Dentists looking to close more full-arch cases are often tempted to compete on price. But for GPs, this is often a losing game.
Most GP dental practices will have a tough time beating out specialized dental implant centers that have been built specifically to crank out full-arch cases at a high enough volume that they can afford to undercut the market on pricing. The numbers just don’t work.
Instead, GP dentists who want to grow their full-arch practices should consider adopting a different strategy: value-driven marketing. This approach emphasizes the value your practice can provide to a potential patient —the expertise and patient experience your practice offers, plush how treatment can improve a patient’s quality of life — over simply aiming to stand out based on price.
Marketing based on value can offer significant advantages for most dentists. Keep reading to learn how it works.
The 3 main marketing angles for dentists
Most marketing or branding can be boiled down to one of three main selling points:
For dentists, price and speed are straightforward. “20 percent off” or “same-day crowns” are simple to communicate to potential patients.
Quality is more subjective. Your doctor’s skill and experience are key factors, of course, but so are things like patient experience, handoffs, how you present treatment and more.
However, the most important thing to remember here is that you can’t market on all three of these factors at once.
You may be able to claim two: “faster and cheaper than the competition” or “a family practice that won’t charge as much as the flashy dentists down the road but has been doing implant procedures for 20 years…” but no one can be all three.
Price-driven marketing for dentists
Now, this article is mostly about why implant dentists shouldn’t focus their marketing on price. But let’s do a quick rundown on the pros as well as the cons of price-driven marketing.
Pros of price-driven marketing
- You’ll attract patients who are motivated by price. Price-conscious patients will be more likely to book a consult or accept treatment if you make an effort to beat your competitors in pricing.
- May help lower your cost per lead. Appealing to price-conscious patients may increase your overall volume of leads, which will lower your marketing costs on a per-lead basis.
- Can help fill appointment slots during slow periods. The most expensive thing in a dental practice is an empty chair, so if you have consistent slow periods each year (during the holidays, for example) you may wish to consider offering discounts then.
Cons of price-driven marketing
- You’ll attract patients who are motivated by price. Yes, we already noted this as a “pro” above. However, this is a double-edged sword, as those patients will have no loyalty to your practice and will leave you just as quickly as they appeared if someone else undercuts your prices.
- You’ll get a reputation as a “cheap” practice. While this may appeal to some patients, it may be a turn-off to others who are motivated by quality.
As you can see, price-driven marketing does have its place. You can try using tools like discounts, special offers, or limited-time promos to attract patients based on price.
We think this can be especially useful during seasonal dips as a way to drum up business during an otherwise slow period.
However, we’re bigger fans of value-driven marketing as an overall strategy. Let’s get into it.
Why most full-arch dentists should compete on value rather than price
While price-driven marketing can be a good way to generate some quick revenue during a slow period, we think most full-arch dentists are better off building a long-term marketing strategy around value.
What that means, specifically, is highlighting how your work is going to provide value for a patient through your expertise, outstanding patient experience, and, in the long run, by significantly improving their quality of life.
Now, we’ve already mentioned the fact that most GPs just won’t be able to compete with implant centers when it comes to price. But even if you could, value-driven marketing is also a good idea on its own merits.
Full-arch treatment is a major expense. Even well-to-do patients will think twice before spending $30,000 per arch — so you want your marketing to help them feel comfortable that when they do say yes, they’re making a worthwhile investment.
Think in terms of selling a Porsche, not a used Kia. You want to make each step of the patient’s journey feel good.
Pros of value-driven marketing
- Builds long-term patient relationships and trust. When you market to patients based on value, they’ll be more likely to trust you — because they’ll know you’re not just trying to make a fast buck.
- Enhances your brand and reputation. Porsche vs. used Kia, remember? You’ll attract higher quality leads who would rather spend more to get treatment they can count on.
- Focus on the quality of care and patient experience, not money. The entire process will be more appealing for everyone involved — not just your patients, but yourself. Plus patients will be much more likely to refer their friends.
Cons of value-driven marketing
- May require more investment in marketing assets. We’ll be upfront — you’ll want to invest in high-quality photos and video assets that will cost more upfront than a cheap, stock-image approach. (This will pay off in the long run by giving you a level of brand quality patients will notice.)
- Could take longer to see a return on investment. Because you’ll be investing more upfront — and not appealing to bargain seekers, your pipeline may move slower. (But you’ll end up closing a significantly higher percentage of your cases than your price-based competitors.)
- Can require more scripting for your sales team. You’ll need to spend time training your sales team to overcome objections and communicate why your practice, in particular, offers so much value. (But in the long run, this will turbocharge your case acceptance rates.)
TL;DR: A value-based marketing strategy will cost you more at the beginning. But you’ll also attract higher-quality leads and see much more success at turning those leads into patients.
How to start marketing based on value
The key to building your marketing around value is to… actually figure out what value your practice, in particular, has to offer. This is called your UVP (unique value proposition) and it’s what sets you apart from the competition.
For example, you may want to highlight your doctor’s extensive experience, and additional training (prosthodontist, board-certified, etc.), your kind, friendly team, advanced technology, or whatever else makes you shine. If you have a defined mission, vision, and core values, these can be part of your UVP as well.
It’s also critical to think about value from the patient’s perspective. You need to understand your target audience — their wants and needs — and how your practice can meet them.
Remember: For patients, properly done full-arch treatment can be literally life-changing, so you’ll want to communicate that.
Take some time to sit down and think about your UVP. This should be a team effort — ask everyone who works at your practice what they think makes you special.
You’ll also want to take a look at patient testimonials, and online reviews, and even ask patients for in-person feedback if you feel comfortable. The more information you have, the clearer — and more useful — your UVP will be.
Once you’ve got a defined UVP, you want to use that as the foundation for all of your marketing messaging moving forward.