by Marcus Hines
by Marcus Hines
by Marcus Hines
by Marcus Hines
According to a recent survey by Go-To-Market Strategies only 42% of businesses adequately fund their marketing budget. After servicing the dental industry for more than 18 years, and having worked one-on-one with hundreds of dentists, I have to believe the percentage of practices that adequately fund their marketing budget is much lower. That said, there is hardly a better time to place sufficient resources into marketing than when times are slow. In more prosperous times patients tend to find your practice, but in slow times you must do what is necessary to drive patients to your practice. Here are five strategies you can apply to drive dental implant patients to your practice:
1. Post card mailers: Perhaps there’s never been a better time to use postcards to target those demographics that are most likely in need of dental implants. Baby-boomers are now between the ages of 47 and 65, suffer from multiple missing teeth and base on their above average networth baby-boomers are most capable of paying for your dental implant services. This group of individuals can be targeted very well through the use of direct mail/postcards. Of all direct mail methods (postcards, catalogs, fliers, larger letter envelopes, and #10 letter envelopes), at 42% postcards garner the highest read-rates. Your message on dental implants can be conveyed very adequately through the use of a postcard. The key is not to attempt to say too much on a postcard. Your postcard should include and image of an individual (or couple) with an attractive smile. Ideally the individuals on your postcard will be roughly between the ages of 45 and 65, and your message should speak to dental implants, health, confidence, smile, and fixed/permanent teeth. You will want to use stock images from a royalty-free company; royalty-free meaning once the image is purchased you can use it as often as you like without paying again. There are multiple royalty-free stock image companies such as www.thinkstockphotos.com or www.photospin.com. Your offer should include a free dental implant consultation and/or an invite to a free patient education seminar that you’ll host and present on the subject of dental implants. Use your postcard mailings to also push traffic to your website as well by having your website address be prominently printed on your postcard mailer. Review the direct mail section of our website http://www.marketingimplantdentistry.com/direct-mail/ for more details on best practices in direct mail.
2. Website Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Your goal is no doubt to have an impressive website for those who specifically type in your URL after noticing an advertisement or receiving a postcard in the mail from you. But in an era where over 80% of all website traffic flows from search engines, good luck with being found on the internet if your website is not optimized. Therefore, you must do everything possible to have your website land on the first (or at least the second) page of the major search engines including Google, Bing, and Yahoo. By doing so, when prospective patients search key phrases such as “dental implants” or “implant dentist”, you place your practice in the best possible position to be noticed by the general public. Assuming your website looks moderate, your implant content is comprehensive and easy to understand, and you have a seamless call-to-action, you will attract new patients that have a primary interest of receiving dental implants. There are various companies that will provide SEO services for you. One of the most effective ways for you to improve your own SEO is by blogging on a routine bases. If you would write an article/blog on the subject of implant dentistry once a week, this will go a long ways toward optimizing your website. Your blogs should be simple, informative and educational and should have key phrases like “dental implant teeth” as peppered throughout your blog. By blogging routinely you continue to add pertinent content to your website that is viewable by all visitors. It is this relevant information that will also help to optimize your website, land you on the first pages of Google, Bing and Yahoo, helping you to attract more new patients for the purposes of receiving dental implants.
3. Social media networking: What email was in the early 2000s, social media is in the 2010s, a true marketer’s dream. It is an amazing thought how few dental websites have a Facebook “Like” page and Twitter page attached to it. And usually if they do have either or both, frequently they are inactive. While implant dentistry continues to grow, there is less than 10% market penetration. This has much to do with the fact that most practices have several patients that do not have a good understanding of dental implants. Active use of the four major social media networks; Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn will give you the ability to stay in front of your patient base. You will want to uses these social media networks to make daily posts on various procedures including of course implant dentistry. Your Facebook “Like” page, Twitter and YouTube channel/page should carry the same consistent theme as your website. Make relevant posts on both Facebook and Twitter on a daily bases and upload patient testimonials to your YouTube page and use Facebook and Twitter to push traffic to your YouTube videos. If you do not have a LinkedIn profile established, go to www.LinkedIn.com and establish one immediately. LinkedIn is the ultimate and largest professional network. The average individual on LinkedIn earns more than $94,000. As one example, there are all types of groups on LinkedIn that you can become active in as a respected dental expert. LinkedIn can monetized when done right, but be careful about over self-promoting on LinkedIn as its main purpose is to network… As of today there are more than 750 million people actively using Facebook and about 20 million adults actively using Twitter. YouTube gives you the ability to communicate with video like no other and your ideal implant patients can be found on LinkedIn. No one in business should ever ignore this many people. As a full-time practicing dentist it is nearly impossible for you to keep up these efforts long-term. You will want to either hire someone to manage your social media network, or outsource it, but in the modern marketing world where technology such as smart phones, iPads and Skype are cost effective and commonplace, there is no excuse for not using social media for the purposes of promoting implant dentistry to your patient base and attracting new patients to your practice.
4. Patient education seminars: Free patient education seminars are a great, non-threatening way to welcome those most in need of dental implants to your practice for the purposes of gaining a better understanding of exactly what dental implants are all about. The mistake dentists often make with patient education seminars is that they present their information as if they are presenting to professional colleagues. This is wrong. To be effective a patient education seminars must be very layman, should not show graphic images (no surgery), should show mostly before and after slides (with a compelling story behind each patient), and should not last longer than one hour. You should be prepared to show a variety of cases; a single tooth implant replacement in the anterior region, a single/multi-unit tooth implant replacement in the posterior region, an overdenture removable and fixed implant supported prosthesis, and the ill effects of bone loss caused by missing teeth. This is an opportunity to showcase to the general public exactly what you have done to help similar patients improve their smile; replace their removable prosthesis, to chew and grind their food properly, and to restore their waning confidence. You have to market these seminars within your surrounding community. An effective postcard mailing campaign to the general public can be effective. Television and radio commercials should also be considered but will require a larger marketing budget. There is no substitute for getting in front of the right demographics with the right message. You must also promote these seminars to your patient base as well. If you are a specialist you’ll want to make these seminars known to each of your referring doctors in an effort to attract their patient base. When done right, patient education seminars can bring meaningful new traffic to your practice.
5. Internal marketing: It’s always interesting to witness how commonly dental professionals focus such great efforts on attracting new patients to their practice while at the same time doing very little to direct their patient base toward receiving the dental implant treatment they need. One area you can begin to improve in the area of internal marketing is by routinely mailings to your partial-denture and full-denture plate patients, on a monthly bases. If it was once your understanding to advocate fixed bridges, removable partials and full-denture plates, you now need to educate these same patients on the fact that there is a better alternative. Your patient education brochure should compare and advocate dental implants vs. the aforementioned traditional procedures. This brochure should be easily mailed out each month to this group of patients that you’ve treated in the past. You should also have adequate models to demonstrate to any patient in person. It’s one thing to tell a patient what they need. It’s altogether different to show them what they need. Implant models will give you the ability to show patients the purpose and function of dental implants based on their needs. One resource you can use to purchase dental implant typodonts is Kilgore International; their website is: www.KilgoreInternational.com. Another key internal marketing strategy is to be sure your staff members are each on the same page when it comes to understanding and advocating dental implants. At any given point an influential staff member will be alone with your patient. The verbal skills and body language of that staff member will speak volumes, and good or bad can have a major influence on the patient’s decision making process. As a part of our dental implant marketing consulting services, we will train your staff members on the rationale of dental implants and verbal skills geared around influencing patients to accept your dental implant recommendations.
Whether it’s through the use of postcards, SEO, social media networking, patient education seminars or internal marketing, growing the number of dental implant procedures over the next 12 month period will require the application of proven marketing efforts,especially in slow times. Consistency is even more important than how profession your marketing materials may look. A marketing effort can look good, but you must have systems in place that are designed to consistently promote your dental implant services if you are to have meaningful growth. If you are serious about doubling or even tripling your dental implant business, develop a marketing strategy, establish a marketing budget, and hire an experienced, competent employee to carry out these and other dental implant marketing efforts, or outsource them to a company that’s capable of getting them done for you.
by Marcus Hines
The literature defines Immediate Occlusal Loading or Immediate Load as a clinical protocol for the placement and applying force on dental implants, with a fixed or removable restoration in occlusal contact with the opposing dentition, at the same clinical visit. Some of the busiest dental implant practices we know of have embraced Immediate Occlusal Load (immediate load) with open arms. This is a wise choice because having the ability to perform immediate load procedures is one way an office can separate itself from many others. With multiple studies proving this treatment modality is predictable (between 96 and 100% successful), there really is no good reason for refusing to make it available in your practice. Here are five reasons I believe you will benefit by making immediate load available to your patient base:
In summary, immediate occlusal loading is here to stay. Multiple studies have proven this protocol to be as predictable as delayed loading. Having the ability to offer immediate load to qualifying patients, with confidence, will yield a higher case acceptance from some patients given their set of circumstances and motivation. There is a group of patients that will willingly pay a higher fee to receive a fixed prosthesis on the same day as the dental implant surgery. Based on the aging demographics of our society, most dental professionals experienced in implant dentistry would benefit their practices by seeking out quality continuing education on this subject. And any office actively offering immediate load in their practice should use both internal and external marketing methods to promote these services and separate themselves from competing colleagues.