Do Your Potential Patients Know Your Dental Practice Exists?

Effective marketing can mean the difference between a successful, thriving business and one that’s just barely making ends meet. A clear, consistent marketing plan attracts the right customers, at the right time, in the right location. If they have a good experience, these patients then share your practice with others, come back for dental services, and the cycle continues. If this happens regularly, you’re likely to have a thriving dental practice. But what happens if you don’t reach these target customers?

They don’t discover your business, so they go elsewhere. And you (and your practice) suffer for it.

Luckily, there are some surefire ways to market your business, and are well worth it because of the return on investment (ROI). Interested to know if you’re taking advantage of these effective marketing channels for your business? Read on.

 

LIST YOUR PRACTICE ON GOOGLE MY BUSINESS

If you haven’t listed your business on Google, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. Customers who search for dental practices typically are from your local community. And because they’re already searching for dentists on Google, you’ll be able to see what brings your patients to your door. That information alone is beyond valuable.

 

GET IN TOUCH WITH YOUR LOCAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

Have you joined your Local Chamber of Commerce yet? Since most dental practices are based locally, this marketing strategy is a great choice for you. Once a member, most local chamber chapters give you the option to list your business in their main directory. You can also participate in networking and other organized events throughout the year for additional community exposure.

 

BE ACTIVE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Social media remains an effective and popular marketing channel for many businesses. In today’s fast-paced digital world, social media provides a way for you to keep up with your customer’s demands, expectations, and desires easily. Customer service usage options abound. You can even create targeted ads to reach your patients that perhaps may not have found you otherwise.

 

CREATE EMAIL MARKETING CAMPAIGNS

While social media is great, don’t forget about tried-and-true marketing strategies like email marketing and direct mail. Did you know that a recent study showed that 99% of Americans check their email at least once a day? That’s a lot of potential eyes on your content. If you haven’t built an email list for your dental practice, start today. Email marketing can be particularly helpful for retaining current patients, which can end up being more lucrative to you and your business than acquiring new patients alone. Try sending a monthly email newsletter or put together an email drip campaign that provides recipients with valuable information.

 

INVEST IN DIRECT MAIL ADVERTISING COLLATERAL

Finally, direct mail marketing collateral can be an effective way to market your business, particularly if you target patients in and around your physical practice. Send out a basic flyer with an introductory offer or collaborate with other local businesses to cross-promote your services.

 

WANT MORE GUIDANCE?

It can be time-consuming and frustrating to try and figure out the most effective way to market your particular dental practice. If you want personalized guidance by a fellow dentist and dental practice owner that’s been there, contact Dr. Coughlin today. We will help you find the right marketing approach that’s based on your specific ideal target audience that effectively meets your business goals.

 

 

The Importance of Reviews for your Dental Practice

Did you know that 87% of consumers won’t consider a local business with low online ratings, 44% pay attention to the quantity of reviews, and 69% only find relevance in current reviews? These statistics play a significant role in a potential patient’s decision-making process when they are evaluating dental offices and deciding who to call. When consumers are looking to decide on a local business, they trust what others have to say about their experiences and the reviews help to build credibility. It is important to be on top of these reviews, and if you time does not allow, hire someone to manage this for you.

You can spend money on advertising, but if your online reviews are not good or non-existent, you are decreasing your chances of a patient choosing your office as their dental office. In order to effectively manage your online reputation, you need to focus on three things; review monitoring, review responding, and review generation.

• Review Monitoring: Monitoring your online reviews is important so you know what people are saying about your business. There are many review sites that patients could be going to and leaving feedback and without monitoring, you would be unaware of these reviews. Plus, the feedback is critical to your online rating. If you don’t know what is being said, then you cannot respond, engage, learn of areas to improve, or address any concerns.

• Review Responding: It is in best practice to respond to all comments about your business, both positive and negative. Responding to the positive reviews publicly shows you appreciate feedback and opens the lines of communication for future engagement. Responding to any negative reviews is important for damage control and continuous improvement.

• Review Generation: There are many ways to collect new reviews from patients. You can post your review links to your social media outlets, asking current patients to review your business. You can also train your staff to ask patients to leave reviews while they are in your dental office. The most effective way is to make it easy for patients to review you by giving them the direct link for the review site by either emailing or texting them a direct link. Using direct links make it easy for them and results in the highest acceptance rate.

A dental office’s online reputation plays an important role in generating new patients for your office. This can be done internally by setting up systems or by hiring an agency to handle the processes for you. With 90% of consumers looking at online reviews before making decisions, it is important to make managing your online reputation a priority.

Diversify Your Marketing to Grow Your Dental Practice

Most dental practices are eager to grow their patient list, but they don’t know the best way to go about it. Marketing can be highly confusing, and many practices simply do not have time to develop a cohesive marketing plan. There are three common results:

  1. Your team becomes so confused and overwhelmed that you end up doing nothing.
  2. You put all your eggs in one basket, throwing all your marketing dollars at a single solution.
  3. You spread your funds among too many options, making it difficult to have any real impact.

The Buying Decision Lifecycle

Fortunately, there is hope. Planned and controlled diversity is the best way to spend your marketing budget. Think through the process that prospective patients go through to make an appointment. There are three basic steps:

  1. The prospect hears about you in some way, such as a referral or a piece of advertising. However, he does not respond immediately. In general, consumers need 3 to 5 introductions to a business before they respond.
  2. The prospect researches you online. He will visit your website, read your reviews, and gather information about you, your practice, and your services.
  3. The prospect calls, emails, or completes an online form to schedule an appointment.

To maximize your return on investment (ROI) for your marketing dollars, then, you need to reach prospects at all three points in the sales funnel. Diversify your efforts between internal cheerleaders, external advertising, and your website.

Internal Cheerleaders

Your existing patients and staff members serve as valuable introductions to prospective new patients. Ask them to refer their family and friends to your practice, and to post positive reviews online. The key is getting them to do this consistently.

Invest some of your marketing dollars in referral cards for patients to hand out and in marketing materials placed around the office that remind patients to write reviews. Encourage your staff to talk to patients about referrals, and discuss the referral process at team meetings. You might even consider giving referrals a slight discount on their first appointment and/or giving a small reward to patients and staff for each referral who completes an initial appointment.

External Advertising

Once your reviews and referrals are flowing in, start marketing to your larger community. When planning your ad campaigns, remember that you need 3 to 5 introductions to each prospect. It is better to pay for a smaller advertisement that you can repeat each month than a huge glossy one that you can only afford once or twice per year. Press releases, cards or flyers at the office of someone who provides complementary services, and even writing a column for your community’s website are just a few inexpensive ways to keep your name in the public eye.

Website Considerations

It is virtually impossible these days to grow your practice without a website, but not just any website will do. Modern consumers expect a website that is well-designed, engaging, mobile friendly, and packed with useful information. It should give them reassurance that they are choosing the right dentist, and it should make it easy to see how to schedule an appointment.

Diversifying your marketing dollars throughout the buying decision lifecycle is the key to growing your patient base. For maximum ROI, focus on internal cheerleaders, external advertising, and a website that will seal the deal.

Ready to Get Started?

If you are interested in learning how to take your dental practice to the next level, please contact Ascent Dental Solutions today at 413-224-2659 to learn how Dr. Coughlin can help.

Do you want to grow your dental practice? Throw out the box!

It’s an expression so common that it’s become a cliche:, “you have to think outside the box.”

But whether you are inside the box or outside the box, it’s still seen as the “safe space” you can retreat to when things get tough. But is it really that safe?

Let’s take a look at the current state of our business.   

  • The cost of a dental education continues to skyrocket with an average student debt of almost $300.000!  
  • There are more Dentists than ever electing to become employee’s rather than owners
  • Dental insurance companies are still squeezing the profit out of every procedure making it more and more difficult to be profitable.

Meanwhile, Managed Service Organizations are growing faster and making it even more difficult for solo practitioners or small group practices to succeed.  

So I say that it’s time to throw out the box if you want to compete and succeed on your own terms.

There are no shortage of consultants out there ready to give you answers. But most of them have never practiced dentistry. So they have a very limited view of what we are capable of doing and where our businesses can find opportunities to grow.

I still practice dentistry five days a week and I’ve built a large dental practice in Massachusetts with 14 locations providing a full range  of dental care to patients.However, changing rules, regulations, and dental insurances are taking a toll. Every year things just seem to get tighter and tighter with very few options on the table to grow.

At least that’s the way it seems if you aren’t willing to kick aside expectations and look for opportunity.

About five years ago I started to implement Botox and Dermal fillers into the Practice. This is a natural progression for dentists and I am here to say to embrace these cosmetic treatments!  Get trained, get your team on board and be aggressive and proactive! I challenge you to consider additional treatment modalities that allow you to side-step insurance companies altogether because they are strictly fee-based.

Your position as a trusted practitioner in your community makes you uniquely qualified to perform additional services at a high level and for a full fee

In addition to Botox and Derma fillers, some other treatment options to consider adding to your offerings include:

  • Radiofrequency treatments (RF) to tighten the skin around the face and neck. Each treatment takes only 5-10 minutes and maintenance is every 4-12 months.
  • Laser treatments to remove red and brown spots on and/or around the face, spider veins, unwanted hair and tattoos as well as scar tissue or wrinkles. Each treatment takes between 25-60 minutes and usually can be completed in 2-4 visit with each visit scheduled 4-6 weeks apart.
  • You can also use both RF and Laser to remove unwanted adipose tissue under the chin, sub mental area inner and outer thighs and abdomen.  These treatments usually can be completed in 2-6 treatments scheduled 6-8 weeks apart and each session lasting between 25-60 minutes.
  • Hydra facials, which replenish the youthfulness of the skin in 30-40 minutes taking years off your patients skin and is maintained by a follow up visit every other month.
  • Kybella injections in the sub mental area to remove unwanted fat or adipose tissue causing the dreaded double chin.
  • PDO sutures or what is commonly referred to as a lunchtime facelift almost instantly taking years off your face.

Does the thought of providing these services scare you? IT shouldn’t! We may not be Dermatologists or Plastic Surgeons, but we are skilled practitioners who are well positioned to elevate Spa Dentistry to something far above warm towels, relaxing music and simple massages.

You already have a captive clientele.  A majority of our patients want to improve their looks.  If they aren’t getting it from you they will find an alternate service provider to do it.  Take the action steps necessary to position yourself for the future.

For Dentist’s who remember a time when the fee you charged was actually your reimbursement, the proposed treatment options I’m suggesting are all fee for service!  They are all considered elective, non-surgical and the demand is high. Interest and awareness is enormous so consider adding additional procedures and services to you practice today.  Be first to implement this in your area – not the last.

Of course you need to be aware of your  state’s regulations. Some states may require you to work indirectly or directly under a Physician’s license.  Other states may require you to have an Esthetician’s license. However in most cases, you will delegate these procedures to a Physician Assistant, Nurse or Lic. Esthetician

In 1983, my first year in business, I put in my first dental implant.  Back then there were enormous resistance,s, but today, only 3 decades later, it is considered the standard of care in many cases.  So throw out that box, step out of your comfort zone and consider the possibilities!

Kevin Coughlin DMD, MAGD, MBA, LE is a practicing general dentist, who has a consulting business, Ascent Dental Solutions LLC, with a focus on education, training development and knowledge. Dr. Coughlin has a Non-Surgical company called Ascent Laser Aesthetics LLC.  He has taught practice management, lectured and written six books on the business of dentistry with an expertise in dealing with MSO’s and DSO’s. Dr. Coughlin has over 100 podcast on Apple radio, Ascent Radio and several webinars. His last book is the Non-Surgical Guide to Aesthetics, available on Amazon, to help patients and clients along with team members to understand quickly and easily options to make you beautiful on the outside.