If you asked dentists to define what an “ideal” patient is, some would probably simplify it as “someone who shows up for appointments, accepts treatment plans, and pays their bills.”
Yes, those are all important, but it goes deeper than that. You want to attract patients who you enjoy treating and who will be loyal to your practice and become evangelists for your brand.
If it sounds a bit nit-picky to be that selective about who you put in the appointment schedule, it’s really not. You can, to an extent, fill your patient list with ideal patients and make dentistry more productive and more enjoyable in the process.
How many of your dental patients should fit your description of ideal?
It would certainly be nice if ALL your patients fit into the ideal category, but that’s not really necessary for you to have a successful practice. If you’re familiar with the Pareto principle (or even if you’re not), 80 percent of your profits will theoretically be generated from the top 20 percent of your patients. So, while having one-fifth of your patients match your ideal persona may not sound like a lot, it can have a significant impact on your success.
How do you identify your ideal dental patients?
Figuring out exactly who your ideal patients are requires you to look at multiple factors. Dental marketing demographics like age, gender, income, education, and location are some of the most basic attributes to consider, but you can also dig deeper to really zero in on the types of patients who are a best fit for your practice.
Pain Points: What specific problem is the patient experiencing? Common challenges are cost, time, and quality.
Influencers: Who does your patient listen to and respect that might influence their decision to buy from you? It may be family, friends, or a public figure.
Community Organizations: Where is your patient active in the community? Think about religious, political, and social groups they may be involved with.
Preferred Content Formats: Would this patient prefer to learn about you via email, videos, infographics, direct mail, or some other method?
Social Media: Is your patient active on Facebook, Instagram, or any other channel?
It can then be helpful to take the list of characteristics you compile and create a fictional biography, or dental patient persona, to help you really visualize a “person” you can target with your marketing strategy. And don’t limit yourself to a single persona. You will likely have at least a few different types of ideal patients.
How do you attract ideal dental patients?
With clearly defined personas, your marketing messaging and targeting can be much more focused. That means better conversion rates, better retention rates, and better marketing ROI.
Messaging: Tailor your website and marketing campaigns to speak more specifically to your potential patients. Empathize with their pain points and offer solutions that you know will appeal to them.
Targeting: Use the channels that your audience pays attention to and use exact targeting that digital advertising channels like Google and social media offer to deliver your ads to your desired audience.