Have you ever noticed that there are some patients you love to treat more than others?
What if you could attract more of them into your practice without spending a fortune on tons of external marketing? Would going in to work every day be more fun if your practice was brimming over with your favourite kind of patients?
I recently picked the brain of our company’s senior consultant for an effective and economical way to make your marketing dollars work for you and attract the right kind of people into your practice. He gave me one that involves a bit of work, but just keep your eye on the end goal — a practice filled with patients you love to treat.
Targeting you market
How do you cast your marketing net selectively instead of broad shooting, bringing in new patients you don’t want, and spending a lot of dough? There are three main steps to take to attract the kind of patients you want into your practice:
- Identify your favourite patients and survey them;
- Advertise in the correct mediums to reach them; and
- Give them a message they will identify with and make them choose you as their denturist.
IBM, McDonalds, Xerox and other top level companies spend millions of dollars every year on market research to identify their target market and to find out what the public wants.
Do not panic if your practice does not have millions of dollars to spend on research — you have a much easier and cheaper method at your finger tips!
Who are your favourite patients?
The first step is to find out who your favourite patients are — the ones who you would like to have more of. Go through your existing charts and identify the ones you especially liked having as patients. Pull 50-100 of these charts if you can. Do not pull out the charts of patients who were hard to please, came to you because you were the cheapest, etc.
Next, review the information you know about each of these ideal patients you’ve chosen and identify what qualities they have in common. For example:
- Do they have insurance coverage?
- What is their age?
- Where do they work or are they retired?
- What did these patients want in terms of dentures?
- Are they first time denture wearers or are they repeat denture wearers?
Getting the answers to these questions will elicit the information you need to help you reach more people of a similar type. Have your receptionist or secretary call patients whose charts you pulled and say: “We are surveying our favourite patients. Would you help us by answering a few questions to enable us to attract more people like yourself to our practice?”
If you don’t have a secretary or receptionist and if you are too busy to carry out the following steps yourself, hire a summer student with good people skills for a week or so and delegate (my favourite word as an executive).
Further information that you might want to know about them:
- What magazines do they read?
- What newspapers do they read?
- What parts of the newspaper do they read?
- What radio stations do they listen to and when?
- What TV stations do they watch and when?
- Do they read fliers or just throw them in the garbage?
- Do they read Valuepaks?
- If they were looking for a new denturist, where would they look for one?
- Do they frequent a local community center and if so, which one?
- (same for Legion Hall)
- Why did they choose your practice?
- Ask “If you were to tell a friend about our practice, how would you describe it”?
- Why did they come to your practice and what did they find most notable about it, i.e. quality of service, caring attitude, accessibility?
Advertise in all the right places
Once the survey has been completed on at least 50 to 100 patients, compile the answers. What are the common denominators of your favourite patients. Let us say your survey showed that your favourite patients watch Channel X at noon and read the local weekly newspaper. Both of these media, then, would be prime advertising spots for your practice. The survey will dictate your best choices as to where to advertise to attract more of your favourite kind of patients.
What should you say?
Now you can take the results of your survey which named the qualities about your practice that your ideal patients found noteworthy and put those messages in front of your chosen public through whatever advertising avenues you have selected. As examples, “personalized service,” “made me look years younger,” “beautiful smile,” “so natural nobody knows they are dentures,” and so on. These are the qualities that your ideal patients were looking for and felt they got, so others like them will also be looking for the same message and results.
This method of finding specific types of patients has been highly successful and has helped practices grow rapidly and the denturists have enjoyed their practices more as a result of having their favourite kind of people come in for treatment. Why work harder than you have to?
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