Improving Your Practice
A recent survey of dentists showed some surprising results in terms of capacity in dental offices across the country. While some were “over-capacity,” sadly, only 38% of respondents thought they were at 100% of capacity; 13% felt they were at 90-99%; and, 25% felt they were above 80% of capacity. If you are in those camps, is it worth it to continually invest in marketing? The short and easy answer is yes. BUT, if you’re at max capacity, you should still market to get more “ideal” patients in the doors.
If we are to focus on these goals, what sort of marketing should we do?
To start, we should go back to the ideal baseline budget. When thinking of your “marketing budget,” you need to think about the total spend percentage of revenues. Typically we teach that the entire marketing spend should be 4.5%-5% of the average month’s revenues; this includes spending on: internal, external, digital, and traditional marketing.
Typically when you use the word “marketing,” you think of external sources like billboards, radio, and Google Ads. While those items fall into marketing, it can be super constrictive to think of only those items. Unfortunately, this traditional thinking also leads us to spend money in the worst return-on-investment (ROI) possible. External marketing ROI is typically less than half that of internal marketing. So, what’s the difference?
Internal is working through all the branding, rewards, and patient experience details that create a “wow” experience for a patient. When they become a “Raving Fan,” as Author Ken Blanchard would say, they will refer more patients to you and have lifetime loyalty. Because of this awesome power, internal marketing is the best dollars I’ve ever spent.
When you do internal marketing correctly, you will see impacts in the following areas (trackable KPIs):
- Patients are happier and they leave Google Reviews.
- Patients love the experience and tell their friends about us and we get more New Patients.
- Patients know we do high quality work and accept more treatment recommendations (higher treatment acceptance rate).
Patients wear our T-shirts around town and more people see our logo and choose us as their dentist: even more new patients.
What Exactly is Internal Marketing?
In general, internal marketing is comprised of:
- Internal branding on all paperwork, including digital paperwork
- Patient experience
- Decor, design, and smells
- Scripting for understanding and experience
- Patient giveaways (both daily and monthly)
- Email blasts (end of year and procedure specific)
- Special procedure days (i.e. Invisalign)
- Whitening specials
- Authority wall (your degree, awards, CE)
- Membership plans (you need to have one and market it)
- Thank You cards (send to new patients and those who referred them)
- Signage (front of building, parking lot, sidewalks)
- TV slides (in-office or on computer screens)
There’s probably even more that we’re forgetting, but this is a good list of what is needed to really look professional for every patient touch-point in the office. Internal marketing also includes scripting to make sure that the patient experience is choreographed to be high-service.
So, as you consider spending more on marketing to increase new patients and production, look inside the practice first rather than anything outside.