30 May 2018
Targeting the correct patient is important for a successful practice. The ambience and aesthetics of your practice were created with a specific type of patient in mind. However, times – and your target market – may have changed since opening your dream practice.
It is no secret the dentistry profession encompasses passionate high achievers. Having intimate knowledge of your “hometown” will aid in transferring this enthusiastic passion to the marketing of your practice.
The services offered by dentists are unique. Every person in the community has the potential to become a patient. Identifying the individuals who can benefit most from your service offerings will allow you to target these customers with specific marketing.
The GDC’s Patient and Public Survey measured satisfaction with dental care provided in the UK. Overall, 97% of people visiting the dentist annually are highly satisfied with the care.
It is noteworthy that individuals rating the service as very satisfactory have increased to 67% in the past five years. The six percentage points increase is an encouraging factor.
However, specific age groups were dissatisfied with the care. This dissatisfaction was prevalent among patients older than 65 years, and in the 25 to 34 years age group.
Ethnicity played a role. Only 53% of ethnic minorities were very satisfied with the care provided. This number is significantly lower than 69% of white patients who were very satisfied with the care.
The success of your practice may not be impacted greatly by these statistics. However, consider your marketing approach and community demographics in light of these figures. Your brand and marketing efforts should be in-line with the patients residing in your community.
For example, a dentistry practice in the heart of a city’s financial hub cannot be marketed as a business that is family-friendly.
You can target customers once you have identified the characteristics of your community. Additionally, this is the time to define your Unique Selling Point (USP) and create marketing that targets the right customers.
The Patient and Public Survey also highlighted weak points that require consideration.
Consulting with patients over the age of 65
Your practice can stand out in your town, even if there are many older patients.
Firstly, your practice needs to be accessible for patients. Being on a bus route or offering safe parking is beneficial to your business. The practice should also be wheelchair-friendly with reception desks at a level that can be reached by all patients. Restrooms, mirrors, and comfortable seating will enhance a practice. There should be enough space around chairs for patients who have mobility problems.
Another problem for the elderly is dementia. This disease affects patients and caregivers. Additionally, dentist visits may have an unfavourable outcome for these patients resulting in dissatisfaction. This discontent is a major problem for dentists as the elderly often require essential dental care.
Creating a practice that addresses the challenges of dementia patients can be very appealing to their caregivers. Easy access, good communication, and familiar surroundings show the dental team is empathetic toward dementia patients.
The Alzheimer’s Society has created guidelines for best practice in treating dementia patients. Your practice can be registered, providing you with access to resources. Online videos and other information to become a dementia-friendly practice are available at www.dementiafriends.org.uk.
Your practice may already satisfactorily cater for the elderly. If this is the case, then you could consider this to be your USP and plan expansion in this target market.
Your dental practice can be marketed by providing information to the elderly on age-related oral problems. Blogs that discuss mouth diseases related to age and caring for your mouth are beneficial. Additionally, medication can impact the mouth, and a healthy mouth is connected to a healthy body. Addressing these topics can make customers aware of potential issues and allows for an improved dental experience.
Meeting the needs of 25-34-year-olds
Generation Y and millennials are on the other side of the spectrum and may be more appealing to your practice. Individuals over the age of 20 may just have left university and are receiving their first paychecks. This money can be used for sought-after aesthetic dental treatments.
This generation is likely to make use of online resources. Offering online appointment booking via your website, or making a booking with an app could appeal to these consumers. Provide an FAQ to answer their questions as many tend not to call a practice. Additionally, a website with a virtual dentist can be used provide instant communication at all hours.
These customers also tend to spend time on Facebook and Instagram. Adding social media accounts for the practice is a good idea and icons to access these accounts should be visible on the website. Ensure your social media accounts are frequently used and kept up-to-date.
Social media posts could include special offers. For example, a free teeth whitening could be included with adult orthodontic treatments. The post could discuss how straighter, whiter teeth are a confidence booster for a person, both socially and in the work environment.
Younger patients may also frequent other businesses in the community, for example, beauty salons and gyms. Meet up with these businesses to share information about effective promotions and marketing ideas.
Getting time off from work for dental appointments could be an issue since many employers are reluctant to provide leave for this purpose. Furthermore, there is the possibility that young adults have not visited a dentist regularly during their childhood. Thus, it is pivotal for dental practises to educate younger customers in all aspects of effective oral care. Raise awareness of these issues by consistently using language this generation understands across all platforms.
Providing appointment times that meet the schedule of these individuals is vital. Appointments after hours and over weekends could address this need. A practice located in the city can promote appointments during the lunch hour.
Your practice also needs to appeal to this younger generation. Free Wi-Fi, attractive TV programmes, and flexible payment plans may be beneficial to the practice. A hygiene centre can also discuss fresh breath, oral healthcare, and teeth whitening with customers.
Appeal to all ethnic groups
Your practice may be central to a community that is multicultural. The UK is very diverse, and a dental practice should reflect this fact.
Many practices do not consider the community’s ethnicity when creating marketing and branding for the business. Although this may be unintentional, it could lead to alienation of certain ethnic groups and the practice may lose out on valuable customers.
Ethnic marketing needs to play a part in marketing initiatives. It is not enough to include an image of an ethnic community. More effort is required for marketing to be considered realistic and truly diverse.
The Policy Exchange released a report titled “A Portrait of Modern Britain”. It indicates that ethnic communities in the UK may double in size within several decades. It is estimated that ethnic communities will make up 20-30% of UK citizens by 2050.
Additionally, ethnic minorities constitute younger consumers, where approximately 80% of the community is younger than 25 years. It is clear that the growing minority ethnic groups will significantly affect all practices in the future.
Dental care is also impacted by a person’s cultural habits, lifestyle, and religion. Being knowledgeable about different cultures and religions is vital for success. Addressing these issues in communication can be a valuable service. For example, people fast during Ramadan, and this affects which dental treatments are allowed. Communicate these details and tips for proper oral care to show you know your customers.
Some ethnic groups may partake in activities that could be detrimental to oral health, for example chewing betel quid, tobacco, paan, and gutkha, which all increase the risk of developing cancer. Dental practices can highlight these dangers to patients but must consider the native language of their patients.
A UK study found that 73% of dental care patients from Bangladesh struggled with English, especially women. The result was that almost 68% of patients required an interpreter. To accommodate this, appointments were scheduled for evenings as a family member would then attend the session as an interpreter.
To market your dental practice successfully, clearly define your target market. View your dental practice from the perspective of your target customers and identify Unique Selling Points (USP) that will appeal to your consumer. Promote these points to your customer and your dental practice may become the best in your hometown.
At Digimax Dental, we help you with a variety of Dental Marketing needs. Including Dental Website Design, Dental SEO and Dental Social Media. Using a number of digital marketing methods, you can achieve your goals of targeting the ideal patients for your dental practice.
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