Rely on the mailbox, not the inbox, with new-mover marketing
Dentists can replace loyal patients who have moved away with new movers to the community.
Dental practices can replace loyal patients who have moved away with new movers
According to the United States Census Bureau, nearly 40 million people move every year, meaning countless people are moving away from local cities and towns each year.1 This can spell trouble for your dental office, which could lose dozens of loyal patients each year due to population moves. Patients may be loyal to your practice, but their loyalty will be useless if they move miles away.
But here’s the good news: Moving isn’t a one-way street. As some of your patients skip town, dozens, perhaps hundreds, more potential patients are moving in—and local residents aren’t stepping up to welcome them to town. That’s why a targeted and personable new-mover marketing program can pay huge dividends.
Dentists can lose about 8% of their patients every year due to moves and other transitions.2 Over time, this steady stream of patients leaving town can really harm your practice through no fault of your own. However, the same forces that are draining your patients from you are also putting new prospective patients within your reach: new movers can more than make up for the patients you lose every year.
Dental practices that use new-mover marketing report that they gain an average of 5–7 new families every month through new mover marketing alone.i Direct mail practices can be up to 95% more effective than tactics such as digital or newspaper advertisements, sometimes for a fraction of the cost.3 In addition, people who have just moved are much more likely than current residents to visit your practice. According to a study by DataMentors, 70% of new movers seek out a dental practice within the first six months of their move.4
E-mail marketing and daily deal services might seem like the best thing for a dental practice wanting to reach a lot of people at once, but there are several drawbacks. First is that sending spam email has begun to be heavily regulated by the Federal Communications Commission, and it’s easy to get blacklisted for emailing people without their permission or more often than they would like. Daily deal sites are already struggling to maintain their popularity, as businesses realize that they don’t deliver customer loyalty in the way that more personalized messaging does.
The way to target these new movers is through personalized, thoughtful messages sent directly to their new homes. This is clearly not something that any dental practice can manage without help, as the task of getting accurate change-of-address lists, printing mailings, and sending them out can be prohibitively expensive. That’s why partnering with an experienced new mover marketing partner, such as Our Town America, is recommended.
To get you started, here are three quick tips to make new-mover marketing work for you:
• Offer a genuinely helpful deal. It’s imperative to offer a complimentary service or a significant financial discount encouraging new movers to visit you. To start your patient relationship off on the right foot, offer something that can really benefit them.
Above: Example of new-mover offer.
• Show them around your practice. Introducing patients to your practice and your staff is a great way to start building a personal relationship with them. Since many people aren’t fond of going to the dentist, having a foundation of trust to support your relationships with patients will go a long way to build and preserve their loyalty.
• Follow up. The new mover mailing will get them in the door, but it’s up to you to continue to nurture the relationship. Don’t let the new patient walk out of the door without getting contact information and promising to stay in touch. This way, you can let them know of promotions and remind them when it’s time to get cleanings and build an ongoing communication with them.
New-mover marketing has been a game changer for multiple dental practices with whom we’ve partnered, and I know it can work for you too. Digital marketing simply can’t replace the welcoming feel of direct mail, so the trend of new-mover marketing will continue. To achieve the growth rate that you want to see for your practice, open up new markets and build a new-mover strategy into your ongoing marketing efforts.
(i) Source: Our Town America internal data.
1. U.S. mover rate remains stable at about 12 percent since 2008, Census Bureau reports. US Census Bureau website. http://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2015/cb15-47.html. Published March 18, 2015. Accessed August 10, 2016.
2. Joyal F. 7 real-life reasons your patients leave. 1-800-Dentist website. http://www.1800dentist.com/7-reallife-reasons-your-patients-leave/. Published August 2007. Accessed August 10, 2016.
3. Gendusa J. Traditional or digital marketing? What's working now for patients. Dental Economics website. http://www.dentaleconomics.com/articles/print/volume-104/issue-11/features/traditional-or-digital-marketing-what-s-working-now-for-dentists.html. Published November 20, 2014. Accessed August 10, 2016.
4. Bedgood L. How to grow your customer base by marketing to new movers. DataMentors website. http://www.datamentors.com/blog/how-grow-your-customer-base-marketing-new-movers. Published May 12, 2016. Accessed August 10, 2016.
Michael Plummer Jr. is president of Our Town America, the nation’s premier new-mover marketing franchise. A US Army veteran and Certified Franchise Executive (CFE), Plummer has more than 15 years experience working as a senior-level franchise executive and IT professional in the direct marketing industry. For more than 40 years, Our Town America has been providing new movers with traditional hospitality by mailing warm housewarming gifts from local neighborhood businesses in a premium welcome package. Since the company started franchising in 2005, Our Town America has consistently been placed in the Franchise Top 50, ranking #16 in 2015 for franchisee satisfaction.
For more information on Plummer and Our Town America, visit the Our Town America website at ourtownamerica.com.