New patients are the lifeblood of every dental practice. Without new, high-quality patients coming in the door each and every month, your practice will struggle to get by, let alone succeed at massively scaling production.
Most dentists realize this undeniable importance of new patient marketing. It’s the implementation that gets a bit tricky.
In an ideal world, your new patient marketing would bring tons of new patients to your practice on a consistent basis. These new patients would then convert into high-value lifetime patients, referring their friends and family members while also leaving positive reviews about your practice online for the rest of the world already searching for your services.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen, and many dentists do not see a sizable return on investment from their new patient marketing. Which leads us to the question:
What is the number one mistake dental practices make in their new patient marketing?
We called in twelve top dental industry experts to tackle this loaded question. Their answers are jam-packed with must-read tips for any dental practice that wants to stop making mistakes and start investing in new patient marketing that actually works. Let’s have a look!
“The single biggest mistake most dental practices make in their new patient marketing is to not properly handle the incoming calls by closing the deal and getting the patient scheduled. On average your marketing will have to generate four leads to call your dental office in order for the untrained receptionist to schedule just one patient. You need to train your front desk to close the deal by getting the patient scheduled to come in.”
Follow Dr. Howard Farran on twitter: @HowardFarran
2. Dr. Bobby Haney, Founder of Practice Growth Coach
“I would say the biggest mistake is over promising and under delivering. Practices can have a great online presence; work all the social media; advertise well, etc. and then fail to "answer the phone" when it rings. Patients have investigated your marketing and decided to call your office but they too often receive a very underwhelming reception.”
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“The single biggest challenge is how the initial phone contact is handled. Is that person properly trained to get new patients in and begin to create a positive practice experience? Do they over-screen the patient? Do they let calls go to voicemail? This is the choke point for most practice promotions, wasting thousands of dollars and repelling hundreds of patients.”
Follow Fred Joyal on twitter: @fredjoyal
4. Kim McGuire, Founder of Fortune Management
“The single biggest mistake most dental practices make in their New Patient Marketing is they don't ask their patients to review them on Google+ or their Facebook page. There is a huge difference in New Patient numbers between the practices that have many reviews and those who have few or none. Ask every patient, every time. Everyone reads the reviews before calling the Dental office, or any other type of business for that matter!”
5. Dr. Lorne Lavine, Founder of The Digital Dentist
“The biggest mistake I see is that many dentists incorrectly assume that patients come to the practice to purchase a procedure...they do not. They are there to buy YOU...the confidence that your practice can provide what they want. Dentists need to focus less on listing their services; most patients know that dentists provide multiple procedures. Instead, focus on the relationship, that they will be taken care of, that the staff is nice and caring. This is what patients really want.”
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6. Sandy Pardue, Founder of Classic Practice Resources
“The biggest mistake that dentists make in regards to new patient marketing is not having trained team members answering the calls coming into the practice from prospective new patients. I'd say this is one of the more common and most expensive missed opportunity in dental practice management.”
Follow Sandy Pardue on twitter: @sandyspardue
7. Alex Nottingham, J.D., M.B.A., Founder of All-Star Dental Academy
“The biggest marketing mistake dentists make is trying to spend money on marketing to get a ton of new patients when their team isn't trained to convert the patient's who are already calling. By having your team trained properly using effective, service based systems to handle new patient calls and productively schedule patients', you can then ensure that you are maximizing your marketing spend and not wasting your time and money.”
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8. V Kim Kutsch, DMD, Founder of CariFree
“The biggest mistake that dental practices make in their marketing is that they put so much focus on getting new patients into their practice, that they ignore the back door. They waste a lot of money churning through new patients and they don't have systems in place to turn them into automatic customers. They focus on getting them in the door, they don't focus on keeping them.”
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9. Grace Rizza, Founder of Identity Dental Marketing
“Dentists often skip thoughtful branding. This is the foundation of their marketing campaign and often the first impression made upon new patients. A generic logo or business name may feel comfortable, but do not allow your business to stand out. Thoughtful, strategic branding allows for easier transitions when it is time to sell. Effective branding begins with identifying the unique selling proposition of a practice and utilizes appropriate fonts, images and tagline to deliver (in a split second) the right message.”
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10. Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS of Dental Practice Solutions
“The biggest mistake dental practices make: not showing patients how much you care. The first place most patients look for a dentist is on the internet. On your website make it obvious that your patients are #1. Let all patients know "You Matter to Us!”. Here are a few ways to demonstrate you care:
Have doctor call all New Patients the day or night before their 1st appointment to get acquainted. This provides a time for doctor to begin building rapport and they can ask questions about what’s on their mind - a chief complaint, why they decided to schedule their appointment, etc.
When they arrive, your front office team member should "expect" their arrival. At the time your new patient is expected and when the door to your office opens, expect that this is your new patient coming in the door. When your office door opens, stand up and be ready to shake the patients hand. Be warm and welcoming when you greet all patients and especially someone who is new to your office. Offer them something to drink, maybe ask to give a tour of the office, etc.
After your patient leaves the office, I recommend that doctor or someone from the office, call the patient to follow up and ask how everything went that day in your office.
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11. Dr Adomian, DMD, of Santa Monica
“Here’s something no one talks about - dentists need to avoid inconsistent pricing. The price quoted on the phone should be the same as your patients pay when they get to the clinic. No one wants to feel like they are being singled out to pay more than what's fair, and no one wants to be lured in with a "deal" to only to be hit with a hidden fee elsewhere. While we're on the topic of deals - I'd advise against it. It's a universal truth that you get what you pay for. Better to differentiate on high quality work because it drives referrals.”
12. Jacob Puhl, Co-Owner and Cofounder Of Firegang Dental Marketing
The biggest mistake I see doctors making is not understanding the patient’s buying process —and thus skipping crucial steps that result in losing potential new patients.
-First, a patient will search on Google and look at your reviews. Therefore, you must have amazing Google reviews, and a lot of them.
-Then, the potential patient will go to your website. So you must have a comprehensive, well-designed site that portrays your practice as ‘best in class.'
-Then, the patient calls you. This is the crucial point where the new patient is won or lost. Your front desk must have airtight phone skills and get the prospect in the chair so that the Doctor can do what they do best: dentistry.
-Then, the patient comes in and experiences your services. You must have friendly hours, open schedule slots, maybe financing options in place, and overall come across as ‘easy to work with’ for the patient.
The dental marketing game has changed. It’s more complicated than 10 years ago. To attract the right new patients, a dental office must perform well at each stage of the buying process, or else risk losing out to a competitor who does!
So there you have it—the most common new patient marketing mistakes that dental practices make according to twelve leading industry experts.
From properly training staff members to handle incoming calls to spending time on thoughtful branding to making sure that the new dental patient always comes first—there’s a lot that goes into successful new patient marketing. But stop making these common new patient marketing mistakes listed above and we’re confident your dental practice will soon reap the benefits of new patient marketing that actually works. And that means more profit and more success for your dental practice.
Ready to take your new patient marketing to the next level and dominate your local marketplace? Learn more about our new patient marketing solutions that cover all bases to let patients know you’re the best dentist they could possibly choose. It could be the smartest marketing move you ever make.