What special offer works best?

I’m often asked what type of special offer works best for dental practice marketing?

The first thing I want to say is that I’m not a fan of special offers, I prefer to use relationship based marketing to demonstrate that you genuinely care about the local community and are the expert in everything that you do. Relationship based marketing for dentistry should be focused around building trust and reducing risk for potential new patients, special offers are normally the reserve of low risk/low trust types of purchases (this is not related to the amount of money spent by the way, a £50,000 new Mercedes comes with relatively low risk and requires low trust of the individual selling it to you).

However, special offers can work as an excellent ‘call to action’ on your website. Remember, new patients may be browsing your website with little time to spare or perhaps late at night, it may not be convenient for them to write down your phone number or make a diary note to call you in the morning. So getting them to take some action towards solving their dental problem whilst they are on your website is a key feature of getting the website to work.

So here was a little rundown of some of the most successful special offers I’ve seen work well on websites.

  • Free consultations
  • Refund of initial assessment fee.
  • Discounted dental health assessment

Free consultations

Screenshot 2014-06-04 08.48.44Many practices offer a free initial consultation, some practices limit this to certain treatments, quite often cosmetic dentistry, In the case of the example to the right this practice offers dentistry and beauty treatments.

A couple of things to notice about the way we offer these free consultations:

  1. A voucher for the free consultation is offered in exchange for an e-mail address. We are then capturing website visitor details for further use in gentle e-mail marketing.
  2. We are placing a value on the consultation, this is calculated by the hourly rate normally charged and the time taken.
  3. We make a promise to keep the web visitors details safe and not send spam.

If you offer free consultations this is an excellent way to capture data, but remember, ensure you capture their data and enter them into a robust e-mail follow-up system such as Aweber*.

Refund of initial assessment fee.

Screenshot 2014-06-04 08.56.35Some practices would rather not offer a free initial consultation, if this is the case then we have provided a refund of the initial assessment fee against further treatment. We have to be careful that the treatment against which the fee is claimed as enough value, so we normally add conditions to this type of voucher.

Once again, when the patient requests our voucher we can send them a nicely formatted auto response e-mail attaching a voucher.

In some instances we make the voucher valid only for two weeks and then automate the e-mails following up to this two-week expiration date.

Discounted dental health assessment.

Screenshot 2014-06-04 08.59.53This is my personal favourite. It demonstrates that you genuinely care about your patient’s dental health. The downside with other types of special offer is that you could be seen as trying to ‘sell’ treatment.

A couple of things to notice about this voucher:

  1. We have included a list of things which will be included in this assessment to ensure it is seen as good value.
  2. We have included the original price so the patient can see how much value they are getting.
  3. Rather than use a submit button this one says ‘keep me healthy…’, this further reinforces our dental health message.

Again, this special offer is offered in exchange for a name and e-mail address.

E-mail addresses cost

One thing you need to consider is that when you ask for an e-mail address this comes at a cost to your website visitor, what you offer in exchange For that e-mail address has to be worth more than the cost to your website visitor of giving you that information.

Simply saying ‘signup to our newsletter’ is highly unlikely to garner many e-mail addresses as the cost to the website visitor is not outweighed by what you offer in exchange.

Test, test, test

There isn’t one single formula or form but works best. You will notice that each of the forms shown above are slightly different in their wording and layout. This is because they have been adjusted accordingly to get the best result each practice.

Some practices are prepared to offer any one of the offers above, if this is the case we simply test, monitor, test, monitor and repeated as many times as is necessary to get the best result.

In my experience discounting a dental health assessment seems to be working better, this seems to have shifted in the past six months and I’m seeing great successes with this type of special offer than any other at the moment. This is however a generalisation and some practices do indeed still get the best result from a free consultation or variation thereof.

What offers have you had success with?

Have you managed to add people to an ongoing e-mail marketing database in the process of signing up the offer?

*This link is an affiliate link. I earn a small commission for anyone purchasing the e-mail marketing system after clicking on this link.

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About Mark Oborn

Mark is the only person in Digital Dental Marketing to have a Masters Degree in Business (MBA) majoring in marketing & creativity plus have run a dental laboratory for 14 years and been working in dentistry for 23 years as a dental technician. He's also a Master Practitioner of the communication modelling system, Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) as well as being a Master Practitioner of Hypnosis and a Master NLP Coach. Mark understands business, dentistry and communication making him the logical choice to help with your digital dental marketing.

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