Everyone likes a quick fix, especially in today’s digital culture. There are entire industries devoted to instant weight-loss solutions and “get rich quick” schemes. It seems like we are all over-scheduled in all areas of our lives, personally and professionally; the unfortunate result of that reality is that whenever there is a shortcut that we think will save us time and energy, we dentists are all ears.
When it comes to practice growth, there’s no doubt that we dentists would LOVE a magic bullet, especially when it comes to dental marketing. Attracting new patients is no easy feat, and dental practice marketing often ends up feeling like a never-ending chore.
Let’s face it – it’s hard to differentiate your dental practice from the competition when it seems like every other dentist in the area is offering free whitening or discounted first patient visits. Not to mention, are these offers really adding value to our patients’ lives or just lowering the value of the vital services we all provide?
Insurance Is Not the Solution
But contrary to what the insurance companies would have you believe, going in-network does not have to be the only path to success for dental practice owners today. In fact, falling reimbursement rates coupled with increased paperwork and hassles has quite frankly made accepting insurance more trouble than it’s really worth. And remember, the discount you honor for every insurance patient is essentially a marketing fee that you’re paying to the insurance company – IN PERPETUITY – for sending you that patient.
When you add up the costs of monthly premiums and co-pays, patients themselves rarely see many benefits from having dental insurance at all. So if it isn’t working for either dentists or patients, why do we all keep playing the insurance game? Is promoting ourselves in our communities really THAT scary?
How You Can Win
This is where an in-house dental savings plan comes in. With a dental insurance alternative like QDP, dentists are able to offer patients genuine benefits for an annual fee that is often less than the cost of traditional insurance. Even better, dentists are able to remove the middleman (the insurance company) and preserve the dentist-patient relationship as well as their profits.
Here are just a few benefits:
- Dental savings plans like QDP help grow the fee-for-service patient base because patients come to understand that they cannot access the same value in any other practice
- Word of mouth increases as patients who are part of a membership plan are more loyal — and 70% more likely to refer others to the practice as a result
- Case acceptance rates rise 20% on average among QDP member dentists as patients are more likely to proceed with treatment knowing that their membership means they’re getting a fair price
- QDP dentists successfully use our public relations & advertising methods to promote the fact that they are increasing access to dental care within the community – without having to offer deep promotional discounts
Sound compelling? Discover even more ways an in-house dental savings plan can revolutionize your dental practice. Remember, patients are looking for quality healthcare at an affordable price. Your practice can give them what they are looking for by offering a program like Quality Dental Plan.
- With QDP, you can be assured no other dentist in the area is offering the same plan.
- A QDP plan trumps insurance when it comes to the value of actual benefits provided.
- QDP dentists set their own fees; you don’t have to adhere to an arbitrary fee schedule set by a third party.
- QDP dentists are free to provide those patients who prepay for services a reasonable price for the dental care that they and their families need and want.
It’s time to set your dental practice apart from the competition. Say goodbye to costly patient discounts and ineffective marketing efforts – and start providing patients with something they actually need.
Interested in finding out how Quality Dental Plan can help transform your dental marketing? Click here to find out how to make your dental marketing message stand out. And fill out the form on the right or visit our website if you are interested in learning more about QDP.
Dan Marut, DMD
Founder, Quality Dental Plan
Much of the focus on marketing today is on the Millennial generation (typically considered those born between 1977 and 2002). Online marketing is a hot topic, and Millennials are among the most digitally adept group there is, so it is no wonder that companies strive to capture the Millennial audience. And there is no doubt that with their size and influence, Millennials are a consumer group that dentists will need to focus on in the years ahead.
However, in terms of marketing your practice, don’t forget one very significant portion of the population: Baby Boomers. There may not be a more powerful group than the Baby Boomer generation. Inside Dentistry just released an article highlighting the importance of preparing your practice for the Boomer generation and it’s worth taking a read.
Here are a few statistics from the article worth noting:
- A Baby Boomer turns 50 every 8.5 seconds and for the next 18 years, Boomers will turn 65 at a rate of about 8000 per day.
- Boomers not only have high household incomes (on average $70,000+), they also have high accumulated wealth.
- Baby Boomers account for almost half of all consumer spending.
So what does this mean for dentists?
Baby Boomers are interested in feeling good and looking good – and that goes for their smile. They take better care of themselves than their parent’s generation and they are working far longer as well. So not only do they have the disposable income for dentistry, they also see the value.
According to the article, between 2000 and 2010, dental spending increased among Baby Boomers, where as it flat lined in all other demographics.
Also interesting to dentists: Most Boomers are used to having dental insurance as after having this benefit throughout their working years. Upon retirement, they are left without coverage. Among adults older than age 45, only 41% reported having dental insurance.
So here is a group of people who want dental care, with the means to pay for it, but who do not have dental insurance. Welcome Baby Boomers into your practice with open arms and give them a way to pay for their preventive care with discounts on restorative and cosmetic procedures! QDP can do just this for you and for your Boomer patients. Turn their value for dentistry into real growth for your practice.
We talk a lot on the blog about the benefits of an in-house dental membership plan (see here, here and here). If you’ve made the decision to go ahead and implement such a program, congratulations! It’s a meaningful first step to take on a path to practice growth and freedom from third party hassles.
While you are determining critical components of the plan such as fees and software integration, don’t forget to also consider how you will spread the word about this new plan to patients. Having an “if you build it, they will come” mentality might work in the movies, but it doesn’t bode well in dental practices!
The good news is that marketing an in-house dental membership plan doesn’t have to be difficult or even expensive. Dental consultant and industry guru Mayer A. Levitt, DMD recently wrote a blog with terrific advice for dentists looking to promote their plan.
A select few membership plans (such as QDP) offer a host of marketing templates to member dentists; however most plans come with little to no comprehensive marketing support. Regardless if the plan you choose to for your practice offers marketing solutions or not, and especially for those developing their own plan, Mayer’s advice is particularly helpful for dentists across the board.
Whether you are building your own dental membership plan from scratch or implementing a proven system, marketing will play a big role in spreading the word about this new patient opportunity. Don’t let it fall to the wayside; make sure the plan is set for success from the very beginning!
I hear from many fellow dentists who feel that all dental marketing seems the same. They get frustrated when the same-old marketing techniques fail to produce any real growth, especially when the competition is offering the exact same thing. Discounted tooth whitening and a free toothbrush – does this really excite patients? Not likely.
The problem is that these types of promotions are the exact same as everyone else’s. If everyone else is doing it, then it’s impossible for your practice to stand out from the crowd. There’s nothing compelling enough to attract patients to your practice.
It’s time to change your approach to dental marketing. You don’t want incremental growth. You want double-digit growth. Make your practice original and offer patients something new.
Not every dentist offers an in-house dental membership plan, especially one that trumps insurance benefit maximums. Quality Dental Plan allows you to offer unique patient membership programs that increase practice revenue while helping patients afford the dentistry they need – without giving up all of your profits in promotional discounts or reduced fees for insurance companies. And with geographic exclusivity, you can be sure that no one else in the area is offering anything similar.
What’s more incentivizing to patients: a free toothbrush, or a way of affording a year’s worth of preventive care for the entire family? With QDP, you have a new message, a leg up and a way to break away from the pack.
Ever met someone who was dead sure about something, but you could easily see they were wrong? People are very committed to their beliefs. I hear from dentists like this all the time – they’re doing everything right and still not seeing any real growth in their business.
Often the problem is that they’ve already decided what’s right without learning about all of the options. They are stuck in the comfort zone, and it’s these preconceived notions that are exactly what hold us back. If someone decides they’ve made the right choice about something, they’re simply not going to be open to other possibilities, even if their choice proves to be flawed or even outright wrong.
In this era of decreased insurance reimbursements and increased patient consumerism, it is easy to understand why some dentists believe it is impossible to grow their practice. There will always be forces beyond our control that present challenges to practice success. What we must remember to focus on are the factors that we can control. What can we do now to create a sustainable practice that can thrive during times of economic success AND under duress?
The solution comes when we start to think outside the box. That is how I came to develop Quality Dental Plan. QDP gives dentists the opportunity to provide their patients with a way of affording dental care so that they can grow your practice on a long-term basis. QDP is a value-oriented, bundled preventive care system that allows dentists to reduce their reliance on insurance companies, while attracting new patients, especially those without any insurance coverage, to the practice, helping to protect the practice against economic downturns and times of financial crisis.
When it comes to opportunity for dental practice success, there’s always a multitude of possible solutions that exist at all times – you just have to reach out and find the one that works.
It is often said that the dental industry is recession-proof. However, I believe few of my dentist colleagues would argue that they didn’t feel the effects the “Great Recession”.
As we come out of the most recent economic downturn, now is a good time to plan ahead and put processes into place in order to protect your dental practice against future recessions. As dentists, we are well aware of the impacts oral health has on an individual’s overall health. We work to positively contribute to our communities by reaching as many patients as possible and providing them with quality dental care.
Local business owners sure felt the pinch of the recession. They incur a large expense in providing dental insurance for their employees. What if you could offer a real solution to your fellow business owners? What if you provided a dental plan at a much lower cost, but with greater benefits to their employees?
Offering a dental membership plan for your practice to local businesses often costs them less than group dental insurance and helps ensure that their employees and dependents get all of the preventive dental care they need. That means fewer absences as dental issues account for 164 million hours of missed work. And small business outreach gives dentists a chance to provide care to an even greater number of patients than before….a genuine win-win for the entire community!
You’re an amazing dentist. When it comes to providing your patients with top-notch dental care, you are the expert. And except for when it comes to specialized procedures outside your area of expertise, there’s no need for you to seek outside help.
But we went to dental school, not business school. We shouldn’t expect to be experts at dental practice marketing. Maybe we recognize the need for marketing but do we really know how to increase revenue and build patient loyalty? And do we actually have the time and/or interest to do so?
Marketing and practice management are highly refined skills. They’re careers in and of themselves. While you may have a slight understanding of them, you’re not an expert. And why should you be? You went to school to be a dentist, right?
There’s no better way to catapult your business ahead than to find a partner that can provide the capabilities needed to enhance your practice. No need to spend your time reinventing the wheel. Where does your satisfaction come from: treating patients or researching consumer behavior? Do what you enjoy.
When was the last time you examined your fee schedule? Chances are, it has been awhile. Your fee schedule is an important component of your business plan, and the start of a new year is the perfect time to make adjustments to get your practice off to a strong start.
The problem is that without regularly looking at your fees, it’s impossible for you to make effective decisions regarding your business. The key is finding the fee schedule sweet spot that enables you remain viable without running the risk of your services becoming undervalued. You also can’t provide your patients with benefits such as cash, senior or advance payment discounts, Comprehensive Finance, Care Credit or Whitening for Life. Patient benefits continue to be one of your best tools for building patient loyalty and setting yourself apart from your competitors.
Without increasing your fees, you may not be able to stay competitive; you can’t afford to continue to update your practice with the latest technology, or to get all of the necessary continuing education to hone your clinical skills. Operating a successful practice depends on implementing these kinds of patient incentives in a way that boosts your bottom line rather than destroying it. And the key to doing this lies in setting appropriate fees. Take the time this January to evaluate your fee schedule and make 2014 your most profitable year yet.