4 easy steps to your most productive 4th quarter ever

Dentists: Here are four easy steps to get more patients in the door in Q4.

Sep 22nd, 2016
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Dentists: Here are four easy steps to get more patients in the door in Q4

Well, here we are again. The kids are back in school and we're starting to see Halloween decorations in stores—already! Families are settling into their routines and starting to (seriously) think about the holidays, which means that getting to the dentist is just about the last thing on their mind. But if you want to finish out the year with highest-ever revenues (and what practice wouldn't?), you need to get marketing—now.

Today I'm going to suggest four easy steps to get more new and current patients in the door before year's end so you can have the best fourth quarter ever.

STEP 1: Generate a potential 1,300% return on investment with direct mail

As the year comes to an end, your patients need to use up their flex spending money and take advantage of their deductibles before they reset. This means you should send out postcards reminding your current patients to come in before December 31. You should be mailing this same message to prospective patients too. Here's why:

• Direct mail generates an average 1,300% return on investment.1

• 73% of US consumers prefer direct mail for communication from businesses because they can read it at their convenience.1

The sooner you start sending these out, the better—especially if you have long waits for appointments. Even if they don't call right away, many people will put reminder cards on their fridges until they're ready to do so.

Several of my dental clients start mailing campaigns in October with headlines like:

• Your dental benefits are about to expire!

• Use your dental benefits now, before they run out.

• Hurry in before your insurance benefits expire.

You'll also want to include a great offer that inspires them to take action. (More on this in a bit.) Repetition is vital, so plan to hit them with your postcards at least three times between now and the end of 2016. With all the goodies people start getting in the mail this time of year (catalogs, greeting cards, gifts, etc.), your patients and prospects will be paying extra attention to what's in their mailboxes!

STEP 2: Use e-mail to stay top of mind with 92% of your patients

I was shocked to read recently that only 20% of North American dentists use e-mail marketing (although, according to the same study, 37% of them realized that they need to start doing it).2

Consider this:

• 92% of online adults use e-mail.3

• 61% of them use it daily.3

E-mail newsletters are an easy, affordable way to stay connected with patients. They keep you top of mind and keep patients engaged with their dental health care. Plus, one in five consumers reads every newsletter they receive just to see if there's a special offer.4

Include relevant, interesting information that they'll find helpful. At this time of year, that could be things like:

• Do you know why we give out candy at Halloween?

• Why is sugar bad for your teeth?

• Here are 3 great sugar-free stocking stuffers.

You should also use this opportunity to remind them about their benefits expiring.

You can write some—or all—of these newsletters yourself. You can also assign the task to someone on your staff, or have an agency (like PostcardMania) create them. It doesn't have to be a huge time investment!

Most importantly, every newsletter should contain a call to action (CTA) with a link that makes it easy for your patients to request an appointment. Making it a button instead of a text link can increase conversion rates by as much as 28%.3

STEP 3: Reach 58% of your patients and prospects where they are—Facebook!

According to NBC News, the average American spends 40 minutes per day on Facebook.5 (Sounds right to me—talk about a time-suck!) That explains why 52% of US marketers say it's the most important social network for their businesses.6

Just look at these statistics:

• There are 1.71 billion monthly Facebook users worldwide.7

• 58% of Americans have Facebook pages.8

• The 45–54 age bracket is the fastest-growing demographic on Facebook.9

Many dental practices have Facebook pages but haven't ventured into the world of paid Facebook ads. Unfortunately, Facebook's organic reach has been in decline since 2013, so even if you've amassed a ton of "likes" on your page, only a tiny fraction of your followers—about 2%—will see your posts.10 The good news is that Facebook's advanced targeting options make paid ads practical and affordable for reaching potential patients. Here's why: When people sign up for a Facebook account, they are asked to provide vital information, like their age, sex, and where they live. And as they use Facebook—"liking" pages, updating statuses, and joining groups—they give Facebook even more information about themselves.

Facebook's Ad Manager lets you set your ad parameters with any number of factors. For dentists, I recommend (1) people within a three- to five-mile radius of your practice and (2) people within a specified age range.

You can run as many different ads as you want, showing different messages to different audiences. For example, if you want to advertise a pricey cosmetic product, you can target people in a specific part of town or a higher income bracket.

STEP 4: Earn a potential 1,000% return on investment with a great offer

Sure, just putting yourself in front of your patients and prospects will get the phone ringing, but to maximize your marketing efforts, you need to do more than just tell them to come in. You need to give them incentive to do it.

I know it's hard to give away your services, but look at the big picture. One of my clients, a dentist in Radford, Virginia, mailed out an offer of $500 off Invisalign treatment. He got six new cases, each worth $5,500. So altogether he spent $3,000 to bring in $33,000-that's a 1,000% return on investment. Worth it? I'd say so!

With that in mind, here are some the most common offers our successful dental clients use:

• Free whitening

• Discount on first procedure ($50–$150)

• Free exam and x-rays

• $25–$50 gas card or Visa gift card

You don't have to limit it to just one offer, either. 62% of our successful dental clients include two or more offers on their postcards. And be creative! Offer gift cards to current patients who have work done before the end of the year. Or have fun with it and make it a raffle for a larger prize!

Did you know: 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. Dee D. 6 direct mail stats that can't be ignored. Epsilon website. http://www.epsilon.com/a-brand-new-view/region/6-direct-mail-stats-that-cant-be-ignored/. Published September 6, 2015. Accessed August 5, 2016.

2. Dental and orthodontic e-mail marketing. Slideshow by Benchmark Email. http://www.slideshare.net/benchmarkmanuals/dental-marketing-30223310. Published January 20, 2014. Accessed August 5, 2016.

3. Stiglitz K. 70 email marketing stats every marketer should know. Campaign Monitor website. https://www.campaignmonitor.com/blog/email-marketing/2016/01/ 70-email-marketing-stats-you-need-to-know/. Published January 6, 2016. Accessed August 5, 2016.

4. O'Reilly L. Americans have had a huge change of heart: They're actually starting to "like" email spam. Business Insider website. http://www.businessinsider.com/people-in-the-us-are-reading-more-email-spam-than-ever-before-forrester-says-2014-10. Published October 3, 2014. Accessed August 5, 2016.

5. The average American spends 40 minutes a day on Facebook. NBC News website. http://www.nbcnews.com/tech/social-media/average-american-spends-40-minutes-day-facebook-n164046. Published July 24, 2014. Accessed August 5, 2016.

6. Pick T. 47 superb social media marketing stats and facts. Business 2 Community website. http://www.business2community.com/social-media/47-superb-social-media-marketing-stats-facts-01431126#LmqtldSzOLfjJYh8.97. Published January 19, 2016. Accessed August 5, 2016.

7. By the numbers: 400 amazing Facebook stats (August 2016). http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/by-the-numbers-17-amazing-facebook-stats/. DMR website. Updated August 3, 2016. Accessed August 5, 2016.

8. Weise E. Your mom and 58 percent of Americans are on Facebook. USA Today website. http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2015/01/09/pew-survey-social-media-facebook-linkedin-twitter-instagram-pinterest/21461381/. Published January 9, 2015. Accessed August 5, 2016.

9. Cooper BB. 10 surprising social media statistics that will make you rethink your social strategy. Fast Company website. http://www.fastcompany.com/3021749/work-smart/10-surprising-social-media-statistics-that-will-make-you-rethink-your-social-stra. Published November 18, 2013. Accessed August 5, 2016.

10. Cohen D. Study: Facebook page posts net 2.6% organic reach in March. AdWeek website. http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/locowise-march-2015/619104. Published April 22, 2015. Accessed August 5, 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 startup into an industry leader. PostcardMania serves 71,229 clients, including 4,658 dentists! Need help promoting your practice? Call one of PostcardMania's dental marketing consultants at (844) 269-1836, e-mail Joy at joy.gendusa@postcardmania.com, or visit postcardmania.com/dentaldesigns.

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