If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you’ve been exposed to various aspects of what we do at SmartBox Web Marketing – helping dentists attract new and better patients. But this may be the first time you read how our industry-leading patient attraction system works.
SmartBox clients are dentists who are experiencing success with a new type of “systems-based” patient attraction. Most dentists approach getting patients as a cause-and-effect type of event. Dentist A places an advertisement in a local paper and then waits for patients to respond. He has advertised and now expects patients to start rolling in: cause and effect. This straightforward approach has produced acceptable, though unpredictable, results in the past.
But how patients choose a dental provider has changed in the Internet age, so reaching ideal
patients has become far more difficult. Getting prospective patients to pay enough attention to properly assess their options for dental care becomes more and more difficult as patients encounter an increasing number of advertising messages across multiple media channels each day. Even as MORE products and services compete for prospects’ diminishing attention, those same prospects trust each piece of “advertising” LESS.
Patients are left to choose a dental care provider based on the worst possible criteria: price and speed.
When a prospective patient sees you as a “technician” who deals with teeth instead of as a trusted advisor, it fundamentally changes how your patients perceive you.
With a “systems-based” approach to patient attraction, you can strategically position yourself as
not just A trusted dental advisor, but as THE trusted dental advisor in your prospective patients’ minds.
This type of approach produces two benefits:
- Prospective patients perceive your practice as the only logical choice.
- Their resistance to fees is drastically minimized.
The 4 Steps of Systems-Based Patient Attraction
You understand why you must have a patient attraction system to get the attention of prospects in an era where we are all bombarded with so many advertising messages that we become distrustful of them all.
Now you need to know the how: The four steps of a systems-based approach to patient attraction.
Understanding the concepts is very straightforward. But putting these concepts into action in your practice is far more complicated. Before you read the four steps of this process, it’s important to understand that the goal of systems-based patient attraction is getting bigger results over time while putting in less effort over the same time.
The four steps of a systems-based approach to patient attraction are: attraction, conversion, follow-up and tracking.
STEP 1: ATTRACTION
Most dentists are well aware that “attracting” patients is a far smarter objective than “chasing” patients. Attraction means the patient chooses your practice above every other option. “Chasing” means the patient is not yet “sold” on the idea that they should choose you.
Attraction is about creating a system that leads patients to you without you investing any effort.
STEP 2: CONVERSION
To achieve the status of trusted advisor, your attraction system needs to put you in front of prospects in a way that presents you not as AN expert, but as THE expert. Most dental patient attraction is event-based, meaning it’s a series of events, done on demand, focused on attracting patients.
Systems-based patient attraction means the system is functioning 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You are attracting all the time.
One of the purposes of such a system is to build trust and credibility with prospects in a way that makes your practice the only logical choice. When you achieve this status, the patients is less concerned about fees and appointment availability than ensuring it is YOUR practice that provides their care.
STEP 3: FOLLOW-UP
90 to 95 percent of your prospective patients, especially those who find you online, are not ready to schedule an appointment. Without a system that can “nurture” those prospective patients until they are ready, you will lose them.
Most dental practices have no idea how much money they waste getting the attention of a prospective patient who is simply not ready to schedule an appointment. Instead of sending that
patient welcomed, valuable and automatic follow-up contact, the dental practice forgets about the patient and wastes the marketing investment that initially got his or her attention.
STEP 4: TRACKING
A systems-based approach to patient attraction allows you to see the return for every dollar invested. Each step of your system is measurable and, as a result, is improvable.
The ability to track the source of every incoming phone call straight through to the revenue it generates gives you a clear picture of which marketing efforts are working and which are not.
Most dental practices simply don’t have access to this kind of a system. That’s why they do the dental equivalent of “flying blind.”
But it gets even worse.
A dental practice that doesn’t see a return on its investment in acquiring new patients pays for those efforts at the expense of the bottom line.
So you see why dentists need a patient attraction system, and you see the components to the system.
Now you need to see how a systems-based approach actually makes it EASIER for you to decide how to invest your marketing dollars, and I’ll discuss that in my next post.