I’ve spoken many times in the past about dental marketing and that it should be about building relationships, primarily around reducing risk and increasing trust. You can follow these links if you want to find out more about the subjects.
There are a multitude of ways of doing this from storytelling, to testimonials/online reviews to marketing strategies and it is to the latter around which this blog post is focused.
All marketing strategies to attract new patients for dental practice should have the focus of reducing risk and increasing trust in order to build relationships and they typically recommend re-tactics:
- A free consultation. This can be a great way to encourage patients to come and see you and often reduces risk to the point at which patients will take action.
- Refund of initial assessment. Using this strategy the patient pays up front for the initial assessment but is then refund it against treatment (terms and conditions apply as ever).
- Discounted new patient assessment. Many practices do this without even thinking, often discounting their new patient assessment by up to 75% based upon the targeted hourly rate. Think about how much you charge free new patient assessment, compare this to your targeted hourly rate and I would almost guarantee you are offering a large discount, all the marketing does around this is to be explicit about what you are already doing.
But which one works best?
I’m going to get jiggy with data now (That’s a technical term!), the best way to know which one works best is to measure, measure, measure… That’s what I’ve done and here are the results.
We don’t just put the wording on the website offering a consultation, refund or discount, we do it with a signup form which patients can download voucher entitling them to this particular offer. This has a few benefits:
- We gather the patient’s name and e-mail address.
- If we have the patient’s permission we can send further marketing communication.
- It encourages people to take action there and then, right now, striking what the irony is hot on your website!
- We can measure which one works better using digital marketing technology, such as Aweber (the software I use).
I ran a split test signup form for each of the 3 options above, a free consultation, refund of initial assessment or discounted new patient assessment. Each of them dropped into an automated e-mail marketing campaign and each of them counted as a new patient enquiry from the website.
I ran two different versions of this split test, one of them was a static form at the bottom of the page on the dental practice website, the other was a pop-up form which appeared once the user has been on the website for 30 seconds… I can almost hear you moaning now, people HATE pop-up forms… But hold fire, wait until you see the results!
This was what one of the static forms look like at the foot of the website, the software simply rotated each of the options and showed a different form to each visitor.
The pop-up form simply appeared once the user had been on the website for 30 seconds, the pop-up would appear once only to each visitor.
Static form results
You can see each signup form, discount, refund and free consultation. The probability is the percentage chance of each of these being shown, you can see I have set the software to show all of them equally (+/-).
We’ve had approximately 13,000 views of each of the forms to give a statistically significant result.
The conversion rate (S/D) can clearly be seen… The free consultation wins hands down with almost double the conversion rate of either the discount or refund. Even though the free treatment form is actually being shown fewer times than the other forms it has created 136 new patient enquiries, compared to 51 for the refund and 88 for the discount.
Pop-up form results
As you can see the number of displays of the pop-up forms is significantly less because people often bounce off the website prior to seeing this form… However, once again the free consultation gets a 40% higher conversion rate than the refund with a 1.4% conversion rate compared to 1% for the refund.
What’s really interesting here is that the pop-up form at 1.4% conversion rate actually has a higher conversion rate than the static form of 1.1%.
How interesting, so many people berate pop-up forms (Me included), but when they are done right they can actually have a higher conversion rate than your static forms, who knew!
What can you take away from this?
We could go on split testing more and more things, not only could we split test different forms with different offers, we could also split test different wordings within those forms, different colours of signup buttons can also have quite significant impact on conversion rates.
I would suggest you do your own testing and don’t rely on these results. Not every practice is in the same geographical location with the same demographic of patients so not all results are replicable, the answer, as ever is test, test, test… See what works, if it works do more of it, if it doesn’t stop.
That’s the basic rule of marketing really!
Do let me know your thoughts and any results of any split testing you have completed.