My last two posts explained and justified my recommendation for considering the introduction into your practice of a formal structured plan that will benefit patients who do not have dental insurance. If you agree with my analysis and decide to implement such a plan, here are my suggestions for getting the word out.
• You need to tell EVERY patient every day that your office is now offering this new exciting opportunity–and that includes patients who have dental insurance. Patients with dental insurance have friends, acquaintances, and relatives who do not have insurance. These patients with insurance will spread the word. They become your emissaries and ambassadors. The message and information you are delivering to your patient base has to be concise and clear and obviously all staff members need to be trained on the specifics. There has to be a definite plan as to which staff member delivers the information and when. This has to be carefully orchestrated.
• I recommend a very large sign to be hung on a prominent wall in the reception area. This sign should be professionally designed by a graphic artist. It is an announcement of the plan, but no details. ” No dental insurance–no problem. Ask us about our very own in-house membership plan.”
• I suggest reserving a prominent space on the Home Page of your website to announce the plan. Again–no specific details. “Call us to learn how you can take advantage of our members-only dental plan.” Tracking the calls should be easy because prospective patients are clearly interested and calling because of their curiosity about your plan.
• Create an e-mail blast to your patient base announcing the new plan. Again–no real details should be provided. You are hoping that your patients will call the practice for information. Most every practice these days uses some kind of program like Patient Activator, Demand Force, Lighthouse, or Smile Reminder that allows you to easily e-mail your patient base. You should also in time consider sending out an electronic newsletter with a greater description and many more details of your in- house dental benefits plan.
• I am more and more impressed with the power of Facebook. But before I would recommend a post on Facebook announcing your plan, I would hope to see you accumulate a minimum of 500 Likes. Ask every patient over the next six months to Like your page from their phone while they are in your office. This is so easy. Once you have reached this “critical mass”, then you should put a few posts on Facebook talking about the benefits of your members only plan.
I have always been a strong advocate for internal marketing= marketing to your existing patient base. There is very little expense to any of these five strategies. The key is to be consistent with the internal promotion and the clarity of the message. As always, I welcome your comments, ideas, and feedback.