Last week I was speaking with Stephanie, the owner and lead dentist of a practice located in Arizona.
Stephanie had reached out to me because her new patient volume was not at the level she would have expected given her marketing investment, as well as her practice’s strong focus on patient experience.
She explained to me – “We really strive to provide an exceptional patient experience in our office. And I truly believe our patients feel this and honestly love us. We send out surveys, and always receive the highest compliments. And we get a lot of referrals for new patients from our current patients. But we just don’t seem to get new patients from any other source, despite all of our marketing efforts.”
I asked Stephanie to tell me more about those marketing efforts. She continued – “Well, we’re investing more than $6,000 each month on marketing, which includes our new website, a SEO package, multiple digital advertising campaigns, a social media program, plus postcards and mailers. And, I suppose it works to some degree. But honestly, I just don’t know. We’re just not getting enough new patients coming through the door for what we’re spending. And I really can’t afford to keep spending that kind of money each month if it’s not producing better results.”
I could tell Stephanie was frustrated and confused. And what she said next was striking.
She said to me – “So, maybe we should just stop spending money on all of this marketing. But, if we do that, then how do we grow? We can’t just rely on patient referrals alone. Even though that’s the only thing that seems to work for our office. It’s just not enough for the type of growth we need. Kent, what do you suggest?”
Her question was telling. She was trapped into thinking that her marketing was either “working” or “not working”. It was black or white. And it had missed her entirely that, perhaps, just a few small changes, could have a HUGE impact!
I’ve consulted with hundreds of offices, so I’d seen this type of scenario before, and I had an idea of what might be driving a lot of her challenges.
I asked her what her marketing approach was when it came to online reviews.
She said, “Well, we have an automated online review request email that goes out each evening from RevenueWell to our patients from earlier that day. So, I think we have that pretty well covered.”
I continued to ask questions to gain more insights into exactly what has happening…and more importantly what was NOT happening when it came to Stephanie’s practice and online review marketing.
I learned that nobody on the team was notifying patients that they’d receive an email later that day requesting their feedback, nor asking them if they’d take just a moment to leave an online review for the office.
I learned that only 20% of patients were even getting those online review emails from RevenueWell each day (the other 80% were receiving a survey, which did not even ask for an online review).
I also learned that even those patients who did receive the online review email, and who took the time to leave a review (without any ask from the office), were having their reviews posted to the RevenueWell / Patient Connect 365 web page…and NOT to the practice’s Google profile…which is exactly where those reviews need to be posted in order for potential new patients to ever see them! (side note: If you don’t understand the difference between the two – it’s critical that you do! – send me an email and I’ll explain it.)
As we talked through this, Stephanie was starting to understand. But what really drove it home was when I had her go online with me and I showed her how of the more than 500 reviews that patients had left for her practice, only about 60 of them had made their way to Google. The vast majority were sitting on this useless Revenue Well / Patient Connect 365 web page that literally nobody was ever going to see!
Once Stephanie fully understood what was happening, she said to me “Oh my god, I’m going to be sick!”
I said to her – “You see Stephanie, these potential new patients don’t know how great you really are!”
Stephanie’s practice is located in a highly competitive city where it takes between 400 and 600 Google reviews to really compete on reputation. And the thing was, Stephanie’s practice had the reviews (there were more than 500 of them!). But they weren’t visible to all those prospective new patients who needed to see them!
No wonder her other marketing efforts weren’t producing the results she expected!
I shared a little anecdote with Stephanie. And I want to share it with you too to help drive home the key message from this story.
My 12-year-old son, Jack, is an aspiring chef (yes, that’s him below with his signature dish of pâte feuilletée). And when we bake together, we’ve learned that just one missing, or even slightly mis-measured ingredient, can ruin an entire dish.
It turns out that marketing a dental practice can be a lot like baking. Just one missing, or even slightly mis-executed campaign, can ruin an entire marketing strategy. Everything you do in marketing your dental practice is inter-connected and inter-dependent.
For Stephanie, she was experiencing sub-par results from her broader marketing efforts, because when prospective new patients went to look at her Google reviews (which ~80% of all prospective new patients do), they were seeing a practice which lagged far, far behind in terms of reputation versus the leading dental practices in her area. And, thus, all of that money and energy that Stephanie was putting into the rest of her marketing efforts was failing to produce more new patients.
I share this story with you because it highlights why dentists are so often frustrated with their marketing results. Stephanie is far from alone here. Her story of missing just one key ingredient in her marketing approach is shared by many, many dentists. Perhaps you’re one of them?
In sharing, I hope this story allows you to see that achieving a successful new patient marketing program may not be as far away as you think!
In working with Stephanie, we were able to adjust her marketing strategy with just a few tweaks, and it helped get her practice on track for the growth she needed.
And now when prospective new patients are looking…they’ll know just how great Stephanie really is!
Looking for better results from your marketing?
Grab some time and let’s discuss your growth goals and what success looks like to you. I’ll walk you through what’s needed to get there, and we can determine if it’s a good fit for us to partner together in making that happen.
Simply reply to this email, or click on the link below, and sign up for a complimentary consultation:
I look forward to talking with you soon!
About Kent Sears
Kent provides over 15 years experience in consulting and marketing strategy. His work has spanned the globe, in both public and private sector, with leading companies such as Microsoft and T-Mobile. He brings his corporate experience to help private practice dentists realize their full business potential through more effective marketing strategies to stay competitive in the rapidly changing world of marketing and healthcare.