According to the ADA, private insurance was the single largest source of payment for dentists in 2015, amounting to more than 41 percent. That’s both good news and bad news.
It’s good news because your dental patients and prospects aren’t reliant solely on their own financial resources to obtain dental care. It’s bad news because dental insurance reimbursements are continually being squeezed.
In the face of declining reimbursements, dentists as a group tend to make up the lost revenue by advertising lower prices. Essentially, they’re trading quantity for quality. But all they’re really doing is driving down prices in their markets and setting themselves up to work much harder for less. As survival strategies go, this one isn’t great.
If Not Price, Then What?
Some 20 percent of the population has the discretionary income and resources to pay more for dental care. Those people can afford to be choosy about who they pick to solve their dental problems. They’re not particularly influenced by price, specials, or discounts.
Instead, those prospects are willing to pay more for someone who they perceive as being a dental expert who they can relate to and trust. If you’re going to attract those patients, that’s who you need to become in their minds.
You won’t accomplish that through traditional dental advertising for several very good reasons.
- Advertising is “right now, or at least soon.”
Most dentists engage in monthly or near-monthly advertising. They’re looking for more new patients this month, or next. But the only incentives they can offer those patients is price, insurance acceptance, and availability. That’s not to discount those factors, as they motivate some 80 percent of patients. However, those are exactly the prospects that your competition is going after too.
When it comes to attracting better patients, dentists need to take a longer view. Most people begin their search for a dentist online. Google reports that people consult an average of 10.4 sources of online information before making a buying decision. Selecting a dentist isn’t an event, it’s a process. For the 20 percent, price is largely an afterthought; they’re looking for something else in choosing the right dentist for them. That’s why traditional dental advertising doesn’t work.
- Your better patients are experience- and outcome-driven.
Any decent hotel chain can provide you with a comfortable bed and clean facilities. And yet, the more upscale chains still do a thriving business. Why? Because many people will pay more for what they perceive as a superior experience. That’s what drives their decision-making.
Amenities, service, comfort, and the overall experience figure much higher in these patients’ calculations than does price. The same is true when picking a dental practice.
It’s difficult to position yourself as a “preferred” provider using newspaper ads and postcard campaigns. Your website, however, is the ideal venue to showcase not only your services but also your approach to patient care, your amenities, and your technology.
- Building trust is also a process.
Your better dental prospects can and do watch your online videos and testimonial videos. They’ll check review sites. Basically, they’ll do their research to determine if you seem expert, likable, and relatable. Once that determination is made, they’ll either pick you or you won’t.
Conveying enough information over time to position yourself as the only logical choice for your dental prospects take time and a considerable amount of easily accessible content. Traditional dental marketing can’t accomplish that.
There’s a better, proven way to attract more and better patients.
SmartBox Web Marketing is revolutionizing how dentists succeed with its industry-leading Patient Attraction System™. We work with more than 550 dentists on three continents to help them get more and better new dental patients.
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Find out what a Patient Attraction System™ will do for you. Go to smartboxdental.com/blueprint and schedule a Patient Attraction System Blueprint™ Session. They are reserved only for serious dentists who want to see a patient attraction system that can double their practice. You can get more patients, more profits, and more freedom.