Neil Stephen, CEO of dental software company, Dengro, puts the case for automating your marketing activity.
With more and more practices looking to go private, owners will need to grow their list of private patients. While many existing NHS patients may well convert to a monthly payment plan, others may need to be found a little further from home.
Investing in marketing to attract new patients is essential and sits companionably alongside word-of-mouth recommendations that come as a direct result of the reputation you have built for your practice. Marketing takes time to reap the rewards and there’s rarely instant payback. It is an investment that needs to be monitored and maintained over time. Having someone in your business responsible for marketing strategy and execution will pay dividends. Or you could outsource it to an agency or marketer.
Competition in private dentistry is only going to increase in number and quality. While prospective and existing patients seeking private treatments are still out there, they may not be quite as numerous as in 2022. So, practices need to make sure their marketing activities not only stand out to their target audience but are also carefully planned, timed, monitored and iterated. The result will be inbound patient enquiries that you will have invested in to attract. What then?
You need a system
It is vital to have a systematic way of ensuring that all your practice’s new patient enquiries are acknowledged quickly and professionally, to ensure that person gets a great first impression and is reassured they are in good hands. This acknowledgement must then be followed up. Otherwise, if there’s radio silence, your prospective patient may wonder what the rest of their experience might be like with your practice.
Practices will know how important it is to provide a great patient experience. And that starts from the moment of first contact. Whether that’s filling out a treatment enquiry form, talking to your chatbot or responding to an ad on social media. So, your practice needs to be equipped with intelligent and dynamic solutions to get control of marketing and the resulting inbound enquiries.
What does this look like?
Don’t search, gather.
Let’s start with those new treatment enquiries – rather than having to sift through various inboxes and social media accounts to identify these, it’s easier if they are captured and collated all in one place.
Don’t copy and paste, automate.
To avoid having members of the team manually acknowledge every single enquiry one email at a time during working hours, use marketing automation to respond to every enquiry instantly 24/7.
Don’t lose or forget, follow up.
Ensure that all your leads, enquiries and referrals are tracked in one place with notes and history along with automatic prompts that let your team know each day who they need to contact and how. Just like a virtual PA and much easier and more accurate than a spreadsheet. Your information security will also be tighter, too.
Don’t neglect, nurture.
After they’ve expressed interest and received acknowledgment from your practice, prospective patients will probably welcome succinct treatment specific information. Marketing automation can ensure treatment specific messaging branded to your practice is deployed at timed intervals. Meaning potential patients are kept informed and your team will have more time to make contact for meaningful and mutually rewarding conversations.
Don’t sink, sync.
When a prospective or existing patient books in for a consultation, your team will need to update the patient management system (PMS). If you’re using a manual tracking system, then that patient record will need to be updated or created manually in the PMS along with booking in the actual appointment. However, if you choose a tracking system that can connect to your PMS, the patient and appointment data is automatically synced across the two systems at the point of booking a consultation. Your data will be accurate (no risk of typos!) and your team will no longer need to spend time on data entry.
Seeing is believing.
Dental specific reporting should offer insight, a clear sense of where to capitalise on what’s going well and where to step in to take supportive or corrective action and should cover three key areas.
- Marketing attribution – is the marketing you’re investing in paying dividends? See where all your leads come from, identify which campaigns are delivering the highest quality leads and which should be stopped or revamped. Having this objective report also allows you to collaborate effectively with your agency, if you’re working with one.
- Opportunity – what does the sales funnel look like? See how many leads you have, what stage they are at and what potential revenue they represent. Track your conversion rate overall/by treatment to learn what expected revenue is forecast. Understand the reasons why some prospective patients decide not to go ahead with treatment.
- Team Performance – practices with the highest conversion rates from enquiry to treatment started are those that are the most responsive. They have team members primed and ready to make contact with prospective patients, building rapport and helping each one make an informed decision and hopefully, book a consultation. Winning and retaining patients is a team effort so performance reporting must include your practitioners. See their conversion rates from consultation attended to treatment started.
There’s never been a better time to invest in a CRM. Not only will it automate manual, routine and repetitive tasks, it will guide your team to be responsive and provide you as an owner or manager with clear reporting to power your dental business.
Find out more about how DenGro could boost productivity, efficiency and growth.