How Understanding Your Patients Can Drive Marketing Success
Recently, a colleague shared with me a promotional email they had received from a dental practice, offering dental whitening at a discounted price, which we assume was sent to their entire patient database. This got me thinking – I wonder how successful this offer will be in generating business for them? Part of this is my curiosity as a dental practice consultant, interested to know how individual practices market themselves. The other reason is I believe the communication they sent out was not that as effective as it could be.
While I can’t show you the email here, let me describe the key elements. It was a single sheet image file, with a head and shoulders shot of a young woman smiling a nice toothy smile. The practice name was at the top, and the discount offered, and resultant final price were both adjacent to the image of the woman. A call to action to ‘Contact us for your appointment today!’ was placed underneath the price and at the bottom of the page were telephone and address details. The background was neutral, such that the image of the young woman stood out nicely. The email had two lines of copy stating ‘Hello from ABC Practice, we have an offer of …., call us today, hope to hear from you’
Here are a few missed opportunities I observed:
This email was not personalized to the patient recipient, yet the practice knows their name, so it would have been easy to do. Campaign Monitor claims that personalized emails are 26% more likely to be opened.
Understand What Motivates Your Patients
Why might people want to whiten their teeth? In marketing, we focus on benefits to the consumer, which can be both functional and emotional. Repairing teeth that are dark is a functional benefit that may be important to people who have very stained teeth eg smokers, heavy black tea drinkers. However, for the rest, having off-white teeth is usually a matter of perception in the mind of the individual patient. Imagine a person whose job is to meet and greet new people every day, or a recent divorcee looking to date again. For them, the idea of white teeth may be very motivating. I know with a couple of well-selected images and some compelling headlines and copy this dental practice could have made this a much stronger communication about whitening and its ability to improve self-confidence which enables personal success. As a practice manager, you already know that the majority of your cosmetic treatments are sold to people making emotional decisions. So simple business sense tells you that this is the patient group you should design your message against. Of course, what I have mentioned here are by no means the only motivators for choosing a treatment, but hopefully, you get the point, that a little bit of creative thinking could increase your marketing success. What’s more, you don’t need an advertising agency for that, instead enroll your team for a half-hour brainstorm one morning and have some fun doing it. You win with ideas and they win with workplace engagement.
Marketing Is More than One Isolated Action
Effectively selling treatments is about knowing your patients and the best way to know your patients is to talk to them and to listen. Have your team make sure any casual comments made by a patient that might suggest treatment opportunities are noted on their file. For example, ‘do my teeth look very white compared to your other patients?’ or ‘ I think my top canines look funny’. Clearly, these people are already partially motivated and perhaps this offer will tip them to sign up. When you then decide to run an offer for discounted treatment you already have a warmer list of patients to contact with a special, more personalized introductory message in the main body of their email. ‘Hi ABC, I know you had mentioned in the past about XYZ, well this month we are offering …..’. Again, enroll your team here. Make sure they all note these little observations on your patient files and if one patient should sign up for treatment then reward that team member with an incentive.
A promotional offer can be a great way to sell additional treatments. However, with a little bit of extra thought, you can turn this into a compelling and inspiring message that will grow your business.
At NGT Academy we offer several courses designed to help you successfully market your practice. You can check out some of them here:
- Check our course catalog
Successfully Marketing Your Dental Practice: Bundle