New patient conversion

Dental Marketing: YOU Are Your Brand

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If you are looking for “an edge” in your dental marketing that will make you stand out from your competition, professional pictures and videos are it. Seeing an image of the dentist upon arrival to the website creates an immediate connection to the practice for the patient. The images on your website are the first items of information that a visitor to your website will process. Around 90% of the information processed in the brain is visual and the brain actually processes images 60,000 times faster than text! This definitely lends some truth to the well known adage, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

And of course you won’t want to stop with just images. You can further build on that connection with quality professional video. It can be nerve racking to search for a new dentist for any patient, and so the ability to feel like you’ve gotten to know the dentist a little before walking through the door is simply priceless. Check out a professionally branded dental marketing video created for two of our dentists, Dr. Israel Salin and Dr. Dimitri Salin.

Once you have created your professional images and video, you want to make sure to splash them everywhere, your website alone is not enough. You’ll want potential patients to see you everywhere they go… images on yelp, yahoo, all your local listings, facebook, youtube, etc. You’ll also want to play commercial snippets and use your images on banners for re-marketing ads that target users who have visited your site in the past. You’ll want to add these images to direct mail postcards and emails that you send out. When a patient sees you everywhere they look, they will begin to believe you are absolutely the most obvious and best choice in town.

 

Rescheduling cancelled & no-show appointments…

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Lets face it… we are all human, and have a lot on our plates. I am sure every single one of us has forgotten an appointment, or double booked our schedule. So as a practice, how do you take in to account human error?

Here are a few ways to remind patients of their appointments, and encourage re-booking when something else comes up.

1. Call your patients and remind them.

–Everyone needs a reminder now and then, and we find that it works best when it comes a few days in advance. When you call your patients the day or heaven forbid the night before, often times this is too late to move around schedules when double booking has happened, and typically the dental appointment loses in the priority game.

2. Don’t expect your patients to call you back.

–As previously mentioned… people are busy. If you rely on your patients to give you a call when they have a free moment, it might not happen for several months. Have a list of patients to call back and schedule, or reschedule.

At Dental Game Plan, every appointment booked is followed up with by our call center operators when the patient cancels, or is simply a no show. We find that speaking to the patient, that we pursue, allows us to reschedule, find out why the appointment was not kept, and helps us to better ourselves when it was not kept for a specific reason on the office’s part (i.e. not getting an appointment soon enough in an emergency case).

3. Do not be afraid to be tough.

–When extending a promotional deal (low prices) to a new client, do not be afraid to ask them to pay in advance, especially when a large block of time will be held for their appointment. This will ensure that you have a patient booked who will most likely show up. It also is reassuring to the patient that no hidden fees are associated with the visit. We find this works best in non-emergency cases, such as routine cleanings. However when a patient is coming in for an unknown visit, like a tooth ache, it makes it nearly impossible to ask them to pay anything upfront.

–When you have a existing patient no-show, or cancel, remind them of your cancellation policy. Of course use discretion, but when you have a repeat offender, applying a no show fee or late cancellation fee is acceptable. Many offices use a three strike system, and the patients who come to the office are informed on the policy, and warned when they have used up a “strike”.

4. Tracking your results.

–Companies like Dental Game Plan track your monthly results. Each appointment made is followed up with through the office to be sure that the patient made it to their appointment. If they did not, the call center follows up with the patient to see if rescheduling can happen.

Knowing that people are busy, and your office is also busy, makes having a third party company who tracks your appointments and no- shows very beneficial to everyone involved.

 

 

“You Want Me To Do What?!? Give Away My Services? Are You Crazy??!?!”

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Over the years, we have found that dental internet marketing hinges on new patient specials. Yet with every new client that comes to our program, I spend countless hours working to get them on board with the notion that new patient specials are not just needed but critical to growing their business long-term. So I would like to take a minute to discuss some of the objections I listen to over and over again and how I’m likely to respond should you and I ever have this conversation in person.

Client: I really don’t want the kind of new patients that are shopping for a deal
Jessie: You must play to your audience! The vast majority of surfers online are shopping for a deal. This is the current trend in our internet based society. We have gone back to coupon clipping and deal hunting. Why pay more if you do not have to? The dental office down the street that you are competing with has new patient specials and accessible offers out on the web and in print. If a potential patient is looking at several offices online and all have great reviews and a good internet presence, why would they choose the office not offering a deal? After all, most people have a try-before-buy mentality as there is no guarantee that they will like the location, staff, or the dentist, so why not choose the business offering service at the least initial out of pocket expense?

Client: My hygienist makes 40+/hour, her time is expensive so I don’t want to offer a cleaning, exam & x-ray deal
Jessie: If you give no other offers for new patients, this is the one to give! I cannot stress this enough. Patients looking for a cleaning, exam and x-ray are dream patients that will be gold for you in the long run.  The patients who are concerned about their dental health and are making it a continual priority are the patients who will opt to get a root canal and a crown immediately when the problem arises instead of letting the problem deteriorate until they are in pain and have no other choice but to come in and have the tooth extracted. Patients who are actively seeking a cleaning when they have no other underlying issues forcing them to seek out a dentist are the patients you want. Also, cleanings and exams are where you find that a patient may have issues they don’t know about and you’re able to schedule them for a return visit. Not only should you offer new patients a cleaning, exam and x-ray special, you should roll out the red carpet for them and congratulate them on being mindful of their dental health.

Client: You want me to offer too many specials, can’t we just have one new patient special?
Jessie: Again, you must play to your audience! A patient who just broke their denture does not care about a cleaning, exam and x-ray offer. The patient searching for Invisalign or Veneers is not interested in your Implant offer. We make it a point to have one “closing” offer and one follow up “treatment acceptance” offer for each and every major service your office is marketing. If you are running ads and ranking organically for lets say root canals, you absolutely must have a root canal offer and if you are running ads and ranking for the keyword implants you absolutely must have implant offers and so on.

Client: They just come in and take advantage of the deal and never come back…
Jessie: This answer may sound a little harsh and I will admit to saying this more diplomatically for our clients but the truth of the matter is that… “This is on you!” Our job is to get the potential patient through the door and the your job to make the experience one worth coming back for.  In other words, you need to WOW them with your very best customer service and do whatever it takes to make them comfortable in your office. Then, as much as you may hate it, you must offer them a SECOND INCENTIVE to entice them back. Once you have them in the door with a low or no cost incentive for a consultation, you need to follow that up with an additional offer geared towards treatment acceptance. If they come in for an emergency consultation and you determine that they need an extraction, follow that up with an offer for a percentage off an implant. And make sure to provide the patient with payment plan options.  Then and only then will you have cemented yourself as their long-term provider.

If you take nothing else from this read, please take this; The value of a new patient is not merely found in how much they spend during one visit. The value of a new patient that is inspired to become a returning loyal patient, who is committed to their oral health, is found over the potential years they are with you, the friends and family that they refer to your business, and the potential compounding effect of those referrals that lead to other referrals and so on.

Please keep in mind that with our front-loaded, incentive based approach immediate results are not always easy to see, but stick with it. I find that even after hours of discussion, some clients reluctantly agree to offer the incentives we require solely based upon the fact that they are foisted upon them as a condition of our guaranteed results. Over the course of the next several months, while these client adjust to the new way of doing business, we inevitably hear complaints, rebuttals, case studies and other myriad reasons our incentive based approach just isn’t working.  These dentists are looking for ways to be right and so they tighten their grip and shine a spotlight on each and every new patient that comes to them and fits any earlier objection and parade those stories into my inbox, with an unspoken “I told you so!” And without fail, about 3-4 months down the line when patients are flooding in and the numbers game is playing out, I magically stop hearing those objections. By this time in the process we are getting so many awesome patients with the incentives that the occasional ‘dud’ doesn’t even factor in. And in truth, I often have clients who come back to me months down the road with their own great ideas for new and exciting incentives!

What Your Office Is Really Saying

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Often times when a patient calls in to your office directly, they are greeted with a busy receptionist with a lot on their plate. Most likely scenario is they are probably sitting in front of a patient that is waiting to be checked in or out, and they have 5 other telephone lines ringing to be picked up.

Of course we know your office cares deeply about each and every patient that comes in to see you.  Moreover, you we know you care about the overall customer experience and how that translates to long-term success for your practice in the form of loyal clientele and glowing reviews online.  The question is; are your office staff currently doing what is necessary for you to realize these goals for every, single person that picks up the phone and dials your number?

In our abundant experience we’ve learned that the main reason(s) a new patient calls is to book a routine appointment, an emergency appointment, or get a quote on a service. At Dental Game Plan, our operators are never too busy to answer even the most long-winded questions a potential patient can come up with.  We’re thorough, kind, understanding and above all good listeners — when it’s all said and done our goal is to get them to come in to your office for a new patient consultation or exam.

We like to think of any patient that actually calls in for an cleaning, exam or other routine appointment, as “gold-star” patient. If handled correctly, these patients will be return patients, or patients that show up on your online review sites — and know the value and importance of regular oral maintenance. We typically pass these patients directly to the office to book an appointment, and know a bit of a wait for the appointment will usually not be a big deal.

When an emergency patient calls in for an appointment, we always like to get them in as soon as possible. Sometimes a “tomorrow appointment” will automatically result in a hang-up. Having space in your schedule, every single day, for these inevitable calls is of utmost importance. Though, they are not always return patients, they will know you will be there for them if they need you again.

We know that prices given over the phone are valuable to the patient, but they can often be inaccurate, and exaggerated. Having the patient come in for a free exam is a huge benefit to the patient, and your office.

When you receive a quote for a service, what is the first thing you do? Whether it be auto, home repair, or a medical expense, you typically call around for a second quote. If your office is giving quotes, without seeing the patient, and your quote turns out to be too high, or too low, you will have an unhappy patient, guaranteed.

At Dental Game Plan, we believe the most important thing to do with a potential new patient is relay a general, honest sense of care for their comfort and well-being. We have staffed our call-center with people whose main goal is to be there for your potential patients-in-need 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our compassionate operators always ensure that callers know we believe their time to be valuable, that we care about their financial situation and are sensitive to any extenuating fears or anxiety.

Booking a new patient appointment, for you (our client)  is our number one goal; however, we always go that little bit extra, to show callers that our focus is 100% on them  — we want to make that first impression the foundation for a quality long-term relationship.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Together We Can Stop The Machines!

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How many times have you called an office, a restaurant, or a doctor and had the phone ring and ring until it clicks over to a prerecorded message. “Sorry we are not in right now…” Of course you don’t know what the next part of the message is, because you already hung up.

A recent study found that 75% of all calls sent to voice mail, hang up. EVoice also did a study, and they found that of all messages left, 33% of them are not ever even checked. This undoubtedly is harmful to any business.

So what is the solution?

Many companies have turned to an answering service who will answer your phone calls when your office is not open, and will relay the messages to the office when they are open again. This of course is not the most desired option, because there is still a disconnect between the office and the answering service when operators are unable to fully assist the caller.

At Dental Game Plan our operators are specifically trained and knowledgeable in the field of dentistry, we are HIPAA compliant and are able to speak to your new patient callers 24/7, while representing your office to the highest standard. Our operators are able to relay pertinent office information, answer patient questions and even book appointments for you where there are openings in your schedule.

Above all, keep in mind it is vital that you have a living, breathing human available to make a connection with each and every caller, so no onegets left behind in “voice-mail purgatory”. Building a relationship over the phone, is the first step in securing a new patient connection, and integral to having long-term rapport.

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Source:

http://blog.alliancewireless.com/blog/75-of-people-that-reach-voice-mail-simply-hang-up

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/are-you-still-checking-voice-mail/

Getting chatty with your patients

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As of January, 2015 it was estimated that 74% of people are connected to some form of social media. That means that 74% of all people connect to others through the internet.  If this stat is true, then that means that as a practice you should be very proficient communicating via the internet. The best way to do this is to set up a chat client for your patients to access.

Providing a live chat program for your clients ensures that they can reach you when making a phone call is not convenient. Of course in order to make this successful, there will need to be a person on the other end of this exchange in order to ‘live chat.’

When you provide a live person on chat, it gives the chance to provide immediate customer service. You will be able to get information from your patient, as well as give important information that they will need. Be engaging with your patients while chatting with them, and be quick to respond so they do not lose interest. Train your staff so they will have the the knowledge to answer their questions, and be honest when you are unsure about something- with the promise to find out the answer.

Many people tend to get lost when navigating a website, so providing a live helper to answer questions will help reduce the amount of visitors abandoning their search and increase your conversion rate from browsers, to patients.

Remember to get the patients name and phone number early in the conversation in case you need it. Once they have their information, they will likely disconnect, so having contact information is a necessity.

Chatting with patients will only become more popular with time. So jumping on the bandwagon and being ahead of your competition is imperative when you are building a successful practice.

 

Source:

http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheets/social-networking-fact-sheet/

https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=how+to+engage+clients+through+chat

https://econsultancy.com/blog/10644-stats-do-consumers-appreciate-live-chat-on-websites/

http://blog.bigcommerce.com/5-tips-increase-conversion-rate-live-chat/

http://www.healthcaresuccess.com/blog/medical-marketing-advertising/the-benefits-of-live-chat-on-your-medical-website-but-does-healthcare-marketing-need-it.html

Quick tip videos are great for social media

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When was the last time you sat down and actually watched a video that was over 3 minutes long, while browsing through the Internet? Recent studies have shown that our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter, which means that the consumer now demands useful information upfront while visiting a new website, as this article published by The Guardian states.

As soon as your patients visit your Facebook page, they’ll want to either be entertained or informed. Information, however, always needs to be backed up by a knowledgeable source. The words by themselves are ineffective if the audience won’t take them as true.

That’s why it’s so important to have videos in which you, the doctor, give quick tips to your patients on how to obtain great oral health, or how to avoid falling into traps that will make their mouths less clean. When we see a doctor on the screen giving us advice or telling us what’s important for our health, we’ll inevitably take that in and, in most cases, apply it to our routines. After all, we all want to live a long and healthy life.

You may think that, because you don’t have that Hollywood fancy equipment to record your videos, you shouldn’t even bother making them. Well, don’t forget that our phones and tablets are now able to record video footage in full HD resolution; there was even a film at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival that was completely recorded in an iPhone 5S.

So, if filmmakers out there are making full feature-length films on phones, you should be able to record short 30 to 90-second long videos with the equipment you have in hand. Just take out your phone or tablet and talk to your patients directly, give them tips, tell them what’s important for their oral health maintenance and let them know why you are the best and most knowledgeable dentist out there.

A Custom Dental Website By Itself Does Not Guarantee New Patients

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So your custom dental website looks pretty sleek and professional but your phone just isn’t ringing off the hook…

That’s because a nice looking site or a page 1 Google listing by itself is not enough to convert the average web-surfer looking for dental services; you need a dominating online presence everywhere the potential patient turns and an arsenal of conversion tools to get them scheduled once they land on your site.

You need glowing patient reviews across several platforms such as Google, Yelp, and Citysearch to inspire confidence that your visitor is making the right decision.

The appointment process needs to be an easy one, with online appointment requests, easy to find phone numbers, click-to call, and a friendly voice on the other side of the phone 24 hours a day seven days a week who will not ask your potential patient to “hold please.”

You need live chat to reel in “looky-loo’s” with real time assistance and special offers.

Lastly, for those potential patients that do not commit on the first look, a Google remarking strategy to follow them around, a steady social media presence and a directory listing everywhere your potential patient turns, will position you squarely above your competition.

The Dreaded “Could You Please Hold…” Request

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No one enjoys being placed on hold. When you are forced to actually call a business to get the answers you need, being on hold is just an annoying waste of time. With technology on the rise, and answers literally at our fingertips, having correct, actionable answers now is more important than ever.

Most company’s online marketing goals are to engage the potential customer enough to warrant a phone call. In fact,  93% of the average marketing / advertising budget is spent to entice potential customers to call you.  When a person actually does call in, it’s been found that 70% of them will be asked, “Could you please hold?” at some point during their call.  This is literally the equivalent to flushing money down the toilet. Consider these statistics:

  • According to a recent study, the average hold time for businesses with more than two lines is 55 seconds
  • Another study indicated that of the 8 – 15% of a company’s customer base is lost each year, 68% is due to indifferent or negative phone treatment
  • 34% of callers who hang up will not call back, and you have a very big reason to not place anyone on hold unless absolutely necessary

Now, you may draw your own conclusions once you’ve looked at the data, however, one fact that can not be ignored is that conversion rates and customer retention rates have dramatic decline when people feel that they are not important to you.

 

Source:

http://www.soundresultsonhold.com/on_hold_stats_studies.html

http://dc-digital.net/hold-messaging/statistics

Dental Marketing Expense & Why Marketing Is Critical

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Let’s face it the financial outlay to marketing your dental office properly can seem to be really expensive.  You probably need to build a new website, create video, produce ads, get a CPC campaign set up and running, promote yourself on Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms, and then on top of that you have all the additional costs and headaches of marketing.  As we all know this can be very expensive, with Google pay per click costs averaging at $10 to $25 per click, your daily budgets will easily be in the $50 to $100 range.  Add all of that up, and you are looking at a pretty expensive outlay before you see your first result!

But if we really calculate these costs and look at dental marketing from a revenue producing perspective we would come up with a different scenario.  Let’s say your advertising is costing $5K – $6K per month and you are producing 20 to 30 new appointments with that budget. What are these new patient appointments worth to you over the next 12 months?  Statistically speaking a patient is worth (on average) $1,200 – $1,500 over a 12 month period (according to major dental insurance companies ie. Delta).  So if you are producing 20 patients a month you should be able to produce $24,000 to $30,000 dollars of new business revenue.  Many offices can produce this revenue in the first 3 months, because normally these new appointments are coming from cracked teeth, root canals, extractions, implants and those patients that haven’t been into see a dentist in a very long time.  9 times out of 10 these patients are desperate for some kind of dental work and figure to opt-in to your recommended treatment plan.

These numbers don’t include how much that patient is worth over a lifetime of services that you provide, statistically speaking a patient will stay with an office for an average of 7 years so if we do the math $1,200 (patient yearly value) multiplied by 7 (the average time your patients stay with you) we get a total patient worth of of $8,400!  Most don’t calculate the number of referrals that can also come from just one satisfied “new” patient and on average this happy patient will refer up to 2 other people to your practice.

Now let’s consider how many patients you will lose over the next 12 months… According to the ADA your typical dental office loses 10 percent of their patients annually, which means if you have 2,000 patients in your records you are likely to lose 200 patients this year.  This attrition rate can be attributed to people moving, unhappy patients, and yes even better marketing and pricing by your competitors.  So if you are losing 20 patients you need must begin adding an additional 16.6 patients a month to your office just to break even!!  But, who ever said we were interested in merely breaking even?

Basically dental marketing is not the expense, the truth really is that if you aren’t marketing for your dental office you are losing money!  Many dental offices don’t take the risk associated with spending advertising dollars because usually there is no guarantee, but at Dental Game Plan our efforts will produce results and revenue, and we guarantee it!  Find out more about our programs and how we can make you the obvious choice for dentistry in your market.

 

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