Some dentists think of marketing as though it is a magical faucet. They believe they should be able to implement a new tactic, snap their fingers and get magically get 100 new patients through the front door. The truth is that marketing is a real faucet, and the laws of physics apply in that you have to exert a force upon the faucet to start the flow. Three forces in particular will turn on the new patient flow, and they are three of your most valuable and limited resources: time, money & energy.
Before spending your precious time, money and energy on generating new patient flow through new external marketing campaigns, take a look at your existing new patient flow. What happens to the prospective new patients who are already coming out of the proverbial marketing faucet by contacting the office by phone or email? Do you have a nice solid bucket under that faucet catching every drop? Or does it look more like a sieve, resulting in missed opportunities to capture new patients?
If there are missed opportunities, then you have what I like to call holes in the bucket. These are issues such as:
- Scheduling issues, such as new patients not typically scheduled within 1-3 business days
- Not knowing how many prospective new patient callers you already get each month
- Front desk turning away new patients because of insurance or cost concerns
- A lack of comprehensive treatment planning and case presentation skills
- The hygienist not co-diagnosing
- The patient coordinator failing to schedule recommended treatment
- Lack of existing patient follow-up for both recall and reactivation
Maybe you are already getting enough new patient calls, but you have challenges that are preventing you from turning your new patients into patients of record. If any of the above is the case, you may not need to spend as much time, money and energy on external marketing as you think – rather, work on correcting these outstanding issues and get solid internal processes in place so that when you are ready to turn on the new patient flow faucet, you’ll be ready to catch every last drop.