Easy-to-execute marketing ideas for all types of dental practices
Taking the time to develop a solid marketing strategy will pay off for your dental practice in many ways.
Marketing impacts every facet of your business, big or small. From creating buzz and interest in your practice, to appointment setting, to billing, to follow-up communications, to how your practice looks – a well-thought out and executed marketing strategy will address every aspect of your dental practice operations.
Here are three major components of a dental marketing strategy and easy-to-execute ideas for each one.
Patient services – go above and beyond the core services and offer value-added incentives
Demonstrate through action that you are patient-centric. Loyalty and reward incentives are common. Developing these types of programs will differentiate your practice and make a bold statement of appreciation to your patients. Many are easy to execute and require little effort, time, and money.
• Offer an incentive to patients who keep appointments (i.e., free spin brush, $15 off visit) and communicate the incentive during reminder calls.
• Reward patients who follow through on recommended treatment plans – give a special savings offer, extend a complimentary service that aligns with the recommended treatment plan, or donate a small percentage of proceeds to a charity or school.
• Patient loyalty is the cornerstone of success. Give your best patients a “thank you” reward. This reward should be quantifiable to patients (i.e., if your best patient has insurance that covers two cleanings per year, your offer of a free cleaning isn’t quantifiable).
To ensure you maintain your profit goals, you have to sit down each year and plan your reward system. These programs impact your bottom line and require you to build the costs into your fee structure.
Targeting – close the gap between the patients you want and the patients in today’s marketplace
There are many factors changing the marketplace today, and like any other business, practice managers are forced to evaluate these changes and the impact on practice profit and long-term sustainability. In addition to emerging industry dynamics, such as corporate dentistry and insurance reimbursement pressures, consumer reality is the big elephant in the room. A recent Gallup study* shows one third of Americans haven’t made a visit to the dentist during the past year, and it shows a decline in visits among all groups surveyed with the exception of the 65+ age group.
An out-of-the-box marketing idea is to meet patients where they are in order to increase your patient base and profits. As you strategically develop your business goals, think about how you can turn those unwanted patients into profits. How can you modify or scale down a patient visit, making it more affordable, while still making money?
It makes marketing and doing business simple and easy to target the high-income patient. Almost every practice target this profile which creates challenges in growing the patient count and filling schedules. The extent of an independent dental practices’ success will depend on its ability to become agile and align itself according to what the market will bear.
Branding – characterize your dental practice persona
Developing congruency throughout your practice impacts your patient’s experience and overall perceptions. Baseline standards should be established and include:
• A unique logo and tagline (sounds simple but often overlooked by physicians of all types)
• A specific and consistent color scheme and font type
• Etiquette requirements for every patient, on every visit (a proactive service approach)
Successful branding will position your practice as business professional and patient-centric, and it will encourage confidence in your patients that they made a great choice.
Check out our latest dental marketing strategy videoand other dental marketing resources to help you grow your patient base. Call 877-725-6826 to obtain a free customized local market insights report, and ask for Brent.
*Source: 2014 Gallup Well Being Survey
Brent Headley is a dental marketing consultant at Mudlick Mail, the direct mail experts. He has been helping dental practices across North America grow their patient count year after year. Mudlick Mail is a full service direct mail marketing company. Visit mudlickmail.com for more dental marketing resources. Find Brent on LinkedIn.