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gargle dental marketing check list

Gargle’s Making a List. You Should Be Checking It Twice.

Tis the season for dentists to don their metaphorical Santa hats and, like the jolly old man himself, check their dental marketing lists twice! As the year draws to a close and Santa is busy checking who’s been naughty or nice, it’s time for dental practitioners to reflect on the past, assess the present, and plan for a prosperous future. We invite dentists to embark on a sleigh ride through the key aspects of their practices, ensuring that every detail is attended to as meticulously as Santa’s preparations for his worldwide journey. So, please grab a cup of cocoa, cozy by the fireplace, and join us as we unwrap the essential steps to make your dental practice shine like a star on top of the tree in 2023 and beyond. Gargle’s making a list; you should be checking it twice!


1. Reviewing Insurance Providers and Fee-for-Service Structures

Just as Santa checks his list twice to ensure no one is left out, dentists should carefully review their list of insurance providers. Are they on the ‘nice list,’ paying well and accepting the submissions we diligently put forth? Assess the efficiency and profitability of each provider and consider transitioning to a fee-for-service model if it aligns with your practice goals. Evaluate the reimbursement rates and make adjustments to ensure your fees are competitive and reflect the current market standards.

To chart this course successfully into 2024, we must choose the right insurance and strategically target patients who appreciate and are willing to pay for fee-for-service. By identifying procedures that naturally lend themselves to this model—where insurance coverage may be limited—we can create a roadmap for a prosperous year ahead. After all, ’tis the season to unwrap new opportunities and financial success!


2. Pricing: Upgrade to Current Market Standards

In the spirit of gift-giving, consider giving your practice a present by upgrading your pricing strategy. Once a year, it’s prudent to assess the current market standards, utilizing local dental groups or the ADA equivalent in your state to gauge the pricing landscape. The key lies in aligning your fees with contemporary rates for procedures such as crowns and cavities. While adjusting pricing might raise concerns about patient retention, it’s crucial to recognize that maintaining competitive rates is fundamental for the sustainability of any dental practice.

By raising prices by a modest 10% or 20%, practices can keep up with the current market and shed outdated pricing models that may be holding them back. Just as a snow globe settles, so too can your practice find a steady rhythm with updated pricing that reflects the true value of your services. Remember, it’s not about losing patients; it’s about evolving with the times and ensuring the longevity and success of your dental practice. Embrace the change, unwrap new possibilities, and watch your practice flourish!


3. Annual Marketing Plan: Naughty or Nice Edition

As we unwrap the potential of a new year, the importance of an annual marketing plan cannot be overstated. Picture it as the guiding star leading your dental practice toward the desired destination of growth and success. But this plan isn’t just any plan—it’s an annual written marketing plan that serves as a roadmap for achieving specific goals.

Dentists should don their visionary hats and ask critical questions in this strategic journey. What is the target for new patients, and what kind of new patients are we aiming to attract? It’s not just about casting a wide net but about honing in on the right audience that aligns with the practice’s goals.

Now, here’s where the magic happens. When formulating this plan, think about the financial investment required. If the goal is to far exceed the million-dollar practice mark, what percentage of projected revenue is one willing to invest in marketing? This forward-thinking approach contrasts the common misconception of how little revenue can be spent on marketing to yield the best results. Most high-end practices understand the power of investment, dedicating  5% to 10% of revenues to marketing efforts in order to fuel fast, quality, patient growth. It’s time to shift the perspective, invest boldly, and watch your practice shine in the coming year!


4. Reviewing High-End Procedures

Santa’s sleigh is equipped with the latest technology to ensure a smooth ride, and your practice should be no different. As we delve into high-end procedures, it’s essential to recognize that they are not merely talking points but the primary catalysts for elevating a practice’s revenue trajectory. While cavities and fillings have their place, the true Yuletide magic unfolds when dentists transition into a realm beyond routine procedures. Picture Invisalign, implants, and crowns as the dazzling ornaments adorning the tree of possibilities, each contributing to smiles that glow as bright as Christmas lights.

Consider this as the dental equivalent of stepping stones: cavities and cleanings serve as the foundation, but the path to prosperity lies in embracing high-end procedures. Dentists looking to make this shift should scrutinize their current high-end offerings. Are you charging appropriately for the value delivered? Is additional training available to seamlessly transition into the next high-end procedure? Are you actively marketing these procedures or hoping you’ll emerge organically from general dentistry?


5. Call Answers/Booking Process/Training Plan: The Gift of Exceptional Service

Just as Santa’s elves work diligently to provide exceptional service, your staff should be well-trained to handle calls and bookings effectively. Akin to elves in Santa’s workshop, our front desk personnel play a pivotal role in the harmonious orchestration of patient interactions. Now is the opportune time to review your call answering, booking processes, and comprehensive training plan.

It’s a common tale in practices — missed calls, challenges with after-hours forwarding, and often, the initial greeting being handled by the newest team member. This can lead to missed opportunities and revenue loss, like gifts falling off Santa’s sleigh. Consider a scenario where a potential patient inquires about insurance coverage, and the response falls short of clarity. The result? A missed chance to connect and guide them through the welcoming doors of your practice.

According to national averages, practices miss about a third of all calls, an unfortunate reality that could cost them a fortune. This festive season, let’s resolve to turn this around. Imagine the impact of having a well-trained, responsive individual at the front lines, equipped to navigate questions seamlessly and ensure every call is a potential gift-wrapped opportunity. This isn’t just about answering calls; it’s about answering them right. Dr. Benjamin Johnson at Acre Wood Dental incorporated Dan Johnson’s phone training. 

Dr. Benjamin Johnson, recognizing the pivotal role of the initial phone contact in acquiring new patients for Acre Wood Dental, enlisted the expertise of his brother, Dan, to revamp the practice’s marketing strategy. Understanding that 96% of new patients’ first interaction was through the phone, they implemented the Pentagon Process, a methodical approach focusing on key steps: initial contact, appointment scheduling, patients in the chair, treatment acceptance, and patient referrals. The results were remarkable, with Acre Wood Dental experiencing a substantial 42% growth in new patients within the first few months of implementation.

To further maximize the potential of each new patient, Dr. J conducted a comprehensive analysis, revealing that the value of each new patient was $1,857 based on the total collections divided by the number of new patients. Communicating this insight to the team, he emphasized the critical importance of every incoming call, leading to a reevaluation of the entire process. Dr. J highlighted the impact of a single phone call, potentially representing $1,857, prompting a rethinking of phone line distribution and staffing allocation.

Dan, leveraging this newfound understanding, reshaped the phone handling approach. He designated a dedicated space in the back solely for answering phones, allowing the front office staff to concentrate on other essential tasks. Introducing incentives for answering phones and booking new patients, with a goal of 45 new patients per staff member monthly, Dan incorporated mystery calls as a tool to assess call handling quality. A structured phone script was developed to ensure a positive first impression, emphasizing smiling, active listening, addressing questions, avoiding objections, and assuming the patient’s visit. These strategic adjustments, combined with follow-up calls and diligent training, propelled the practice’s new patient count in the first few months of incorporation from 33 to an impressive 50 each month, underscoring the crucial role of phone training as the linchpin of Acre Wood Dental’s success. They are now booking 112 new patients each month.

So, as we prepare to unwrap the possibilities of a new year, let’s scrutinize who is answering our calls. What’s our current booking process, and is it as streamlined as Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve? Let’s take a cue from the North Pole’s efficiency and upgrade our training plan. Perhaps, with this commitment, we can strive to miss 10% fewer calls and book 10% more people. The goal isn’t just to enhance our practice’s efficiency; it’s to create an experience that leaves patients as delighted as children on Christmas morning. After all, just like Santa, a well-answered call can lead to a sleigh full of joyful patients and a prosperous year ahead!


6. Unaccepted Treatment: How to Close a Higher Percentage Faster

Santa doesn’t leave any presents behind, nor should you regarding unaccepted treatments. These are the recommendations for crowns, the nudges toward Invisalign—promises of healthier smiles that, for various reasons, weren’t met with an immediate ‘yes.’ It’s a common tale in the dental world; patients often need a moment to ponder, consult budgets, or discuss with their partners.

Now, the real magic lies in the follow-up strategy. How often have these potential opportunities slipped through the cracks because there wasn’t a robust plan in place? Hope alone doesn’t suffice; proactive measures are essential. It’s time to reflect on the past year’s average of unaccepted treatments, potentially hovering around the national average of $500,000 per practice each year. What’s your plan to turn these potentials into tangible successes?

Picture it as a dental sequel to ‘A Christmas Carol’—a chance to revisit the ghosts of unaccepted treatments past and chart a transformative future. Do you have a solid plan to close a higher percentage of these outstanding cases? Are you equipped to expedite the process and get them from contemplation to commitment faster than a reindeer-powered sleigh on Christmas Eve?

The first step is acknowledgment. You must review our books, identify these unaccepted treatments, and craft a plan that goes beyond hope. A proactive approach involves follow-up calls, thoughtful emails, engaging videos, and regular check-ins. Just as Santa checks his list twice, let’s check our strategy twice, ensuring that no potential treatment opportunity is left unattended. This isn’t just about closing cases; it’s about transforming unaccepted treatments into stories of patient satisfaction and, ultimately, a thriving practice in the year ahead!


7. Marketing Vendor Review: ROI/Costs

Santa evaluates the performance of his reindeer to ensure a successful journey, and you should do the same with your marketing vendors. Much like a seasoned conductor at the Nutcracker curates the members of an orchestra, dentists should take this time to assess the harmony within their marketing ensemble. It’s about discerning who’s playing their notes well and who might be out of tune.

Consider this a marketing performance review, and the criteria for evaluation are clear: ROI and cost. To orchestrate an efficient marketing strategy, it’s crucial to scrutinize the past year’s performance. Take a moment to reflect on each vendor — what did you spend, and more importantly, what did you gain? How many patients were brought in, and what was the quality of those patients? Most importantly, what dollars flowed into the practice due to each vendor’s contribution?

This isn’t merely about the number of vendors; it’s about optimizing your marketing symphony. Should you consolidate, perhaps bringing the marketing orchestra in-house, or is there potential to explore the expertise of an agency? Much like deciding the composition of a musical masterpiece, your plan with vendors is critical to the success of your marketing endeavors.


8. Ad Budgets: Tis the Season to Budget Wisely

In the spirit of responsible spending, evaluate your advertising budgets. There is a crucial need to dissect the ad budget into its twin components: the creative and management work and the actual ad budget. It’s like the yin and yang of effective marketing. Someone needs to build the website, create captivating content for Adwords or social campaigns, and manage the intricate dance of digital marketing. Conversely, a significant chunk needs to be allocated to platforms like Google, Facebook, and even traditional channels like postcards.

Consider this as budgetary alchemy—a delicate balance between creative investment and practical ad spending. One should not be the sole recipient of the budget at the expense of the other. It’s a common pitfall to funnel funds into branding and reputation efforts without proportionately fueling the engine that generates leads and patient conversions.

Here’s the strategic breakdown: If your monthly marketing budget is, say, six grand, consider allocating one to two grand for ad strategic creation, management, and analysis. This ensures that your creative efforts are impactful and aligned with your practice goals. The remaining budget is the true ad budget—the funds strategically distributed across platforms to maximize reach and engagement.

In essence, it’s not just about spending money; it’s about spending it wisely. Take the time to evaluate what your real ad budget is and what tangible results it brings. Let this discussion transcend beyond numbers to encompass the essence of your practice—Who are you targeting this year, and what are those potential patients worth?


9. Target Patient Growth/Revenue Growth: The More, the Merrier

As Santa’s joy comes from delivering presents to more children, your practice’s joy comes from growing patient numbers and revenue. Set realistic targets for patient growth and revenue and develop strategies to achieve these goals. This may involve targeted marketing campaigns, referral programs, or community outreach initiatives.

As you wrap up 2023 and prepare for the year ahead, take a page from Santa’s playbook and list priorities for your dental practice. By checking this list twice, you can ensure that your practice is well-prepared to face the challenges and opportunities that come your way. May your practice be merry and bright, and your patients smile throughout the season and beyond!


Gargle’s Expert Dental Marketing Team Crafts Tailored Plans for Prosperity!

Unlock the full potential of your dental practice in 2024 with Gargle by your side! Our expert dental marketing team is here to transform your aspirations into tangible success. Picture Gargle not only makes a list but actively contributes to checking it twice by leveraging its expertise in crafting customized marketing plans. Whether you’re aiming for increased patient acquisition, revenue growth, or enhanced brand visibility, our team is well-versed in the nuances of dental marketing. We understand the unique challenges and opportunities within the dental industry, and with Gargle’s strategic insights, we can build out a comprehensive marketing plan tailored to your specific goals. From revamping online presence and optimizing digital marketing strategies to implementing creative and engaging campaigns, Gargle ensures that your practice not only meets but exceeds its objectives. Trust Gargle to be your partner in achieving dental excellence in 2024 and beyond.

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