Marketing Solutions for Dentists and Teams

Posts Tagged ‘dental practice problems

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 rita@tangiblemarketing.com. I’d love to hear from you!

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Recession Marketing Tips for Dentists

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Lay-offs, rising grocery bills and a flood of bad economic news in the media are causing consumers to tighten their purse strings… How can dentists help to protect and even grow their practice in times like these? Here are a few smart recession marketing tips for dentists.ritazphotoimage2

1) Be impeccable with the patients you already have. This includes phone, patient relation and case presentation skills. Need to know if you are impeccable or not? To diagnose your performance, try surveys, hire a ghost shopper or get an experienced consultant to observe.

2) Be REALLY impeccable with the patients you already have. How long has it been since you’ve brushed up on your case presentation skills or taken your team to a seminar or workshop about exceptional customer service. Now is the time to invest in learning everything you and your team can do to get more from the customers (patients) you already have.

3) Keep in touch. Follow up with patients- consistently and effectively. Patients will be putting off elective, cosmetic and non-emergency treatments, so make sure you maintain relationships with patients while they are saving up or waiting for some good economic news. Be sure you are top of mind when they are ready to buy dental again. This means calling patients to follow up (phone calls are quick, easy -inexpensive- and effective!), sending customized patient newsletters (consumers are now cocooning— staying home, nesting with family and they have time to read and learn more about you and your services), emailing (use email communication sparingly, make your notes brief and memorable).

4) Money, Money, Money– Make sure your fee quotes, insurance filing, payment options and related communication is flawless. People are more sensitive to money issues than ever before. Now is the time to be extra courteous, knowledgeable- and considerate of patient’s potential financial quandaries.

5) Internal marketing first, external second. Don’t spend thousands of dollars for a flashy magazine ad if you don’t have a patient referral system in place. Invest dollars to maximize internal marketing first (referral systems, sales training, newsletters, etc.), then look to external marketing tactics such as postcards, advertising, etc. This is even more important during a recession when external new patient acquisition becomes more challenging.

Need help? Or have comments to share? Email rita@tangiblemarketing.com

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?

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?

Does Your Dental Practice Need A Checkup?

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When was the last time you heard one of your patients complain? We all know that too many complaints are a sign that things aren’t going well. However a practice that never hears any complaints, or never hears much feedback at all, may not be in good shape either…

Periodic surveys are an important component of any marketing plan. They allow you to learn what you are doing right, and what you may be doing wrong. Consider a third party survey service in order for people to feel they can share openly and honestly. Online surveys also work well as they many times offer people the option to remain anonymous. For example, check out www.surveymonkey.com, they offer several excellent affordable online survey options. Once you learn what your patients really value and enjoy most about your practice, you can then leverage that information within your marketing plan.

What valuable information have you learned recently from your patient surveys?

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?

Feed Minds – Fuel Your Dental Practice

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Today I heard a dental assistant say she would really love to attend more CE and keep learning. I always love to hear someone ask to keep learning don’t you? The more we learn, the more we flourish- personally and professionally. One technique a doctor I work with used is to have the interested team member write up a short summary of why they’d like to attend a course and what they think they’d learn from it…

This technique forever changed the way I looked at CE seminars and programs. My mind shifted from “Wow, Florida will be a great conference location” to “Why do I REALLY want to attend this course and how will I use what I learn day-to-day.” Writing up pre-conference summaries committed me to learn the most I could, and to bring nuggets back to the office to implement and share.

So, the next time your team member asks if she can attend a course, first thank them for their interest and then ask them to write up their “Why and how” summary. It will positively change their perspective and your practice will benefit more from the investment.

How often does your team ask to attend CE?