To succeed in your practice, you must develop better marketing strategies --- tactics that allow you to attract as many patients as possible.
It only makes sense, when you started your dental practice your desire was to be successful, which translates into being profitable. In fact, you can trace your desire for success all the way back to kindergarten. Something inside of you made you excel. Something drove you to be better than all the other students.
The same is true in business; with one exception, nearly every business is limited by geographic location and the amount of time and distance patients are willing to drive to receive a particular service (emergencies notwithstanding). Therefore, unless you’re the only dentist in the county, you are going to have to compete for the available business in a given demographic area.
You don’t really have a choice, if you want to carve out a niche for yourself, feed your family, keep a roof over their heads, and so on, you have to do everything possible to gain market share.
This market share is often achieved through advertising and a variety of promotional efforts (aka marketing). Whether you’re aware of it or not, every time anyone purchases advertising of any type wheels are set in motion. A process begins that has been preprogrammed with one mission in mind --- to get new patients. This is a bad analogy, I know (but it is accurate), it’s like a heat-seeking missile whose only mission is to land squarely on the target. And when it hits the target, it is programmed to induce the reader to pick up the phone and call its creator.
The idea of stealing may seem rather provocative as business development strategy plans go. Rest assured; we are not speaking about doing anything that is improper or felonious! However, if you want more patients, read on and learn why it makes sense to legally steal your biggest competitor's best patients.
For the record, we're discussing something that occurs on any given day, in any number of businesses throughout the country. Every day, at least one practice is trying to get more patients. That means they are calling, emailing, sending 4-color brochures, or knocking on the door for new prospects.
Question: Where do you think these patients come from?
An obvious example of what we're discussing lies within the fast food industry. Companies like McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut, and Burger King find themselves in the never-ending battle for market share. This means that they actively compete against one another for their customer's stomachs and buying power.
Sadly, despite all the advances in the fields of manufacturing and DNA research, there is still no new patient factory!
You know …, the kind of factory that churns an infinite number of new patients like candy bars. And all they know is that they need to do business with you!
That means that all those new patients must come from somewhere. They either come to your competitors, or you try to convince people, through your advertising, who have either never used a dentist before, or those who afraid to see a dentist to say "yes!" Additionally, those patients who have never used your service before, they only account for 5% of the available market.
An astute business development strategy focuses on the 95% of proven believers in your medical services. Incidentally, those patients are available from you and every other practice owners in town (generally within a 15-mile radius). Hence, legally steal your biggest competitor's best patients.
This article is designed to challenge the views of many doctors. First, treat your dental practice, and its growth and development, like every other business --- strategically. There appears to be a mindset afoot that rejects traditional game plans concerning business development and attracting more new patients.
For any business to survive and excel, it's up to the owner to attract and retain new patients --- a steady stream every day! As stated at the onset, your competitors are actively contacting your patients to entice them to use them instead. Again, all of your most profitable future patients already exist; they just belong to your biggest competitors!
Therefore, it's up to you to persuade them [your future patients] to do business with you instead.
This topic provides the perfect lead-in for mentioning another key component to your practice's growth, your current patients. You need to keep a watchful on your eye on your back door.
What I mean by the previous statement is the following:
A while back, we worked with a client who was a medical supply vendor. He asked us to help him with his business, specifically his existing client base. We evaluated everything that he was doing. It became obvious that his primary problem was that he was so busy trying to get new clients that he was forgetting his current clients.
Think of it like this, he spent all day fishing and as he caught them, he threw the fish in the boat. Immediately, he baited another hook and dropped it in the water. However, he hadn't secured the fish he had just caught, so the fish were flopping out of the boat and back in the water when his back was turned. At the end of the day, he realized that he hadn't accomplished anything.
Perhaps, he actually lost more than he gained. Because of his actions, he lost clients and gained a bad reputation which took a long time to overcome.
Critical game-planning is a skill practice owners, and their marketing people can learn and implement. At its core, it comes down to attracting as many of the "right" people as possible! You just need to implement proper and targeted advertising, marketing, and public relations tactics.
A successful strategy delivers multiple and potentially immediate benefits to your practice. Think about it, if you're going after your competitors' best patients, your chances for success increase for two reasons:
You will be targeting only those prospective patients who have already purchased or are in the process of buying a service similar to yours, and you will be rewarding the competition's best patients, with an incentive, for taking immediate action while showing you proof of their purchasing intent.
However, you must provide something compelling to have them consider you as a viable option. Remember, unless you are the only game in town, you are in a crowded marketplace. You want those potential patients to choose you!
You can become the only game in town, though. You achieve that status with proper branding. For example, after doing a brief inventory of your practice, you notice that the majority of your patients see you for TMJ related treatment. Henceforth, all of your content, your advertising, and social media focus on the treatment of that ailment. You will now brand yourself as the TMJ doctor in your geographical area!
To compel those prospective patients to buy your service, follow these four steps. In fact, you can use these strategies right now in your display ads, social media or Internet advertisements:
1) "If you have received treatment or a written estimate from any of the other dentists in the area, show us proof, and you'll get a special discount at our offices."
2) "Show evidence that you received our competitor's sales letter, sample or brochure and instantly receive $xxx toward your next service with us."
3) "If you currently own an XYZ Widget (this attracts all the dental suppliers in your area --- good for building
business relationships with those suppliers, their families, and additional business referrals), you immediately qualify for an instant credit of $xxx toward our services."
4) "If your last procedure didn't turn out as you would have liked, show us your receipt for the service performed. You will receive an immediate discount up to 10% discount off of our service."
From time to time we hear from a doctor who complains about the potential costs of reinventing themselves. Our answer to that legitimate concern is "How much is it costing you not to stand out?"
Furthermore, before worrying about the cost of gaining new patients this way, remember that your initial rebate or incentive offer is a one-time acquisition cost. The lifetime value of acquiring this new patient could easily be worth thousands of dollars or more for your practice.
For the strategy to legally steal your biggest competitor's best patients to work, your ads must reach those best patients. Research the places your competitors advertise -- online and in newspapers, magazines, and the Yellow Pages -- and advertise there, too. Further, develop your social reach, be where your patients are.
- You may be very astounded by these industry figures:
- Facebook received over 4.5 billion "likes",
- Instagram over 3.5 million "likes", and
- Twitter over 100 million users login per day.
When creating your next advertising campaign, ask yourself if your incentive is irresistible enough to immediately confiscate business away from competitors. With enough incentive and reward for taking immediate action, you'll have created an advertisement tempting enough to accomplish your goal.
There is another benefit to attracting the best patients available. As your business grows, and your brand becomes well-known, you will begin to attract very lucrative opportunities.
You may find that in time, you become very interested in taking your practice to the next level. You may desire to significantly increase your patient base (both qualitatively and quantitatively) by creating endorsement agreements with non-competitive businesses.
This strategy has been around for millennia. You too can benefit from the connections that other people have painstakingly made and are willing to pass on.
To conclude, we covered this extensively within the article; however, creating a profitable practice is an exercise in competition. There is a constant ebb and flow; and, the ultimate prize goes to the doctor that can attract and keep more patients than every other dentist in town. We're also realistic, we understand that learning and applying these techniques for business growth takes time. Your practice may not be set up to do something immediately. For this reason, we want to help you.
We have been directly responsible for many highly successful business enhancement marketing campaigns for several professional practices. Also, we would like to extend to you or your selected staff members, our proprietary 10-minute Content Strategy Audit Session (i.e. blog posts, social media campaigns, magazine articles, website content, patient newsletters etc.).
Click here to get your free, thorough review.
We invite you to learn how Steve and Claudio can help you immediately increase your profits, give them a call at 1-530-268-2448.
From the desk of, Steven Cox, co-founder StevenVonLoren Marketing Strategists; my personal email: firstname.lastname@example.org, 530.492.9971, Amazon Author Profile, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter