New patient acquisition is likely integral to the success of your dental practice. Here's how you can set and work to fulfill practice goals for earning new patients.
1. Learn About SMART Goals
When you’re setting goals for your dental practice, you can use any number of methodologies to achieve what you want.
That includes SMART goals. SMART is an acronym that means:
When you can set a goal that also has these criteria, it becomes easier to understand what you have to do to meet your goal.
An example SMART goal related to patient acquisition for a small practice might be:
- Schedule 10 new patient appointments within the next month.
This fits SMART criteria accordingly:
- Specific: The goal is about “new patient appointments
- Measurable: The goal specifies “10” new patient appointments
- Achievable: 10 new appointments is a solid starting point for any new practice, and it can be a great expansion opportunity for established practices
- Realistic: 10 is a number that would be great for the growth of a practice while remaining in the realm of possibility
- Timely: The goal must occur “within the next month”
By sticking to these criteria, setting a new goal for patient acquisition can become more manageable and accomplishable than simply wanting “more.”
2. Start with Your Current Patient Volume
Before deciding how many new patients you want to bring into your practice, it's important to get an idea of your current patient volume. This helps with the "realistic" part of the goal discussed above.
Is your practice nearly at capacity with your current patient load? Then it may make sense to only add 3 to 5 new patients per month.
If your practice is newer and you don't have a large patient volume already established, you could set your goal a bit higher.
With any goal, to know where you're going, you must first know where you are at.
3. Consider the Market in Your Area
It's also crucial to consider your addressable market.
What are the demographics in your community? Do people within your area have the time and resources to devote to their dental health? Or do you practice in an area with slow economic growth?
If your target market is affluent, it may be more realistic to shoot for a higher number of new patients per month.
However, if individuals in your area tend to lack dental insurance or the disposable income to pay for your services out of pocket, it may be more challenging for your dental marketing team to bring new patients in on a regular basis.
4. Review Your Competitors
Don't forget to take your competition into consideration before setting your patient acquisition goals.
In addition to looking at practice size and patient volume, you should also consider their services, their marketing, and their locations. How many new patients are other dentists in your area bringing in per month and how is that impacted by the various factors mentioned above?
Evaluating your competitors in this way can help you to determine what may or may not be realistic and achievable patient goals for your office.
5. Explore Dental Marketing Options
Your marketing strategy plays a key role in how many new patients you bring into your practice per month, and when it comes to patient acquisition, solid marketing may be4 essential.
Does your current strategy have the reach needed to attain your patient goals? Are you engaging in different types of marketing to raise enough brand awareness in your target area?
Evaluate where your marketing tactics are succeeding and where they may be failing. Look at your budget for marketing options like ads and determine the best ways to use it.
6. Track Your Results with Analytics
To understand whether your dental marketing strategy is working or not, you need to be able to track your results. This is where the "measurable" part of a SMART goal becomes important.
Analytics are critical to determining which marketing campaigns are effective at generating interest in your target market and which are successful at converting traffic.
For example, if you launch a new social media marketing campaign for 30 days, you'll want to have a look at how many views, shares, and ultimately how many new patient appointments that campaign generated.
7. Make Adjustments as Needed
With analytics data in hand, you can make adjustments to your marketing strategy until it effectively brings in new patients.
Using the above small practice SMART goal of acquiring 10 new patients in 30 days, let's say you didn't quite meet that objective and only brought in 6 new patients for that time period.
Look at various things that could be impacting your ability to attract new patients, including but not limited to your marketing tactics. Does your competition outshine your practice? Are patients leaving having had a less-than-exceptional experience and are having a negative impact on your word-of-mouth reputation?
Consider all factors that may be influencing your end results and make adjustments as necessary, creating new SMART goals based on what you've learned.
Learn More About Growing Your Patient List from Treloar & Heisel
New patients are the bread and butter of your practice, but acquiring them can be challenging and costly without the right strategies in place.
Failure to create patient goals that are specific, realistic, and measurable can leave you spending a lot of marketing dollars on ineffective campaigns that don't help you reach the targeted number of new patients you'd like to bring in each month.
At Treloar & Heisel, we offer a wide variety of products and services for the dental professional, including malpractice coverage, disability income insurance, business owner's protection, and other financial services.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you pursue success.
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Treloar & Heisel, Inc. and its divisions do not offer marketing advice. Please consult with a professional concerning this topic.