Most dental practices spend so much of their time and marketing dollars chasing new patients, thinking it’s the key to growing their practice. While acquiring new patients increases revenue and gives your team a boost in motivation, it most certainly shouldn’t be the core focus of your practice’s growth plans.
For most practices (depending on its growth phase), new patients aren’t your life source – it’s your existing patients.
Your current active patients are the ones paying your bills. They are the ones who trust you with their oral health care. They are the ones who will bring their families in to see you and your team. And they are the ones who will recommend their friends and colleagues to you. They are your fan base and therefore should never be overlooked.
The golden 80-20 rule
Here at HotDoc, we advise all dental practices to remember the 80-20 rule:
80% of your practice revenue comes from your existing patients.
20% of your remaining practice revenue should come from new patients.
By this measurement, your core focus should always be on retaining your patients for life.
So many practices fall into the trap of believing dental marketing companies’ bold claims of how many new patients they can get through their campaigns. They can no doubt be successful, but you need to ask a few more things.
- Are these patients likely to remain with your practice – or are they dental shoppers?
- How many of your existing patients are already pre-booked for their next appointment?
- How many patients have you lost from year to year?
- How much would your new patients typically spend?
- How likely are these new patients going to accept your treatment plan options?
Answering these questions will help you assess if your new patient marketing campaigns represent a good long-term return on investment or only a good short-term one.
Comparing new patients with existing patients
Today’s dental landscape has become increasingly competitive and marketing budgets are getting skinnier. So it’s crucial you consider reviewing whether the chase for new patients is worth it.
Above: Aiden, Dental Product Specialist at HotDoc, explains the cost of getting new patients through your practice door and the benefits of shifting more of the practice’s focus onto nurturing existing patients.
“Take good care of the patients you have and new patients will absolutely follow soon.”
By focusing on improving your patient communication skills and spending more quality time with the people who really matter to your practice — your current patients, you will not only build a solid foundation for growing your practice successfully, but also create patients for life.