A packed patient schedule at every location is the goal of every group dental practice. And while the events of 2020 made achieving that goal more challenging, the start of the new year still provides a great opportunity to launch a successful patient reactivation campaign. According to a report from the American Dental Association (ADA) and the consumer research firm Engagious, 83% of Americans are ready to get back to the dentist. They just need a little encouragement and reassurance.
According to the latest report of the ADA Health Policy Institute, patient volume in the majority of dental practices in November 2020 were operating below 75% of their maximum capacity. Less than one practice in 10 was operating at more than 95% of capacity. And while the ADA reports large group practices were operating closer to their maximum capacity, keeping the schedule full remains a challenge.
But a new year brings a fresh perspective and with it, a huge opportunity to reactivate your dental patients. In today’s post-pandemic market, implementing a reactivation program makes more economic sense than ever. Just remember that many of your patients may need extra reassurances about safety; and all of your patients will appreciate them.
An average practice has 1,600 patients. Your dental practice group may have several multiples of that number at several locations in the same state or scattered across the country. At least 50% of them need care right this second: a cleaning appointment, restorative work, cosmetic improvements, or an occlusal appliance—you name it. They’ve been to your practices and are familiar with your brand. All you need to do is offer a little motivation for them to get back into your chair.
How to reactivate your dental patients in 2021
The start of the year is the best time to launch a reactivation campaign. Everyone is in resolution-making mode and health and wellness are top of mind. So, let’s call this your Reactivation Resolution. The challenge—and opportunity—this year is to reassure your patients that it’s safe to return. In the ADA/Engagious survey, only 12% of respondents said they would need a medical breakthrough to return to the dentist. Five percent said they needed reassurance that they would be safe. The rest are either currently active (23%) or ready to go (60%). This is a great opportunity to communicate all of the measures you’ve put into place to protect their health and safety—from enhanced cleaning and infection control measures to paperless intake processes.
Consider this a call to action: To protect their health and your profitability, get in touch with your inactive patients and invite them back. It’s a win-win. You’re getting their oral healthcare back on track and it fills your schedule.
Here are the essentials to a successful patient reactivation campaign
1) Dive deep into your dental patient database and study their appointment history
Start by getting to know the type and frequency of previous treatments they’ve received. When was the last time they were in the practice? What were they in for? Put your database to work and uncover opportunities to reactivate. Segment your patients and customize your reactivation campaigns accordingly: preventative or restorative, inactive for nine months vs. more than two years. You can then tailor your campaigns and incentives accordingly to make your patients feel valued. If you’re a RevenueWell Marketing Platform user, you have all the tools you need to quickly automate this segmentation and targeting, create the campaign, and model your potential revenue.
2) Give patients a reason to return to your dental practice
The most common reasons why patients avoid their dentists include the cost of treatment, fear of dentists, or a bad experience during their last visit. This is why—to quote The Godfather—you need to make them an offer they cannot refuse. Here are a few that have worked for RevenueWell practices:
- Discounted “Welcome back” packages
Design a discounted package that includes an exam, X-rays, and cleaning. It’s an attractive bargain for patients with and without insurance. This incentive is always effective and pays for itself in future restorative work.
- In-office whitening promotion
If the oral health angle doesn’t work, appeal to their vanity instead. Offer an attractive discount or a lifetime of whitening treatments at a special rate. Whitening often works as it appeals to the patients’ “wants” instead of “needs.” Add an expiration date to motivate them to act immediately.
- Make it easier for your patients to pay
2020 was economically difficult for a lot of dental patients. Showing support and providing flexible options can help you win some patients back. Let patients know about new financing partnerships your office may have with companies like CareCredit, or about financing options you offer in-house. It’s also a good time to remind patients that starting early in the year allows them to maximize their insurance coverage or flexible spending account benefits for any treatment that requires more than one appointment.
Learn how your DSO or multi-location practice can manage communications and marketing campaigns at scale with RevenueWell Enterprise.
3) Connect with your dental patients through multiple channels—and make it personal
There are several touchpoints you can leverage to reconnect with your inactive patients. Use them strategically. At RevenueWell, we believe in using a mix of outreach emails, direct mail, phone calls, and texts. And we provide all the tools to manage and automate such a multi-channel dental marketing campaign.
Make sure the call to action is clear: “Schedule an appointment.” “Use this promotion on your next visit.” “Book a treatment today.” Include the practice’s phone number and the link to your online scheduling portal so they can choose how to respond. For those who need it, offer a virtual teledentistry visit.
Finally, make your outreach personal. Address the patient by name in the subject line or in the email itself—studies show that personalized marketing emails get 29% higher open rates. If you’re on the phone with them, ensure that questions about their children or pet are on the script. Personal touches like these can go a long way.
Send reminders frequently and let them know that their health matters to you.
How RevenueWell can help
With practices in multiple locations, working through your entire database of inactive patients will seem daunting. This is where RevenueWell Enterprise can help.
RevenueWell is uniquely known for its ability to read significant data and ADA codes in your practice management system to target and communicate with patients for reminders, recall, treatment, reviews, and more to increase production based on their specific needs, while streamlining operations. Whether you are managing 10 or 40 practices, you can send a single marketing campaign completely customized to each specific location.
Knowing what works and what doesn’t is critical when it comes to marketing. RevenueWell tracks every campaign sent. It provides data on email opens as well as appointments and revenue generated so you can adjust your approach, if necessary, to do more of what works and stop wasting time on what doesn’t—increasing the effectiveness, measurability, and ROI of your marketing.