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Dental Marketing, Funnels & Conversions

You may have noticed that there are some words and phrases being used more and more, in the context of dental marketing, such as ‘conversion’ and ‘leads’. None of these are new, in fact outside of dentistry they are very much commonplace. Although I think the latter is perhaps a bit disrespectful (they are human beings contacting your dental practice for help surely, not ‘leads’) all of this does point to an increasing awareness and recognition that there are some essential numbers that any dental practice leadership team should be paying close attention to.

If this is all new to you then I’ll put some detail in for you, and if it’s not then please bear with me, because there is a twist!

In essence, there are some simple stages in attracting and retaining customers in any business. In the case of a dental practice this allows you to know the quantity of patients required at each stage of the funnel to conclude in loyal and motivated patients sat in your chair. The drop off between each stage needs to be understood. To some extent whilst a drop off is inevitable, it is however manageable and need not be out of your control. The drop off can be reduced, the percentages and ultimately the bottom line can increase through management, paying attention to quality and direction, as well as training and development.

Many dental practices will focus upon the new patient numbers but often fail to look at the essential stages thereafter. This can result in what appears to be a busy surgery but when you dig a little deeper, it turns out not to be effective for either party, patient or dentist. In essence, seeing a new patient only ever once, means that you have to see lots of new patients just to stand still. This can create an illusion of the practice being busy.  Whereas to understand a new patient, and agree on outcomes together, reduces the need to be chasing new patients all of the time and dare I say it, is more consistent with GDC1.1 and ‘Montgomery’.

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The twist? Often the very first stage of the funnel gets ignored or is not understood. In essence how many enquiries (by telephone, at the desk, email or otherwise) convert into attended new patient appointments? It’s often quite a hard one track as it turns out, particularly if the individuals in charge of first human contact are sceptical or don’t trust why you need to measure these numbers in the first place. I always ask what this number is. Rarely if ever does anybody actually know. I might then ask again in a few weeks and usually I am told it’s either too hard to track or that every single new patient enquiry, from all sources and for any service is (unbelievably) ‘100%’

Why should you care? Well, most dentists will openly admit that they want to attract and retain more new patients, and for good reasons. Many will throw money at attracting them too. It’s just kind of missing the point, if you don’t know how many you are indirectly turning away before they even get a chance to meet you.

To find our how improve your patient conversion through dental marketing, get in touch with us on 07794 122395 .