By Valerie Fuller, Account Advisor, RAMP

Have you ever looked at what other successful dental practices are doing and asked yourself, what are we doing wrong? Maybe you have even hired a marketing person or a third-party advertising agency in effort to combat your competitors only to find out that you are not achieving your desired ROI. As an Account Advisor with RAMP I know what separates successful dental offices from the rest, and collaboration with your marketing person or company is KEY.

Marketing needs to be adaptive, and in order to adapt to new market conditions you must track, track, and then track some more. As a member of the client services team for a company that is all about return on investment, I spend a lot of time working with dentists and monitoring their marketing campaigns. A goal of your practice should always be to know how each and every patient came to your office. Did they see your billboard, hear your radio spot or see your television ad? Did they receive your flyer, or were they referred by a friend or an insurance company? The best way to find out this information is to ask. Don’t simply inquire, “How did you hear about us”, but rather appear deeply interested: “Can you tell me all of the ways you heard about our practice”. As your marketing evolves, chances are your new patients will have heard of you in several different ways. Posing the question in an open-ended fashion elicits a more comprehensive response, and thus permits more comprehensive tracking.

One way we help our clients track new patients is by implementing a call-tracking phone number on every marketing campaign. This allows us to record and listen to every single call that came through on that campaign’s unique phone number. Here’s where collaboration becomes important: just because you have a call tracking phone number on your campaign doesn’t mean every patient from the campaign will call in on that same phone number. Another goal of marketing is to drive people to your website. Consider that a high percentage of your potential new patients may visit your site first for more information. Consequently, they’ll call in on your regular office line, solidifying the need for excellent tracking methods within your practice.

Recording and listening to your calls serves a two-fold purpose. Not only does it offer the opportunity to help determine what appointments were made as a result of your campaign, but it also allows you to see how your team fields phone calls. Everyone believes they have the best team around, maybe rightfully so. However, you’d be surprised at how often we hear a team member deter a potential patient. Recording and reviewing calls becomes a very useful training tool, helping assist team members in becoming the best they can be.

Your marketing person or advertising agency’s job is to get your phone to ring, but it’s your team’s job to get the appointment scheduled. Your team is your sales force, and they only have one opportunity to convert each and every call into an appointment. Keep in mind that people don’t always realize how they sound on the phone, and often times what you say may not be as important as how you say it. Reviewing and critiquing recorded calls will help your team develop the skills necessary to successfully turn potential patients into actual patients.

What elevates the best teams is not only their ability to convert patients, but also their ability to provide details that extend beyond recorded calls. They provide empirical data on whether patients showed up for their appointment, how much treatment was presented, how much treatment was accepted, and how much was collected. They employ spreadsheets and graphs to track this vital information. Knowing where each new patient originated boots collaboration with your marketing person or agency; you can adjust campaigns accordingly.

Markets are never stagnant, and changing with the market is what affords a competitive advantage. You have to adapt. The wealth of knowledge that tracking provides allow you to allocate and reallocate your budget as necessary. Did you have a lot of phone calls, but not many appointments? Maybe it’s time to look closely at your staff, and provide the training tools necessary for them to become better at converting. Maybe your team is impressively converting calls into appointments, but the problem is that patients aren’t accepting treatment? That suggests the need for better financing options, or the readjustment of the target demographic to attract more affluent individuals. Perhaps you already benefit from a high number of calls, appointments, and case acceptance? Great! Your marketing and team are working together successfully. It’s time to reinvest some of your marketing dollars and expand.

Whatever the case, you and your marketing person or agency will be at the forefront of your marketing armed with the insight achieved through proper tracking techniques, a great team and the ability to collaborate and adapt. Collaboration is the key to unlocking your marketing’s full potential and will help bring you a successful return on your investment.