In Search of the Ideal Patient

Filed under: Dental Practice

Ah, the mythical perfect dental patient. You know, the cheerful one who takes their oral health very seriously, schedules regular appointments, and never cancels or shows up late. They accept the treatment plan you put forth, have perfect insurance coverage, but have no issues with potential out-of-pocket expenses.

And they probably don’t exist.

However, in terms of marketing your dental practice there is the ideal patient and it’s very important to identify them in order to attract the right business and increase your profits.

Identify Your Goals

To make your marketing budget more effective and successful, you’ll want to identify your own particular goals for the practice. Rather than just “wanting more patients,” be specific.

These objectives will most likely align with your specialty or key services offered, such as:

  • Sedation dentistry
  • Orthodontics and/or Invisalign
  • Endodontics
  • Pediatric dentistry
  • Prosthodontics

It goes without saying, if your practice specializes in pediatric dental patients, you won’t be targeting the ideal patient over 20. Likewise, if you provide cosmetic dentistry, you will likely target patients in a certain income bracket.

Who you serve – and who you want to serve – will shape the profile of the patient for whom your marketing is tailored.

The Ideal Patient’s Profile

Once you’re clearer on what your practice’s objectives are, it’s much easier to create an ideal patient profile. As previously mentioned, age and income are two of the factors to consider when outlining your target demographic.

The first consideration is geographic. If your practice is in a rural area, your net may be cast wider than a dentist in a high-density city neighborhood. Do you offer a specialty that patients are likely to drive a long way to receive? Are you a family practice seeking new patients in a rapidly developing neighborhood?

Specialists who provide pricier services like prosthodontics or sedation that may not be covered by insurance will be looking at patients in certain income, education, and occupation brackets.

Even the ideal patient will have challenges, and it’s wise to look at their pain points to determine if it’s something you already address. Do they need more flexible hours for a busy family? Are they fearful of the dentist chair and more than reassurance?

Defining the facets of your target patient will make it all the more simple to reach out to them.

Reaching the Ideal Patient

Now is the time to use the knowledge you’ve acquired about your ideal patient and determine where to find them – and how to attract them to your practice. Thanks to technology, there are a variety of advanced digital marketing tools with which to help with this task. A few include:

  • Geofencing. By creating a virtual fence around your target locations – and subsequently your target patient – you can use their mobile location to send ads for just pennies. Pediatric patients (and their parents) can be found at local schools or recreation centers. Target new patients in town at a recently developed housing community.
  • Website Retargeting. When locals are looking for a new dentist, they almost exclusively use the internet to do their research. With website retargeting, prospective patients will see your ads – and their desired service – for 30 days following a visit to your site, whether they reach out or not. This vital tool is cost-effective and easy to customize for the ideal patient.
  • Keyword Retargeting. Keywords are the specific words and phrases potential patients use when seeking out a dentist. So, if you’re a specialist or hoping to gain more patients for a certain service such as sedation, you’ll integrate those keywords into your website, social media, and other SEO marketing tools.
  • Facebook Ads. When advertising on Facebook, you’re able to really zoom in on the details of your ideal patient by making sure your ads fit their criteria. Their Core Audiences tool includes location, demographics, interests, as well as consumer preferences. 

Whichever marketing tool you use, make sure your messaging speaks directly to the ideal prospective patient. For example, don’t use trendy terms on TikTok if your primary target is the senior market for implants and bridgework. But do use reassuring and empathetic language for the sedation patient market.

If you’d like more information on identifying and speaking to your ideal patient, we can help. RAMP – The Dentist’s Marketing Company can provide the insights needed as well as the marketing tools required to reach them. The ideal patient in marketing is not a mythical creature. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation.