4 marketing strategies already proven to bring in new dental patients

Here's a marketing question: Wouldn't it be nice to forgo the trial and error that seems to go hand-in-hand with dental marketing and get right to the good stuff?

Jul 19th, 2016
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Here's a marketing question: Wouldn't it be nice to forgo the trial and error that seems to go hand-in-hand with dental marketing and get right to the good stuff? Right to marketing that works?

I've yet to meet a dentist who's said no. For dental practice owners, marketing is a necessity-but time is scarce. So I'm going to help you. I've looked through the case studies of successful dental clients (we have more than 30 published on PostcardMania.com/dentalcampaigns) and compiled a list of four strategies that are proven to get results.

Let's get right to it:

Strategy No. 1

Bring in up to 80% more new patients with repetition

I have the hardest time convincing dentists that repetition is important-I don't know why. Maybe they think I'm trying to sell them more postcards.

Yes, I sell postcards. But if I spent the last 18 years giving dental practice owners (and other small business owners) bad advice, I wouldn't be in business today. As Shakespeare would say, "truth will out." So here's the real truth: repetition is vital in marketing. It's just a fact. Most sales-a full 80%, according to market research-take place on the fifth contact or later.1

You have to market your practice consistently and repeatedly so that when your prospective patient needs a dentist, you are the one they call. Here's an example:

Dental practice: Peak Family Dentistry & Orthodontics, Westminster, Colorado

Strategy: To establish his new practice in the area, Brandon Campbell, DDS, sent postcards to 22,000 residents living within a two-mile radius of his location. Each person on his list received the card four times in one year.

Results:

78 new patients in the first six months, each with a lifetime value of $5,000, according to Dr. Campbell

• $390,000 in campaign revenue

• Dr. Campbell credits a 767% jump in organic Google leads between quarter one and quarter two to his postcard campaign. After months of mailings, when people started Googling "Westminster dentist," they were much more likely to click on his name because his postcards kept his practice top of mind.

Strategy No. 2

Add geo-targeted online ads to boost response 81%

With so many options-direct mail, social media, pay per click, etc.-deciding how much of your budget to dedicate to each channel can be overwhelming. Integrating direct mail postcards with geo-targeted Google ads is a powerful way to approach multichannel marketing. At PostcardMania, we call this DirectMail2.0 New Patient Edition.

Here's what all this means in plain English: Once your postcards go out, the same people targeted with your mailing start seeing your online banner ad on sites across the Google advertising network. Here's why it works: You exponentially increase the reach and repetition of your campaign automatically, with zero extra effort, and for only pennies more per piece. Here's an example:

Dental practice: Patuxent Dental, Hollywood, Maryland

Strategy: Amit Khanna, DMD, had already seen consistently improving new patient numbers with repeated postcard mailings-he went from sending out 6,000 cards per month to 12,000 cards per month to residents in nearby zip codes. When he hired two more dentists and was ready to get even more new patients, he added DirectMail2.0 New Patient Edition.

Results:

• Monthly new-patient count went from 94 to 170 (81% increase)

• $2 million in yearly revenue currently being generated

Strategy No. 3

Attract 72% more business with trust elements

People are already nervous about going to the dentist. You should do everything you can to put them at ease about coming to your practice. The way to do that is with what we call "trust elements." For dentists, that specifically means:

• Photos of yourself (and your staff, if you can include them) to help prospective patients feel more comfortable with you

• A brief bio (one or two sentences) that's about you and not just your education and the letters behind your name

• Reviews, ratings, and testimonials from happy patients serve as "social proof" of your credibility (72% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a business more2)

Here's an example:

Dental practice: Prairie Hawk Dental, Castle Rock, Colorado

Strategy: Aaron Goodman, DDS, included both his photo and a testimonial from a happy patient. To top it off, Dr. Goodman included a statement of his own: "I guarantee you'll be happy!" A guarantee can boost your revenues up to 300% by lessening the friction your prospects feel about trying a new dentist.3

Results:

• 112 new patients

• $48,741 in immediate revenue-a number that will grow as these patients return year after year and refer their friends and families

Strategy No. 4

Get more new patients with a valuable offer

I know many dentists balk at the notion of discounts for serious dental work. But, as Chris Salierno, DDS, (the editor-in-chief of Dental Economics) says some folks don't have access to dental insurance. They still need a dentist!

A 20% discount can make dental care that is otherwise out of reach possible. Think of it as a way to give back to your community while growing your practice.

As I'm sure you've realized, there is no shortage of dentists in this country-there are more than 210,000 currently practicing, with as many as 800 new dentists emerging every year.4 So your prospects have plenty of choices. Give them a reason to come to you! Here's an example:

Dental practice: North Broad Family Dental, Elizabeth, New Jersey

Strategy: After 30 years in practice, Dr. Jacob Plawner knows how to bring in new patients-with a selection of valuable offers. His postcard offers recipients five options to choose from: Free consultation and x-rays, 50% off braces or Invisalign, $2,397 implants, $997 dentures, or a $100 gift card with any service over $200.

Results:

• 15 new patients per month from postcards

• $2,500 revenue per patient (within the first two years, according to Dr. Plawner)

• Campaign revenue of $37,000 per month

So there you have it—four proven dental marketing strategies: Repetition, integration offline and online, trust elements, and a compelling offer. I hope I've given you some good ideas for your next campaign! And don't forget—as a Dental Economics reader, you are entitled to 5,000 free dental postcards, printed by PostcardMania, as well as free samples of postcards that are working right now for other dental practices. Redeem online or call (844) 269-1836 today—free marketing advice for your practice is also included!

References

1. Why 8% of Sales People Get 80% of the Sales. The Marketing Donut website. http://www.marketingdonut.co.uk/marketing/sales/sales-techniques-and-negotiations/why-8-of-sales-people-get-80-of-the-sales. Accessed April 18, 2016.

2. Anderson M. 88% of Consumers Trust Online Reviews as Much as Personal Recommendations. Search Engine Land website. http://searchengineland.com/88-consumers-trust-online-reviews-much-personal-recommendations-195803. Published July 4, 2014. Accessed April 18, 2016.

3. Halpern D. How to Increase Sales by 300% With a Persuasive Guarantee (Plus 39 Scripts You Can Copy today). Socialtriggers website. http://socialtriggers.com/guarantees/. Accessed April 18, 2016.

4. Thomas J. The American Way of Dentistry. Slate website. http://www.slate.com/articles/life/the_american_way_of_dentistry/2009/09/the_american_way_of_dentistry_3.html. Published September 28, 2009. Accessed June 4, 2016.


Joy Gendusa is the founder and CEO of PostcardMania. Using just postcards, a phone, and a computer, Joy built PostcardMania from a one-person start-up into an industry leader serving over 71,200 clients, including nearly 5,000 dentists! Need help promoting your practice? Call one of PostcardMania's dental marketing consultants at (866) 812-8443, e-mail Joy at joy.gendusa@postcardmania.com, or visit postcardmania.com/dentaldesigns.

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