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The Essential Components of a Dental Marketing Funnel

Melissa LuVisi
March 4, 2021

We hear this question a lot: how do I attract more patients to my dental practice?

Before you throw money at running ads and printing direct mail, step back and take a deep breath… 

First, you need to define your vision and how you want to serve your dental patients. Without a vision, you can’t innovate or advocate for yourself and your patients.

Too often, new dentists build their workflows based on industry norms. These “inherited” workflows and paper-based processes are often constrained by outdated technology and no longer meet consumer expectations.

Instead, start with a patient-centric approach by asking, “What do my patients want?”

You should define the ideal patient experience and then find the right tools and technology to make it happen. To do so effectively, you need to understand how prospects interact with your practice -- what are the touchpoints, how do they turn from leads to patients, and what do they need to know or do to convert (e.g., book a consult)?

This is where the dental marketing funnel comes in. It gives you a framework to understand how patients interact with your practice and what you can do to serve more people.

What’s a Dental Marketing Funnel?

A dental marketing funnel tracks a patient’s journey and illustrates the steps they take leading up to their booking an appointment. By analyzing these key stages, you can gain insights into what channels you can use to reach them and what messaging you should deliver to drive conversions.

Key Stages in the Dental Marketing Funnel

The dental marketing funnel consist of these essential stages:

Dental Marketing Funnel

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Awareness Stage

At this stage, prospects may or may not be actively seeking dental services. However, you should get onto their radar. For example, billboards, direct mail, or sponsoring local events can help you establish your presence in the community and build brand awareness. These promotional tactics help you increase the “like, know, and trust” factor so you’d be the first to come to mind when prospects need dental services.

Interest Stage

Your prospects have a problem and are looking for a solution. They’d likely start the process by doing some research (e.g., using online searches or asking friends and family recommendations.) They may or may not know what solution they need so you should focus on addressing their challenges instead of selling your offering.

Patient education plays an important role at this stage. For example, you can post relevant and helpful articles or videos on your website or social media to help prospects learn about their issues and possible solutions. Offering the right information to your ideal patients will help you build trust and position yourself as a trusted ally.

Decision Stage

Your prospects understand their problems and have identified the potential solutions that can solve their challenges. They also know about your practice and may visit your website to learn more about your treatments. At this stage, you should provide specific information about your services and help prospects compare their options so they can make an informed decision.

For example, you can offer a free consultation to help prospects understand various treatment options. Whether it’s a one-on-one conversation or a piece of marketing content, you should address prospects’ potential objections while reiterating the benefits of the treatment.

Action Stage

This is when the conversion event takes place. For example, when a patient books an appointment via an online scheduling tool or by calling your office. The key is to make completing the action as easy and frictionless as possible. For example, many tab32 users have increased their conversion rates by offering after-hour booking on their websites.

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It’s also important to follow up after this conversion event to ensure that patients attend their appointments. For example, you can use dental practice management software with a patient engagement module to send automated appointment confirmation and reminders via text or email.

Conclusion

The dental marketing funnel gives you a structure to identify key touchpoints and design patient interactions. You can then deliver the right message at the right time to build relationships with your prospects so they’ll turn into patients.

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