Whether you have just started your dental practice or are a dental career veteran, it’s time you took a look at incorporating membership programs into your business.
Membership programs are highly advantageous and extremely profitable for dental practices. Instead of heavily relying on time-consuming insurance payments, which can take months to clear, you can pull this income in-house, make more money, and provide better services to your patients.
Brady Frank, DDS, of Ashland, Ore, knows firsthand the benefits that a dental membership program can bring to a practice. His team has signed up more than 400 patients within three months. By incorporating the program into his practice, he has been able to reduce his dependence on insurance plans while simultaneously giving his patients better care.
Most insurance plans have an annual maximum or cap. These limitations prevent many patients from receiving the necessary dental care they need. What many dentists are doing to combat big insurance companies is to offer their own in-house plans. These plans are easy to customize, and dentists can provide routine cleanings, x-rays, and substantial discounts on treatment plans.
Here is an example of how a dental membership program works. A dental practice develops a special membership plan that costs members $30 a month or $360 a year. On the front end, here is the income boost the practice sees:
- 300 patients at $30/month = $9,000/month
- 500 patients at $30/month = $15,000/month
- 1,000 patients at $30/month = $30,000/month
- 3,500 patients at $30/month = $105,000/month
Here are the benefits for patients. For $30 a month or $360 a year, patients will receive two dental cleanings, one set of x-rays, a 50% discount on fillings, and a 20% discount on other types of dental work. Instead of having a $2,000 out-of-pocket maximum, patients will see the benefit of spending $30 a month and not having a cap on their services.
In return, dental practices gain a long-term patient who is loyal and who has a higher chance of completing the necessary dental work recommendations set forth by assistants and dentists. Ultimately, this is a win-win for everyone.
Importance of Having a Solid Software System
Practices require the right software to implement a membership program successfully. Without a software-tracking program, you will create more work for your dental staff, leaving them overwhelmed, overworked, and unhappy. To prevent this, invest in a reliable software system that lets you customize plans.
Here are some key features to consider when shopping for software:
- Member management: These features will help you automate payments, add and track unlimited members, analyze payment history, and manage patients.
- Contract management: Invest in software that organizes all your legal agreements with patients’ information, storing them in a secure location.
- Benefit tracking: You need tools that make it easy to track patient benefits, which help you stay organized and ensure that patients receive the care they need.
- Website integration: Most people prefer to look at and sign up for plans through websites. Make sure your system offers website integration so your patients can quickly sign up online.
- Payment plans: Create automated payment plans for patients who can’t pay their bills in full so you can collect interest on outstanding balances.
- Regulation management: Rules change, which means you need the tools to stay up-to-date and in compliance. Choose software that automatically educates your employees about new and existing regulations so your practice is always in compliance.
- Summary page: Look for a program that offers a dashboard feature so you can easily see the overall health of your membership program, including recurring revenues, new enrollments, and your churn rate.
Focus on External Marketing
Marketing programs vary, and some practices say that external marketing works best to help attract new patients. Other companies have higher return rates from showing the benefit to existing patients who are in need of dental work.
The way the latter option works is that when patients require dental work, the team prepares two estimates for the patient. One highlights the customary fees they would incur with dental insurance or out-of-pocket. The second emphasizes their cost savings by joining the membership plan. In Dr. Frank’s case, nearly 80% of his signups come from diagnosis marketing.
Other marketing strategies include:
- Direct mail marketing: Send mailers or infographics-style brochures to existing patients. You can also broaden your horizons and send mailers geographically or target new people moving into the area. Consider teaming up with medical doctors, real estate agents, schools, and pharmacies.
- Social media ads: Today’s day and age revolves around the World Wide Web. Many dentists and doctors find that social media ads on Facebook or Instagram are beneficial. These ads are a great marketing tool for cosmetic dentists to explore.
- PPC ads: Many people search for dentists online, reading reviews and ratings. Consider adding a pay-per-click (PPC) ad to your routine marketing services.
- Live presentations: Live presentations are an excellent way for you to gain face time with potential membership patients. See if you can partner up with other community services such as healthcare or school events to raise more awareness about how membership programs can help save people thousands of dollars annually on dental care.
Most importantly, get your employees involved and train them to sell. Try incentivizing your team by encouraging employees to sign up new patients and giving bonuses for new memberships.
With the right software and marketing program, you can successfully take your dental practice to the next level.
Mr. Comstock is the founder & CEO of BoomCloud Apps, a software company that allows dental offices to create, organize, and automate an in-house membership program, reduce dependence on dental insurance and generate recurring revenue. For more information, schedule a live demo by calling (800) 260-9285 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, download a free ebook about membership programs or watch a case study webinar with Jordon Comstock and Dr. Brady Frank and learn how to generate more than $100,000 a year with your in-house membership program.