Halloween is over – but the party isn’t. Before we’ll be able to take a breath, everyone will be gearing up for the holiday season and that’s when our business and marketing plans can be easily derailed. Socially we’re heading into the busiest time of the year: party planning, holiday shopping, time off, and travel, so if we’re not careful, our well-planned business strategies can fall out of focus leading to production gaps and loss of revenue in January.
I had to remind myself this morning that we literally have six weeks starting today to get everything lined up for our successful marketing launch January 1st. So it’s critical that we plan now and get organized before the holiday break.
Mark your schedule to take care of the tasks that can tend to be pushed off. Assign time to review the past year’s activities. Pull up each campaign and systematically review the results. Book a meeting with your team to review this information along with client and frontline staff feedback. Get everyone on your team involved in the decision making process. Determine your goals and delegate tasks that must be accomplished before the holidays.
Planning for January starts months in advance, and we’re working with our clients now to review what’s working best. Hands down it’s direct mail. Google commissioned a 2011 national study of US shoppers to determine how the changing world of media is influencing consumers. They found that, of the top 11 marketing sources, direct mail rated #2 (behind TV commercials) – ahead of newspaper, magazines, email, and online ads. If your direct mail campaigns didn’t drive your best results last year, then analyze and test variations of your target list, creative/content, and special offers.
According to Print in the Mix, in a recent survey the majority of young adults said they prefer and trust paper for business communications, and if given a choice, 71% would choose to read a print magazine over a digital version. This holds true for consumers in all age categories, and with January as one of the most successful dental marketing months of the year, we’re finalizing content and target lists for clients before the holiday break – so they can relax at home with family while we take care of the busy work and their campaign will go out effortlessly and on schedule!
Our dentist clients are experiencing the best results from a multi-faceted campaign. Targeting the female head of household in select neighborhoods surrounding the practice and distributing a customized 4-page newsletter (with content that educates and positions the practice as the expert), followed by a customized jumbo postcard is increasing new-patient numbers and significantly increasing revenues year over year. For example, Dr. A. Suvarna, who practices in a suburb of San Francisco/Oakland bumped her patient of record numbers by 30% and increased her revenue by 20% in just one year. It’s critical to review your target list, demographics, and messaging.
Of the top pulling dental advertising campaigns, most include a combination of new patient and whitening specials but there are other unique offers and stories that generate good call activity. In January you could test a complimentary offer for treatment of cold sores or share dramatic real-life patient results. Take a look at the details of your most recent campaigns. Which headlines out pulled? Which special offers generated the greatest interest? What time of year or month did the campaigns hit? Of calls received, how many booked an appointment? If the lead didn’t convert … why?
The Google study also revealed that “today’s shoppers are digging up more information, from more sources, than ever before,” and “print ads and other forms of traditional media play a key role” in the buying cycle. Your own customized direct mail communications allow you to share accurate information with your client or prospect.
What’s happening with customer service? Choices, choices, choices.
Clients and prospects have them. In this age of heavy competition and ease of access, we need to ensure that we’re building long-term profitable relationships and that every client interaction is used as an opportunity to strengthen our business.
Review client feedback received throughout the year, compile a list of the top concerns or requests, look at the results from your annual survey, and then get your team together to brainstorm and tackle your client servicing plan.
Can you improve the client experience? Are you going to broaden your service offering or focus on one particular specialty? Does your team want coaching on how to better handle patient inquiries or more training on a new product or technology? Identify the various touch points that patients experience (from your sign to your direct mail campaign to your reception desk and your invoices) and then ensure that you are providing the highest quality presentation reflective of your services at each stage. It’s good to note that consumers view mail received in their homes as less intrusive than telephone calls or email as they can review these messages at their convenience.
Contact for more dental advertising ideas
For ideas to rekindle your dental marketing efforts, call 888.377.2404 today. Our team can answer your questions, provide helpful marketing guidance, and whether you have 15 minutes or an hour to talk, they’ll follow your lead and respect your time. Get started now and set yourself up for success in January.
And today’s final little tip: if you’re over 40, avoid Halloween black licorice – especially if you have high blood pressure or heart disease. The food & drug admin says too much can be harmful to your health.
If you’d like more information about results-oriented patient acquisition or retention strategies, please call our team. Your call will be answered live between 8:30am – 6:00 pm EST or messages will be returned within one business day. Call now and have your campaign finalized before the holiday season. Don’t wait until January to start planning for 2012 or you could end up with production delays and loss of income.
In Oprah’s life class this weekend, she talked about a guest who rose from a homeless child to become a Harvard graduate. In grade 3, the girl had a clear moment where she recognized the key. For her, at age 8, she saw that if she memorized her times tables she could get to the next level of education. Identifying the “process” unlocked the door for her personal motivation. Oprah said she figured out her success process around the same time in life through a book report. As a dental professional, you figured this lesson out somewhere along the line. But that’s the thing. Everything is a process. And the older we get, the more we understand that there is progression required for each achievement. To achieve, do we really need to have that aha moment where it clicks … “ah right, if I do this, then I’ll get that,” or can we just wake up and listen to the messages that are constantly presented to us? Clearly it’s not the latter or we’d all be doing what we should to get where we want. The beauty and fitness industry provides the clearest message. 5,000 times per day we hear about a better-than-botox solution, a health shake to drop pounds, a natural solution to balance hormones … at the same time the reputable industry leaders will remind us there isn’t a miracle weight loss cure – you need to eat right and exercise. There isn’t a magic success pill – you have to walk the walk and work hard. Are we the only thing standing in our way of achievement? Yes we are. So have you had your aha moment when it comes to dental marketing? Not an event. Definitely a process. There isn’t a one-time campaign that will give you all the results you want. It’s like weight training – it’s something you have to keep doing and doing and doing, over and over again to get it right. You know what it takes to create a successful dental practice: keep your focus; understand your customer’s pain points, needs and wants; focus on what will get the job done; and present yourself professionally through exceptional marketing, quality products and delivery, a great team, and after-service. You have a job to do and we have a job to do. The effort and focus we put forth now will reap positive results for your long-term success. We’re here to provide you with the simplest and most-effective solutions that allow your marketing campaigns to keep going, over and over again. And, of course, looking great! If you are having challenges getting the answers you need about dental marketing, wonder if there are more ways to generate new-patient activity, or are curious just how you could enhance patient education and patient-of-record action, by all means, contact our team directly for free advice at any time.