Let’s get right to the fact that many dental practice owners don’t want to come to terms with.
Dental marketing is not only a critical system—it’s the most important system in your practice operations.
We understand that many dentists tend to view marketing as some complex, magic formula of creative writing and imagery. However, while a successful marketing campaign is tedious and time-consuming to implement— it’s not magic, it’s a proven process. If you want to grasp how to approach your dental marketing campaign, you need to know what marketing is. It might help you to think of marketing in the way that we define it here at SiteJab.
Marketing is the process of convincing someone who has a need you can fill, to trust and like you.
While it can be argued what like or trust means in the dental industry, our definition is the foundation of it all. Here are the core tenets that make the SiteJab dental marketing system so successful. Our clients nationwide that trust the process and implement these tenets experience exponential growth in revenue and public trust. Having the trust of the public you serve is the ultimate key to earning and retaining patient’s loyalty. However, before you can lay the foundation you have to define a couple of baselines.
One of the major reasons practices fail at marketing themselves is not for a lack of effort but a lack of focus. Too many practices end up trying to be a perfect fit for all things and all people. They don’t purposely try to do this—it stems from a lack of focus.
Why is this approach bad for business and growth? It can be compared to running a farm—if you want to be profitable you have to plant the right crops. You also have to home in on a select handful of the most valuable crops and excel at them. If you grow 40 different types of crops but turnout mediocre produce across the boars—that dilutes your brand.
The same goes for your practice. Most dental practices work best when serving a narrowly defined segment— a sweet spot of sorts. When you narrow down your market segment you set your practice up to be more efficient. You enable it to translate that efficiency into a smooth patient experience and establish authority in that segment.
If you are chasing too many segments—you will achieve mediocrity in each one at best.
The way to narrow down the segment you wish to serve is by defining the type of patient in that segment. For example, if you are wanting to focus on high profitability segments there’s a type of patient for that. In this case, you would be focusing on higher income bracket patients that seek more expensive cosmetic procedures like dental implants.
If you are seeking to grow your practice into multiple satellite locations—you might go for volume over high profitable procedures. General dentistry that is geared towards the entire family would be an example of this. Your patients would likely be middle-class families seeking value and pediatric dentistry.
There is a very high risk of a negative view of your practice when you don’t define your ideal patient. How this happens is you cast a wide net and appeal to all types of patients. You get a patient, for example, that is looking for luxury dentistry for implants. However, your practice is really only general dentistry and you outsource oral surgeries. That patient seeking luxury services is expecting state of the art, in-house services, not a referral. That may leave you with a bad review despite providing rather excellent service. When you define your ideal patient and market in such a manner—patients know what you are and what you aren’t. It leads to a much better patient-practice experience;-but how do you find your ideal patient?
For some practices, the ideal patient might be as simple as patients that can afford your services and what you charge. That’s just basic economics 101. For others though, they might value a fewer amount of patients that spend much more on average.
It’s important to target your ideal patient—as mentioned before, less than ideal patients can stifle growth. For example, a patient who is a red flag, less than ideal patient might be one that consistently misses appointments. They may say they have the finances to afford the services they want, but, they never follow through. You waste precious time with these patients when ideal patients could be filling those slots.
Follow these five steps and apply them to your current patient database. The results will tell you everything you need to know about who your ideal patient is.
Now that you have your ideal patients the next step is to talk to them. Why? Because you want to find out why they chose your practice. You want to find out why they referred you to their friends and family. The responses to these and other key questions will answer an important question about your practice. This will give you the second baseline you will need to develop a successful dental marketing strategy.
Dental practices must create or discover what makes them different from their competition as part of a successful dental marketing strategy. This isn’t a groundbreaking concept, but it is very difficult to get most practices to do this. Every practice wants to believe that what they do is revolutionary or unique, but let’s just be honest—usually, it’s not.
In reality, most practices claim to or actually do the exact same thing their competition does. The key to setting your practice apart is actually your patients. Your patient’s views about your practice and why they trust and like you are powerful. Ask your best patients some pointed questions to discover why they choose and stay with your practice.
Granted, not all clients, even your best ones are going to be willing to expound much. They may give answers like clean offices or great service. Don’t be afraid to lead them a bit with follow-ups like, “what does great service look like?” Another great, revealing follow-up is “Tell me about an instance where we provided great service.”
These questions will give you answers that probably aren’t the most refined or flashy. However, what patients usually notice is how the experience is served to them. It’s how the front desk greets them, the professionalism of the assistants, the chairside manner of the dentists. The above and beyond services and the way the experience makes them feel is what people buy into.
Once you have your baselines you can focus on the foundation component of dental marketing: The marketing funnel. This is what begins the process that leads to sales opportunities which is what we’re after.
This helps potential patients get to know your practice. It enables you to visualize the journey from prospect to a patient and develop sales support. It can be broken down into two activities that are essential to the entire process.
There is no practice if you don’t have patients—in order to attract patients, people need to know about your practice. This is what lead generation centers on—creating campaigns that build awareness of your practice. Direct mail, web advertising, TV/radio ads, social media, and other marketing tactics are used to sell your brand. If done properly, those efforts will generate interest and leads.
While lead generation is part of the battle, lead nurturing is the process of turning those leads into paying patients. However, you need to put some effort in here—they’re not just going to show up on their own. You have to guide them from lead to patient by following up with them.
In an internal study we conducted, follow-ups by phone convert at a respectable 70%. Phone calls are awesome, they require little effort and are easy to get done. However, contact forms on websites have a weak conversion rate of about 30%. Most of those lackluster numbers are due to failing to maximize on those web contact forms received. So, focus on your contact form follow-ups as they need the most work. After all, dental marketing is all about creating a conversion.
Since phone follow-ups historically convert well, we are going to focus on responding to web contact forms that give us that open door. Remember, don’t feel like you’re imposing on prospects—they initiated the contact because they want to hear more.
TIMING AND PERSISTENCE IS KEY
GUIDE PATIENTS—LIMIT THEIR OPTIONS
Ever been to a restaurant with over 100 dishes on the menu? Figuring out what to order can be overwhelming right? Dentistry can be the same way for new patients—you need to guide them where you want them to go.
Think of yourself as a flight attendant and you’re trying to get them and hundreds of others to their seats. You don’t have the time to spend 30 minutes on a call while they mull over what they want and when. For example, instead of asking them “What time and day would you like to book for?” Tell them something like, “I have 3 pm on Monday available, what number should I send an appointment reminder text to?”
REVIEW COLD LEADS AND TRY TO BOOK THEM
Cold leads are calls that came in but did not result in a booking, or they called to ask questions only. In these cases, it doesn’t hurt to follow up again. Mention the doctor by name and let them know they personally want to invite them in for a free consultation. What you’re doing is creating a personal connection and conveying to the patient that they are valued. The patient will see that the dentist cares about them and is looking after their well-being.
We are always transparent in our dealings with clients—what we do, you can do; it’s not rocket science. However, your income is derived from dentistry, not dental marketing. What we do is very time-consuming not difficult, but it’s how we earn a living. You don’t have the time to do what we can do for your practice. You also don’t have the time to give it the proper attention to details it needs.
At SiteJab we make it effortless and effective for you to reap the benefits of dental marketing. We put in the man-hours and you bank the profits it brings it. Contact us today to grow your practice to the level you are envisioning.