Posts

The Big Marketing Secret: Generating more profit by focusing on existing patients instead of chasing new patients.

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!

Conclusion

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 sean@growpracticegrow.com for more information or call 913.214.8502.