You might wonder why your practice needs an ideal patient type. According to the Pareto Principle, 80% of your revenue is generated by 20% of your patients. Finding an ideal patient type allows dentists to better target their marketing efforts to attract that 20% and grow their practices.
Traditional practice-focused marketing highlights all the services offered by a practice and assumes large numbers of patients will schedule appointments because they’ve seen your fliers in local businesses, gotten a postcard in the mail, seen your ad on social media, or on search engine results.
In actuality, a patient's decision to seek care is based on less-concrete reasons, and is made on an emotional level that stems from that person's values and beliefs. Finding an ideal patient type allows you to tailor your marketing to specific types of individuals in ways that make potential patients feel understood, and your practice a good fit for them.
Create an Ideal Patient Profile
First you need to determine who your “ideal patients” are. You can do this by first creating profiles of your current patients: their demographic information, their habits, their career, and any other information that defines them. Compile all that information, as well as any preferential characteristics that your current patients might not possess, into a fictionalized character. This is your ideal patient.
Once you have a sense of who your ideal patient is, start asking yourself questions such as the following in order to build the profile:
- What does a day in their life look like?
- What do they value most?
- What are their goals?
- Where do they go for medical information?
- What experience are they looking for when seeking out a medical practice?
Develop Patient Personas
Because you want to attract different types of patients, you will want to develop multiple personas whom you will later target with specific relevant marketing materials. These are the messages that will have the best chance of keeping current patients and attracting new patients. The content of the promo emails and social posts that you use to address the mother of three children who is a CEO with a hectic schedule is going to be different than what you send to the retired couple who spend their weekends with their grandchildren fishing at the lake.
Dr. Ginger Bratzel, who practices in New Mexico, detailed her success after targeting her ideal patients, ranchers: “The results from this multistep marketing campaign were a 75% response rate of getting them to call the office for information, and a 60% conversion rate to becoming patients over an 18-month period. We further adapted our office systems, scheduling, and procedures to cater to them, which further increased case acceptance.”
If you actively are looking to increase your number of patients, make sure that you are thinking about your “ideal patients” as the starting point of that process.
Our ebook, “Proven Methods to Growing Your Dental Practice Patient List,” offers dentists practical, actionable tips to boost their patient numbers. Treloar & Heisel has assisted dentists with their insurance needs for decades; we’d love to assist you with yours. Click here to discuss your insurance requirements with one of our advisors today.
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