Dental Marketing & Money Management For a Local Dentist – Part 2
– An Interview with Sandra Simmons – Dental Expert Advisory Series
Part 2 of Interview
Kent Harlan: Pricing services to match the dentist’s experience, knowledge, and areas of expertise is a critical step in building wealth. What advise might you give dental professionals to properly analyze the prices they charge in the marketplace?
Sandra Simmons: I always advocate doing a survey of competitors pricing and then charging at least 95% of the most expensive competitor in the dentist’s area, unless of course they can be the highest priced and get away with it, like my client who treats celebrities and professional athletes.
Sandra Simmons: I’ve worked with a lot of practices to reduce the percentage of Medicaid patients and get into a much higher percentage of private patients, and that certainly helps the cash flow to improve a great deal.
In addition, the dentist needs to raise prices to keep up with cost increases, but there’s a way to do that so the patient hardly notices it, and if they do, they don’t get upset about it.
Kent Harlan: Has the recession caused more price sensitivity among patients? In other words, during these tough economic times, is it more difficult for dentists to increase prices?
Sandra Simmons: In some areas and for some services it definitely has, but there are simple ways to combat that which work well. You have to strategically plan it out so they can do that.
Kent Harlan: The performance of a dental office’s promotional campaigns can have a huge impact on cash flow. Should the dental practice owner outsource this important function to a reputable marketing company or save money by doing it in house?
It really depends on the practice and whether they have, or can afford, great marketing and Public Relations staff working for them. Using in-house staff can be less expensive, but if the staff member doesn’t understand how to craft the message so it resonates with the patient, doesn’t understand how to put in an effective call to action, doesn’t know how to track the return on investment of each promotional medium and campaign, and doesn’t see the changing trends in the world of marketing – they could end up wasting a ton of money and their new patient counts can slow to a trickle.
But, at the same time, the outsourced marketing companies have to be monitored to make sure they are getting effective results and delivering a good return on the investment, but it certainly can free up a lot of the practice owner’s attention, and can save the cost of the marketing employee’s wages – so all that needs to be factored into the decision on outsourcing those tasks.
Kent Harlan: You brought up a good point about how important it is to evaluate the effectiveness of various marketing campaigns, but I’ll be honest with you in my experience that is a very difficult thing to do, especially when it comes to radio and TV advertising. What type of ways would you suggest people evaluate the return on investment on those types of expenditures?
Sandra Simmons: It’s not hard really, if you promote one specific thing on a TV ad and possibly give them a code to use when they call in for whatever you are offering you can track the TV responses.
Using a different offer and code in the radio ad keeps them separate. So it’s easy to tell if they call in and say “I’m calling about a consultation on Invisalign or whatever, and you know you ran that on radio you don’t even have to ask the question if you’re not doing anything else on that.
The most important thing is to have a compelling call to action in the ad – not just a warm and fuzzy general brand building ad so you have no clue how they even heard about you.
For more information on how we can help your business, or to see the other parts of the interview with Sandra Simmons, go to the resource box at the bottom of this article.