There’s a reason for the saying, “As California goes, so goes the nation.”
So I paid close attention when I saw the results of a recent survey of about 300 Californians who are most dentists’ target demographics: 60 percent affluent baby boomers, 40 percent affluent, in their late 20s to mid-30s, and interested in improving their looks (including their teeth).
Here are three points that are important for dentists trying to grow their practice: ● 29 percent of those polled said they needed work done. ● Almost all (88 percent) surveyed said they have a regular dentist. ● Of those, nearly 70 percent said their general dentists that can do more complex work.
These three numbers mean that dentists face a lot of competition from each other and from doing nothing (remember, 7 out of 10 said they didn’t need any dental work) and must differentiate what makes them the dentist of choice
Get People Talking About Your Practice
Of the nearly 90 percent who had a dentist, here is what they heard or read that interested them in checking out their dentist: ● 48% FRIEND, FAMILY OR ASSOCIATE REFERRED ● 28% REFERRED BY PERIODONTIST/ ORTHODONTIST/ REFERRED BY ANOTHER DENTIST ● 16% YELP ● 12% GOOGLE
So the majority (70 percent) still come from human referrals. When those same people were asked about the three most important qualities they would look for in a dentist to do complex dental work, Yelp Reviews, referrals from friends and likability tied for the top three spots – ahead of credentials, referrals from another dentist and doing good work.
Here’s another interesting result of the survey: 56 percent of those surveyed said they would listen to a personal referral rather than ignore it about a new specialty dentist. Only 24 percent said the same thing about a doctor or dentist referral.
As you can see, dentists would be smart to invest in strong referral programs, testimonials and Yelp reviews.
Web Marketing Matters to Dental Patients
We encourage our clients to maximize websites, Google results and online reviews while downplaying Facebook and traditional advertising.
When asked what ways of hearing or reading about a new specialist dentist (that can do all types of major dental work), respondents said they would listen to rather than ignore:
On the web ● 36% I WOULD LOOK AT A DENTIST’S WEBSITE ● 36% Just GOOGLE IT IN THE AREA, dentists in my area
Social media ● 64% YELP ● 4% FACEBOOK
Traditional media ● 8% POSTCARDS ● 4% ADS
Now you see why we tell our clients what we do.
The problem with attracting new patients is that most people are very loyal to their dentist. When asked what would interest them in checking out a new dentist who is super qualified and experienced in more techniques than what a general dentist can do, respondents said: ● 36% HE WOULD HAVE TO BE REFERRED BY A DOCTOR, DENTIST/ REFERRED BY SOMEONE ● 32% NO NEED ● 12% LOCATION ● 12% IF SPECIALIST NEEDED
So 92 percent gave an answer that is entirely out of your control (unless you have a mobile office for that 12 percent).
Another problem is that most dentists are marketing two things most of the respondents don’t care about: gentle dentistry and being highly trained.
But those who responded to the survey did give some insight into how they want to feel when they leave the dentist. The top three were: ● 28% HE CARES/FEELS LIKE FAMILY ● 28% FEEL TEETH ARE HEALTHY/DID A GOOD JOB ● 24% CONFIDENT IN THEM/KNEW WHAT THEY WERE DOING
Those are areas you can market to, but you have to tell how you are different than every other dentist who says he has a caring staff and great experience.. There is one more that relates to an earlier blog, and it’s not tough if you know how to handle it: ● 16% AFFORDABLE/ FAIR PRICE, TAKES INSURANCE
Remember, that one is about value.
If you want to get the same secrets we’ve been giving clients, get a copy of my new book “Attract More Patients in the Next Six Months Than in the Past Six Years” at MoreandBetterPatients.com. Keep moving forward.