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Carolyn Dean is the author of ‘Fully booked – Dental marketing secrets for a full appointment book’ and is the managing director at My Dental Marketing. She is a sought-after speaker, trainer, and marketing consultant who has helped over 700 dental practices across Australia achieve consistent growth.

We sat down with Carolyn to find out what the top marketing mistakes dental practices are making and how to avoid them.

Carolyn Dean

Carolyn Dean, author of Fully booked – Dental marketing secrets for a full appointment book

1. Not knowing your ideal patient

“Dental marketing has changed a lot in the last 10 years and gone are the days where you can try and attract ‘everybody’. In today’s digital world, you need to think about who you want to come to your practice, and how best to attract them.

The key to implementing a strategic marketing plan is for dentists to identify their practices’ ideal patient or target patient profile. Once you know your target market, you need to get to know how best to communicate with them.”

Once you’ve identified your ideal patient, you need to ask yourself:

    • How is best to communicate with them?
    • Why should they come to you?
    • What can you offer them?
    • How to use marketing to reach them?

2. Failing to track return on investment Return On Investment (ROI)

“When it comes to marketing, numbers are the most important thing. The simple reality is, if you don’t know what is working with your marketing, there is no point doing any marketing.

For example, one practice we worked with was spending $7,000 per month on Google Ads. When we looked at the numbers, 93% of their ads weren’t working. They were wasting an insane amount of money.

Generally speaking, for your practice to be successful, you need a minimum of a 3:1 ROI on your marketing spend.

A simple way to calculate the ROI for any marketing campaign is to divide the dollars you receive by the dollars you invested, using the lifetime value of a patient for a given period of time.”

For proven ways to promote your practice and how to measure them, check out our free HealthCare Marketing & ROI Guide

3. Not knowing the average lifetime value of a patient

“Do you know how much a patient is worth to you? 

The fact is, if you don’t know what a patient is worth, you don’t know what you should plan to spend to get one or what you should plan to spend to keep one.

It’s a crucial number for your marketing yet it’s a number a lot of practices don’t know. In fact, according to Software of Excellence, 2014, “Facing the Challenge of New Patient Acquisition”, more than 60% of dental practices are unaware of their numbers of lapsed patients, more than 40% do not track where new patients are coming from and almost 30% are unaware how many new patients visit their practice each month.”

From our research, we’ve found that the average lifetime value of a patient is between $17,000 and $35,000. It’s crucial you know this number.

For more information on the value of a patient to your practice, check out this article

4. Not nurturing relationships with existing patients

“Did you know that the most valuable asset that a practice has is its existing patient base?

Despite this, many practices make the mistake of focusing only on gaining new patients. They fail to effectively address the need to retain those they already have.

The fact is, your existing patient base your most predictable source of new revenue. 

It’s also far easier (about 50% easier according to MarketingMetrics) to sell to existing patients than to new prospects. Acquiring new patients is expensive (five to ten times the cost of retaining an existing one), but the average spend of a repeat patient is a whopping 67% more.”

5. Searching for the silver bullet

“Many practices think there is a ‘silver bullet’ to solve their marketing issues but the reality is, there isn’t one.

There is really no single thing that you can do to guarantee attracting more new patients; likewise, there is no single thing that you can do to guarantee the retention of your patients.

The only true way to achieve marketing success with your practice is to introduce and refine upon multiple touchpoints (marketing communication activities) with your patients.”

You need:

    • A collation of strategies
    • A number of patient touchpoints
    • To reinforce your brand message
    • Build consistency in messaging

Consistency is key. It takes six to eleven times for patients to see a message before they act on it!

Want more expert tips on how to market your dental practice?

Don’t miss our upcoming Maximising your marketing for a fully booked 2020 webinar with Carolyn on February 7

Register for the free webinar here.

Or get in touch with us below!

There’s no obligation, simply fill out the form or call 1300 297 709 and we’ll be in touch.



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