Posts Tagged ‘patient list’

How To: Win Back Dormant Patients

Keeping in touch with your patients, whether current or lapsed, is one of the best ways to keep your patient lists full and appointments booked.

Sure, breakthrough thinking and new ideas are the lifeblood of really successful businesses – and dental practices are no exception. I talk to numerous practice owners and business owners from several industries, however, and they are often so busy looking for new out of the box ideas that they miss the clear opportunities staring them in the face – the “in the box” profit opportunities.

A great example of this is attempting innovative ways to bring in new patients when you have an under-tapped patient list. In other words; putting too much emphasis on new patient acquisition and not enough emphasis on patient recall.

At Smile we regularly encounter these issues that represent wasted opportunities:

  • Not enough communication with patients
  • A recall process that isn’t robust and doesn’t include all patients
  • Giving up too soon on patients coming back for treatment
  • Poor recall letters and emails – I see many that are ‘cold’, matter of fact and unfriendly
  • No newsletter to ‘up-sell’ your treatments – many of your patients simply do not know everything that you offer
  • Little or no ‘ownership’ of recall within the practice
  • No segmentation of your patients – they are not all the same!
  • A practice website that lacks key patient information (treatment, team, prices)
  • Patient plans and membership schemes that are not well promoted

These are all “in the box” issues that can be addressed and are guaranteed to help build income and patient retention.

And here’s the thing. Generating income from your own patient list almost always costs much less than finding new patients.

For a FREE practice marketing Health Check call 0845 287 3051 or info@smiledentalmarketing.co.uk.

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The Best Free Marketing Tool

A great way to create trust in your brand is by asking patients for testimonials.

It costs nothing and can sway potential patients to visit the practice when they see other people like them have had a good experience in the chair.

You could email your patient list, ask patients when you see them for their appointment or have testimonial cards on your reception desk and encourage patients to share their thoughts.

Here’s some examples of our recent testimonials:

Great service….we launched our practice and August 2014, Steve and the team looked after our marketing needs from flyers through to referral packs.  They were efficient, competitive and the end result was of a very good quality.

Parmajit Kaur Athwal | Wightwick Dental Practice

I have worked with Smile Marketing for over 5 years as regards marketing all 6 of my practices and the results have been that each of my practices’ turnover has increased by over 10% each year. It’s nice to work with a marketing team that has a thorough understanding of dentistry. 

Dr Mitesh Badiani | Devon Dental Centre of Excellence
Dental Awards Winner | Dentist of the Year

Not sure how to best to approach patients for testimonials or not sure what to do once you have them? Get in touch for a no obligation consultation.

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Marketing. Making it happen!

Some people want it to happen

Some wish it would happen
Others make it happen

To make it happen, you first need a plan, a roadmap if you like. In the same way you don’t get in your car without knowing where you are going and how you are going to get there, it’s the same for building a business.

A business plan supported by a marketing plan that helps you achieve your business objectives is the way to reach your destination, whether measured in income, profit, cases, professional standing within your profession or exit, if you have an exit plan (which is a huge subject in itself).

For help with a business plan and marketing plan from the people in the know, it’s important to work with a specialist marketing agency that knows your challenges, your industry and the roadblocks potentially in your way.

Make 2015 the year you have a roadmap to growth. Contact Steve on 0845 287 3051 or steve@smiledentalmarketing.co.uk.

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Double Your Practice Income in 2015

Dental practices with a clear business plan will be able to make the most of the improving economic climate, and greater consumer confidence.

Whether it be increased take up on adult orthodontics, “teeth-in-a-day” (a.k.a. All on 4 or All on 6), whitening or other cosmetic dentistry. Smile Marketing are ready to help you succeed in 2015.

Why take our word for it? Here’s what our client Joe Dwyer, Sunlight Orthodontics, had this to say after Smile helped with Marketing Planninglocal promotionsGDP marketing and joint venture promotion.

“I have been very impressed with Smile Marketing. Prior to working with them, we had tried to find our own way through the marketing minefield and had wasted much time and money. With the help of Smile Marketing, we have implemented a more professional and effective marketing strategy which has seen the private gross of the practice more than double. The service is excellent. They are approachable and always available for advice, responding to questions with a speed I have not experienced with any other company I have worked with, marketing or otherwise”… “I would recommend Smile Marketing to anyone who has ever wondered whether practice marketing can be effective. With Smile Marketing, it can.”

Give your practice the ultimate Christmas gift, a clear roadmap to increased income in 2015. Smile Marketing has a range of special packages for helping ambitious practices to thrive and grow.

Call or email for an initial no-obligation phone consultation with Steve Davey to discuss your practice future. 

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Don’t Blow Your Own Trumpet

Let your patients do it for you!

Your happy patients are your brand ambassadors. There’s no one better to boast about your excellent dental treatments than your current patients!

Testimonials and case studies show potential patients how brilliant you and your team are from a credible source, people with nothing to gain for inaccurate information.

Although rational people know that you will only use positive testimonials they won’t react rationally – people tend to react emotionally. Other patients encouraging words can give potential patients the confidence to try your practice, especially if they can relate to the patients giving the testimonials.

Most of your patients will be happy to be quoted on a few words if you ask them. To increase the credibility of the testimonial it’s a good idea to display their name underneath – with their permission of course!.

You should encourage willing patients to note a specific treatment, the procedure and the difference it has made to them. Backing this up with a before and after picture is a great way to add a visual element – but avoid any gruesome dental photos, run them by a non-dentist first!

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Think Inside The Box First

We often talk of “thinking outside the box“, which is now a bit 90′s isn’t it?

Sure, breakthrough thinking and new ideas are the lifeblood of really successful businesses – and dental practices are no exception. I talk to numerous practice owners and business owners from several industries, however, and they are often so busy looking for new out of the box ideas that they miss the clear opportunities staring them in the face – the “in the box” profit opportunities.

123rf6876907_l-group of 5 smiling friends heads together v2

A great example of this is attempting innovative ways to bring in new patients when you have an under-tapped patient list. In other words, putting too much emphasis on new patient acquisition and not enough emphasis on internal marketing.

At Smile we regularly encounter these situations, they all amount to under valuing the potential of your patient list:

  • Not enough communication with patients
  • A recall process that isn’t robust and doesn’t include all patients
  • Giving up too soon on patients coming back for treatment
  • Poor recall letters and emails - I see many that are ‘cold’, matter of fact and unfriendly
  • No newsletter to ‘up-sell’ your treatments - many of your patients simply do not know everything that you offer
  • Little or no ‘ownership’ of recall within the practice
  • No segmentation of your patients - they are not all the same!
  • A practice website that lacks key patient information (treatment, team, prices)
  • Patient plans and membership schemes that are not well promoted

These are all “in the box” issues that can be addressed and are guaranteed to help build income and patient retention.

And here’s the thing. Generating income from your own patient list almost always costs less than finding new patients.

For a FREE practice marketing Health Check call 0845 287 3051 or email info@smiledentalmarketing.co.uk. 

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Marketing for Next Year’s Patients

Start your marketing when you have plenty of patients.

00033133 This may seem backwards but you have to remember, you are not marketing for today’s patients, or even tomorrows, but for your long term patient numbers. When you have enough patients you’ll have the money to invest in a marketing campaign as well as enough time for the campaign to take effect before you need the patients to start booking themselves in.

Don’t leave your marketing until you are lacking patients.

By then you may not have the budget to produce a high quality campaign and by the time the effect can be noticed in your patient list it may be too late. Save yourself the worry of letting your patient list deteriorate. Keep your practice healthy by getting a Free Smile Marketing health check today, reinvest your practice profits in your marketing to ensure a profitable practice future.

Get in touch on 0845 287 3051 or info@smiledentalmarketing.co.uk.

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Patient Retention: Are You Losing Them?

Finding it hard to attract new patients cost effectively? Many practices are, if this includes you then it’s crucial that your dental practice has patient retention initiatives in place. Various Clients Printed Material First you need to divide your patient list into:

  • Patients: had treatment in the last year
  • Dormants: last visit 1-2 years ago
  • Lapsed Patients: 2 years+, you’re well and truly off their radar!

To encourage patients back in for an appointment you can use reactivation and recall, it’s not as complicated as it sounds! Here’s a few insights from our experience:

  1. What you write, email or text your patients should be different according to which segment they’re in.
  2. Contact dormants with meaningful updates (new treatments, practice news, birthday card, voucher – whatever it takes to gain an appointment) this will definitely bring patients in.
  3. Don’t give up on lapsed patients. Test trying to win them back and by test I mean, take a sample, say 50 or 100, and contact them then measure your reactivation activity(calls, letters, emails) and see what works best.
  4. Contact your patients regularly. Maintain and build your relationship with them. After all, a happy patient is an advocate and a source of referrals for your practice

Case Study

Patients from your own database are always the easiest route to fee income for your dental practice. For a review of your patient management policies and procedures, contact us.

Here’s more information on patients retention and patient recall.

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Are marketing budgets now out of date?

Private dental practices, like many types of business, have traditionally set a marketing budget for say 12 months, if they have money reserved for patient recruitment and internal marketing at all.  But putting a sum aside for marketing is really coming at it from the wrong starting point. The starting point is looking at the notion of buying patients.

The key question is: “how much am I prepared to pay for a new patient?”. If it’s a dental implant case worth say £2k, are you prepared to pay £100 for that patient, or £200 or £250?  For general patients, who start with a £50 or £75 consultation and then go on to become a regular over 3 – 5 years, what are those patients worth to you and how much are you prepared to invest in each one?

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The point of this is that once you have worked out those numbers, it’s easier to determine the best strategies for finding those patients, the media to use and the return on investment to plan for. And as new patients or referrals come into your practice, you can decide whether to increase or decrease the numbers of patients you are buying.

With this change in mindset, there’s a much clearer focus on what you are looking to achieve from any marketing investment and really helps practices to avoid making costly mistakes.

If this approach appeals to you, contact us for an initial chat about finding more patients for your practice.

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The Power of Dental Branding

You may wonder what relevance branding has to a dental practice, I mean it works for Disney and Google, but how can it be applied to your dental practice?

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Firstly it is appreciating what a brand is – it’s a set of associations that people make with a company, product or service. Branding is the way organisations harness, generate and control these associations in order to improve their business.

Disney PSD Logo

Having a brand for your practice will create a difference in people’s minds between you and your competition, whether that be for patients locally or potential referring GDPs.

A brand adds value to your practice and people see a well branded service as better quality, so worth paying more for. Your challenge is to ensure your patients have an emotional attachment to your brand, as their friendly dentist for example, and that will then be applied to all your treatments and patient plans.

‘We like to think of ourselves as rational human beings but there is no escaping that the way we think and act is triggered and shaped by our initial emotional response’                                                                               Du Plessis, 2005

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Are you a specialist in Endodontics, Periodontics or Orthodontics? Your brand doesn’t have to be based on your practice, your brand can be based around you as a Specialist.

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Remember, once you’ve created your brand it isn’t set in stone. Disney and Google update their branding every few years to keep the brand current whilst retaining the existing brand associations.

For a no-obligation initial chat about branding for your practice, contact us on 0845 287 3051.

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