You have likely heard the old adage, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” It’s better to value and appreciate what you already have. It’s cheaper, too. A lot of dental practices have no idea what their cost-per-patient acquisition is. Have you calculated your costs for every new butt in your chair?
More Time Not More Money
Dentists, and a lot of marketers for that matter, almost completely ignore the profit potential sitting idle within their existing patient base. If you’ve read any of my blogs, you’ve likely heard me promoting the idea that dentists and their teams need to spend more time on their marketing, not more money.
You don’t have to discount dentistry or constantly chase higher new patient numbers. The truth is, there is likely a mountain of profitability right where you are.
The Power of Storytelling In Your Marketing
It all starts with storytelling. You have a story. Your practice has a story. Your patients have a story. Dentistry is unique in that there is a high-level of intimacy between you and your patients, plus a pretty universal anxiety/fear attached to your relationship. Understanding and expressing empathy is a great starting point for building a valuable connection.
Maximizing your patient experience is where I always recommend dentists start. Are you packing as much into your schedule as humanly possible? What do you think that is doing to your patient experience? Could case acceptance increase if you or a member of the hygiene team spent a little more time chairside? I don’t mean to play Devil’s advocate, but I always encourage practices to think about the experience, start to finish, as honestly as possible.
Next, all elements of the brand need to be reviewed and synergized. Your website, social media, SEO strategy, and reviews and testimonials all need to work together to promote integrity, trust, professionalism, cleanliness, etc. Consumers put a lot of emphasis on the experience of others even after a referral from a trusted friend or family member. Analyzing, optimizing and executing a cohesive marketing and branding strategy is no easy feat.
I know many, if not all of you, are already actively asking for reviews. What are you doing with those reviews after you have them? Are you just leaving them on Google or Facebook? Are you posting them on social media, along with photos and video of other happy patients? You need to be. Your existing patients wield the most power of persuasion for potential new patients. Not stock photography models.
Your Dental Practice Sales Approach
Aside from just reviews and a strong social media following, you should review your sales process. What happens once a patient confirms their appointment? Stop chasing sales after the appointment. Sell in the lead-up time to the appointment.
Over the years, I’ve had the honor of spending time with Revenuewell founder, Alex Nudel. Alex is a huge proponent for preemptive selling to patients once they confirm their appointment. It really works and it can change the profitability of your practice.
All you need to do is send a quick video message promoting products and services, like whitening for example, on the front end of hygiene visits. Most people want white teeth. Give them the option to add it before their visit. They can know and adjust their schedule for the added time during the appointment.
Most people say “no” chairside because:
- They don’t feel connected to you. You haven’t gained their trust.
- They haven’t been presented financing options beforehand.
- They don’t fully understand the value of the treatment
- They simply don’t have time.
Spend a little extra time and send this information and their options ahead of the appointment. Use video! It’s powerful and will get much more engagement than standard text.
You’ll be surprised how many people say yes!
I’m not saying new patients aren’t important. They are. However, focusing on existing patients will always provide tremendous upside for the practice. With a little extra time and care you will connect and build a bond that promotes loyalty and case-acceptance. Each member of your tribe will likely promote you to their family and friends, leave you great reviews, engage with you on social media, and stay with you for the long-term.
Start marketing products and services in the lead-up to appointments, not after the fact. Understand that patients are busy and need to “pencil you in”, to their lives, too. Maybe they would love to accept professional whitening after a cleaning, they can’t because they didn’t plan the extra time. This is a silly reason to lose revenue. Give options for treatment and products before. Shoot quick videos and add them to your confirmation, reminder and reactivation email sequences. Have your team text or call. You have options!
This marketing approach is slower. It’s not flashy or sexy. It will take more time and effort. But the ROI is there. Understanding human behavior and maximizing the relationship with each patient can and does lead to strong, steady growth.
Look at your patient experience and overall marketing presence. Give it an honest review. You can chat with a Dental Marketing Expert on our homepage anytime, too. Stop by today for a risk-free, zero-obligation audit of your existing website and SEO strategy.
You can email me at email@example.com for more information or call 913.214.8502.
Are you paying over $500 per month for an SEO strategy that isn’t producing new patients? As a dentist, you are a local specialty service provider. A complex and expensive SEO strategy isn’t needed to drive local new patients to your office. Even if you practice in multiple locations, local search needs to be set up, effectively, for each market. Google estimates around 73% of all, yes all, online activity are from customers looking for local businesses in their area. This is advantageous for your dental practice and should be a cornerstone of your new patient strategy. The best part… you can do this yourself. Here’s what you need to know to get new patients in your practice.
Own Your Google Business Listing
Optimize your Google Business listing. I mean really knock it out of the park. First, claim your listing. Verify it. Next, go through and thoroughly complete your Google Business Listing. This will serve two purposes:
- One, it will help patients find you.
- Google will rank you higher if your listing is complete versus one that is incomplete. *Make sure that you select specific categories for your business.
Own Targeted Local PPC
If your plans for your practice include global conquest, that’s great. Most likely though, your ads don’t need to be seen by everyone all over the world. By setting up targeting, your ads will only display in a certain location or set of locations as specified. We recommend a 5-mile radius around the practice location. However, in more rural/urban locations, the radius may fluctuate.
Own Call Tracking
Your practice needs a solution to track and measure phone calls. Setup a call tracking phone number for every new patient source like Facebook, Google, radio, etc. This will help you to see which sources are producing new patients and which are not. Thus, you can optimize your advertising budget to profitable channels and make your marketing dollars much more intentional. This call tracking number needs to be connected to your Google Business Listing so that AdWords will pull the number into ads through it’s “location extension” feature. This allows more phone calls to generate on local searches and improve your AdWords quality score.
That’s it! That’s the “secret sauce” of effective local search. Sounds easy right? Not necessarily. You can do this yourself. However, we can make it easy by providing solutions to create, implement and manage all of the above for you. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy the stream of new patients.
You Deserve More
As a dentist, you deserve more. You deserve more than overpriced services and the confusion, frustration, even fear that can come with any marketing agency’s pitch. There are a lot of fancy words floating around out there like SEO, PPC, keywords, ranking, etc. I’ve heard them all as I am sure you have, too. The truth is, SEO is important. However, it should not cost you an arm and a leg.
Common SEO Problems
Many dental practices are struggling in the same areas of SEO, so I put together a new e-book all about the 5 most common SEO mistakes that dental practices make. You can pick up a free copy here, but first, I want to talk about your brand. You see, SEO and PPC and a website that costs thousands aren’t the Pandora’s box that unlocks the riches of modern dentistry for you. It’s all important, but the fact is, your patient is buying you. Most consumers don’t care to know the details of a procedure, how expensive your tech is, how much granite you’ve had installed or the number of flat screen TVs you’ve got. Those aspects tie into an awesome patient experience no-doubt, but in the end, they are buying you. People want a dentist they like, know, and trust. Think about it, how many of you have that office in town that’s been there forever, they do little to no marketing, and they are still killing it in the production department? No matter what promo or discounts you run or what you give away, the majority of those patients will not leave. Ringing any bells?
Stop Wasting Marketing Dollars
The fact is, you can spend a ton of money on marketing. I have been in dental marketing for years and I have seen no fiscal investment outweigh a dentist who is willing to invest time in their community and social media. Referrals will always be your strongest marketing pipeline. When I say strongest, I mean those patients that stay with you for years, that make their recall appointments, that accept treatment and that pay their debts. Quality patients. That is the bread and butter of profitable dentistry.
Will quality patients walk-in off the street, too? Absolutely. But, delighting your existing patient base will work wonders for your bottom line versus trying to win over cold leads. Invest in your practice, in your team, and in your patients. Connect with the community. Start a blog. Branding is where I’ve seen dental practices really take their marketing to the next level, and I have tried it all.
In the coming months, I’m going to be sharing a lot of content that I hope you enjoy and that can help you and your colleagues see real growth. I look forward to the journey together.
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Were you one of the first to jump on the dental website bandwagon? Do you have a website that’s 20, 10, or even just five years old? Did you shop for the lowest bidder and then accept your current design without fully understanding digital marketing strategy? If so, what was once a great move to improve your visibility may now actually be hiding you from potential patients. Here are three previous best practices that could be hurting your local SEO today.
The way individual web pages are created has changed drastically over the years. Today, you can use a main template and central administrator settings to change page titles, menus and background images across all of your pages. Previously, each individual web page needed to be created by hand. If you wanted to change your menu, you had to adjust every page. To get around this, developers started using frames. Each page might have two or more frames. You’d have the main content frame, a side menu frame, possibly a header frame and maybe even a footer frame. The problem was that search engines couldn’t put the frames together and saw them as separate web pages that didn’t have enough content to rank. If your website has frames, you need to upgrade it ASAP.
2. Image Header
Many websites had, and some still use, a nice image at the top of each page with the company’s name and logo in fancy font. The problem is search engines can’t read images. If your company name is in an image, a search engine can’t figure out who you are. If you want to come up in searches for your dentist’s names, your practice name should be included in text.
3. Fixed Layouts
As website designs got more sophisticated, developers needed new ways to control the layouts. One way was by assigning fixed widths and heights to web pages as a whole, as well as individual items within each web page. This worked when web pages were only viewed on computer monitors that were all roughly the same size. Today, your website needs to look good on a big desktop computer, a small laptop, and most importantly as a mobile site for a phone. Because so many searches are now done on mobile devices, search engines push you down in the rankings if your website doesn’t work well on them. Do yourself and your practice a favor and build a new website that is designed and optimized for mobile devices. Make sure your local registry information is correct and accurate.
If you need a dental website, content, blogging or video, mailers or other dental marketing assistance we have solutions for you! We know dentistry and we know dental marketing. Contact GrowPracticeGrow today and talk to a dental marketing expert!