Wouldn’t it be great if you could do more cosmetic cases? They’re entertaining, you get to exercise your artistic muscles, and patients enjoy seeing their metamorphosis in the mirror.
But, if you’re like most dentists trying to advertise cosmetic dentistry, you’ve been a little frustrated that people in your neighborhood aren’t lining up to get clear aligners or smile makeovers.
With that in mind, this post will discuss how to increase demand for your cosmetic services and how to have these cases accepted. We’ll concentrate on tried-and-true, cost-effective strategies.
Market cosmetic services to your EXISTING patient base first.
Many dentists make an effort to attract new patients for cosmetic services. “Well, I’m not performing much cosmetic work with my current patients, so there must be some secret swath of the population wanting to get cosmetic work done, and I just need to get them into my clinic!” we reason.
However, there are a few issues for most dentists when it comes to attracting new customers for aesthetic dentistry:
It’s tough to distinguish folks who solely want cosmetic dentistry from a marketing standpoint. You can’t buy a list of folks in your neighborhood who “have chipped or discoloured teeth and plenty of discretionary dollars.” Everyone requires “bread-and-butter” general dentistry.
It is costly to sell cosmetic procedures to everyone in order to attract the subset of patients who are actively seeking these services. I’ve merely noticed that getting a high return on investment when spending a lot of money to market only aesthetic services is quite rare.
Many people believe (incorrectly) that “cosmetic dentists” are excessively pricey and do not do regular dentistry. As a result, if you double down and market too aggressively as a cosmetic dentist, you may accidentally turn off some potential new customers.
Now, I’m making these comments for general dentists whose foundation is “bread-and-butter” general dentistry and who just want more cosmetic situations. It’s a bit different if you’ve created your practice as a cosmetic dentist.
So, for most clinics, I find it far easier and more efficient to discover the majority of cosmetic cases within your existing patient group.
Now, I’m not saying “don’t sell cosmetic work to the general population.” There are some things you can do; you just don’t want to make it your primary source of income. To that end, I’ve added a few pointers near the end of this post. The best strategy is to keep the majority of your new patient marketing efforts focused on things that everyone needs. If you bring in enough new patients for general dentistry, I bet you’ll find plenty of candidates for clear aligners, veneers, makeovers, and so on.
So, how can you find new cosmetic cases among your current patient base?
1. Include a brief cosmetic survey for each patient that comes in.
Every visit (hygiene, new patients, treatment, etc.) the hygienist or assistant should ask the patient questions about their smile and anything they’d like to modify or improve about it. This provides you an idea of who might be a candidate before you (the doctor) see them and gets you straight into the conversation because you already know what their main complaint is.
And don’t just survey the patient once. Because life (and people’s priorities) vary, you should survey them every time they return. It could be financial or personal, but they’ve decided they want to make a change and have the resources to do so. So, don’t overlook the survey only because they responded 3 or 6 months ago.
2. Keep a plethora of promotional materials for cosmetic services in your office.
When is there a better opportunity to pique someone’s interest than when they’re already at your office – and you can sign them up right then and there?
So, distribute promotional items throughout the office, such as:
Flyers \ Posters \ Testimonials
Before and after shots
Videos promoting a free smile consultation
Don’t just do one of these things, do them all! As with any product advertised, you may think “Eh…” the first time you see it, but after the 20th time you wonder, “Wait, what is this? Hey, that seems very cool!”
3. Don’t make any assumptions before speaking with the patient.
I’ve met a lot of dentists who take a different approach when discussing cosmetic work versus restorative work. With general dentistry, they’ll be focused on getting through to the patient, educating them, and showing them why the surgery is necessary. But with cosmetic work, they’ll be more cautious or make assumptions that the patient won’t want it, won’t be able to afford it, or whatever.
In most circumstances, if someone really wants something, they’ll figure out a method to get it. Don’t assume that just because someone doesn’t drive a Mercedes means they won’t spend in their smile.
So, do a poll to determine how significant it is to the patient, and then use intraoral cameras, images, films, and other tools to demonstrate how you may assist them in creating a beautiful smile. Then you’ll be astonished at how many patients will go out of their way to get it done even if you didn’t believe they could afford it.
It should be noted that it is typical and expected for doctors to prioritize restoring health and function over cosmetic work. Even though a cosmetic issue is the patient’s “primary complaint,” if they only have the means to choose one course of therapy, it’s a no-brainer which approach should be pursued – i.e. remove disease and restore optimal oral health. But, having stated that, let’s go into how to start conducting more cosmetic cases with patients who are good candidates for it.
4. Provide the patient with numerous financial options.
Use various third-party companies to provide the patient with options. Don’t simply utilize one. Maybe they’ve already utilized “Company X” for general work, or they’ve been rejected by them. You have backup plans when you have various possibilities.
In most cases, cosmetic dentistry is more of a want than a need, therefore make it as simple as possible for the patient to get it done.
5. Distribute promotional materials to your patients
As I previously stated, it can take watching an advertisement 5, 10, or 20 times before we take attention and people’s lives change. So, keep advertising cosmetic procedures to your patients.
You can contact your patients with items like:
Flyers, postcards, and so on
Email newsletters with educational content and a special offer
Social media (the bulk of your Facebook following is always going to be your existing patients)
6. BONUS: Low-cost methods for attracting new patients for aesthetic dentistry treatments
I know I’ve spent most of this post talking about locating cosmetic prospects within your existing patient group, but here are a few ideas for attracting new patients seeking cosmetic services that won’t “break the bank”:
Include comprehensive information about all of your cosmetic services on your website. Include a lot of information about them, as well as images and videos. Make it interesting and informative. It is critical to display stunning before-and-after images and testimonials (assuming you obtain the required HIPAA releases).
Create a search engine optimization strategy for cosmetic services. If someone searches Google for “veneers,” “Invisalign,” or similar terms, I want my website to come up first. So, collaborate with your SEO/Internet Marketing firm to ensure you’re on page one of Google for such queries in your location. You can also run Google advertising for these people.
Cross-promote with salons, designer stores, high-end gyms, and other establishments that have a customer that is interested in and qualified for cosmetic services.
All of them are inexpensive strategies to reach out to prospective patients interested in cosmetic services.