|News You Can Use from New Patients, Inc.|
|Dear Barbara Carneiro, |
Getting high quality new patients to call your practice is what our company has been all about for the last 18 years. The purpose for these periodic newsletters is to give helpful marketing advice that will assist you in building your practice. And to share news about new ways to market your practice. In this issue we have articles by Mark Dilatush and me.
We are also happy to have a guest author for this issue - Jo Ann Tanner, MBA.
Attracting the Right Patients
By William Howard (Howie) Horrocks
Are you trying to attract every patient in town? Or do you just want the right ones?
And who are the "right ones?"
Let's be honest. The "right" patient understands your treatment plan, wants what you're offering (in whole or part) wants it now or soon, has the ability to pay and pays for it (whether they use insurance to help them or they pay out of pocket - doesn't matter). And it would be nice if they also told their friends about you. That's the right patient, wouldn't you agree?
So, where do you find them?
The process starts way before they call. (Never let it be said that I keep the obvious to myself). It presupposes that you are trying to reach them (some dentists learned the false idea in dental school that telling people how you could benefit them was a crime against humanity). It also presupposes that you are talking to the right people, have the right vehicle and message and of course have the clinical skills to deliver the goods.
It's a choreographed operation. It starts with a clear identification of your target market. Following that you have to know what to say to this market that will get them to pick up the phone. After that it's you and your staff's demeanor and systems and finally, your clinical skills.
But at first it's marketing.
Marketing is about perceptions - only not your perceptions - it's their perceptions, which YOU CREATE - knowingly or unknowingly. Great marketers knowingly create, manage and control those perceptions. The accidental and uneducated marketers also create perceptions - usually the wrong ones.
That's good marketing - skillfully and knowingly creating the correct perceptions for the correct target market. It's about identifying, locating, communicating to and attracting the people who will buy what you want to deliver. (And avoiding people who call you at 3 AM on a Friday night, oddly allergic to everything - except Percodan.)
The problem is this: the perception that most dentists think they need to create and communicate is not what causes a positive response. What you think they want and what you think will get them to call, often doesn't work.
Why is that?
Because you are a dentist - with your practice goals, your education, your continuing education, your knowledge of the laser, short term orthodontics, painless injections, your vision of what dentistry could be and should be, your anxiousness to tell the world and your experience in creating miracles and changing people's lives -
and your potential patients are not.
They haven't a clue. You can turn them into extroverted dynamos who can change the world with their smiles - yet many just "want what their insurance covers." Frustrating!
Add to that the fact that, left to their own devices, most dentists write their marketing for other dentists - wrong audience.
It's a perception problem. Tough problem. Let's see if we can navigate through this.
Identifying the people you want
There's a huge amount of available data about demographics, psychographics and profiling. Great. Go crazy with it. But what's the bottom line? You want to give your message to people who can afford what you're selling and aren't too far away from you.
Ditch the psychographics data and find the people who have the wherewithal to buy what you're selling. Do this: Target household incomes of $75,000 and up. (Note: NOT house values - it's household incomes you want - big difference).
How do you do that?
"Mailing Services" is the search term. You're looking for a mailing list broker. Select one who has been in business for several years. Tell them what kind of person you're seeking. Answer: People who earn $75,000 a year and up. (Note: if you are in rural Indiana then you may want to lower that figure. If you are in Orange County, CA you may want to raise it.) Tell the broker you want everyone who earns this much who reside in the zip codes near you.
If you are an established practice have your practice software list the patients you've served and the zips they live in. If you are a new practice select zips within a 20-mile radius of your practice. Unless you are a "destination practice," like Larry Rosenthal, Bill Dorfman, or Michael Kozarski, (love those guys!) you will probably have anywhere from five to twelve zip codes you draw from. Give the broker this list. They will tell you there are 50,000 people (or whatever) in the zip codes near you who earn $75,000 or more.
This is your universe.
These are the people - the only people, other than your own patients - that you will target. You will live and operate in this changing universe for the rest of your professional life (or until you move).
Choosing Your Vehicles
What do you do with this universe?
At first just two things; build a website then send them mail.
Websites are a big subject - we'll do that another time. But for now let's talk direct mail.
In 18 years of testing every medium you can think of, direct mail has been the best return on investment for our clients. That's not to say that radio, TV, print ads, newsletters, public appearances, website, signage, billboards, alliances with cosmetic surgeons and all the rest don't work - they do. (If done correctly.) But, for a singular marketing vehicle, direct mail is the clear winner. We almost always do a direct mail program for our clients no matter what else we do for them. We don't do coupons. We don't do free exams. We don't make our clients look foolish. We simply use the right vehicle to send the right message to the right people.
Crafting Your Message
This is the hard part. Now that you know who to talk to, what do you tell them that will cause them to pick up the phone and call?
I can't teach you in this short article how to be an advertising copywriter. But because you all are pretty good students I can give you the basic message and you can take it from there. It will be up to you to craft this into an impactful communication.
What I'm going to tell you is something I'm almost certain you won't want to hear. Even I don't like it. But I learned long ago that ignoring the marketplace in favor of my own little world vision is a foolish thing to do. Please don't shoot (or ignore) the messenger!
The mainstream of dental patients you need to connect with are also those who will provide you with a continuing income. This boils down to FAMILIES. Your marketing message needs to communicate to women (89% of all dental appointments are made by women) and this gets down to families. You can't have women if you don't have families.
What does this group want to hear and what messages get them to respond?
By actual real world tests over a 18 year period here's what you tell them: That you are; accessible, friendly, competent, won't hurt them or make them feel guilty because they've neglected their teeth, will treat them like family, will provide the latest dentistry, will do it in the minimal time necessary, have up-to-date training and equipment (high tech is a HUGE selling point) and you make it easy to pay. You don't have to be the cheapest as long as they know they are getting value, (in fact, high fees are not a turn off if you can deliver the value).
We work with many dentists who just want to do big cases. We get them there - eventually, but they uniformly start out working with families. In fact the best dentist I've ever seen - he does loads of veneers and big cases - and he does over a million a year - solo! - has a TOTALLY family image. There are plenty of big cases to do when you focus on families.
It's the perception he creates, manages and controls. The families come in and when they leave they look like a million bucks. And they pay full fee. But they wouldn't have received the life changing benefits of modern dentistry if they hadn't first picked up the phone.
Yes, he's got the treatment presentation down cold, has a great staff, he's done the CE and is a great clinician, and has the high tech toys. But none of that ever comes into play, and nothing happens, until the patient calls.
This starts with the selection of the correct target market, creating and managing the public perception of your practice, choosing the correct vehicle, crafting the message, and finally, how well you service people.
Don't think that you are doing much "educating" with your advertising. The purpose of advertising isn't to educate, it's to attract. After they arrive you can do all the educating you want. Your first goal is to get the right people to call. They will call if you speak to their concerns.
Mr. Horrocks is the author of two dental bestsellers, Unlimited New Patients, Volume One, and Unlimited New Patients, Volume Two; Trade Secrets of America's Dental Marketing Guru. His agency, New Patients, Inc. produces advertising campaigns for private dental practices all over the US and Canada. For more information call (866) 336-8237 or on the web at www.newpatientsinc.com
How Can I KNOW if First Impression Video Will be a Good Investment?
|Unless you've been hiding from various dental media outlets recently, you may have heard about First Impression Video (TM) for your website. |
Several of our current clients have inquired as to whether they should allocate some of their budgeted marketing dollars toward First Impression Video.
You might be surprised to learn that our answer isn't always YES!
EVERY dollar you spend promoting your practice should be prioritized. You simply cannot do everything - you will go out of budget. So, the question comes to mind - where does First Impression fit into my priorities?
Budgeting (Can I afford it?)
If you have received a marketing plan from NPI, you know we allocate your budget into groups (foundation/internal, external/direct, external/indirect, mass media, etc). Your website, search engine optimization, First Impression, internal mailers, referral brochures, etc, are considered part of the foundation/internal and should be pulled from the "foundation/internal" budget allocation. So, if you have an annual marketing budget of 60k and have allocated 15% to 20% of your budget to "internal" projects - you now know if First Impression is within your budget.
One Time Expense
It is very important to note that your website, optimization, and First Impression are largely one time marketing expenses that will be working for your practice for years and years to come. You are not going to build a new website each year, or get a new set of First Impression videos done. So, dividing the cost across multiple campaign years can and should be considered.
A practice may purchase a $4000 website, spend $4000 on optimization, and spend $9000 on First Impression. The total would be $17,000. If the dentist plans to practice another 17 years, the true annual budget hit would be $1,000 each year.
Your website, optimization, and First Impression are considered part of the "foundation" of all of your future marketing. As such, the cost may be incurred in one campaign year, but the benefits will be felt until you retire from dentistry. If you do take on all of the expenses in one year, make sure your tax advisor is aware come tax time.
The Opportunity (Is my foundation set up for maximum impact?)
If you are a client of NPI, you can likely look at your website reports and visibly see when your print ads ran, when your mail hit the street, or when any of the external promotion we do for you - impacted your area locally. You really can visibly see the cause/effect relationship between local external promotion and website traffic.
On your website reports, this is called "direct request". These visitors knew your domain and typed it directly into their browser before bringing up your website. Bottom line here is - if you are promoting the practice locally, you are driving traffic to your website.
Another way to drive web traffic to your website is through search engine optimization. Most of you are familiar with this process. These "visitors" found you through a search engine like Google, Yahoo, etc. Let's call these people "referred by search engine".
More and more people that previously used Yellow Pages are now using search engines to find what they are looking for.
So what does direct request and referred request add up to? Both add up to total website traffic. Most of you already receive consistent traffic to your practice website.
So why don't more patients call from your website and book their first appointment?
Exactly! That's why we built First Impression Video. This is called conversion. Website traffic is good but conversion is the holy grail. Actually, I don't mind saying (I am very proud) that NPI is way ahead of the curve on this growing opportunity to promote dental practices.
Are You a Candidate for First Impression Video?
Here is a short checklist we go through with our clients when they ask if they are ready for First Impression Video. If you answer "yes" to all of these, you are ready for First Impression. If you answered "no" to any of them, you've got some work to do before you are ready.
First Impression Checklist:
√ I have a website for my dental practice.
√ I don't get a lot of new patients from my website.
√ I promote my practice (or will be) locally.
√ My website reports show a consistent month over month volume of visitors.
√ My website is either currently optimized or will be.
√ I can safely afford First Impression this year and get the benefits every year.
I would encourage all of you to take a look at the average number of visits each month to your website. If you don't know how to do that, email your website host and ask for the URL and password to the reports. If you are getting 20, 50, 100 visits per month consistently - you are leaving new patients on the table (ok, bad analogy - but you get the idea)!
I want you to read the following quote from one of the dentists at 21st Century Dental. It describes a new patient experience directly related to First Impression Video.
I ask you to "read between the lines" of this quote, how this brand new patient reacted, and what she said to the doctor. Now, you tell me. Would your website have been able to gain THAT MUCH trust to allow a new patient like this to get the necessary dental treatment she needs?
"Saw a new patient, a highly anxious patient (walked in the front door crying due to dental fear) who chose us based on our website video introductions, and especially the one about sedation. She said, 'I could tell you guys wouldn't judge me because of my anxiety. I left a dental office because of that, and then went looking online for an office like yours.'
BTW, my first question when I saw she was a Google/internet referral was, "So, how did you like the videos?" She replied, "That's why I am here." We did a NP exam, she left to get Halcion, then is returning this afternoon for treatment."
We will be adding new dentists, new First Impression Video examples, and new patient reactions regularly to our website in the coming months. Everyone here at NPI realizes that First Impression is kind of "new". We also realize that with everything in dentistry, there will be your early adapters, your followers, and your stragglers. That's ok. Keep coming back to http://www.newpatientsinc.com/first_impression.html
every month or so. We will keep updating the site until you determine when First Impression Video is right for you.
Mr. Dilatush has a unique combined background in dental technology, dental practice management, practice marketing, and dental business analytics, which was built over the past 23 years in dentistry. He and his team are responsible for building client marketing plans that pose the least risk to client marketing budgets with the highest potential return. Howard Farran said of Mark, "multitudes of dentists have benefited from the wisdom and integrity that Mark brings to every project. His thoughtfulness and sincere approach has aided scores of dentists in finding their path to greater dental success.
|Mastering Phone Skills |
Maximizing your marketing investment
| By JoAnne Tanner, MBA|
The patient's first and most lasting impression of your practice is made during their initial call to your office.
A new patient will form their impression of the quality of your dentistry based on the first person they encounter.
Mastering your phone skills are essential in maximizing your marketing investment. When hiring a new front office person, perform a telephone interview. If this candidate cannot carry on a phone conversation with you why would you put them at your front desk?
The following is an example of how to properly handle the initial call to your office from a patient.
"Thank you for calling Austin Dental Care, this is Susan. How may I help you?" or "I can help you."
Caller: I want to make an appointment for a cleaning.
Office: Great! When was the last time you were in to see Dr. Johnson? (in other words we need to clarify - are we talking to an existing patient or is this a new patient. We do not want to offend any of our existing patients by saying: Have you been here before?)
Caller: I've never been there, this is my first time.
Office: You're going to love it here! Are mornings or afternoons more comfortable for you?
Caller: Afternoons are better for me.
Office: How about next Tuesday at 4:00 pm?
Caller: That will be fine.
Office: Your first name please, Robert and spell your last name, M-o-r-l-e-y, great. The best daytime phone number please. 555-2720. Robert, you're scheduled with Mary our hygienist, she is great and is very gentle. Do you need directions?
Caller: No thank you I drive by your office all the time.
Office: Great! Well, Robert, my name is Susan & we look forward to meeting you. We'll see you Tuesday at 4:00 pm.
Notice that the scheduling coordinator did not ask the patient a myriad of questions regarding insurance, health history or the date of their last dental exam and cleaning. The goal is to get the new patient in the door and to then impress them with your high tech yet, high touch practice.
The first 15 seconds of the call are critical. When "meeting" the caller, project the best possible "impression" of your practice. Although you may have other opportunities to win this patient, no other one will carry the impact as that of their first impression. The caller needs to know the person they are speaking to is friendly, knowledgeable and most of all competent in dealing professionally with the caller.
If things begin badly over the telephone you may not have another opportunity to progress beyond that beginning. To prevent that from happening, prepare by always remembering the following:
· Enthusiasm is exciting and contagious! Patients can distinguish your enthusiasm, or the lack of it, within seconds of speaking to you. Use it every time you answer the telephone
· Begin smiling before you answer the telephone. Always answer or speak on the telephone with a smile on your face.
· Reach for pencil and notepad when the telephone rings. This enables you to make notes for later use.
· Be positive even on dreary days. You smiles may be the only smile your customer hears/sees all day.
The initial phone call is definitely the most important step in getting the new patient, but it is only the first step in impressing the patient on your quality care.
JoAnne Tanner, MBA, shares compelling insights into dental management, drawn from over twenty-five years of experience in the dental profession. Her dynamic speaking style, combined with her proven, practical approach and highly detailed programs, make JoAnne a popular speaker for dentists and staff members alike. JoAnne has helped numerous dentists throughout the country to successfully implement her innovative techniques and management solutions, propelling their practices to new levels of success.
JoAnne holds a Master in Business Administration with an emphasis in Strategic Planning and a BS in Marketing Management.
For more information contact JoAnne Tanner.
First Impression Video (tm) from New Patients, Inc.
We are very excited about our new product offering - customized video for your website!
First Impression Video by New Patients, Inc. is a way for potential new patients to actually meet you when they visit your website for the first time. This GREATLY reduces the barrier of distrust and begins the process of "trust." Trust is the first thing you have to accomplish when you want to attract new patients. You can convey this with words but that can only take you so far.
Think about it. Let's say you need some kind of medical care. Your physician refers you to three specialists and gives you their websites so you can go home and look for yourself. Two of those sites are all text and maybe a poorly done educational (too long) video.
But on one of the sites, the doctor him/her self immediately introduces themselves to you and directs you to other points of interest on their website. When you click on those other points of interest, they (or someone else from their office) pop up again and help you with timely information.
Which one of the three specialists are you most likely going to call first for a consult?
Now let's say you weren't referred but you're just searching for a new dentist, which dentist would you most likely call for the first consult?
Now you understand the main benefit of First Impression Video. You are going to convert more of your website visitors into more new patients! After all, what's the use in having lots of web traffic, if you don't convert that traffic into new patients?
To learn more about First Impression Video, email Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org, or, call us at 866.336.8237. You can also visit our website and download a First Impression brochure. Go to www.newpatientsinc.com and click on the First Impression link at the top right.
| |We hope you've enjoyed our newsletter. Please let us know if there's a particular subject you'd like to hear about. And we always appreciate your feedback. Howie
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|Marketing Plan Built For Your Practice|
We will prepare a customized marketing plan for your practice which includes:
Absolutely No Cost or Obligation (and you won't be hounded with sales calls).
New Patients, Inc.
The ad agency exclusively for dentists
Oquendo Business Park
5935 Edmond Street Suite 105
Las Vegas, NV 89118
Pacific Time Zone