Marketing Solutions for Dentists and Teams

Posts Tagged ‘business of dentistry

Recession Marketing for Dentists, What’s Hot & What’s Not

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To thrive in these economic times it’s best to focus your marketing dollars on retention, case acceptance, word-of-mouth and referral strategies. Concentrate your efforts amongst those who already know and trust you rather than attempting new patient acquisition from unknown and potentially skeptical audiences. ritazphotoimage22

What’s hot: Invest in improving the patient experience. Now is the time to impress patients, as more than ever they will scrutinize everything you do and say. Consumers are paying more attention to everything they spend their money on. Some may question whether they should keep spending their money with you or go elsewhere. Invest in training for you and your team and be sure your patient relations skills are finely honed. There has never been a better time to implement new techniques to increase your case acceptance rates.

Invest in referral marketing. If you don’t already have an organized referral program, get busy and create one. Actively promote your program- not just twice a year by word of mouth when patients are in your office. Be sure to promote the fact that you want referrals the whole year long. Ask verbally and in writing (No you won’t come across as a pest or seem desperate because most people are busy with life and won’t likely remember the last time you asked, even if you ask them many times per year). Make sure you invite referrals verbally, and also put your invitation in writing. Tangible forms of promotion help visual learners (about 65% of the population) to remember to refer. If you’d like to know more about this, check out my referral guidebook and learn step-by-step how to create a successful turn-key system for your practice.

Invest in your online reputation. Google yourself regularly and see where your website rates. Also be sure to police yourself… confirm the first few pages of your search come out clean, accurate and don’t contain any negative patient feedback. It makes no sense to invest in search engine optimization if you don’t even know that negative patient feedback could be found alongside your name.

Consider investing in social media. While not for everyone, when done well- and authentically, participating in sites like Facebook and other social spaces gives you an opportunity to get your name and face in front of potentially influential networks. Have fun with it. If you know nothing about social media, ask someone on your team who enjoys this to help you. Again have fun, but at the end of the day be sure whatever you or someone else posts about you maintains your personal and professional brand and represents you well.

In this economy, what’s hot now is the return you’ll get from marketing investments related to customers/patients who already know you.

What’s not hot: Investing in brand building or awareness marketing such as radio, television or expensive magazine ads. The first problem is that these mediums are not generally geographically focused. The second problem is they require much repetition and thus very large investments before they penetrate enough to work. Even in good economies these mediums can be expensive and risky investments. With a population scrutinizing every dollar, becoming more skeptical about who and where they buy from and holding-off unless it’s an emergency, it’s better to avoid these types of marketing vehicles for now.

Have a question or comment to share? Email I’d love to hear from you!

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?

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?

SOS Dental Marketing

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If you’re like many dental practices today you may be looking for ways to stimulate business… One tried and true tactic is a basic phone call. Placing courtesy calls to your existing patients for recall is one of the fastest, easiest and least expensive ways to get patients in the door.

Make it a fun challenge, get the whole team involved, and start placing calls to fill your schedule with healthy doses of production. Try using one of the following scripts:

Hello I’m calling from Dr Smith’s office as a friendly reminder that you are overdue for your cleaning/check-up/treatment, would you like to reserve an appointment… many of our patients are already reserving their appointments before years end to use their insurance benefits before they expire… Our schedule is filling up and I want to be sure we can get you in on time.

Let me know how this tactic works for you?

Dental Patients Lost By Email

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Ever consider not answering your practice phone? Just let the phone ring and ring and you never pick up… this is similar to what happens when patient emails sit in your inbox. Many patients prefer and expect email service – with prompt response. An average response time is at most within 24 hours on business days. Today, email communication is just as important as answering the phone- especially when it comes to new patient inquiries.

Some offices I work with have at least one team member, a technology guru, who enjoys working with computers and the internet and they diligently check and respond to emails- which is great. Other practices consider emails a second or, even worse, a last priority.

Yes, I understand that not all emails are timely. However they all need to be checked promptly in order to determine their importance. Letting a new patient inquiry sit in your practice in-box is similar to ignoring your phone or locking your practice door. If you don’t have someone comfortable or motivated to check email, consider outsourcing it or don’t have it as an option at all. Remember no impression is much better than a poor one.

How often does your office check email?