Getting New Dental Patients in a Highly Competitive Area
Here are the 4 best strategies you can use to separate yourself from other dentists and generate new patients in a highly competitive area.
I have seen dentists open up their practice in small towns and generate massive numbers of patients without marketing at all. I have also seen metropolitan or competitive areas totally demoralize and destroy some dentists.
Your growth strategies have to change to account for the level of competition.
Here are the 4 top strategies you need to consider in a competitive environment:
1. Be Seen
Mailers or advertisements sent blindly in a competitive area will fail because they are sandwiched in with a foot tall stack of papers.
You have to stand out to be seen.
Ways you can be seen:
a) zig when others zag: the human mind has evolved to notice differences mostly. Anything that is the same that happens alot deadens our senses and it goes unnoticed – money down the drain for you.
So a good method is to just do what no one else is doing!
For example…is your advertisement in with a bunch of color ads? then make it black and white.
b) make it bigger or smaller What are people looking at regularly? Make your marketing bigger or smaller than what they are used to.
What is special about your practice?
a) If everyone is positioned as a “dentist” listing their services, you can select one service and be known for that. For example: sedation, Invisalign, kids etc.
Don’t try to be everything at once.
b) Pick one of your main benefits (been around for a while, easy location) and put that up front.
A “market driven” approach to determine this is to ask your existing patients why they initially chose you…then use that information to market your practice.
For savvy people, this is your USP or unique selling proposition. Rosser Reeves invented this concept and your USP is defined by this:
i. Each advertisement must make a proposition to the consumer. Not just words, not just product puffery, not just show-window advertising. Each advertisement must say to each reader: “Buy this product, and you will get this specific benefit.”
ii. The proposition must be one that the competition either cannot, or does not, offer. It must be unique-either a uniqueness of the brand or a claim not otherwise made in that particular field of advertising.
iii. The proposition must be so strong that it can move the mass millions, i.e., pull over new customers to your product.
Even if you are seen and positioned accordingly, people still will shop around. I’ve seen some practices spend money on marketing only to have potential new patients go somewhere else…It’s YOUR MONEY!
So what can you offer people so they are convinced you are the one to go to and not your competitor?
By the way, telling a potential patient that you are the best will only cause them to doubt you. Of course you will say you are the best!
At the same time, they also don’ t like spending the time and energy phoning a million dental offices.
So what’s the solution?
a) One solution is to become their problem solver to see what’s best for them. Like a “dental buyer’s guide”
b) Another way to tip the scales in your favour is to offer them something …your “killer offer” .
If you are in a very competitive environment, it will destroy you if you believe in the status quo.
There is a lot of new, cutting edge type of marketing these days. Some will work, others won’t, but you won’t know until you try.
It took me 5 tries in 5 different newspapers to see startling results. As a result, every month, I pick up the phone, reinsert it and it generates 1-2 patient calls a day for cosmetic cases.
Commit yourself to testing new marketing concepts that professionals are using and you don’t have to spend $10,000 to do it!