Specifically for dental marketing, when trends are analyzed and acted upon regularly, the benefit is better care for your patients and more revenue for your practice. Trends in marketing change often, but staying ahead of current effective campaign characteristics is a great shortcut to developing successful advertising promotions for your practice. Streamlining marketing efforts by staying on top of trends helps reduce fruitless spending and allows money to be allocated to the most effective marketing campaigns.
Your dental practice should be looking for seasonal, timely, source, geography, and keyword trends on a consistent basis. These trends allow you to reach your intended patient group, help more patients, and save on marketing spend. The following recommendations are designed to help your practice act upon these trends and reap the full benefits of your efforts.
Let’s start this marketing analysis on a high level with seasonality. Seasonal marketing is just that—marketing designed around holidays, seasons, annual events, and the academic calendar. To determine if this is an effective trend, it is important to analyze which weeks and months traditionally bring in more booked appointments.
For instance, you may notice in August there are more calls to your office to book pediatric appointments. You’re a savvy marketer, so you take action based on this trend. As the summer is coming to an end, you know parents of school-aged children are a prime audience for a promotion from your practice.
An effective promotion may look like sending parents an email from your office to announce that you’re offering a two-for-one special on pediatric cleanings and exams. Not only have you designed a timely reminder, but you also have provided content oriented around the “back to school” season. Score!
Designing an email campaign like this shows an awareness of patient needs your practice has that is lacking from other practices that do not acknowledge holidays or seasons in their marketing messages. No one wants to be a patient of an organization that is detached from the human side of caring for people.
On the same lines of seasonal marketing messages are holidays. Veterans Day is observed in the United States on November 11 to honor those men and women who have served us in our military. Offering a special for our servicemen and servicewomen is a great way to show your practice cares for people. In fact, you care enough to want to serve the people who serve the country. So grab a calendar, mark the important dates and holidays, and get started on your next campaign with a season in mind.
There are particular times of the day, week, and month that traditionally receive more patient calls. Through a marketing lens, the timeliness of your advertisement should align with these trends in call volume to ensure you’re providing patients with the best possible care and attention. The wittiest, most compelling advertisement in the industry will still flop if your practice does not have the manpower to properly handle the volume of patients calling to book appointments. The advertisement is essentially a wasted effort and wasted marketing dollars.
For example, through November and December, patients scramble to use up their yearly insurance benefits or finally book that much needed dental appointment while out of school. Knowing this annual pattern and applying knowledge of timely marketing strategies will help you time the release of promotions when it will best benefit your practice.
Furthermore, these busiest months require a full staff to handle both the high volume of calls and appointments and provide the standard of excellence your practice exemplifies. Consider your current staffing position, and then decide when is the best time to be inviting more patients to come to your practice.
Another marketing trend to keep a watchful eye on is geography. In other words, where are you putting your advertisements for your practice? It is true that some zip codes will resonate better with your marketing messages.
Say you send out a postcard promoting back to school discounts for kids, but you send it to a zip code that primarily consists of recent college graduates and young professionals. You’ve missed your target audience of parents with school-aged children.
However, say you send a postcard to this same community advertising a $99 cleaning and exam for new patients. This is much more likely to successfully get patients to book appointments at your practice because your marketing will reach its intended audience. Advertise where your ideal patients are.
You have a few promotions going on, the phone is constantly ringing, and patients are coming in the door all day long. You are now being tasked with adjusting your marketing budget to optimize results. How do you know which ads are encouraging patients to call and book appointments? The next trend-based recommendation is designed to help you save money by identifying the referring source of the calls your office is receiving.
You now know your promotion to get people in for their “spring cleaning” is increasing your call volume, but you don’t know if the ad in the newspaper or the one in your email blast is producing more business. By implementing comprehensive call tracking and reviewing in your practice’s marketing messages, you will be able to see how many calls came from each source. You apply tracking lines, and data is collected as patients call in on either number. Then, you can find out if the email blast is not only driving more calls, but also more booked appointments. That is where you should invest more.
In your bi-weekly staff meeting, staff members mention that patients keep asking for teeth whitening services when they call. However, you happen to know the active promotions at the moment are regarding top-of-the-line veneers.
Upon further investigation using keyword search technology, you confirm that you’ve received more than 30 calls in the past week alone regarding teeth whitening. Furthermore, you’ve scheduled around 90% of those patients. It turns out patients are still calling from a mailer that was sent last month regarding the service. Your mailers for veneers, though, have only driven four calls in the past week, none of which were converted into booked appointments.
You will be better positioned to book more appointments if you reallocate the money currently spent on veneer advertisements and use that money to promote your practice’s deals on sophisticated teeth whitening services. Listen to what patients are asking for, infer what they are not asking for, and plan accordingly.
Practices that track seasonal, timely, source, geographical, and keyword trends are better positioned for success in this day and age. So stay a step ahead in the industry by strategically aligning your advertising to match marketing trends that work.
Mr. Johnson is a senior account executive at Call Box. Doctors and owners call Corey to increase their bottom line through enhancing the patient experience over the phone and converting more opportunities. Corey earned his MBA from the University of Delaware and graduated from the University of North Carolina, where he studied how the power of data can affect organizational change. To learn more about Call Box and our innovative tools to help your practice leverage the phone, visit callbox.com/dental or call (833) 259-9484.