Are You Making These Mistakes With New Patient Offers?

Never Make This New Patient Offer….Use THIS Instead!

Helene Sanders, the COO at Wellness Springs Dental of Salem (WSD), our dental office franchise “flagship,” is fond of saying, “Never say ‘never’ and ‘always,’” so perhaps I’m coming on a bit strong in this case. But, I’m using a little poetic license here to get my point across. And, the big point is: Test your new Guest/patient offers regularly and often.

It’s dangerous and costly to get stuck on one offer and buy into the fact your prospective patients or Guests won’t notice you’re using the same old come on in your ads day in and day out. Your marketplace’s needs and wants change, as does their tolerance of “same ol’, same ol’.”

You see every prospective Guest has a different self-identified need or want. They have secret desires they’ve left unshared with others, suppressed you might say, and are walking around with only a vague idea of what would make them happy or what they truly want in the way of dental care. Most in fact, don’t care. That’s proven out by less than ½ of the population going to the dentist. So, it’s not until your new ad with a new test offer shows up with a major pattern interrupt when they might recognize it and say to themselves right before calling to schedule, “That is for me!”

This is also when having the ability and resources to test multiple offers in multiple cities all over the US really makes a significant difference in the overall effectiveness of your new Guest advertising and marketing. Few practices, if any, have the ability to test multiple offers at one time on the same scale as we do here at JJD. Having that massive testing platform gives us the unique ability to shortcut the testing process when it comes time to help you identify what will work best in your unique market.

Most Offers Are Like This…

The majority of new Guest offers I see today are one of or a variation of these:

  • Free New Patient Exam
  • $1 New Patient Exam
  • $59 (or some other price point) exam, x-rays & cleaning
  • $99 exam, x-rays & cleaning
  • $99 exam, x-rays & cleaning & whitening
  • $99 exam, x-rays & cleaning and get whitening free
  • Free cosmetic consultation (Valuable before 2008 – not so much now)
  • Free implant consultation (Still works! Just tested in Dallas and kicked butt!)
  • Free ortho consultation (Still works and likely always will)
  • If you’re in California or another hyper-competitive location, you’ll see ads that advertise price-driven implants or ortho, such as “$997 per implant,” or, “Invisalign: $2995.”

These are all mostly uncreative examples of a single or bundled “service” or a free offer. Anytime I have a client comfortable with free, who understands the math, I like using free. Why? It lowers the barriers of entry, which is typically cost or the unknown cost of getting treatment or even learning about one’s dental challenges. However, if not constructed with the proper ad copy that positions the offer the right way, it can attract patients or Guests (at WSD, we call our patients, “Guests.”) who’re not really ready to move forward with treatment, but just want to know how bad things are, or, to take their records to another dentist that charges full fee for exams and x-rays. Of course, you and I both recognize that as a colossal waste of time and money for both parties.

So, if you are going to run low-cost or free offers, it’s imperative you invest time and thought (or money) into understanding the psychology behind “free” and “low-cost, low-barrier of entry” offers. More on that in a moment.

Why Ad Copy is Important

Over the years, I’ve developed copy that positions both your practice and the Guest’s mind, properly, to understand that the low barrier (low price) is part of a process and necessary to get them over their fear of price and pain. Our ads give a “reason why.” That’s one of the keys to making low-price introductory offers work well over the long run.

Frankly, offering crowns, ortho or implants on introductory discount pricing without a reason why that preserves the true value of the service, is an enormous mistake. It’ll devalue every service you attempt to offer that patient from that initial appointment on. Instead, I’d suggest reading more about this in Dan Kennedy & Jason Marrs’ book, NO BS Price Strategy, to really understand this dangerous game of low prices. There is a time, place, delivery mechanism, ad copy and a market (your avatar Guest) where this works, but most screw this up completely, so do get advice, before you fall flat (or after, if you’re stubborn like me).

So, what’s my favorite new Guest offer? For the time being, it’s the one we’re using at my dental office:

$39 Comprehensive New Patient Exam (Save $181).
Add a simple cleaning for an additional $79 (Save an add’l $39!)

For many years, it was, “Here’s $100 to Solve Your Dental Problem, Now!” And, we’d give every new patient $100 off their first visit, no matter what it was for.

We’ve had major success with “free comprehensive exam,” too. In fact, we’ll be using that again here shortly to quickly build up our new doctor’s practice. Free is powerful in the right circumstances, with the right ad copy. Now, you might be wondering,

Why A Two-Part, “Split” New Guest Offer?

In the first one, where I have separated the exam and cleaning, it’s intentional. We quickly find out who of our new Guests has an understanding about the value of regular care. Plus, it gives our new Guests something they want: CHOICE. If you can let your new Guest know they are in control from the moment they call, that’s a good thing. You want them to feel empowered to choose to add that cleaning or not. Yes, we disclose and discuss the perio issue, and, you should, too, anytime you’re offering a cleaning as part of a special to attract new Guests.

It has also increased our new Guest first visit value. Instead of $39 or $59, or even $99, we’re getting 80% of our new Guests choosing both parts of the offer: exam and cleaning. That takes our first visit revenue to a minimum of $118.

Understand, these are offers only and not the full ad. They are what ads are built around, not complete ads. In the ads we create and run at my office and for JJD ClearPath Society® Members, we do not shortcut the creative process. These “offers” are accompanied by additional ad copy/language, and design strategies that properly position both the offer, the office, the doctor and the experience the Guest will have. Most ads miss this and blow it completely. (This tip alone is like GOLD if you use it!)

There is nothing like more new Guests on the books than you can handle, to take care of a lot of problems in practice – including financial challenges. You can screw up a lot of things in business if you have a large, consistent flow of new Guests.

When you’re ready to put proven, professional, tested ad copy and marketing processes in play to increase your new Guest flow in your office, just reach out.

Our new clients all start out as and remain Members in JJD’s ClearPath Society®. Consider the numerous benefits at the site, and join today!

Or, if you’re ready for an entire practice makeover, a new culture, new training, a continual “coaching” or consulting relationship, your best years ever, and more, I’d suggest my dental office franchise, Wellness Springs Dental®, which includes Membership in JJD’s ClearPath Society®.

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