At the end of July Simon Hughes of Dentistry.co.uk reviewed the first half of 2018. While he highlighted a number of positive developments in the industry to have taken place in the first 6 months of year, he also emphasised the significant impact funding cuts in NHS dentistry and rising costs had had on many practices.
His conclusion: that practices needed to grow private revenue streams and yield per surgery in a mixed practice environment to offset these challenges.
Common sense - almost certainly. Practically possible - yes if as a practice owner you are prepared to be proactive with the marketing of the practice to attract and retain patients.
Successful private owners place great emphasis on their marketing and as a result tend to have the highest level of fee income and profitability if they are sensible in managing their costs.
If you’re ready to grow your practice and want to develop a more stable stream of recurring revenue, then look no further than an in-house membership programme. Membership programmes are on the rise and are an excellent way of attracting new patients, retaining current patients, and offering high-quality dental care to patients who don’t have dental insurance.
Predictable recurring revenue is crucial to the success of your practice in so many ways. Not only does it help cashflow and provide increased security during slow times, but it also gives you more freedom. Freedom to be innovative, creative and committed to your marketing efforts.
A dental membership program is just like Amazon Prime only built specifically for your dental practice. Patients pay a monthly or yearly subscription fee in exchange for benefits and discounts to your practice.
If you’re already considering this approach then here are some quick tips on how to create a successful in-house Dental Membership programme.
Top of the list is to have a clear and unambiguous focus on external marketing
Marketing is essential to getting new patients and having them sign up for your plan. Use the membership programme or savings plan as an offer to attract new patients, retain patients, and increase case acceptance.
If you’re not willing to invest in marketing, your practice’s in-house membership program will go nowhere. Create videos, testimonials, Facebook posts, brochures, use digital and direct mail marketing to grow awareness and generate sign ups and importantly, educate your staff on the importance of this programme.
Keep your plan simple. Don’t over complicate the plan process. The best dental membership plans are both easy to implement and convenient to use. Ensure that your plan is easy to customise and edit and that it can scale with your practice as it changes and grows.
Automate payments and Renewals. Payment management can quickly become time consuming for your practice. Automate payments and renewals from the beginning. The goal of your membership program must be to retain patients for a lifetime, not just for six months or a year.
Get your pricing right. Whether you charge monthly or annually - don’t charge too much or too little. If your price is too high, then your program won't take off. It it’s too low it may hurt your practice. If you want you could also create tiers and have patients choose between three or four options.
Generating sustainable revenue streams are open to your practice. Sometimes the best choices are the most obvious ones.
If you are running an in-house Dental Membership Programme but feel there is scope to drive more engagement and attract new members, speak to us today. The success of your Dental Membership Programme depends on great marketing, we can help.
Dr Fredinida Ygnacio-Nemenzo and Dr Antonio Alfredo E. Nemenzo, Cebu, Philippines
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