As evidenced by a fast-growing market, the popularity of orthodontic treatment isn't slowing down anytime soon. It's an exciting time for orthodontists, as more affordable costs, better technology, and the broader availability of treatment methods have drawn more patients to seek corrective measures regarding their teeth.
Yet, you're likely aware that good trends in your industry's market also signal greater competition — which, as a result, can render your practice defenseless if it doesn't stand out in the crowd.
In fact, many orthodontic practices' defenses were down this year: total starts dropped 7.5%. Adult aligner starts declined by 8.9%. This data doesn't undermine the demand for orthodontic treatment but indicates that practices need to work harder toward incentivizing patients to visit.
At Gaidge, we encourage every business-related decision you make to be careful, informed, and measurable — including marketing campaign approaches. Since there's much to be gained from data-driven marketing, it's worth prioritizing as your practice sets goals for 2023.
So, to stand out in the new year, follow Gaidge's three foolproof steps to devise orthodontic marketing strategies sure to get patients to your door.
1. Track Meaningful Metrics to Know What Needs Fixing
First, your marketing plan should act as your blueprint for attracting customers; it will only be effective if it addresses the unique circumstances of your business. Gone are the days of mass distributing direct mail and advertisements. Now, it's evident that research-driven, targeted marketing is what matters the most.
To target potential patients, you need to analyze several specific and significant areas. With Gaidge Analytics, certain metrics allow you to visualize what your marketing efforts affect to see whether your actions are making a difference.
By looking at your referral sources (Patients, Dentists, Search, Social, Community, and Staff), you can note which sources you're most successful with and which ones need more attention. Then, you can begin contemplating ways to address the smaller percentages. For example, if your community referral source is down, you can participate in charities or offer sponsorships to become more visible to locals.
Additionally, there are other areas you can analyze to monitor trends: your Leads, Exams, and Starts by Month also offer a detailed look at any insufficient numbers you need to target. Further, your data may reveal that your practice's total starts — like many other practices this year — are down, along with your adult aligner treatments.
Equipped with this information, make an effort to appeal to adult patients by pushing social media ads to adult patients and promoting clear aligners instead of braces.
2. Target with Precision Using Patient Demographics
Equally as critical as the data that reflects patients' connection to your practice are the statistics that reveal precisely who your patients are. You need to know your audience to avoid wasting time and money on fruitless campaigns or overlooking the prospects most likely to be drawn to your messaging.
To market to the right people, Gaidge's MarketMaps allows you to identify potential patients in your proximity through geographical models generated according to your practice's history and Gaidge's proprietary data sources. Moreover, it shows a breakdown of who is accepting or declining treatment, giving your practice specific information to pinpoint precisely who wants what you're offering.
With the demographic data acquired from MarketMaps, your practice also gets detailed reports with step-by-step instructions for navigating the map and an exhaustive list of personas with demographic and psychographic information. Plus, this multi-purpose tool provides your office with five tactical ways to land on your local radar, allowing you to:
- Implement targeted marketing and contact smaller groups with unique messaging
- Improve operational workflow by knowing details about patients and what makes them happy
- Have better giveaways since you'll know specific information about what patients want
- Focus community efforts where they matter by seeing areas your practice will get the best ROI
- Enhance treatment coordinators' connections with patients with a better understanding of their personas, successfully closing treatments
Fully understanding your audience is valuable for filling your calendar with new patient starts, and it's beneficial for retaining a base of loyal patients more likely to get the word out.
3. Know Where Marketing Fits Into Your Budget
Lastly, your budget may require adjustments if marketing is a top objective for your practice in 2023. With Gaidge's Executive Membership, you can set your budget, view spending by category, and adjust where necessary to align with your marketing goals.
Specifically, the Practice Projections™ feature allows you to lock in goals, such as your ideal net production, to see how many new patient calls and starts you will need to meet that goal.
Using Gaidge's Overhead tool, you can analyze your overall budget, compare your spending by category, and note areas to trim (like overhead or clinical supplies) to increase your marketing budget.
Once you've allocated the funds for your marketing budget, it's helpful to separate your lead sources into four buckets: Community Outreach, Patient Experience, Digital Marketing (such as online and social media marketing as well as search engine optimization), and Dentists. These main categories can be broken down into specific subcategories, such as your advertisements on the radio or in magazine ads (part of Community Outreach).
Then you can ask yourself: How does the spending within these subcategories compare to the performance of their parent lead source? Your data may reveal low social advertising percentages, indicating a need to raise your Digital Marketing budget.
With Gaidge, your practice has the tools to adjust where dollars need to go and calculate an ROI (by combining your budget and lead sources) to strategize and visualize profitable changes.
Choose Gaidge to Guide Your Orthodontic Practice Marketing Toward Fast Growth
If one of your goals for 2023 is to enhance your orthodontic practice's marketing approach, it needs access to pertinent data to drive actual results. Without knowing the extent of your practice's reach, target customers, or where its dollars are spent, its marketing efforts are as good as a guessing game.
Gaidge's advanced tools allow you to note discrepancies in your referral sources, learn about potential patients, and budget a marketing plan that helps you grow your practice with intention. And by taking the time to know your existing patients and how to attract them, you'll understand what makes them happier — strengthening your reputation and building the orthodontic practice you've always wanted.