Les Jones explains the importance of marketing your practice, and your patient membership plan to help you to attract new patients and retain existing ones.
During difficult times, one of the first things many companies cut is their marketing budget but, as counter-intuitive as this sounds, it is in fact something that any marketing consultant would tell you to continue investing the money in.
Research consistently shows that those companies who continue to market and engage with their customers during difficult times are the ones that not only survive, but emerge stronger in the long run.
So, you have a patient membership plan? When money is tight, membership plans are one of the best things to be promoting, but why? Here, we delve a little deeper into the benefits of promoting your plan.
#1 To attract more patients
There are not many practices in the UK that would say NO to attracting more patients.
An increase in patient numbers will take up the weekly slack in chair time and increase both turnover and profit. In fact, once you have enough patients to cover your overheads, any additional income from new patients goes straight to your bottom line.
#2 To encourage loyalty amongst your existing patients
Patients that have signed up to your plan will have become members of your practice. Think about that for a moment… members – not customers or patients – members! This gives them some belonging, making them part of a you’re exclusive ‘club’ and, as such, they are much less likely to shop around or look for alternative providers.
What’s more, this now opens the opportunity to form deeper relationships with these people, enabling you to communicate with them more often and on a more personal level and encourage them to become advocates for your practice.
#3 To make it easier for your patients to say ‘YES’
One of the key considerations for consumers in today’s economic climate is not cost, but affordability.
Often, hearing the full price of something puts people off going ahead with it, regardless of whether it’s dental treatment, a car or a TV. However, if you can give people the option of paying something in affordable monthly repayments, then you’re on to a winner.
Think about it… which of these two offers sounds most attractive to you?
‘We can carry out your annual dental health checks for £180.’
‘You can receive high-quality dental care for just £15 per month.’
Even though the second option works out at the same price as the first one, it feels much more affordable, which is why offering a plan to potential new members makes it easier for them to say ‘YES’!
Plus, by offering affordable options to patients, it also helps to make ‘money talk’ with your patients easier and you’re able to do so in a way that feels right to the customer – almost as though you’re providing them with an offer that is tailored to their needs.
#4 Because not doing so will ultimately prove to be a false economy
If you operate a plan-based practice, then a healthy and growing membership base is essential to the sustainability and profitability of your business. But, just like anything else that you want to grow, it needs feeding and nourishing. Of course, as finances get tighter the urge to cut costs gets bigger and a cost-cutting exercise of the non-essentials is always a good thing. However, new patients are the lifeblood of your practice and cutting off this supply can only result in a negative outcome in the long term.
What’s more, it’s always easier to market from a healthy and positive position, than one where desperation measures are starting to kick in.
Now you’ve read about the benefits of marketing your practice and plan, why not take a look back through our blog or head over to our Resource Library , as we’ve got a whole bunch of great tips and ideas on how you could give your marketing a boost!