It has been my experience that September and October have historically been one of the slowest times for new patient acquisition and treatment. This year we have been able to reverse that trend as we welcomed more new patients in the first week of September 2009 than we did in the entire month of September 2008. This increase can be traced to effective Internet marketing techniques and taking steps to anticipate and head off this usually slow time.
My business manager employs the use of a marketing calendar to keep up with yearly trends and tasks. The marketing calendar breaks down specific tasks for each month helping us to stay ahead of and anticipate needs rather than react after the need has arisen. For the month of October, we will be working on the following tasks:
1. Analyzing Third Quarter ROI (Return on Investment) for our marketing efforts.
2. Sending out an e-newsletter to our patients reminding them to make appointments before the year ends to take advantage of their 2009 insurance benefits.
3. Updating our social media marketing outlets (Twitter, Facebook, and our practice blog) each week.
4. Running a report on overdue recalls and unscheduled treatment planning. Sending out postcard reminders to schedule before the year ends. In the past when these months were extremely slow I would send out a 15% discount coupon to patients with unscheduled treatment plans to be used on treatment performed before October 31st.
5. Beginning to think through end of the year gifts and acknowledgements for referring doctors and patients.
6. Performing searches on the major search engines using keywords that new patients might use to find a dentist in my area. This gives us an idea of where my websites are showing up and if we need to do anything to increase our optimization efforts.