familiarity builders, and trust builders before making a dental buying decision. The most successful dental practices understand that more positive marketing impressions mean the practice is more memorable with its target audience. Creating and sustaining success requires a proven, sound, branded marketing strategy that is executed across channels consistently. This approach is what has driven our client production 25% ahead of industry average.
According to the ADA HPI poll last month, dentists’ confidence in economic recovery continues to drop, down 7% from the previous poll. Practice production is static at 85%.
It’s been proven that dropping in a fast one-time postcard into market is as good as flushing the money down the toilet. One and done never works. It takes time and repetition to build recognition, and that’s true of the overall brand message for a dental practice online, in homes, and in office. Branding and messaging need to be consistent at every patient touchpoint, and, in fact, when there is any discrepancy along the way, it detracts trust points for the dental practice, even among existing patients that you may assume are loyal clients.
What can a dental office do?
- Ensure the practice website and overall online presence (social sites, listings, GMB) are up-to-date, fast, and modern, and that all contact links and phone numbers are working and being responded to.
- Keep a consistent direct mail program rolling into top targeted homes monthly. Results build over time with direct mail.
- Make sure your automated communications are adding value and generating interest.
- Ask for and respond to patient reviews.
- Review the patient journey, look at your possible touchpoints, and make sure your “patient experience” is at the level you would expect for yourself.
- Track marketing results using advanced methodologies, including phone, address, and form attribution.
Consider your own experiences. When someone asks you for something once and then isn’t around at all, does that leave a great impression? It’s so important to be consistent, whether you’re trying to build a personal relationship or grow a business. When you make an effort to keep in touch with someone regularly, it shows you care about them and value their friendship or business. Something as simple as sending a monthly newsletter and just saying thank you for a referral can make a big impression. Patients love receiving their neighborhood newsletter, and it’s a great way to stay top of mind. Plus, it’s a long-term investment that pays off when patients are ready to proceed with treatment. If you’re consistent with your communication, you’re more likely to build strong relationships that last.
It’s no secret that one-hit wonder marketing efforts don’t work. You have to put in the time and energy to reap the rewards. But with best practices and proven systems, you can make your marketing investments go further. We can help you finish 2022 stronger and achieve even more success for your dental practice. Schedule a consultation today!