“Marketing Effectively”: Getting to Know Your Orthodontic Patients”

Xgen_mom.JPGTo market your practice effectively, you have to KNOW your target audience and what problems they are trying to solve. People don’t buy things. They buy solutions to problems; they want to fulfill a desire or meet a need. It should be specific and real…AND you should care about their problem and how best to guide them in the proper selection of an orthodontic team that meets their personal needs.

So, what are your patients/parents trying to figure out, overcome, fix, heal, or prevent? What is their biggest concern when dealing with orthodontic treatment on a daily basis?   How are they feeling about orthodontic treatment in general? And what is unique about    your orthodontic practice and what services do you provide to solve problems? Don’t get sidetracked by promoting yourself – stay focused on solving their problem… finding an orthodontic practice to create a beautiful smile and occlusion that will last a lifetime.

How do you want your target audience to feel when you provide their treatment? Trust? Motivation? Convenient? More knowledgeable? State-of-the-art? Begin to think about the emotions you want to evoke in your target audience and the lasting impression you want make when they first contact your office and continue through the entire treatment process.

As an example, you might consider focusing on:

  •  Guiding parents on creative ways to utilize flexible spending accounts, in conjunction with their insurance programs and your contract arrangements to best finance treatment according to their monthly budgets.       
  • Provide an interactive website with easily accessible visual instructions on how to handle an orthodontic emergency. Provide contact phone numbers to practice personnel, after hours, to take care of more serious problems. Purchasing office cell phones, with emergency contact numbers for staff on call, is very inexpensive today.
  • Include on your website a secure login area that allows patients/parents access their financial and appointment information 24/7, at their convenience. In today’s society, in many families, both parents work and have very busy schedules. Saving time, any way possible, makes their lives easier.
  • If you do not have web access for patients, parents and referring dentists to view patient photos online, at least provide 8.5 x 11 copies of new patient photos in their new patient packet, to make it easier to explain treatment to spouse or other members of the family. Encourage patient/parent to contact TC should additional questions arise and to have photos handy for easy reference.
  • A guided office tour by a member of the staff, at the NP appointment, to familiarize the patient/parent with the entire office experience prior to beginning the exam.  
By focusing on this type of planning, it will help you create targeted marketing messages. You will understand exactly what motivates your parents/patients and the benefits they receive from working with you.Survey your patients/parents. Ask for their assistance. Most people are flattered to be asked for their opinion. Ask them questions such as: Why did you seek the services of an orthodontist? What were your concerns before you sought our help? What would you consider the greatest motivating factor when you chose our practice as your orthodontic provider? And so on.

Interview several people about their particular challenges, needs, and problems. Try to get enough data to help see the trends among your target audience and do it on a regular basis. You never know when some area of the practice may be suffering from a minor breaddown. By tailoring your marketing to solving your patient/parent’s problems, you will position your practice as one of the premier providers in your area.

 

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