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High-value dental patients: How call data helps drive more of them to your practice

June 19, 2020
Phone calls are an often overlooked source of patient information. With call data, dental practices can better target and convert valuable patient prospects. Kayla Hammersmith explains why it might be right for your practice.

By Kayla Hammersmith

Did you know that the average cost per acquisition for a dental patient ranges between $150 to $300? For dental practices seeking to maximize their marketing return on investment (ROI), identifying and attracting high-value patients can be a big challenge. That’s where phone calls, an often-overlooked source of patient information, come in. With call data, dental practices can better target and convert valuable patient prospects. According to the Local Search Association, 86% of dental patients call after performing a search online. These calls are a data goldmine.

How to evaluate high-value patients

By identifying which callers fit the high-value patient profile, dental practices can then pursue more patients like them. Of course, they must know what to look for when classifying callers. Here are four value factors to consider when assigning value to patients.

Patient longevity and retention
According to the California Dental Association, the average dental office has a 65% retention rate. After all, patients and dental offices are both looking for long-term relationships. Most patients don’t want to go to a new dentist every six months; they’d rather become comfortable with one provider and stick with that provider. Spending a few hundred marketing dollars to acquire a new patient can be a worthwhile investment if the person becomes a long-term patient. Plus, these patients often do more than simply visit twice a year for preventive care and cleaning. They rely on the dental practice for other procedures as well.

Patient retention pays dividends through referrals. Long-term patients often bring in their family members and recommend their providers to friends. Empowering loyal patients to refer your practice to others who can also become loyal patients who will refer significantly adds to the lifetime value of a lead. These efforts can seriously amplify a dental marketing strategy and boost ROI.

Different dental procedures bring in very different amounts of revenue. While a preventive hygiene appointment might bring in $150 in revenue, other more advanced or extensive procedures—such as periodontal treatments, veneers, root canals, crowns, orthodontics, and laser whitening—can bring in much more. Therefore, a high-value patient could be defined as one who schedules a more expensive procedure.

Insurance providers
Patients’ insurance providers are another layer to their value. Medicare and Medicaid patients bring in different revenue levels than patients with higher-tier insurance providers. Different insurance providers have different revenue values, so arm yourself with this information. 

How phone calls can help dental marketers drive more high-value patients

With a clear understanding of what defines a high-value patient, dental marketers can determine whether a caller fits the profile by collecting as much relevant information as possible about each patient, from insurance providers to desired procedures. Phone calls are an invaluable way to gather this information, and a “conversation intelligence solution” is the most scalable way to do this.

This solution uses artificial intelligence to help dental marketers understand who’s calling, analyze the conversation, extract relevant data, and establish whether the call is a quality lead. This information helps marketers identify which campaigns are driving high-value patients and optimize them accordingly.

My colleague Alain Stephan provided tips for fine-tuning campaigns in his article, “Turn more callers into new dental patients with call analytics.” By allocating ad spend and adjusting campaign strategy to specifically prioritize marketing investments that deliver high-value callers, dental marketers can increase ROI, as ads deliver more coveted leads and drive more revenue.

One of the most effective methods for targeting high-value customers with digital campaigns is building custom audiences. To do this, use the valuable insights derived from conversation intelligence—such as callers’ insurance providers, procedures of interest, and whether or not they booked an appointment—to help target them in digital marketing campaigns. For example, dentists could build an audience based on people’s interest in laser whitening. This is an expensive procedure, so targeting the right people with the right messaging across paid search, display, and social ads can help prospective patients move through the funnel and ultimately book an appointment.  

Automating with conversation intelligence

A conversation intelligence platform is the most scalable and accurate way for dental practices to gather these valuable insights into callers, their conversations, and potential high-value patients. Conversation intelligence can uncover whether or not the call is a lead, the services and procedures the caller is interested in, if the caller is a new or returning patient, if the caller has a family, the caller’s insurance provider, if an appointment was set, and the caller’s predicted value.

Then, the platform can connect the data directly to the marketing tools of choice, including Google Ads, Facebook Ad Managers, Google Analytics, Adobe, and Salesforce.

No matter how dental marketers gather data, it’s critical to define, identify, and target high-value customers to ensure the money spent acquiring customers yields the highest ROI. Learn more about the strategies and solutions dental marketers can use to attract high-value customers with this toolkit for dental marketers.

Kayla Hammersmith is the senior content marketing manager at DialogTech, the world leader in conversation intelligence for marketers. After working at a Chicago digital marketing agency for four years, Kayla brings her data-driven content expertise to the DialogTech team.