Everything Looked Right….Except the Clientele. Look at the photo. It looks like everything was done correctly to get business in the doors. Eye catching logos, ancillary advertising on the windows, “Rapid Refund” plastered in large letters right next to the door and offers for rapid cash in seconds just for filling out an application….It all left no doubt in the minds of those who passed by as to what this business was all about. Unfortunately this storefront is empty and the business is gone.
How does this relate to your dental practice? Mo’ Money Taxes is out of business because it couldn’t attract the clientele it needed to financially survive. It played to desperate people in desperate times that were desperate for a solution. Because of its advertising it drew in the wrong crowd. It didn’t matter that Mo’ Money Taxes was busy. Promising everything under the sun to a crowd that can’t pay or doesn’t qualify for all of the bells and whistles a business has to offer does not help the bottom line. In fact, it can cripple a business and lead it into bankruptcy. Many dental practices are hurt with the same approach. They advertise to a broad crowd and impress upon the public that their office is the place to get everything handled with a friendly and competent staff. It is frustrating for dentists if this type of advertising doesn’t work but it can be financially painful if it does! It doesn’t matter how busy an office is if it is full of Medicare, Medicaid and discounted PPO patients. In fact, these patients can actually be costing a dentist more than the revenue they are generating, so why advertise for more of them? Blanket advertising (that which simply is done to draw in more patients without regard to the target audience or procedure) looks like it works because dentists get more patients. But that is like saying ten new patrons to a bread store generates the same net profit as ten new patrons to a Maserati dealership. Do you want to live off of the profit of ten loaves of bread or off the profits from those patients that have money to spend?
Take a lesson from Mo’ Money Taxes: Target your advertising to the crowd you want to attract. Get the clientele that is profitable. Many businesses, including dentists, have made a couple of mistakes during the recent recession. First of all, many have cut their advertising budgets to help the bottom line or advertised to the wrong general crowd. In a desperate attempt to simply generate business they have inadvertently attracted a clientele for services that barely pay the bills of dentists. As to the second mistake commonly made by dentists in the last few years, that being the assumption that the big case money has stayed home or withered away, they should take a look at that audience again. The big case audience is still there and has been relatively untouched by the recession. People who would pay for implants or other cosmetic procedures still have the money, in fact much of it is probably sitting in a low interest account right now and they’d be more inclined to do something with it. The older crowd who is more likely to write you a check out of those healthy accounts still feels they have the money to do as they please.
The trick is to advertise to the right crowd in the right place. Even amongst the older and more affluent patients the web is the place where they go to learn about everything and everyone in their local community. Start your advertising for the procedures you want to book on your website. Build advertising, reports and testimonials around and for the crowd with cash in their pockets. Get your site optimized for the top positions in search returns so that when that potential patient does a search for “implants your town”, for example, your website is the first one they see. The 92% of local community members who search online before picking up the phone to call for an appointment will respond. They are still there and you will be targeting their needs. Don’t make the mistake of Mo’ Money Taxes and try to live off of ‘bread’ when you could just as market to those patients with cash in their pocket and money to spend.