Would You Rather?

By January 15, 2015Blog

Which would you rather attract each month?

  1. 20 new patients for cleaning and exam
  2. 3 new Invisalign® cases
  3. 1 new cosmetic case

The first thing to that may come to mind is the production that each option might yield:

  1. $250 (after submitted to insurance) x 20 cleanings and exams = $5,000
  2. $4,500 x 3 Invisalign® cases = $13,500
  3. $30,000 x 1 new cosmetic case = $30,000

Of course, the answer is not that simple.

In order to attract 20 cleanings and exams every month, the practice marketing must reach 100 potential patients and convert 20% to actual patients. The cost to reach so many people can be quite high, since it requires awareness marketing: providing public awareness that the practice even exists. Too, the cost to integrate so many new patients every month can add up quickly.

Plus, the practice will be marketing among all of the other general dentists in the surrounding area. There are very few ways to stand out when it comes to cleanings and exams, and many practices compete on price – which is certainly not a game that the high-integrity practice wants to play. And it can be difficult to attract high-quality patients out of such a large pool.

At the same time, cleaning and exam patients provide the foundational income for the practice.

On the other hand, to attract 3 new Invisalign® cases, the practice marketing must reach 10 potential patients and convert 30% to actual patients. The pool is much smaller because Invisalign® patients require very little awareness marketing – they already have the intention of resolving a particular issue that exists. These people are actively looking for a provider who can fix misaligned teeth. They typically need far less education to accept treatment. Fewer potential patients mean that the cost to integrate specialized cases is lower as well.

As an Invisalign® provider, the practice stands out among competitors who don’t offer this care or who only offer traditional orthodontia.

Patients understand that it is electoral care before they even enter the practice doors, and they are prepared to pay out-of-pocket and usually up-front for treatment.

Still, the practice cannot make 100% of its production from Invisalign® cases.

Finally, to attract 1 new cosmetic case, the practice must invest considerable time and money educating 10 potential patients to convert 1% to a new patient. The pool is the same size as the Invisalign® bunch, but each of the 10 require far more education. $30,000 is a big investment for an individual to make, and is directly correlated to the level of investment that the practice will need to make to get them into the chair.

Like the Invisalign® cases, these patients intend to resolve an issue that already exists. They are likely “shopping” for a provider as we speak.

And $30,000 is a healthy sum to add to the overall production. Indeed, that would be a big win each month.

Clearly a combination of all three would be ideal. That said, it’s always best to focus marketing efforts in one area. To become the practice best known for fill-in-the-blank.

To say it differently, here’s what to avoid… This list came from an actual dental practice website:

Services Listing:

  • Cosmetic Dentistry
  • Dental Restoration
  • Dental Implants
  • Dentures
  • Porcelain Veneers
  • Invisalign®
  • Dentures, Bridges and Implants
  • Mature Adult Dentistry
  • No Fear Sleep Dentistry
  • Laser Gum Treatment
  • Crowns
  • Bridges
  • Teeth Whitening
  • Snoring Solution
  • Cleanings & Exams
  • Emergencies
  • Root Canals
  • Tooth-colored Fillings
  • Dental Bonding
  • High Tech Dentistry
  • Dental Spa Amenities

The potential patient is so overwhelmed with the possibilities that it is paralyzing. Instead of calling for an appointment, the website visitor leaves for a little online shoe shopping instead.

Rather than offering a laundry list of services, focus on just one Invisalign®-level offering: a mid-priced service that patients are intentional about seeking out. Examples include crowns in a day, sleep apnea treatment and TMJ disorder remedies. Lead all marketing efforts with promotions for this service. Feature cleanings and exams as well as other services less prominently. The folks who are looking for those services will find them.

Position the practice to be best at one thing, and everything else will follow.

Wendy O’Donovan Phillips has provided marketing and business consulting to hundreds of independent dentists for over 10 years. She has launched, grown and merged four businesses of her own. She has spoken to chapters of the Seattle Study Club as well as the Colorado Dental Association, the Los Angeles Dental Society and several other dental groups. The Business Marketing Association and the American Marketing Association have awarded her for excellence in her field.