As the clock strikes midnight on December 31st and we bid farewell to the old, there’s a sense of anticipation in the air—a fresh start, a new beginning. This new year is an opportunity for your dental practice to set the stage for growth, success, and enhanced patient care. Today, we will explore how to craft a robust annual business plan, focusing on patient goals, dental marketing strategies, budget allocation, and employee engagement. Let’s embark on this journey toward a prosperous 2024 together!
Define Your Annual Plan:
Start the year with a clear vision. Define your patient goals—how many new patients do you intend to attract? What is your target for retaining existing patients? Establish achievable production targets and outline the services you plan to focus on.
Case Study – Actual Gargle Client
Our client, a dental practice owner managing two locations, initially struggled with disjointed marketing efforts conducted independently for two years. After acquiring a second practice, they faced challenges in aligning their branding, tracking marketing ROI, and increasing new patient counts.
Upon partnering with Gargle, we conducted a thorough analysis of their existing marketing strategies and online presence. We restructured their website, took control of their Google and Social Ads, and unified their social profiles under distinct brand identities for each practice. Within the first 90 days, we witnessed a significant boost in website traffic, increasing from 212 to over 500 visits monthly. After eight months, the number soared to 650 webpage visitors per month, achieved by optimizing past campaigns and realigning their marketing strategy.
Gargle’s team meticulously outlined a 12-month marketing plan, focusing on optimizing existing campaigns and streamlining their marketing budget. We successfully transitioned their new patient count from 18-20 per month to 22-23, all while reducing marketing spend by nearly 30%. This accomplishment marked the effectiveness of our strategic approach and the client’s commitment to the long-term vision.
Results and Sustainable Growth:
By maintaining a consistent marketing budget, our client saw their new patient counts rise steadily. Patience and perseverance paid off, as their goal of 30 new patients per month, initially seen as a challenge, became a reality. Gargle’s comprehensive approach not only transformed their online presence but also proved that sustainable growth is achievable with the right strategy, dedication, and patience.
Allocate Your Dental Budget:
Determine your marketing spend for the year. Break down the budget by quarters, allocating resources to various marketing channels such as digital advertising, social media campaigns, and community events. A well-structured budget ensures you make the most out of your investments.
Effective Budget Allocation
The success of budget allocation hinges on your objectives for your practice, the community’s perception of your business, and your current achievements. Consider the case study mentioned earlier: the dental practice aimed for an additional 12 new patients monthly, a goal we accomplished without significantly increasing their marketing budget. Initially, they allocated 5% of their annual collections for marketing expenses, which we augmented to nearly 9% to achieve the target of 30 new patients monthly. Through a strategic approach, we optimized their online presence efficiently, utilizing just under their initial 5% allocation. As a result, they were halfway to their goal, spending less than before partnering with Gargle. Eventually, when we raised the marketing budget back to 5%, their collections surged by an average of $11k per month during the first six months, making the allocated budget even more substantial. This case exemplifies the significance of prudent budget management and strategic marketing execution in achieving optimal outcomes for dental practices.
Set Quarterly Goals:
Break down your annual objectives into manageable quarterly goals. This approach provides a clear roadmap, making it easier to track your progress and adapt your strategies as needed. Quarterly evaluations enable you to stay agile and responsive to market changes.
Here are some examples of specific and measurable quarterly goals that dental practice owners might consider:
Increase New Patient Acquisition:
Aim to increase the number of new patients by a specific percentage (e.g., 10%) compared to the previous quarter. Implement targeted marketing campaigns and referral programs to achieve this goal.
Improve Patient Retention:
Focus on retaining existing patients by enhancing their experience. Set a goal to decrease patient attrition rates by a certain percentage (e.g., 5%) through improved communication, customer service, and follow-up procedures.
Enhance Online Presence:
Work on strengthening your practice’s online presence. Set objectives such as increasing website traffic by a specific percentage, gaining a certain number of positive online reviews, or improving social media engagement metrics.
Increase Treatment Plan Acceptance:
Encourage patients to proceed with recommended treatments. Set a goal to increase treatment plan acceptance rates by a certain percentage (e.g., 15%) by implementing effective case presentation techniques and improving patient education efforts.
Boost Average Transaction Value:
Increase the average amount spent by each patient during their visit. Set a goal to enhance the average transaction value (e.g., 10%) by promoting additional services, cosmetic treatments, or dental products.
Craft Your Branding Strategy:
Your brand is your identity; it communicates trust and quality. Evaluate your branding—does it resonate with your target audience? Consider refreshing your logo, updating your website, or refining your social media presence. Consistent and appealing branding sets the tone for patient trust and loyalty.
Implement Innovative Marketing Techniques:
Stay ahead of the curve with creative marketing techniques. Experiment with new review strategies, such as implementing review request software that simplifies the process for both staff and patients. Embrace the power of online reviews—encourage satisfied patients to share their experiences on platforms like Google, Yelp, and Healthgrades.
At Gargle, we have partnered with Swell, a leading provider in enhancing online presence and customer engagement. Swell multiplies your reviews and elevates your average star ratings, enhancing your online reputation significantly. By leveraging Swell, your practice will be featured on numerous online review platforms and secure top positions in search results on the most influential sites. Swell offers the ultimate solution to distinguish your practice from others in your area. Their technology enables seamless patient engagement, efficient management and response to reviews, real-time insights into customer experiences, and the conversion of website visitors into new patients. Through this collaboration, we can offer our clients an exclusive opportunity to access Swell’s cutting-edge services at a discounted rate.
Also, don’t forget to enhance your referral program by offering enticing incentives for both existing and new patients, encouraging word-of-mouth referrals. Brainstorm creative incentives that motivate your front desk team to seek referrals while ensuring exceptional patient experiences actively.
Employee Engagement and Support:
Your team is your biggest asset. Ensure your employees understand the annual plan and their roles in achieving the goals. Conduct regular meetings to update them on the progress and celebrate milestones together. Encourage their ideas and suggestions; after all, they are the front line of your practice. Engaged employees are more likely to go the extra mile to support the practice’s goals.
Leverage Your Office Space:
Transform your dental office into a marketing asset. Display patient testimonials in visible areas. Utilize digital screens to showcase your services, promotions, and educational content. Create a warm and inviting atmosphere that reflects your brand ethos and makes a positive impression on your patients.
Strategic Planning in 2024 With Gargle
As you ring in 2024, remember that your dental practice’s success hinges on a well-thought-out plan, enthusiastic teamwork, and a dedication to excellence. By setting clear goals, strategically allocating your budget, engaging your employees, and embracing innovative marketing techniques, you are paving the way for a year of growth and fulfillment. Here’s to a prosperous new year filled with healthy smiles, satisfied patients, and a thriving practice!