Are we in a recovery, is this the second dip of the recession, or does anyone really know what’s going on with the American economy? The prognostications by the various financial gurus have never been in greater disagreement. One thing is certain, though: Building equity through home ownership, once central to The American Way, has been challenged by recent economic developments. The number of homeowners in America is continuing to plummet and with the loss to foreclosures and surrenders, the essential underpinning of public wealth is diminishing. This factor has affected Dental and Orthodontic practices throughout the country, as many of the services offered can be termed “high-ticket items,” and with belt-tightening comes the stalling or outright cancellation of necessary dental treatments. These are proven successful approaches you can use in your email marketing campaigns to appeal to your financially squeezed consumer:
Make Credit Easily Available
With more than a quarter of Americans no longer able to prove creditworthiness sufficient to maintain a major credit card such as a Visa or Mastercard, the nearly knee-jerk reaction to “charge it” has been replaced by “pay for it in cash.” Lenders and other financial institutions have choked off the supply of credit to the point where many of your customers have to choose between dental services or feeding their families. The best way to appeal to this growing sector of your clientele is to outline your “no strings attached” credit policy in your email newsletters. If you’re thinking of individually qualifying your customers for credit granting services, you’re on the wrong trail. Post-dated checks are a credit provision method that does not require pre-qualification. The legal penalties for bouncing checks have become ever more severe and the vast majority of your patients will not dare take that chance. Over the long haul you will lose some money to bad checks, but the percentage should be so low as to be negligible.
Offer Deep Discounts
Dental and Orthodontic clinics have high overheads and turning a profit is a challenge at the best of times, yet the current economic realities dictate that margins will have to be slashed to present offers to your subscribers which will motivate them to avail themselves of your services. These discounts should be made available specifically through your email marketing in the form of a unique voucher or code that can be redeemed at your reception desk. The limit to how to structure these discounts is limited only by your imagination: you could offer email newsletter savings on Root Canal, TMJ or Preventive Fillings; low or no cost visits for denture and brace fittings; or free hygienist services with other dental work.
Segment Narrowly & Intelligently
There will always be a market for cosmetic dentistry, but for now much of your email marketing should focus on the necessities. The need of a patient to be able to chew properly is going to always override their requirement for dazzlingly white teeth. However, you can still promote your higher priced and primarily elective services to the subscribers who have a history of such requirements. Reviewing your patient histories will reveal whether they have habitually turned to you for costly and relatively optional cosmetic veneers, bonding and invisible alignments; or if they have arrived with five cavities and asked you to fill the worst two as they couldn’t afford the full service. You must carefully craft each offer to the particular segment. Proposing a sale on dentures to young families is tantamount to offering a discount on braces to childless adults. Your patient history will be able to guide you to the determination of which groups of your subscribers are going to be most amenable to specific offers.
Email marketing remains the most powerful and effective promotional medium anywhere, so regardless of whether the economy goes up, down or seesaws, it continues to be the first choice for Dental and Orthodontic professionals. Maintaining elevated sensibility to the needs of your patients will assure that you continue to thrive regardless of the DJIA, foreclosure crisis or state unemployment level.
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