Three tough questions for your dentist marketing plan

Jan. 15, 2013
Last week, I addressed the three steps every dentist should take when creating and implementing their marketing plans. This week is less about the “how” and more about the “what.”

Last week, I addressed the three steps every dentist should take when creating and implementing their marketing plans. If you missed it, take a look – it is an important piece to focus on when we address these tough questions.

Here is a quick summary of last week’s implementation strategy: Every marketing plan should have goals. Focus on measuring the results of your marketing. Make adjustments to your plan to achieve your goals. Plan, measure, adjust. This week is less about the “how” and more about the “what.” What questions do we need to answer when we are making this marketing plan?

1. How do I get new patients?
During my time working with dentists, I have heard hundreds of different ways dentists attempt to attract new patients to their office. The traditional idea of sending out flyers and mailers to your community certainly hasn’t died out, but there are many new marketing tactics to consider. I have heard of incredibly powerful Groupon and LivingSocial marketing plansthat far surpass the dentist’s goals. I even met a dentist who handed business cards to parents as they left a candy store.

How to build a perfect dental marketing plan
Using Internet marketing to grow your practice
The growing importance of social media for dentists

The next time you sit down to think about marketing, write down the five most important marketing tactics you use to attract potential patients. Also write down how many new patients you need to make it worth your time and money. Come back to this sheet of paper every month to determine how well you are at these five essential marketing tactics. If you come back a month later and say, “I have no idea how many new patients these advertisements booked,” you should

2. How do I increase re-scheduled patients?
Just because you were able to book a patient once does not mean you are finished. People will forget when they need to clean their teeth and even forget who cleans their teeth. Marketing is required to ensure those follow-up appointments occur.

Before the year begins, check how many of your existing patients were due for a cleaning in December and how many actually confirmed or booked their visit. Now this month, see how many are due for an appointment in January and focus on improving your confirmed appointment percentage. If last month you were able to book 50% of those existing patients, a reasonable goal would be to book 60% this month.

3. How do I increase revenues?
Dr. Mike spent $3,000 building a video about smile makeovers. It took him multiple hours and even a few weekends to create, publish, and distribute the video. During the first three months, the advertisement only drove a single phone call. Was the advertisement worth the time and money? At first glace it doesn’t seem like it. However, what if that call resulted in a booked appointment for a patient who was interested in a $300,000 operation? If I were Dr. Mike, I would consider spending a few more weekends making videos. The point I am trying to make is that different advertisements may have different goals or different targets. Focus your marketing and the results of you marketing to best suit your office’s needs.

If your office needs more family patients, market to families. Make a goal of 10 new families this month and see which of your marketing tactics brought more families. Remember to focus on the results and make adjustments.

Patient Pursuit drives more new patients by making it easy for dentists to see where their patients are coming from and how well their staff is handling the calls. Reach out to me if you are interested in hearing more about implementing an effective dental marketing plan. See you at the Southwest Dental Conference in Dallas! January 17-19.

Keaton Marks is the Dental Marketing Consultant at Century Interactive. He helps dentists understand which marketing tactics are driving patients and what happens on the office phones. Keaton grew up in San Diego, attended Cornell University, and now lives in Dallas. He can be reached at 214-377-0704 or [email protected]. Check out his blog.