Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2015 03 Lifecyclemarketing 1

Fundamentals of marketing automation: Lifecycle marketing for dentists, Part I

March 6, 2015
There are seven stages to lifecycle marketing concerned with delivering the right message to the right people at the right time. 

The whole purpose of a business is to attract and retain customer profitably. This means two things in your dental practice:

1. Everything revolves around delivering customers the solutions they want.
2. This delivery needs to be done profitably.

Attracting patients generally requires an investment in marketing. This could be a financial investment in advertising or a time investment in networking and business cards, but it’s an investment nonetheless, and it needs to be maximized.

Advertising and marketing has changed today due to the huge number of media channels now available – TV, radio, Google, Facebook, Twitter, magazines, and much more. This means customer attention is fragmented and people ignore some things. This is why it’s essential to make the most of the patients you already have, and to take a slightly different approach to promotion and marketing to attract new ones.

This is called lifecycle marketing. There are seven stages to lifecycle marketing concerned with delivering the right message to the right people at the right time.

Attract traffic – The purpose of this stage is to attract targeted attention. This means your ads should be direct response ads, not “branding” ads. The ad should communicate a specific solution to a specific problem, and provide a way for the interested person to respond to you. This way you can collect contact information in order to keep in touch with interested people.

Capture leads – The purpose of this is to collect interested people’s contact information so that you can build a relationship with them. Without this step you waste the majority of your marketing investment, as very few people will see an ad and buy immediately.

Nurture prospects – The purpose of this is to send targeted information that’s relevant to people at the time they’re most receptive to the message. This could be via letters, emails, phone calls, or a mix of these. The clever part of this stage is that it can intelligently respond and communicate with potential customers according to their interest level. For example, you can find out if someone is opening your emails and clicking links you’ve placed within those emails. You can also set up an alert. If someone clicks on five emails within 48 hours, it sends an alert to your receptionist to call the person, or triggers an email to the people that offers more information.

Convert sales – This is a combination of your front desk team, how the phone is answered, the office experience, how the patient feels, the options presented to patients, and how you follow up on those options. Marketing automation software can help you send different targeted messages to different people. By automating this you could even get someone else (not your main front desk staff member) to be responsible for following up with people, and this takes a load off the front desk.

Deliver and satisfy – This is where you deliver your core service and an experience that people delight in. It’s possible to add experiences to specific customer groups via automation software, such as brace cleaning tips and other advice to patients who wear braces. Again, this allows the right message to the right person.

Upsell customers – This is an important part of the lifecycle as you have already established trust and a relationship. If there’s a service patients would benefit from, it’s much more profitable to offer them an additional service when you don’t need to spend more marketing dollars to attract them. With marketing automation software, it’s possible to customize based on information you have about people and what they’ve already purchased. For example, someone who has straightened their teeth may be interested in cosmetic bonding or spare retainers.

Get referrals – Referrals are a critical part of building your business by delivering services patients are thrilled about, and by sending reminders and incentives for those services. By making sure this happens every time for every patient, the number of referrals can only increase in your practice.

For a practice that wants to do more specialty procedures such as braces or dental implants, and is investing in ads, adwords, and other promotional activities, a marketing automation system is essential to get a higher return on investment. It is also essential to help deliver a service that patients love sothey’ll refer their friends. The beauty of the software is that it runs automatically and can remind your team of their next action, so noone slips through the cracks.

If you want to learn more request your free guide at

ALSO BY DR. AALOK YASHWANT SHUKLA:What are the barriers that keep your practice from growing?

Dr. Aalok Y. Shukla is vice president at the European Society of Aesthetic Orthodontics, an owner at Clickconvertsell - Create a High Performance Dental Pratice, and the owner of I Love Straight Teeth. Dr. Shukla studied at the London School of Medicine and Dentistry. Follow him on Twitter @sales_automator.