It’s a new year and most practices take the opportunity to take stock of the diary and their marketing strategies for the year ahead. In most cases, practices will choose to turn a blind eye to their lapsed patient base, writing them off as a ‘waste of effort’ for their team to concentrate on, and duly focusing on ways to attract new patients to the practice. But it can be said that sometimes attracting new patients can come at significant expense and with little return if executed poorly.
Equally, for many practice owners and managers, the notion of bringing in outside experts to provide assistance in generating business can seem daunting and unnecessary. Will they bamboozle me with jargon? Will they deliver anything at all? How much is this going to cost me? These are just some of the questions practice owners and managers might find themselves wrestling with.
A new approach
In 2013, Kris Lesson, owner of Thorpe Dental Group in York, felt he needed a different approach to his marketing and contacted IDMA, a team of experienced direct dental marketers, to discuss their lapsed patient reactivation service.
‘We’d been looking at our patient database and didn’t quite know the best way of making contact with those patients who hadn’t been back to us for two to three years. Previously, we’d done the usual things – SMS, postcard mailings etc, but with very little response. My main concern was that if I tasked my team to start making calls to our lapsed patients, I’d need to manage the process, and for me as a business owner running three practices, time was too much of a precious commodity.
‘I saw an introductory email from IDMA; working on a commission structure, they focused on making contact, re-engaging and reactivating lapsed patients back into the chair. After a brief and painless discussion with IDMA about my objectives and some of the challenges my practice faced, the details were all explained.
‘I was quite taken aback at some of the statistics that IDMA fed back to me. For example, I had 982 patients sitting in my database that could potentially become paying clients and around 3,200 dials of the telephone would be required to make contact with just 70% of the list – a mammoth task and more than I could picture my in-house team doing efficiently!
‘Most interestingly though, I was told I’d only pay each time a booking was made and the patient had attended their appointment, quite literally a no-risk marketing solution! So the campaign was arranged with total transparency on the pricing structure and what we were aiming to achieve.’
‘I was told that my appointment diary would begin to fill up very quickly and they were right; within four days we were receiving appointment bookings from patients we’d considered to be lost.
‘My campaign ran for two and a half weeks and IDMA altered the calling times to ensure the best chance of making contact was achieved, they even worked on Saturdays. Over this period of time, 78 appointments were generated and, to be honest, we have never run a marketing campaign that created so many appointments in such a short timescale, at such a low cost. But not only that, as the patients started to come back to us, my team were able to focus on their needs and we have taken a significant number of bookings for additional treatments. Best of all, we have patients back on board as happy paying clients once again.
‘So far, the average return on an appointment generated by IDMA has been just less than £153.00, a return on investment of over 3:1 against our £50.00 investment for an appointment. I couldn’t be happier with the results and wished we had focused on it ages ago.’
The IDMA Group is a marketing communications group geared to serve the dental industry, specialising in ‘patient reactivation’, which are targeted campaigns to secure ‘old’ clients quickly and inexpensively back to your dental chair.
If you would like to focus on driving lost patients back into your chair and converting them into paying clients quickly and cost effectively, then Practice Plan have teamed up with IDMA to provide disounted raters on their patient reactivation service. To receive discounted rates on IDMA’s patient reactivation service please visit www.practiceplan.co.uk/patient-reactivation today.