1993 - 2023
2023 marks 30 years that Patient NEWS® has been helping dentists stand out and grow. THIRTY YEARS! You would never guess it when you look at Wayne Lavery, CEO, and Karen Galley, President. First, they look awesome, and second, they are as engaged, interested, and dedicated to the success of Patient NEWS, our team, and our dental clients as they were when the company was launched in 1993. Yes, we like to laugh at the fact that we are older than Google!
Most of that tenure has been spent perfecting direct mail for dentists. That means three decades of trial and error, research, analysis, testing, and refreshing. We have continually worked on innovation, product quality, and delivering results. You can’t accomplish 30 years of success, having worked with over 7,000 dental offices, executing more than 75,000 campaigns, and not have something pretty darn great to offer. And right now, our clients are trending 25% ahead of industry average production.
We also launched our dental website division over five years ago to incredible success, with hundreds of not only beautiful but highly effective sites. And we developed Practice ZEBRA®, our dental marketing software, that provides completely transparent results for great decision-making, along with a wealth of additional benefits and functionality.
All of this means we’ve learned a thing or three (or a hundred!) about dental marketing … so you don’t have to waste your time or money. You don’t have to learn by trial and error. You can leverage our 30 years of experience.
This is a quick read with our top three list of do-it-or-fail direct mail advice. If you’d like a personal one-to-one to talk about your 2023 goals and see how you can leverage our tenure, please schedule a free consultation appointment now.
- Know – and love – your actual market.
- Follow a proven formula.
- Be consistent.
Know – and love – your actual market.
A dental practice has a brick-and-mortar location, which means it will attract patients from certain neighborhoods in a certain radius around that location. Period. We have accommodated too many clients over the years that wanted to target patients outside of their reasonable drive area and would not budge. Guess what? Nada. Or the results weren’t enough to justify the investment. Patients generally won’t travel outside of their neighborhoods – and past 27 other dental clinics – to reach one, and therefore those efforts end up being wasted marketing dollars.
We are direct with our clients about this, too, because we know the reach is too far and we’ve seen this mistake too many times. And today, using ZEBRA, we can plot the exact practice market share area compared to drive time so it’s very visible – this is certainly helping to target more effectively. If your practice is somehow determined that the higher-end residents that live outside your practice’s extended neighborhood will travel for services, learn from us: Most of them will not.
Leverage our 30 years of experience. Precisely target your campaigns with:
- Market share analysis
- Get this via Practice ZEBRA and see where patients and new patients are coming from and understand the value of the patients from each neighborhood pocket for better targeting of ideal patients.
- Competitor analysis
- Know where competing dental offices are located in comparison with your market share to better target marketing efforts and draw from consumers who are most likely to choose your practice.
- Drive time
- When you know how far your patients are willing to travel to get to you, you’ll understand the parameters of your backyard so you can work to “own it.”
That’s not to say that some practices don’t commit to a very wide target area because they want to be known. But they commit to that as their “backyard” and back up that commitment with strong budgets for consistent campaigns that build awareness over time. We have a handful of very successful high-volume practices that take this widespread tactic. That said, most individual local dental offices don’t have the type of budget that sustains a broader reach, and that’s where we have learned that precise targeting that is in line with available budgets is critical.
There are a smattering of amazing, highly skilled dentists out there that have patients who will travel from other locations just to see them. But those patients are few and they’re outliers. Even those dentists still generate their bread-and-butter core revenue from the households situated around the practice. Because let’s face it: People are lazy. They want convenience and good service.
If you’ve heard a dentist say, “Direct mail doesn’t work for me,” one of the reasons will be because they tried to mail too far and they didn’t decide to own their own backyard with any consistency. Our proven direct mail formula works in 99% of the markets we work with.
Follow a proven formula.
We have stamped out enough dental marketing campaigns to know exactly what components are required to drive results. What is going to resonate with the audience and what will not. We have worked with thousands of dental offices so we know that when the formula isn’t followed – including content, campaign structure, or having the right team in place to answer calls and convert appointments – then the “proven” system is flawed and results will fluctuate because the practice deviated. Let me ask: Are you allowed to deviate from process when it comes to an intricate dental procedure and still expect a great outcome for the patient?
Leverage our 30 years of experience. Don’t waste time and money on trial and error.
- Over 90% of all dental buying decisions are made by the female head-of-household. It’s proven that women want quality information to make good decisions for their families. Patient NEWS was founded on patient newsletters for dentists, so our content focus for both digital and direct mail campaigns has never wavered. It’s called relationship marketing. Consumers/patients receive very little in the way of oral health education outside of their dental visits. This is where having great content, written for the consumer at the consumer level, can make a dental marketing campaign stand out.
- Campaign structure
- When it comes to structuring any dental marketing campaign, it’s important to follow a consistent approach. Website navigation must be straightforward and easy to use. Bounce rates are incredible when consumers can’t immediately find what they want. For a dental website, it’s site speed and ability to see dentist/team, services, and to quickly and easily contact or request an appointment that matters. All direct mail formats have a distinct structure, whether newsletter, brochure, or postcard. The newsletter format offers a much better experience for consumers (driving 170% higher response), allowing readers to peruse offerings and added-value content, but there is a proven structure to how any content is presented. We use neuroscience testing for all our products to ensure content is structured in a way that impacts the consumer and drives action.
- The right team with the right training
- This is touchy territory, but dental marketing investments and associated results are directly impacted by the frontline team at every dental office. How fast new patients are responded to, how effectively they’re greeted, and how skilled the team is at converting to an appointment are absolutely critical. We’ve heard everything from the nicest greeting that never asks for an appointment to the lowest whisper greeting that’s “supposed” to be classy to the abrupt “dental office hold,” leaving the patient to sit listening to music, waiting and waiting, forever, without having said a word. We’ve heard receptionists get into so much treatment detail that they discourage the patient from their interest altogether. We’ve seen offices that don’t even look at form-fill requests for new-patient appointments and others that let all calls go to voicemail. It’s not anyone’s fault, it’s just a component with required associated processes that are important for marketing and practice success.
- It’s proven that roughly 50% of all new patients are lost at the front desk. When a new patient is worth an average of $1800 to the topline, each call or appointment request that’s missed is a big lost financial opportunity. Have you had an experience like this in your own personal life? Left on hold. Ignored. Felt like you’re imposing. Only to reach voicemail. Doesn’t feel great, does it? It doesn’t bolster your confidence in your decision to choose that business. It’s important to track the practice conversion metrics so that actions can be put in place to improve new-patient scheduling.
By far, the number one thing our most successful clients are is consistent. They’re committed to their goals and focused on the actions that will help them get there. They are open, interested, and nice! Becoming a dentist and practice owner required a great deal of consistency of effort with the long-term goal in view. With that drive in mind – that singular focus for success – all dentists understand the commitment to consistency. Why then, doesn’t that always translate to marketing? When consistency is proven to create momentum. As a dental marketing company celebrating our 30th anniversary, we aren’t just trying to sell more by saying that a consistent long-term campaign is the one that will work. We tell you that because it IS the one that will work.
Leverage our 30 years of experience. Don’t waste time and money on hit-and-miss efforts.
- Direct mail must be consistent
- The famous Dan Kennedy has stated that every dentist should be hitting patients’ doorsteps once a month, preferably with a printed newsletter. He’s right. The clients we work with that are committed to being visible to their target audience end up achieving at least a 6:1 ROI … an ROI that continues to grow over time. It’s just like your exercise regime and your diet: consistency reaps rewards.
- Your brand must be consistent
- Consistency is key in brand messaging – and smaller budgets. According to a brand consistency study, consistent presentation of brand increases revenue by 23%. And, in fact, when a company’s brand is inconsistent, it breaks the link that consumers make in their minds, which can have an adverse and lasting negative impact on consumer loyalty and positive connection. When patients experience a different message from your dental office via different mediums – i.e., your direct mail campaign is fresh and new, but your website is outdated – patients feel conflicted.
- Repetition leads to results
- Study after study reveals the same thing. Send the same print piece multiple times to your niche; keep the same visual and ad copy on billboards and digital advertising, and increase the number of times you touch your target audience on all channels. Repetition builds recognition and results. This contributes to brand awareness, awareness builds trust, and trust leads to conversion.
Most dental offices don’t have a trained and skilled marketing manager, and that’s why it’s great that you can trust a partner like Patient NEWS. With 30 years of training and experience, you can rely on us to deliver great results for your dental office or group of practices. All in all, you can leverage our 30 years to your benefit. Right now, we’re working through 2023 planning with most offices, so if you haven’t started yet and would like a hand with any of the things covered in this post, please call our team today.
Here’s to a rawkin’ 2023 and to helping your dental practice or group stand out and grow!