Dental Marketing: Dentists See a Difference in Online Dental Patients

Dental Marketing: Dentists See a Difference in Online Dental PatientsIn The Wealthy Dentist’s weekly survey, we recently asked: Are patients who find you online any different from patients who find you via more traditional methods?

The dentists we polled were pretty split on this dental marketing issue.

34% of those polled said, “No, I don’t see a difference.

While 23% of the dentist respondents felt that online dental patients are more likely to follow through with treatment; the other 24% felt online patients are less likely to follow through with treatment.

Another 19% felt that word-of-mouth referrals by patients are the best type of dental patients to follow through with treatment.

One dentist replied, “Word-of-mouth referrals brings in the most loyal patients!

Dental Marketing: Dentists See a Difference in Online Dental Patients

Dentist certainly have different opinions about online verses traditional patients! Here are some of the comments we received on this survey:

“Referral patients have more trust from the beginning. Online patients are typically younger and not as financially able to afford treatment.” (General dentist)

“The majority of our big cases the past few years have come from the Internet.” (Minnesota dentist)

“The younger dental patient is more tech savvy and tend to believe what they read on-line. They are less critical thinking and very wed to their smart phones. They are also not big conversationalists.” (California dentist)

“They were motivated to look for a dentist. However, they also are more likely to have been regular patients elsewhere and have little work to be completed; may be prophy only.” (Texas dentist)

“The stronger the site encouraging appointments the better the lead. Most dental websites are so easy to give information, but the prospect is not ready or willing to come in.” (New York dentist)

“For me, a cold online lead is not unlike a patient who drove by and saw my sign. They are a tougher sell than a true internal referral. A Facebook referral can be close to an internal referral when referred by an existing patient.” (Georgia dentist)

“Online patients have done their research and know a lot about our office before becoming patients. They are certainly more likely to follow through with recommended treatment.” (Ohio dentist)

“Online patients are generally young, looking for the best price and not dentally educated. Anyone who chooses a dentist based upon online reviews sees dentistry no different than a gas station or a supermarket.” (Massachusetts dentist)

The rising popularity of researching dental care online proves that for an increasing number of dental patients, factors like online reviews and easily finding a dentist online, seeing what dentist family and friends recommend online, and getting to know the dental practice before ever stepping foot through the front door may continue to outweigh the advantages that traditional offline dental marketing has offered in the past.

What are your thoughts on traditional verses online dental patients? Do you notice a difference?

About Jim Du Molin

+Jim Du Molin is a leading Internet marketing expert for dentists in North America. He has helped hundreds of doctors make more money in their practices using his proven Internet marketing techniques.

  • Dr Mike

    I am seeing a lot of opinions.  Curious if these are perceptions only or if the dr’s have actually looked at the practice numbers re: np value, how many accept, etc.  If the numbers weren’t looked at then the opinions are just that, not something to make a business decision on…

  • bellevuedentist

    Interesting write up on the origin of dentistry patients.  I would agree with Dr Mike.  

  • Retention of a patient would be less to do with where they came from, and more to do with the service they recieved. A dental clinic may generate 10 online leads a week, but if their service or facilities aren’t pleasing they will fail to keep any of those patients- what a waste of marketing cash.  On the other hand, you may have clinics who receive high word of mouth referrals because of their wonderful service orientation, they will generally retain customers longer and more profit per customer.

    Unfortunately, it seems that the health industry as a whole tends to forget that they operate in a competitive environment, and anything they can do to improve their service experience will work in their favour.  I’ve met too many grumpy medical receptionists who are indicative of this to think any differently.

  • Catherine

    Great feedback everyone and Sharanuppal I think you are definitely right about customer service.   I just purchased paint from a smaller local hardware store where the man waiting on me talked to an old friend he hadn’t seen in years while waiting on me.  I now know more about that man than my own uncle.  The mixing of my paint took 25 minutes for something that should have taken 5 minutes because he kept stopping to talk to the old friend.  This was not some young person either.  I was with my son so I chose not to get angry, but do you think I will go back there again?  No! If I had gone to the big box hardware store I would have been in and out in 10 minutes.  I am still shocked by the event.  I haven’t had customer service that bad in years!

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