Hits and misses: 2019 dental marketing forecast

From automation to AI, find out what marketing strategies will flip or flop in the coming year.

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January is here, and you know what that means—predictions. Let’s get to it!

miss: Billboards

Once a mainstay, billboards are losing ground. We surveyed dentists in December 2018, and 43% planned to decrease their billboard budget in 2019, while 57% planned to keep the budget the same. Here’s the kicker: no one planned to increase their budget for billboard advertising in 2019. Only two other areas had similar fates—Yelp and Yellow Pages.

hit: Automation

Here are a few of the key marketing operations you should be automating in 2019:

All email marketing—From the user-specific (e.g., appointment confirmations) to the very timely (e.g., year-end benefit reminders), it can all be programmed in a single afternoon.

Referral program enrollments and redemptions—This can be as simple as adding an easy-to-forward email to your email marketing schedule.

Social media/Google Ads—Set a daily budget and then a reminder to review your ads weekly.

Direct mail—Work with a company that will set up your campaign for the year, so you’ll only have to confirm and pay for postage along the way.

To amplify your practice’s reach and impressions, ensure that the last two above are branded similarly to look like a single cohesive campaign. My company does this plus tracking with a product called Everywhere Small Business.

Miss: Yelp

Yelp is on the decline (both in traffic and share price) as review seekers rely more on Google and Facebook. A client of mine, Dr. Tanty, lost $9,000 on Yelp ads before trying postcard marketing, which increased new patients 350%. So, reallocate your Yelp efforts (whether just time or money) to more fruitful endeavors.

hit: Personalization

According to Epsilon, 90% of consumers find personalization appealing and 80% are more likely to do business with a company offering a personalized experience.1

Here are just a few examples of how dentists can implement personalized data into their marketing:

• First or last name (adding just a person’s name to a direct-mail piece can increase response by 135%, and adding any of the extra information below increases response by 500%)2

• Location or neighborhood

• Birthday

• Upcoming/recent appointments

Luckily for you, adoption of personalization among dentists is still pretty low. Get in early on this trend in 2019!

miss: AI

AI stands for artificial intelligence. It is a computer’s ability to learn from its environment and become more effective. I am fully in the camp that believes AI will eventually change everything, but it isn’t going to happen in 2019. And—if I may be bold—it won’t be happening until at least 2020 within the independent dental community. For now, stick to real humans within your office managing your website’s live chat.

hit: A good offer

If only I had a nickel for every time I heard a dentist say, “I can’t discount my services.” And really, you don’t have to—but you do have ensure that patients feel like they are getting a great value for your services.

Sadly, consumerism is on the rise across all health care practices, and it’s likely here to stay. According to the CDC, 47% of people under the age of 65 with private health insurance are enrolled in a high-deductible health plan. That’s up 88% since 2010.3 For more and more Americans, they’ll be spending more out of pocket before dental benefits kick in. So, you need to get competitive in this new consumer-centric dental marketplace.

My dental clients have the best success with these offers:

• A discounted new patient exam in the double digits (about $69 to $99)

• A free second opinion

• Free teeth whitening (for life with check-ups every six months)

While I agree that it’s problematic for patients to treat dental care like a new TV purchase, it’s important to remember that most dentists (42.55%) are able to retain a patient for 6–10 years.4

What do you think about my hits and misses? Let me know with an email!

References

1. Epsilon C. The power of me: The impant of personalization on marketing performance. GBH Insights website. https://us.epsilon.com/power-of-me. Published 2018.

2. Romano F., Broudy D. An Investigation: Direct mail responses based on color, personalization, database and other factors. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi=10.1.1.614.1291.

3. Cohen RA, Martinez ME, Zammitt EP. Health Insurance Coverage: Early Release of Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, January–March 2018. National Center for Health Statistics website. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/health-insurance.htm. Published 2018.

4. Gendusa J. 2019 Dental Marketing Guide: Revealing the Latest in Dental Marketing Strategies. PostcardMania website. https://www.postcardmania.com/lp/2019dentalguide/. Published 2018.

Gendusa Joy

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. PostcardMania serves 78,589 clients, including 5,750 dentists. Need help promoting your practice? Call one of PostcardMania's dental marketing consultants at (844) 269-1836 or email Joy at joy.gendusa@postcardmania.com

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