WATCH NOW: DSO Experts Share Strategies for Patient Acquisition
Written by: Natalie Brass
On Friday, January 15th, two of the DSO industry's leading marketing professionals sat down for an informal conversation about patient acquisition strategies for 2021. This Facebook Live was part of the Small Talk, Big Ideas series of freewheeling conversations held each month by The DSO Leadership Summit.
Shawn Wherry, VP of Marketing for Dental Care Alliance; Norma Adams, VP of Marketing for West Coast Dental; and Tom Owens of 1-800-DENTIST joined host Kim Fuller from HR for Health to discuss the past year and what's ahead. Click to watch the full Facebook Live video below, and scroll for our favorite takeaways.
Takeaways On 2020
"2020 was a year about being flexible, adjusting, pivoting, and just doing the right thing, whatever that was, on the fly."
- Norma Adams
Both Norma and Shawn agreed communication was key in 2020, both internally and with current and prospective patients. West Coast Dental and Dental Care Alliance kept the majority of their locations open throughout the shutdown to provide emergency dental services, helping to eliminate the burden on ERs and urgent care centers.
Shawn's team looked at the lockdown as an opportunity to reset various aspects of the business, marketing in particular. She stressed a focus on marketing that drove new patient appointment opportunities. "The number one takeaway was the ability to seize opportunity in the midst of adversity," she said. Both DSOs turned to 1-800-DENTIST for emergency referrals, sharing that patients who booked during the pandemic were committed to showing up.
Teledentistry During the Pandemic
"It allowed us to triage emergency patients, and it also allowed our orthodontics practices to stay active."
- Shawn Wherry
Despite the landscape of uncertainty, West Coast Dental opened three new pediatric care practices in 2020, with community outreach playing an important role in marketing the new locations. To spread the word, field marketers joined takeaway lunch-and-go efforts at closed schools to give away toothbrushes and informational flyers, making sure students were getting the healthcare they needed.
Dental Care Alliance focused their outreach towards emergency rooms and urgent care centers in their local markets, providing handouts and materials the facilities could use to point dental patients towards their practices.
Over-communicating to patients, especially about safety procedures, is still key for West Coast Dental.
Shawn credits a strategic approach to marketing investment, relying on it where it's truly needed. Her focus has paid off, with a busier-than-usual January so far. Norma echoed that pent-up demand has kept them busy, and a good PPE supply has kept them going.
After successfully navigating 2020, both West Coast Dental and Dental Care Alliance are expecting a busy year ahead. With 2021 goals that include getting staff vaccinated and continued growth, both groups seem to have landed on steady footing after a year of uncertainty, thanks to their patient acquisition expertise.