future of marketing

How to “Future Proof” your New Patient Opportunities (NPOs)

We are all familiar with the age-old adage of “don’t place all your eggs in one basket”, and while this is solid advice and something you should always consider, it’s never been as important as it is now. Over the last 6 months, you will likely have received emails, texts, and more than all focus on the now. “In these trying times” or “during these unprecedented times” are the most common introductions in any outreach campaign. However, it’s time to put on the business owner hat and think about the future!

In order to succeed as a dental practice, you must learn how to run a successful business. Marketing and customer service are the 2 things that will make or break your business. If you have great customer service, but you do not do any marketing, your future patients will never hear of you. On the flip side, you can have a dialed-in marketing campaign that generates a lot of traffic to your website and social media profiles, but if your customer service falls short you will struggle, and ultimately the business could fail. This is one of the reasons that you should always diversify how you get new patients. Digital Marketing is a powerful strategy, but if you are not active in your community, and building your brand it will be tough to get off the ground.

In marketing, the main goal is to get your product or service in front of the right people. As a dentist, you are a leader in your community, and need to be able to effectively get in front of your patients and future patients. Understanding the demographic of your area and sitting down and thinking of your goals will help you determine where you need to be in order to help your business grow and thrive.

Once you find out the demographic of your area, and start building your game plan, plan to diversify your marketing avenues to not only find out what works, but to also have multiple different ways of generating New Patient Opportunities (NPOs). Most marketing strategies right now rely heavily on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Marketing which for most businesses is great. However, you want to also try Direct Mail, Google Ads, and other marketing strategies to find out what works.

SEO and Social Media Marketing take time to start working. The plus side is that when your campaign kicks off you have a solid, reliable avenue for generating New Patient Opportunities for your business. On the other end of the spectrum, Direct Mail and Google Ads are a more immediate solution for generating NPOs and when properly executed is an effective way to quickly generate NPOs for your practice. However, it is important to understand that while this is an effective, immediate solution, once you stop paying for the ads your leads also stop.

The most effective marketing solutions incorporate a combination of long term and short-term New Patient Opportunity generating sources. A mixture of Social Media, SEO, and Ad marketing is an effective way to “future proof” your lead sources as much as possible to ensure that your practice will always have a way to find new patients. SEO is the long-term strategy that relies on building your website’s trust with Google and providing a good user experience. Having good content, a fast website, and a blog to answer questions that your patients are looking for is an easy way to get in front of your patients, and make sure that you have a way to generate New Patient Opportunities during hard times. Social Media Marketing may not take as long as SEO does, but you still need to generate a following and provide some form of value to your patients to keep them engaged. You can boost your posts which gets them in front of more people, but ultimately, it’s a tool for engaging your patients and a way to provide value before getting NPOs from it. Google Ads and Facebook Ads are an immediate way to generate NPOs and can be effective. You can get someone who is in need of your services right now, and get a “HOT” New Patient Opportunity, but it also costs you money to get the chance to serve that patient. A fine-tuned Ad campaign can generate a lot of NPOs for your team, but your team has to reach out and schedule appointments as soon as possible to make sure you get as many patients as you can. If you stop running ads, your lead source is immediately turned off and you need to rely on other avenues in the meantime until you can start running ads again.

Each of the above marketing strategies has their pros and cons, and it’s important to consider them all when making your marketing game plan and setting a marketing budget for your business. The most important thing is measuring the effectiveness of each campaign to see what your ROI is. Some marketing campaigns won’t perform as well as others, however, you have to be willing to try multiple strategies if you want to succeed. If you want to “future proof” your ability to operate a successful practice, you need to make sure that you and your marketing team have a plan in place to find new patients in the future. From Acts of God, to recessions and pandemics, it’s important to plan for the future and diversify your marketing efforts to have a solid foundation to fall back on for the future.

– Mike Shoun, President and CEO

Originally published at www.thedentistsnetwork.net/dmktg21.html