Posts Tagged ‘patient recall’

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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Blog Lesson 1: Show Your Knowledge

Your dental website cannot contain all of the details about everything you know without losing its overall effectiveness as a key communication to patients and prospective patients.

One of the best things about a blog is that the small, focused nature of each article allows you to expand on one specific aspect of dentistry and go into detail about it.

Most blog set-ups will allow you to categorise each one so that people can find the articles on a specific topic easily.

Blogs are the ideal platform to show not just how much you know about dentistry in general, but how in-depth your knowledge is about the areas of dentistry that interest you most.

Having a store of good quality dental blogs can answer questions that your patients have and follow up from specific conversations either with them or staff at the practice.

Sharing your dental knowledge on your blog will help to ensure that patients feel they have a truly skilled and experienced dentist.

http://www.smiledentalmarketing.co.uk/services/seo-copywriting

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Treat, Not A Trick

Excellent Marketing Support Now, Pay Later

We are getting into the festive period frenzy of special offers and deals – from holidays to furniture to any number of potential gifts. But it’s refreshing to know that for business planning, marketing advice, branding, website and patient communications, your costs can be spread over several months.iStock_000000467930Medium

Following the expense of practice refurbishments and equipment upgrades for CQC and HTM 01-05, or the launch of a new practice, cash may be tight but the need for finding new patients, promoting treatments, attracting high value cases and increasing referrals never goes away.

It’s important that dental practices choose a flexible agency to support them – not just in terms of high quality advice that eliminates costly mistakes or media planning and buying that saves them money.

Smile Marketing works with you to plan and budget in a way that suits your cash flow, whilst allowing you to benefit from marketing right away. There are several ways we do this.

  1. From our proposal, you can simply select paying in 12 equal monthly instalments on the agreed contract value. There is no minimum contract value.
  2. For the larger marketing investments, maybe for a new practice launch, re-brand or change in practice strategy, we can recommend a finance company that allows you to spread payments as part of an unsecured ‘working capital’ loan.

And remember, for retainer clients a proportion of our fees are based on practice results, whether new consultations, cases, income or bottom-line.

For more information contact us or call Steve Davey on 0845 287 3051.

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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.

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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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Kick Start Your Outdoor Media

Marketing in the “digital age” isn’t just about email, texts and social media. A recent campaign for a dental practice promoting implants achieved a three fold ROI (return on investment) within one week of  a six-sheet bus shelter poster campaign.

You are of course building awareness, but the real acid test is the response – in this instance, high value cases. The keys to success are:

  • Position: sites where heavy traffic is always slow moving
  • Creative: simple designs that stand-out
  • BIG call-to-action: telephone number and web address – Call us now!

Of course, mentioning when the posters are going up in a Tweet or Facebook post won’t do any harm!

Call Smile Marketing on 0845 287 3051 or email us and we’ll help you achieve your goals.

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Word-of-mouth is NOT marketing

When talking to businesses, they often mention that word-of-mouth is their best form of marketing, their strongest source of new customers.

But ‘word-of-mouth’ isn’t marketing is it? For dental practices, it’s the result of great customer service, happy patients and the perception that your team have made their ‘patient journey’ the best it could be, especially if those patients are nervous or a little anxious. Let’s be honest, nobody wakes up in the morning thinking “I’m really looking forward to my check-up or root canal treatment”.

Certainly, if your patients are pro-actively telling their friends, family and colleagues about your wonderful practice that’s great, it’s where dental businesses want to be. The truth is probably no more than 10% of your patients are telling others about their experience at your practice.

So what about the other 90%? How do you encourage word-of-mouth?

Assuming your patients are happy with their dental treatment and they like the wonderful warm welcome they receive on arrival as well as the glass of water or hot drink you offer them (and today’s newspaper to flick through), why are they not referring your practice to others?

Maybe they just need a little encouragement, a reminder that you ARE looking for more patients like them and that (and some practices like this) there’s a little incentive for them to refer – whether a deli voucher or oral health goody bag.

After patients leave your practice, they generally go back to their busy lives and your dental practice is no longer ‘on their radar’ and that’s the importance of a referral process in your business (which may involve some team training) and regular contact with your patients, so you remain on their radar.

For best practice advice and guidance on setting up a referral scheme for your practice, contact us on 0845 287 3051 or email info@smiledentalmarketing.co.uk.

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Your Biggest Asset – Your Patients!

It’s not complicated and it isn’t expensive but it takes some energy and commitment to ensure your patients don’t go elsewhere. So what can you do?

Smile Marketing Virtual Marketing Manager

  • Communicate with them more often. This is crucial. Provide interesting information to them on an ongoing basis. Stay in your patients’ minds.
  • Every practice should have a newsletter, either targeting patients or referring practices. For a printed monthly newsletter it only costs about £1 per customer per month, including postage. Send e-newsletters to patients that prefer paperless.
  • Sell more to your patients. This may go against the grain, but a good way to keep patients is tempt them with treatments they may want – a smile makeover or whitening perhaps.
  • Ask your patients opinions. Is there any aspect of your ‘patient journey’ that could be improved? Even if you provide the perfect patient experience, your patients will be pleased to be asked.
  • Surprise them.  Hand your patients a ‘goodie bag’ of dental accessories – toothpaste, brush, tepes, mouthwash – and thank them for coming to your practice, or send them a postcard to thank them. Little surprises create a warm feeling towards your practice and they’ll tell others about you, the lowest cost marketing there is!

For help with setting up a successful patient communications plan, contact us.

Of course, talking, writing and emailing your patients forms part of your brand communications, and we can review these for you and advise best practice.

FREE Marketing Health Checkcall 0845 287 3051 to book and we’ll cover exactly how you can increase your fee revenue and practice profitability. Includes tips on ‘no cost, low cost marketing’ techniques.

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