Marketing Solutions for Dentists and Teams

Archive for September 2008

Who Is An Ideal Patient And Why Should Dentists Care?

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Some dentists use their new patient “numbers” as a gauge to determine how healthy their practice is. However they don’t always realize that in some cases marketing can attract the wrong type of new patient. Especially when marketing is rushed, it can sometimes cause businesses to throw their standards out the door. In other words some practitioners may just want people who need dentistry to flow into the practice as soon as possible -instead of considering the “qualities” of potential new patients, ie: do they live within your area, are they interested in the highest quality dental care that you offer, do they have a fairly high dental IQ, are they open to investing in cosmetic dentistry or whatever your ideal patient qualities are.

So, why does it matter whether new patients are ideal or not? Because your success and more importantly, your peace of mind ultimately depend on the type of patient you attract. When you attract patients that are less than ideal into your practice, you make it more difficult to harvest quality referrals – and worse, you risk attracting patients who may not have interest in the type of dentistry you offer, who only want to take advantage of a savings offer or who don’t trust you much. So, if you dream of someday having a practice filled with great patients, where you may not need to do external marketing because your referrals nourish the business… then start taking steps today to fulfill that vision. Step one is identifying your ideal patient, stay tuned for more about this later.

Want to learn more now? Get a copy of our dental marketing referral guidebook.

1 Sign You May Be Suffering From Dental Marketing Avoidance

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Are you constantly investing in new equipment or treatment training with the hope that this one new technology or skill will attract droves of new patients? Over the years I’ve seen many dentists spend thousands of dollars on technology like Cerec® or months of training to help enhance their already finely honed skills. These investments are certainly worthy in many cases; however they prove to be poor decisions when executed primarily for their marketing benefits. In other words, unfortunately, there is no one thing you can buy to definitively attract droves of new patients in an instant. Wouldn’t that be great, you could run out to the local Office Depot® and pick up a box of that instant “New Patient Marketing” and get results right away.

I’ve seen sales representatives touting the marketing benefits their new equipment or CE will provide… The reality is that patients are not likely to run out and tell ten of their friends that you are the only practice in town that can make a crown in one visit. Likewise, they aren’t likely to shout a declaration about the new implant skills you’ve recently acquired. Patients already expect that you will make their treatment as convenient and high quality as possible.

Are you a fine dentist offering high quality care? Then you should know… when it comes to getting new patients in the door – first and foremost – they need to find you. This is where traditional marketing comes in. Without the basic components: who you are, what is unique about you and where you are located, you cannot be found. In most cases, no piece of technology or enhanced skill can accomplish that for you. If new patient flow is what you need, start with practical traditional marketing. Invest in internal first, then external- it’s what works.

Are you avoiding marketing? Got feedback?

Happy Dentists = Happy Patients

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Have you ever noticed uncanny personality resemblances between patients and their dentists? In many practices it is safe to say that like definitely attracts like. I’ve personally observed, as well as spoken with many specialists and team members who’ve seen the same thing, referred patients often appear to have similar personalities to their referring dentists… In other words, professional patients like professional doctors, detail-oriented patients like thorough doctors, chatty patients like chatty doctors, inquisitive patients like patient doctors, etc.

So, do happy doctors attract happy patients or is this a “chicken and egg” question- which comes first? I’m not sure; however I am sure that a happy patient is not typically going to be comfortable with a doctor who never smiles or who has a team that always seems stressed out.

Thankfully, I’ve had the pleasure of working with a dentist who is a joy to work with. He truly loves his profession, enjoys working with patients, and yes, he is also happy with his personal life and his family and it shows. Likewise, his patients rave about him. I have never seen so many positive testimonials from patients, team members and colleagues- and in the many years I’ve worked with this man I have never heard a patient complain about him (Never, and yes, we survey like crazy in this practice).

The moral of this story is, act like the patients you want to attract and care for. Want kind patients, be kind… want patients who appreciate high quality, run a high-quality practice- in every sense of the word.

Comments? I’d love to hear from you.

Need Dental Marketing Ideas – Take A Hike

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I mean that in a good way… Living in Colorado there is no better way to stimulate great thinking than breathing in fresh crisp air at 10,000′ altitude! When I feel overwhelmed, stuck or frustrated (ok, or even if I feel terrific and just want to get out and enjoy nature) nothing beats a hike. Then return to your desk refreshed, motivated, and ready to strategize!

That’s me in the bottom right corner.

Written by Rita Zamora

September 12, 2008 at 5:33 am

Dental Marketing Made Easy, Quick And Affordable

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Many dentists today are buckling down on expenditures – and marketing. On the other hand, business is slow and you still need to get patients in the door. The solution: Email Marketing.

Few dental practices are using email marketing… here are some excuses I often hear, “Patients don’t want to get email from us,” “We don’t collect patient email addresses,” “We don’t know how to do email marketing,” “Isn’t it expensive?” Reality: it costs nothing but a bit of extra time to ask for permission and/or collect email addresses at the front desk. Sure some patients may decline to receive emails, however many will also gladly sign up. Here are a few more tips:

1) Always get patients permission to email them.

2) Allow patients to easily unsubscribe within each email.

3) Let patients know in advance how many emails they can expect from you; For example 5 – 7 emails per year.

4) Offer some kind of incentive to collect emails- tell patients they’ll get first pick of the best appointment times, a complimentary gift or entrance into a contest.

5) Have fun with it. Send notes, not newsletters. Be brief, relevant, interesting.

Need more help? Email rita@tangiblemarketing.com for additional information.

Dental Marketing That Sticks

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As consumers we are bombarded each day with thousands of advertising messages. This environment creates mind clutter which makes it hard for patients to remember to refer to you on a regular basis. In addition to providing exceptional service experiences, you can help your request for referrals to stick by making your message tangible.

Experts agree about 60% to 65% of the population are visual learners. These visual learners relate most effectively to written information, diagrams and pictures. Whether you illustrate your referral request in letters, postcards, business cards, CD’s, or emails, the moment you make your message visual or tangible you’ll help cut through the clutter, increase your effectiveness and your new patient referrals.

What makes your referral marketing memorable?