Have you ever been to McDonalds?
When you order a burger for example, doesn’t the staff always ask you “Would you like some fries with that?”.
This is called an upsell.
It is designed to increase value for you (since you get more stuff) by paying less than you would if would bought them all individually.
This is how a marketing funnel works.
In other words, what works really well in virtually every industry is offering something for free or a low price initially and offering higher-ticket items or services down the road when some trust is built.
As a dentist, you should be doing the same thing with prospective (and current) patients.
Here’s how it works.
Let’s assume you are a general dentist.
You advertise a free dental exam ($97 value).
People who are interested in this offer will see your ad either on Facebook or on other venues and submit their name, email and phone number.
Your staff can then call and talk to them.
Around 3-10% of people who showed interest will come, assuming that your front desk follows up with them quickly (within 5 minutes or less).
After they get the free dental exam, you will most likely see issues with their oral health for which they require treatment (yellow teeth needing cleaning and whitening, crowns needed for decayed teeth, Invisalign for misaligned teeth etc.)
You explain why they need the treatment and how it will benefit them. You then ask if they’d like to book an appointment for next week.
Some people will say yes.
When they come in, they get treated by either you (the dentist) or by the dental hygienist.
Assuming that the patient experience was enjoyable and pain-free, you will have that person coming in for the next 7-10 years (sometimes 30 years) because they trust you and view you as an authority.
THIS is where most of the money is made.
Remember however that you need a system in place to achieve stellar results.
Here’s an example:
Let’s assume that you are an orthodontist and you create an ad offering free 30 minute Invisalign consults ($297 value) for people.
Around 3-10% of the people signing up for your ad would actually go ahead with the treatment and contribute to your revenue, assuming that your staff follows up with them back promptly (in less than 5 minutes).
When they pay you for the treatment, you generate anywhere between $5,000 to $8,000 in revenue per patient.
However, your job isn’t done.
Remember, if 1 person is happy with the treatment, they will refer their family and friends to you as well. On average, each new patient should refer 2.2 people to you every year.
They will also most likely give you a review, especially if you actively ask for one.
It is not uncommon for the top dental practices to have 5-10 different funnels that they consistently use in order to bring in patients and keep them coming back.
Marketing funnel 1: Free dental checkup ($97 value) > Consult > Prescribing treatments > Patient books another appointment > Systems work to keep bringing these patients back for years
Marketing funnel 2: 50% off teeth whitening (normally $149) > Treatment provided and some revenue generated > Educating patient on what else needs to be done to improve oral health > Patient books another appointment > Systems work to keep bringing these patients back for years
Marketing funnel 3: Free 30-minute Implant consult ($297 value) > Consult > Prescribing treatment > Patient books another appointment > Systems work to keep bringing these patients back for years
Now, you might be against giving things out for free. You might be thinking “If I started offering free stuff, I am only going to invite freeloaders or freebie seekers…” or “I won’t be able to make my money back…”
I’d like to tell you that this won’t be the case if you have a system in place and you know your numbers.
Another reason why you don’t have to worry about it is simply because the Law of Reciprocity kicks in when you offer to help people out for free.
In order words, people who you have done a favor for in some way will try their best to return the favor. This could mean tons of positive reviews and positive buzz even if they initially came in for something free.
This could also result in lots of referrals, assuming you are on top of your game.
So yes, bringing people in through the use of marketing funnels can be very effective but in my experience, the vast majority of dental practices do not employ them and this is where they lose out on a lot of revenue.
Yes, they might run ads on Google AdWords. They might even have an ad running on radio or TV ads.
However, these are just ads – they are not funnels.
An ad usually sends the person to the dental website where the onus is on that person to see what solution they would be interested in, if any. Then they leave their contact information with you.
A marketing funnel provides interested people with a lot of value for free or for a lower price and then sends them to an opt-in page where they entire their name, email and phone number so your staff can call them back.
The old way of doing business is by relying on referrals and maybe running a few ads on Google AdWords.
The new way of doing business and becoming the #1 authority in your niche is by running marketing funnels which use many different channels to bring people in.
Once you start using marketing funnels, you might be surprised at how effective they really are.
Action: Figure out what marketing funnels you can use. Ideally you should create a separate funnel for each of your treatments (teeth whitening, cleaning, implant consults, crown consults, Invisalign, full mouth reconstruction etc). Then sit down with your staff and explain how funnels work and how they are completely different from running ads. Then actively start upselling patients who come in for a free or low-price treatment.