A dental membership plan can save your practice time and make it money, but before that happens, you have to market it. How? Follow our Ultimate Dental Membership Plan Marketing Checklist – we've got you covered.
Your practice should always start the year off with a good idea of where you are, where you want to go, and how you’ll get there. Once you’ve completed team member training and scheduled your big annual marketing meeting (yes, you need to do that), here are the things you should be thinking about and preparing to discuss with the team.
1. Analyze your current patient demographics
Do you feel you could be bringing in more young families? Or maybe your area has a large population of retirees that you’d like to tap into. Market data is a great resource – analyze this and discuss it with your team, too. Ask them questions like the following:
Where do you feel our patient type could be expanded?
What complaints do our existing [insert desired demographic] patients have when they come in?
You might be thinking that you’d like to pull in as many new patients as possible and don’t particularly care who they are, but understanding the demographics of your area is the first step in understanding your audience. And that is a game changer no matter how targeted your dental membership plan marketing approach will be.
2. List your yearly and monthly goals for the practice
After you’ve identified potential areas of growth, you’ll have a better idea of what your yearly and monthly goals need to be. You may wish to attract more senior patients, or families, or maybe you want to reactivate young professionals who became inactive over the past year. This is where you can start to discuss what role dental membership plans can play in achieving those goals.
Dental membership plans are highly appealing for most every patient, but understanding precisely how they entice specific demographics—why do retirees appreciate them versus millennials—is essential to an effective marketing plan.
3. Put together a website task force
Whether you have someone on your team who is wise in the ways of the web or will need to hire a specialized firm or freelancer, it’s time to reevaluate your practice’s website. We know this task can be a bit of a headache, but every year, your business’ digital presence becomes more relevant. When you’re trying to market a new concept like dental membership plans, this is even more true.
Click through your site as if you were a potential patient …
It should feel intuitive to explore and establish a sense of personal connection via photos and bios of your team (especially if you’re interested in gaining more millennial patients; more on that here). You want to ensure that information is communicated clearly, from services to locations, and contact info should be plainly visible when the page loads. If you’ve got membership plans to offer, consider adding an entire section to your website where you can explain what they are and how they benefit your patients.
4. Analyze your marketing outreach methods
Again, the best method of outreach is going to depend on who you’re trying to connect with. Retirees might appreciate postal mail and a friendly voice, whereas millennials have built an entire online meme culture around the fact that they dislike being called on the phone.
The key here is to look at each dental membership plan marketing method, and determine how well each is performing. Does it fit in with the goals you identified above?
You also might want to mix this up based on your offering of dental membership plans. Snail mail and email give you the opportunity to include a lot of compelling information in one place, while texts and social media posts can serve as impactful reminders for those patients who’ve already heard about membership plans from your team. Think about what stage of the "sale" most of your patients are in, and pour your time and effort into the appropriate outreach.
Lastly, always consider what has gotten the best response in the past, and use your team’s input to learn and confirm this. Every town and city has its own unique population, and therefore, what your patients and potential patients respond to could be very different from that of a dentist 50 miles away. Do you find that your patients respond well to emails? Double down on them!
5. Brainstorm special discounts and promotions
If you’re implementing dental membership plans for the first time, the details of the program are going to entice plenty of patients—new and existing alike—to walk through the door. But additional discounts and promotions can help them make a quick decision.
Here’s an example of how influential such offerings can be:
The prospect of paying monthly for two cleanings a year appeals greatly to a young millennial mom who is considering bringing her family to your practice. She participates in the gig economy, so having a steady way to pay that isn’t insurance is the ideal situation for her. It sounds great and she’ll definitely think it over. Then, she receives an email that says anyone who signs up for a dental membership plan this month gets a free whitening kit and a 15% discount on family members. She’s likely to call you up pronto.
This also provides a more real-life glimpse into why understanding demographics is so essential. Know your audience, and create discounts that speak to them.
6. Connect with your community and build your reputation.
Dental practices often sponsor a Little League team or send gift baskets to senior living communities every year. These are great marketing techniques because they improve your reputation within the community.
The potential patient who needs dental work done and was planning to call up the first result on Google might be more likely to seek out your practice, specifically, after seeing the name on the back of their grandson’s jersey.
Taking it further, use resources like DentalHQ’s CommunityCONNECT™ to establish customized dental membership programs for groups and organizations. Get to know the administrator behind your local PTA, religious organization, or athletic club, and offer up a membership plan discount that will appeal to their members. You can tap into the trust and loyalty the group has already built with the patient. “If my club is recommending this dentist, they must be a great choice for me!”
Since your front office team and hygienists chat more closely with your patients, they will probably have a few ideas of what kinds of community groups they are involved in. Pick their brains, make a plan for outreach, and before you know it, one patient’s whole community orchestra might be sitting in your chairs.
7. Be a local business hero
Dental membership plans benefit individual patients immensely, but they can also prove a novel solution for small business owners. Offering insurance to employees can be prohibitively expensive, and this is especially the case when a business is small, as they don’t get to take advantage of volume discounts.
You can help them out though. Sit down with your team and chat about the local businesses they patronize. Chances are, someone knows the owner of a small business or two. Then, establish a plan for how you’ll reach out to them.
That's why we launched BusinessCONNECT™ in 2019. All you need is the email of the business owner, and then you can send a customized invitation to their inbox from your DentalHQ dashboard. You can even create a unique link that guides them through enrollment forms, whether or not they’ll subsidize, etc. It’s a great solution for all, made simple.
When innovative new approaches come together with a carefully executed plan, success is on the horizon. The best way to make optimum use of your dental membership plan is to ensure that its possibilities are reaching the ears and eyes of your existing and potential patients.
A marketing checklist is the key.
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