The Secret of Special Offers

Max Gotcher and Mike Abernathy over at Summit Practice Solutions are good friends of ours and SmartBox clients. They’re also really good at helping dentists get their practice in order and focus on more traditional marketing.

I read one of their blog posts and found a lot of similarities between what Max and Mike recommend dentists do with print ads (one of their focus areas) and online marketing (our area). In previous posts, I discussed the general do’s and don’ts of ads.

So, let’s see how the do’s and don’ts stack up for special offers.

One of the foundational items in most dental print ads is the special offer. This is the lure you use to bring prospective patients into your office. You want to use this special offer as a loss-leader: something you can give for free or at a substantially reduced price to secure the person as a staying, paying and referring patient.

Mike identities two key elements to making a successful offer.

The first is choose the right offers.

He says that people are looking for a low-cost, low stress way to meet you to find out what’s wrong with their teeth. So offering a service people need for free is the best approach, though low dollar amounts (like $1) can work too.

And what do you offer? Try free X-rays, free emergency exam or free second opinion. Coupled with consumer-friendly hours, like before and after work and on weekends, this can be a real winner.

Mike warns against using a cosmetic, sedation or implant offer. Most potential patients aren’t looking for those services yet. Besides, the free offer is the lure to get them into the office so they feel comfortable getting those profitable procedures.You don’t want to give them away right off the bat.

This is 100 percent true for websites, too.

But discount offers should certainly have an expiration. People are much more likely to respond when they have a deadline.

And be cautious about which offers you use. For instance, if you are trying to attract patients wanting more big-case, higher-cost dentistry, offering a free cleaning isn’t going to attract that crowd.

Mike’s second element to a successful print ad offer is to highlight the offer.

In the hustle and bustle of a print ad, the offer MUST STAND OUT. His suggestion is a white box with darker border, the word free, and an easy-to-understand offer of less than 5 words. He also suggests NOT using a percentage-off strategy because people are wary of such offers.

This strategy works for websites as well. When a client wants to put an offer on his website, we usually do it as an ear on the page. This helps it stand out because it stands out from the otherwise modular design. 

Whether your practice is using print or online ads or both, follow these tips to make your ad eye-catching, snag the attention of readers and attract more of the dental patients you WANT to your practice.