Home » Business » Marketing and Advertising

3 Dental Marketing Tips To Recession Proof Your Practice

May 16, 2008
With all of the discussion in the media today, many dental practices are "hunkering down" for the economic storm ahead.

This is a dangerous approach considering your practice thrives on growth to succeed. If you want to stay out of economic turmoil, you need to keep your dental marketing momentum.

In the uncertain financial climate, you don't have the time, or the means to test new dental marketing ideas until you find one that is successful.

There are 3 main things every practice needs to do right now, to protect themselves from suffering with the economy.

These three dental marketing ideas are assembled below in no particular order.

Recession proof tip 1: Keep your dental patient newsletter going.

In a slow economy, everyone is looking to cut costs. Usually, the first place dentists look is their patient newsletter.

Sure, it is an easy way to save a few dollars, but at what expense. Many patients believe that the stopping of a consistent communications system is a sign that an organization is unstable. Stopping your monthly newsletter is one way to tell them... we're worried too, so we're saving money by not talking to you.

Also, your patient newsletter is a tremendous marketing asset. It not only helps to foster a referral mentality in your practice, but also seals patient in. Even though they may not tell you. They love the extra touch of a printed newsletter.

Instead of cutting the newsletter, keep it going, and to save costs, see who else in your area (think complimentary services) would like to put a coupon, or small article in your newsletter, and share costs.

Recession proof tip 2: Look to reactivate patients and complete undone-treatment.

Undone treatment is treatment that has been prescribed by you, but incomplete. Find these charts in your system and send these people an offer to come in and get their treatment done at a small concession. The best that we've tested is a 30% discount up to $300. This may sound crazy, but the letter that was sent to just over 500 people gathered an immediate cash inflow of over $30,000 within 30 days.

Sure, this is "discounted" treatment. But it was also treatment, and patients that would have never returned unless the offer was made. Now these patients are coming back, giving you money, and become great referral sources for your practice.

To reactivate general patients, go back 6 months (the time for recall) and find out which patients have not been in in the last six. Contact them immediately to see if you can get them scheduled, and have them return to your practice. The longer you let these patients slide, the more likely they are to never return.

Every month you don't communicate with your current dental patients, they lose 10% of their loyalty to you. After 5 months with no newsletter, or appointment, they have only a 50% chance they will return to your practice. Those are not good odds when you consider it will cost 10 times as much money to replace them as it will just to keep them.

Recession proof tip 3: Advertise, advertise, advertise...

Just because there is a "recession" looming doesn't mean people automatically stop looking for a dentist. No matter what the media says, there are still people out there looking for a new dentist. People are still buying houses, driving big SUVs, buying gas... there is plenty of money to be had.

In fact, right now is one of the best times to advertise because (super secret) everyone else is cutting their marketing budgets!!! Dental marketing budgets as a whole are being dropped by offices everywhere because they want to save money (see #1). This means less competition for the dental practice that continues to advertise and market the practice.

There is always one dental practice in any area that continues to advertise through tough economic conditions that always reaps the benefits. As stated above, there is still plenty of money out there, now go and get it.

Bonus recession proof tip: Look for new opportunities.
As Rockefeller once said, "Buy when there is blood in the water." Keep your head on a swivel and look for the next big opportunity. Maybe it's a practice purchase, or a dentist is going bankrupt and is willing to sell his charts. Maybe there is a foreclosed office that would lend itself to a quick sale and a second practice location.

Always keep your eyes open for opportunities at all times, and build a good foundation that will create future growth in your practice.

By being proactive in your assault on the economy, you can keep your practice out of hot water. Continuing to move forward will give your current patients a feeling of stability. It will also show your community that you are stable, and want to continue to be a part of it.

Continue to communicate with your current patients as they are the bread and butter of your practice. Retaining them as patients goes a long way toward continuing to grow your practice. Then, look at advertising when and where others aren't.

Follow this advice, and this "recession" could be the best thing that ever happened to you and your practice.
About the Author
James Erickson is the President of EMC Dental Marketing which gives Dentists a resource for turn-key dental marketing programs and dental practice marketing education including new patient attraction, and internal marketing systems. Visit www.EMCdental.com and get a free practice
building kit sent directly to your home or office.
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 126
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories