In the nine years I’ve been a dental marketing expert, I can’t tell you the number of times I have seen other dental marketers falsely encourage practices that they can “Double Profits with New Patients.”
There are six inherent problems with this statement:
- It’s not all about new patients. I saw one offer recently from a dental marketer that said, “Up to 80% of revenue generated by new patients goes straight to your practice’s bottom line, which is nearly double the 42% profit margin offered by existing patients.” On the contrary, newbies are more likely to enter the practice as hygiene patients, which might yield $2,000 in annual production each year. Existing patients who already know and love you will be more willing to accept treatment for larger cosmetic cases, which may bring upwards of $50,000 in production. The marketing plan that will bring the most profits to the practice is one that attracts new patients, certainly, and also nurtures existing patients to keep recall appointments, accept treatment for larger cases and refer friends and family.
- It’s not all about marketing. Most of the time a profitably problem is related to cash flow and productivity, not marketing. Unless you are capable of thinking in abundance rather than in scarcity, marketing won’t earn more profitably. Unless collections are in good shape, marketing won’t earn more profitably. Unless staffing and operations are buttoned up, marketing won’t earn more profitably. Read more about this in my book.
- There are no guarantees in life. Or in business. Or in marketing. This phrase reads like a guarantee, but doesn’t actually say it is one. That’s misleading. Any marketing effort that begins in integrity rather than with a misleading principal is destined to outperform the latter.
- It’s not all about profits. The success of a dental practice can be partially measured by profitability, but that’s not the whole picture. Startup practices may not be profitable right out of the gate, but may have amazing teams and potential. I’ve met dentists who are profitable but not fulfilled. Success is a combination of fulfillment and performance.
- Doubling profits won’t solve all your problems. As business owners, profits are the first place we look to measure our value, not just for the practice but also for ourselves. When we look to profitability to solve all of our problems it gives way to this type of thinking: “I am profitable, therefore I am worthy” or “I am not profitable, therefore I am unworthy.” Untangling your ego from the profitability equation and making it strictly a business strategy is the first step in becoming profitable. Marketing is a next step.
- It’s backwards. A practice must have the finances in good order so that they can invest regularly in marketing, not the other way around. If you can’t “afford” marketing, then you have a cash flow issue that can’t be solved with marketing.
Focus marketing on the long-term growth of the practice, not on quick fixes, for best results.