Is Your Marketing Working As Good As It Can?

Uncovering Gaps You Might Not Realize

There are abundant opportunities for growth for dental offices. Given that the average dental practice has around 2,000 patients in a market opportunity of 50,000, 60,000, or more (I’m talking within a few miles at most), you really can’t market enough to increase awareness for the practice among those important households. Not only to make the practice stand out amongst the array of other dental offices but to also differentiate from the other 10,000 ads those household members each get hit with per day.

While you’re at it, can you add this sentence to the paragraph that ends “Go answer it!” Isn’t it nice when someone picks up the phone and helps you right away? This metric is one of the most important things your practice can focus on.

Are you getting all you can from your dental marketing program?

Is the marketing program you’ve designated for your practice the right one? Is it bringing in the results you want? Have you done the analysis of what is needed to have a more successful outcome? Have you identified the gaps and barriers, and what might make or break your results?

Oftentimes, we’ll speak to a potential client, and they’ll have ‘a feeling’ that they could be getting more from their marketing investments. Sometimes they’re investing huge budgets into Google Ads but are attracting low-value patients, or they’re doing it “because everyone is, right?” Recently a (smart) dental colleague said, “PPC is a race to the bottom; I’m telling all my clients to shift budgets to direct mail.” With all these influences impacting your decisions, it can be tough to figure out what’s best for your practice.

So, what about your results? Do you want more new patients and to grow production, but your healthy marketing budget and current strategy aren’t yielding the results you want?

Sometimes a gap analysis can help. What is the barrier to adding more new patients? It’s usually not just the marketing that isn’t working – there are many factors that can make or break practice results.

Make Room For New Patients

I was on a call with a super successful dentist who knew she wanted to bring in new, higher-quality production. She felt that her active patients had had the treatment they were going to take, and she wasn’t going to grow without adding more new. When I asked her to look at her schedule and tell me – if I was a new patient on the phone – when I could have an appointment, it was two months away! Her team had overzealously scheduled lower-value active patients back for recall and she was not in a position to advertise to and onboard a steady flow of new patients. The toughest thing is, she was right. Her active patients, like most dental practices, contributed half the production of new patients. And without new patients, referrals of friends and family slow down. She had to come up with a solution to fix the scheduling issue and add more convenient and fast availability.

Script Your Team With Talking Points

Another client dropped all insurance – fast – and the practice team hasn’t yet become savvy on how to convert new patients using their membership plan, or on selling the benefits of the outstanding practice. It ends up that the team is only converting around 25% of their inbound calls. This is dramatically hurting practice production, so the team needs support to mitigate the business decision and find a way to become successful. Imagine how disheartening it is for the front office call handlers when they don’t know how to overcome objections. Offer help to your team.

Make Your Team Aware Of The Value Of New Patients

New patients contribute an average of $1800 in production versus active patients that contribute a thousand. Every time the phone goes unanswered, it costs money. When you are investing in marketing to make the phone ring, answer it. When you don’t, marketing results are sacrificed. The average dental practice answers 75% of their calls, while top practices capture over 90%. This dramatically improves marketing results. And sometimes, the doctor needs to be aware that this should be a priority. Wait – do you hear your phone ringing in the background? Go answer it!

Isn’t it nice when someone picks up the phone and helps you right away? This metric is one of the most important things your practice can focus on.

Understand The Competitive Level

When your practice is up against 50 other dental offices in your market range, you can’t get away with hit-and-miss marketing or underinvest in digital and expect good results. To get the attention of a few thousand people around your practice that are ideal for you – when all the other businesses are also vying for their attention – you must invest in a consistent plan. People get thousands of ad messages daily and guess what … dental treatment is not high on the list for most. Breaking through the noise takes consistency. These days, marketing communications that are sent every other month or here and there just aren’t enough. That’s if you have higher expectations for your results. If you’re okay with lower results, great. If not, and you have 70 dentists competing for 30,000 families, you need to outspend the competition and be the practice consumers notice and recognize as the authority in your field.

Understand The Practice Demographic

At Patient NEWS®, we work with the top dentists in dentistry. On average, our clients produce $1.8 million annually – that’s just the average. These are successful dental offices that want to stand out in their communities, and they understand the value of patient education. You know, you can get a postcard anywhere, but that’s often not the ticket to attracting the quality new patients you want. In fact, we know that newsletters drive 170% higher response than a postcard. But that aside, just consider how little dental education consumers have access to. There isn’t an oral health article or interview on the weekly news. So, when you understand your patient demographic and you’re targeting like-minded people, you understand the messaging required to break through and stand out from competitors.

Speaking Of The Practice Demographic

Don’t try to reach into a market that is outside of your practice draw area because you perceive higher value. That 100% never works on a scale that supports a dental office marketing budget – unless you have unlimited budgets to test these areas. Every dental practice has a core draw area and a ton of opportunity within it.

Understand New-Patient Value

It’s super interesting for us to see the metrics in Practice ZEBRA® and understand new-patient value – and the production directly generated by specific marketing campaigns. We are the only dental marketing software to provide you with your average new-patient value. What we do with this is two-fold. One, we can project what each new patient should end up contributing to your practice based on your actual average value, and two, we also track the actual production generated. It’s very cool to see that patients generated from a newsletter campaign – where educational content is shared – often outspend what an average new patient will contribute to the practice. So again, for our average clients, a new patient contributes close to $2,000 per year. And that’s with new patient offers, low point-of-entry membership plans, etc. New patients spend more almost 100% of the time. That’s where you can look at treatment presentation. Dr. Hazel Glasper, one of our great clients, once said to me that it is a disservice to the patient to not tell them about everything they need and could have. She believes in comprehensive care and that an educated patient is a better patient. And we see the metrics to prove that. As a non-dentist dental consumer, I can tell you I want to know my options, and I’ll prioritize if I want to budget them in. You’d be surprised who will spend what!

The Mix

Don’t underestimate the mix of marketing formats required for a top-producing marketing program. We hear it all the time: Digital is the place to be because who reads mail anymore… Guess what? It’s likely that your ideal patient does. Don’t feel like I’m bashing digital – we have hundreds of clients running successful website and PPC campaigns with us and we know it’s super important to have a great online presence and be there when people are searching. However, what is ground zero to drive search? Consumers need to be triggered to want to search. That’s where direct mail comes into play. It’s proactive and it works.

Some people perceive that print marketing is a thing of the past and old-fashioned. Who reads it, they ask. The thing is, most people read their mail – every day. And neuroscience proves that direct mail has incredible, motivating, response-driving power. In fact, when you combine the power of print and digital ads, you boost response by 400%. Over 80% of consumers trust PRINT ads the most when making a buying decision, 80% act on direct mail ads, and 70% of households with an income above $100k are newspaper readers.

Direct mail is proven to drive significantly higher levels of brand recall (77% vs. 46%), and that’s such an important metric for dental offices to consider. As a consumer yourself, think about receiving something tangible that you handle, like mail. You feel it, you smell it, and you engage with it. It impacts.

A well-executed dental marketing “program” that includes a full marketing mix and is backed by a practice that has covered their gaps will have a more successful campaign. Speaking as an agency that builds awesome websites for dentists, it’s proven that direct mail provides a level of credibility, authority, and trustworthiness that digital channels cannot. The thing is, direct mail is easier to understand, is tangible, and triggers emotion. And this type of impact is especially important for small businesses, like dental practices, to consider when crafting their overall marketing strategy when there isn’t as much awareness and brand recognition vs. larger companies that can invest in digital ads. And consider Google, Amazon, and Wayfair … these massive online companies have massive print marketing budgets!

So, wherever you’re at right now, there is abundant opportunity to attract more quality new patients into your practice. You just need the right partner with the right understanding, commitment, and dedication to help steer you toward better results and not just a bigger budget to get more clicks.

I encourage you to speak with one of our Account Managers about your marketing program. They’ll ensure you have the right plan in place to achieve your goals, help you improve the visibility of your brand and services, and gain a competitive edge in your market area.

We’ve been the trusted marketing partner for thousands of dental offices and DSOs just like you. Give us a call today!