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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.    

The Best Times to Post on Social Media

Is social media working for your practice?  I know it can be extremely confusing to know what to post and when to post it.  We can get more into that as we discuss branding later, but for now, let’s just get you in the habit of posting regularly and at the best times.  Let me preface this blog with a disclaimer, this data may not be exactly accurate for your particular dental practice.  Every practice is different.  Every patient base is different.  This blog is meant to provide some initial best practices so that you can monitor and adjust your social media plan for your specific audience as it performs.  Social media is not set it and forget it.

Think of each social media platform as a different television channel.  You may watch ABC, ESPN, HGTV, MTV, etc. and all for very different reasons.  You get different content on different channels and in different formats.  That’s social media.  You will not want to engage your Facebook followers the same way you engage your Instagram audience, Twitter followers, etc.  Spend some time with your team and decide on a strategy for each channel.  Less is more here.  Focus on becoming really good at one or two platforms versus trying to do everything.  For example, you don’t need a Snapchat, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.  Just pick a couple and do them really, really well.

Based on my experience working with dental practices across the country, these are the trends I have seen in various social media strategies.  I like to encourage offices to focus on Facebook and Instagram first.  If you can blog too that’s great! 

A dentist needs a blog.  Read more about dental practice blogging here.

Facebook

Facebook is still the top dog when it comes to DAU or daily active users.  The best day of the week to post is usually Thursday.  Weekdays from 10am to 6pm tend to perform strongly as well.  Typically, when people are on their breaks or lunch break, engagement will go up.  Weekends aren’t super strong for patient engagement, but it can be a great time to work on your blog!  PS:  Join my Free Facebook Group here!

Instagram

Instagram is a platform that a lot of dentists still don’t take advantage of.  In my experience, it’s the hesitation to learn another social media platform and to find the time to hassle with the technology, but it is so worth it!  Instagram is a great place to share before/after photos, photos of the office and the team, patient engagement and having fun, etc.  Buy props and make a photo booth in a private corner of the office.  Have a caption contest!  Bottom line is to have fun and show your patients that your office has some character.  This is great for your brand!

You can learn about using Instagram for your dental practice here.  

Pinterest

I have not really jumped on the “dental practice marketing on Pinterest” train, but don’t let that dissuade you.  Some of my clients have and they enjoy it very much.  As far as I am concerned, any place that you can engage with more people is good!  So go for it!  Saturday night is the night for Pinterest activity.  Be sure to put some thought into your board layout and use smart names for your boards so they are searchable and relevant to the audience (use great keywords here).  Try to save pins consistently.  Pinterest is different in that as your content starts to build, more people will find you (it’s a lot like blogging).  Be patient and be persistent.

Twitter

In my opinion, Twitter is the most overwhelming social media platform out there.  You feel like a literal needle in a haystack.  Multiple haystacks at that.  An ocean full of haystacks.  Even so, your brand can benefit from an active Twitter handle.  Twitter is great for sharing articles of curated content, photos, infographics, and links to other local businesses.  Typically, Twitter activity stays pretty strong in the later hours of the day, but don’t force yourself out of family time by constantly trying to gain followers.  I set three instances in my calendar every day for Twitter.  Each session is 15 minutes.  For that time period, I focus 100% on tweeting, re-tweeting, responding, reacting, creating and scheduling.  That’s all it takes for me. 

Summary

Connect with GPG by clicking on the links in the headings above.  You can also get a high res copy of the Best Times to Post on Social Media infographic at the link below.  Hang it up in the office and use it as a guide!  I hope you find these tips helpful and that you start to use social media to document and tell your story.  Build and invest in your brand and connect with people.  Focus on building your tribe and watch the shift in your practice profitability.  Referrals will always be your strongest new patient source.  Cultivate them by engaging with your audience on social media.  The juice is definitely worth the squeeze!

 

Download your own copy of GPG’s Social Media Scheduling Tips.