dental practice management strategies


How Much Should I Be Spending on Dental Marketing?

by Naomi Cooper November 1, 2017

No one wants to see any money go to waste, but amidst all of the sales calls and promotions bombarding dental dental practice marketing budget strategiesoffices, it can be hard to find the sweet spot of spending enough money to get your name established within the community without spending your marketing dollars unnecessarily.

When trying to determine a budget for your dental practice marketing in 2018, consider these following questions:

  • How well known is your practice within your local area? For a new practice, plan on spending more, particularly in the first year.
  • How much external marketing has been done in recent years? Again, for a new practice, or one that has done little to no marketing, consider the first year the “building year”.

Practices that fit into one or both of the above descriptions should plan to dedicate anywhere from 6-10% of gross revenue for marketing in a building year. Then in years 2 and following, be sure to track the ROI (return on investment) and budget 4-6% annually for ongoing efforts.

As far as how to allocate the budget, here are a few concepts to keep in mind:

  • Always keep your target patient in mind. Choose marketing ventures that will best reach your desired patient type. Looking to attract moms? Think about social media as opposed to phone book ads.
  • Business is cyclical. Market your practice during the times of year when your practice gets busier to reach more patients at the precise time they are searching for your services.
  • Don’t forget your marketing budget should be fluid. Take time to track and review results over time. Make changes on a semi-annual basis when you see there is room for improvement.

Finally, don’t overlook the benefits of hiring a marketing consultant when crafting your marketing budget and strategy. A professional with specific experience in the dental industry can help guide you through the marketing process and help you find your marketing sweet spot.


The Secret to Finding Your Ideal Patients

by Naomi Cooper June 10, 2015

The Secret to Finding Your Ideal PatientsThere’s a pervasive myth permeating dentistry today – the myth of the ideal patient. Every doctor is looking for what I like to call “unicorn patients”: patients with money burning holes in their pockets, ready to spend it on dentistry, but for some reason who just haven’t found the right doctor yet. The problem with this concept is patients with large budgets who value dentistry most likely already have a trusted dentist. Not only is the ideal patient myth unrealistic, it’s not doing you any favors to wait around for these unicorns. It’s an unrealistic ideal and it causes you to overlook an untapped resource – your current patients!

In fact, your ideal patients actually do exist – and they’re already in your practice. All you have to do is take the time to mold them into becoming model patients. Here are a few tips:

  • Improve communication: Asking one simple question can help open the doctor-patient lines of communication: “If there was one thing you could change about your smile, what would it be?” It’s a great conversation starter that helps reveal your patients’ motivations which then allows you to better tailor your treatment recommendations to their ultimate goals.
  • Establish trust: As Dr. Paul Homoly explains, patients will accept treatment when they’re ready. Understand that a “no” often means “not right now”.  It’s the job of the dentist and staff to explain to patients what treatment they need and why, and to continually reinforce that message every time they are in the practice so that when patients are ready to proceed, they’ll know who to turn to.
  • Make dentistry affordable: Offer various payment options in order to make care as affordable as possible to as many patients as possible. Financing solutions like Comprehensive Finance help more patients say yes to treatment they need but may not necessarily have the means to pay out of pocket for. In-house savings plan companies like Quality Dental Plan help make patients feel like they are welcome in the practice even if they don’t have insurance.

Your patients demonstrate their trust in you by keeping their routine appointments. They exhibit their loyalty every time they refer others to the practice. The concept of the perfect patient may not be realistic, but making the most of existing opportunities will help turn your existing base into your own collection of ideal patients.


E-Communication Tactics for Dentists

by Naomi Cooper May 12, 2014

E-Communication Tactics for DentistsOne of the major advantages of a modern dental marketing plan is that patient communication and education don’t have to be limited to the two or three times a year a patient comes into the office for their hygiene appointments and annual exam.

Keeping in touch with patients consistently throughout the year will keep the conversation flowing between appointments. Dentists have the unique opportunity to truly build long-term relationships with patients. Communication is the foundation of these relationships, and with good communication, the chances of increased case acceptance and patient retention are exponential.

Here are 4 ways to utilize e-communication methods you need to know about:

  1. Implementing a practice e-newsletter
  2. Using electronic appointment reminders
  3. Creating social media profiles on sites such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter
  4. Including a blog on the practice website

All of the above serve to reinforce the fact that dentists are their patients’ partners in continually thinking and learning about their oral and overall health.

Vendors such as Sesame Communications, DemandForce, and My Social Practice can be incredibly helpful in leveraging technology for practices that don’t have the time or expertise to do it on their own.

Today, dental patients are looking not only for a competent doctor, but also for a dentist who educates them about their oral health — and above all, someone who demonstrates that they truly care. Whether through verbal skills or electronic mediums, ongoing and effective patient communication is one of the keys that unlocks a prosperous future for every dental practice.