Did you know that dentists in the United States spend ~4 billion dollars a year on marketing!? Of this 4 billion, most of this spend is invested in external marketing campaigns like pay-per-click advertising and direct mailers.

There are plenty of external marketing opportunities that can produce leads for your practice and when they do, your team needs to be ready. In this article, we look at the tools and skills that can help your practice and office staff convert more leads into new patients – plus tips on how to use a specific dental practice software, Market IQ, to gain an in-depth analysis of your dental practice’s marketing program.

Great Dental Practice Marketing Relies on Great Systems

Like most things in dentistry and any other businesses, it is all about systems first. According to veteran dental consultant Sandy Pardue, the telephone is still the number one way that people contact dental offices, so make the way in which you answer phone calls a priority!

When it comes to your dental practice’s phone system, here are a few best practices to keep in mind:

  • Test calls: Place a few test calls to check for proper function of rollover lines and voice messaging systems. Be sure to listen to the quality of the sound as well, as we all know how frustrating and inefficient it can be to constantly ask people to repeat themselves. Additionally check to see if the message-on-hold works properly and is pleasant to listen to. After testing calls, make sure to listen to your voicemail system to ensure it is functioning properly. You should always prioritize voicemails from perspective new patients should be responded to immediately. That said, dental consultants have stated that 72% of callers sent to voicemail will hang-up, so try to avoid having people go to voicemail and train staff to answer calls within 3 rings instead.
  • Provide dental staff training: Because most offices are smaller, eventually the moment will come when a clinical team member will need to answer the phone. Keep things simple by creating a scripted greeting that everyone may use so they feel comfortable answering a call from a current or potential patient. Then, train staff on how to gather the key information needed to have the proper person help them.
  • Purchase proper equipment: Get headsets for all dental staff that routinely answers the phone. There is no ergonomically correct way to type with a telephone pinched between your ear and shoulder. Purchase headsets that have an indicator light to let people walking up to the front know that this team member is on a call. .
  • Record calls to get more insights and learnings: Record calls to help team members improve your overall lead to new patient conversion rate. This helps employees always want to provide great service on the phone to callers (patients) and gives you a chance to learn why people may ultimately decide not to make an appointment with your practice. We encourage all dental offices to take a positive approach to improve this critical duty in your practice.

Telephone Skills

The telephone is likely the first “live” experience that current and potential patients have with your dental practice – and it’s critical to make this a great experience. Here are a few best practices when it comes to training your staff on how to answer and handle callers:

  • Upon hiring dental office staff, train them that the telephone is the life-line to practice and that as such, they must offer excellent service with every call answered.
  • Script a universal greeting that all dental office staff may use.
  • Answer the phone by the third ring to avoid patients going to voicemail
  • Everyone should answer the phone with a smile on their face – the caller on the other end of the line will tell the difference!
  • Early in the call, ask for the caller’s name, number, and email to ensure that if the call is dropped, you can continue communicating with them. This is a must before putting anybody on hold!
  • Train staff to encourage people on the phone to schedule an appointment! According to Sandy Pardue, only 45% of callers are invited to schedule in most dental practices.

Email

Today, communicating by email has become commonplace and most people expect email to be a reliable communication channel between themselves and any type of business – dental practices included. Here are a few best practices when it comes to dental practice email marketing:

  • Check email frequently: Be sure that incoming emails are directed to an inbox that is checked every hour. We recommend forwarding these emails to multiple people within your practice to ensure a response is seen, even if a staff member is out.
  • Assign roles. Designate who in the practice is responsible for following-up with new patient inquiries -- and encourage this person to respond as quickly as possible to ensure potential new patient opportunities are not lost due to lack of response. This response should be very welcoming and appreciative of their desire to seek care at your office. Use it as an opportunity to get to know the potential patient better. Ask how they heard about your office. See if they have records at another office that they would like us to have digitally transferred to your office. Let them know that you are interested in understanding their concerns and they are sure to appreciate your efforts.
  • Provide a seamless patient experience. When a patient provides a phone number or calls the office in response to your email, try to have the person who has already been communicating with the patient speak with them. This avoids frustrated patients and instead provides a seamless user experience which increases patient satisfaction.

Evaluate Your Marketing Results with Market IQ Dental KPI Software

Many dentists do not evaluate the effectiveness of their dental marketing on a regular basis and spend a lot of money on campaigns that don’t work for them. It is very common for dental practices to simply look at the number of new patients that joined the practice in the previous month and that is the end of their analysis – however this is not always the best approach. The information needed for a thorough analysis is difficult to gather, and in order to do an accurate analysis of your dental practice marketing ROI, you must know:

  • the source for each lead
  • the cost of each lead
  • the value of the lead to the practice
  • How to Automate the Process of Dental Marketing ROI

Automate the Process

Thanks to the advancement of technology, we are now able to better track all dental marketing efforts to see which dental marketing campaigns are driving the highest ROI for your practice. Market IQ is an amazing software that automates the process of evaluating all dental marketing sources. It works in conjunction with the dental practice management software to give instant access to conversion rates and reveals ways to improve overall dental marketing return on investment (ROI).

The home dashboard for this office shows that they converted just under half of all their leads. The number of leads from each source separates the winners from the losers. By using a dental software technology known as Dynamic Number Insertion, the dental ROI software is able to track the exact source of marketing leads and displays information about both converted and unconverted leads (people who do or don’t become your new patients).

Learn More About Your Dental Marketing ROI with Market IQ Dental Practice Software

The ROI tab reveals the amount of treatment both presented and accepted for all of your leads. With this information, you can easily shift marketing dollars to more successful campaigns which will improve your dental practice marketing ROI. You can also see broken and cancelled appointment rates for each dental marketing source, which can give you an indication of the quality of leads that your team is managing.

Some dental marketing campaigns attract too many patients that are not serious about investing in their dental health and waste your practice’s resources (e.g. running a “free teeth whitening” campaign may get a lot of people to the practice, but not many may turn into long-term loyal patients).

When it comes to dental practice KPIs, Market IQ is a great dental practice management software that identifies these types of trends very early in the dental marketing campaign to help you quickly take action, ultimately saving time and money.

Dental Software Integration with Google Analytics

Market IQ gives you direct access to your Google analytics so that you can take a very in-depth look at how prospective patients are finding your practice and what online content is holding their attention. With this knowledge, you may create topic specific pages within your website that help to further engage leads. You will be able to purchase more of the AdWords that are attracting the best patients to your practice and stop funding ones that are ineffective.

Dental marketing is a huge part of the success of every modern practice and with the leading dental practice software for measuring KPIs, Market IQ will enable you get the most from your budget.

Sign up for Market IQ today and stop wasting money on marketing that isn’t working. Learn more and call (866) 216-8416.