Marni Alexander, Clinical Director at Queens Road Dental Centre Guernsey

 

On the Channel Island of Guernsey, we have a population of around 60,000 people with some 30 dentists all jostling for patients, making for a very competitive dental market. Thanks to our excellent location in St Peter Port, and a newly refurbished, state-of-the-art practice we consider ourselves very fortunate to retain an extremely loyal patient base.

With three treatment suites, two catering for two full-time dentists and the other for our hygienists, we are always looking for ways to attract new patients. As well as routine treatments, our hygienists also provide in-practice tooth whitening under prescription, and we have been finding new ways to appeal to more patients for this particular service.

Looking at our appointment book and by reviewing reports from EXACT, it became apparent that one of our hygienists was finding it difficult to fill her book on certain days. This meant the treatment room was being underutilised, rendering it unprofitable in the long term. We needed to find a way to fill the white space and generate extra income to turn this situation around.

Keen to promote our tooth whitening treatment, I turned to Software of Excellence for advice, and with the help of their Marketing Consultant, the ‘Early Bird Teeth Whitening’ campaign was born. We agreed to offer whitening treatment at a special discounted price on Mondays and Tuesdays only, to promote the offer through an e-shot and direct mailing to a targeted audience, and promote the offer via posters and leaflets in reception. Having not previously had a marketing budget, we set an initial spend limit of just £500.

Our objective was to target patients between the ages of 30 and 65 who had not previously had whitening treatment. We wanted to generate enough patients to fill the surgery that was costing us money whilst sitting idle, but didn’t want to be overwhelmed with patients which would need us to book them months in advance! No one at the practice had experience of running a campaign like this before and I admit I was a little sceptical.

The promotion was run through Campaign+, which is fully integrated within EXACT V12. We created a contact list and designed the postcards and posters as a collaborative effort with Software of Excellence. The key here was consistency, using the same design across all the publicity material that would be seen multiple times and slowly filter into people’s consciousness.

Campaign+ has a dashboard that tracks the return on investment on every campaign, clearly showing the costs – in this case £320, and the return in terms of appointments booked. Within two months we had generated just under £4,500 in direct revenue from those targeted patients who attended for whitening treatment. A real bonus for us was in terms of the ‘secondary revenue’ generated by the campaign. In the same period this figure revealed an additional £36,000 of treatment uptake from patients who were targeted on the campaign and took up other treatments in addition to the promoted treatment.

This was a fantastic result for us and the fact that patients are now booking in for whitening on a Monday or Tuesday is ensuring all our treatment rooms are being fully utilised. We are in the process of planning a new campaign to contact those who did not respond first time round and remind them of the offer, and we fully expect the number of whitening patients to rise yet again.

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