For most dentists, developing a marketing plan is one of those tasks they continually keep on the back burner. Most dentists are concerned they do not have a large enough marketing budget or are concerned that they lack the required marketing knowledge to create a solid plan. The typical result of such inaction is that their marketing efforts get perpetually stalled, and they end up doing more of the same (which usually limited to placing a local yellow pages ad, if that). This leads to lackluster results, and of course revenues fail to grow as desired.
Here is the good news: you don’t have to create an entire marketing plan in order to take effective action for growing revenues for your practice right now. The following actions do not require you to be a marketing guru, and you do not need to have a large marketing budget to get going.
Here are your dentist marketing options: 5 easy ways to increase patient revenues:
Way #1: Implement a targeted direct mail campaign:
Direct mail is one of the smartest ways to contact your best prospects and at the same time to step over those that are less likely to respond. The key, however, is to make sure you are mailing to the right people. Enter new movers. New movers are those people who have within the past month or so moved into an apartment or house in the vicinity of your practice. Studies show that new movers are 4 to 8 times more likely to respond to a direct mail piece than are longtime residents. Better response rates means more new customers – as well as potentially tens of thousands of dollars more in recurring annual revenue.
Way #2: Specialize and promote certain dental niches:
Does your dental practice specialize in certain dental technologies, products or techniques? Why not promote this fact to your prospects? Think about it from the perspective of your prospects, whether they be new movers or otherwise: if a prospect is presented with the option to try 5 dentists in their area, they need a compelling reason why they should choose your practice over another one. In marketing speak, this is called positioning. Your job is to position your practice as being experts in [fill in the blank]. You will stand out from the pack, customers will take note and you will get their business.
Way #3: Set up a kid-friendly room and advertise it:
The trend toward kid-friendly dentistry is increasing. You may not be in the position to convert your practice into one that is 100% kid-focused. But, why not meet your market’s demand for this service half-way and convert one or two of your rooms to being totally kid-friendly? Paint the walls, put out some children’s books and set up an overhead TV/DVD player showing made-for-kids films. By doing this, you can now advertise your practice as being kid-friendly. This is just another powerful way to position your practice and attract new clients with specific needs.
Way #4: Train your staff on how to interact successfully with patients:
Your staff is the front line of your practice in terms of interfacing with your prospects and patients, so they need to be fully trained in the area of customer service. Decades ago, dental offices could afford to have a staff with an unfriendly demeanor or that lacked a solid customer service ethic. Not so anymore: even among dental practices, we now live in a customer service-oriented world. Take the time and expense to train your staff in basic customer service skills, and be sure to put your staff member with the best personality on the front lines when greeting customers and answering phones. Customers will respond by staying more loyal to your practice.
Way #5: Follow up first-time visits with customer service questionnaires:
Customers love to tell companies and doctors offices how they felt about the quality of customer service they received – it makes them feel valued and appreciated. To capitalize on this fact, after each visit send your clients a postage-paid postcard with a 5-question customer service questionnaire asking about your performance, and be sure to provide a few lines for them to write in their comments. Just the act of being asked and then responding to a customer service questionnaire makes most customers feel better about doing business with your practice, and they will reward you with their continued business.
If your dental practice is on a limited marketing budget and with limited marketing knowledge, the prospect of developing a marketing plan can be daunting. For now, skip the plan and dive right into these 5 key ways to increase revenues for your practice.