Market Research Connects You With Loyal New Patients
Doing thorough market research is crucial for any business, but it’s especially important in the dental industry. With rising competition and evolving patient expectations, dental practices need to clearly understand their target audience’s needs, pain points, and preferred solutions. This allows you to tailor your services, marketing, and messaging to attract and retain the right patients.
At Now Media Group, we’re a full-service digital marketing agency that can help you create a dental marketing strategy tailored to your target audience. Call (858) 333-8950 today to schedule a consultation with a Now Media representative.
Define Your Target Audience
The first step is clarifying who you want to serve. Ask yourself:
- What’s your specialty area (general dentistry, orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, etc.)? This typically dictates your target audience.
- What’s your desired patient demographic (age, gender, income level, location, etc.)?
- What values or priorities do you want your ideal patients to have? For instance, are they looking for a high-tech practice, spa-like experience, budget prices, specialty expertise, or something else?
The more narrowly you can define your target audience, the better. You’ll be able to craft more relevant messaging and services later.
Conduct Patient Surveys
One of the best ways to learn about your current and prospective patients is to simply ask them directly. Patient surveys can provide a wealth of dental market research insights.
Here are some tips for effective patient surveys:
- Keep it short (10 questions or less) to encourage participation. Offer an incentive to boost response rates.
- Ask a mix of multiple-choice and open-ended questions. The former provides quantifiable data, while the latter captures more detailed feedback in patients’ own words.
- Get input on patients’ priorities, needs, pain points, and preferences related to dental care. What do they value most? What challenges do they face? How could their experience be improved?
- Use online survey tools like SurveyMonkey for easy distribution via email and fast data analysis.
- Conduct surveys annually to spot trends and evolving preferences.
Analyze Your Competition
It’s important to monitor your competitors and see their strengths, weaknesses, and differentiators compared to your practice. A competitive analysis will help reveal gaps or opportunities in the local dental market.
Ways to research competitors include:
- Browsing their websites and social media to evaluate their services, messaging, patient experience, and brand personality.
- Searching online reviews to see patients’ feedback and satisfaction levels. Sort reviews by low ratings to learn potential pain points.
- Calling their offices to inquire about pricing, insurance accepted, appointment availability, etc., and gain insights as a “mystery shopper.”
- Driving by their office locations to assess visibility, signage, parking availability, curb appeal, etc.
- Subscribing to their email lists to analyze their marketing content and offers.
Use what you learn about competitors’ successful strategies to inspire your dental practice. But avoid copying them outright and, instead, find ways to differentiate.
Interview Local Influencers
Speaking directly with local influencers who interact with your target patients can provide valuable on-the-ground insights. Dentists, hygienists, and other dental professionals will have a first-hand understanding of patients’ needs and preferences.
- Other dentists in your community, especially those who don’t directly compete. Many will be happy to share general dental industry knowledge.
- Dental hygienists and assistants. Their patient interactions yield helpful observations.
- Staff at dental insurance companies. They speak frequently with dentists and patients, so they’ll have broad perspectives.
- Dental equipment suppliers. These folks stay on top of the latest dental technologies and trends.
Use informational interviews to ask about the current dental marketplace, standard patient expectations, upcoming technologies, industry innovations, and any advice they have specific to your situation.
Conduct Patient Focus Groups
Focus groups involve facilitated discussions with existing or prospective patients to explore their perceptions, ideas, and beliefs in an open setting. While not statistically significant, they provide qualitative insights you may not learn through surveys alone.
Tips for useful focus groups include:
- Recruit six to 10 participants per group that represent your target audience. Offer incentives for participation.
- Use a skilled moderator to facilitate discussion and keep it focused and flowing.
- Ask open-ended questions to uncover patient perspectives. Dig into why they feel certain ways.
- Invite participants to share examples, stories, and anecdotes to illustrate viewpoints.
- Schedule multiple focus groups to identify themes and trends across groups. About three to five sessions often provide sufficient insights.
- Hold sessions in a comfortable neutral location like your dental office, library meeting room, or donated workspace.
- Send participants a thank you, a report of findings, and any promised incentives.
Patient reviews on sites like Google, Facebook, and Yelp offer a constant source of dental market research. Regularly monitoring your reviews provides instant feedback on how satisfied patients are, areas for improvement, frequently mentioned topics and keywords, and more.
Designate someone to respond to reviews in a timely fashion. Reply professionally to negative reviews to resolve issues, and thank positive reviewers for taking the time to share feedback.
The insights from reviews allow you to capitalize on strengths, improve weaknesses, and show patients you’re listening. This helps attract more of your ideal patients over time.
Use Dental Industry Reports and Data
Take advantage of dental industry research and reports from trusted organizations. These provide useful context and benchmarks to compare your practice against.
Helpful reports include:
- The ADA’s annual “Dental Industry Overview” analyzes trends, statistics, and outlooks.
- Regional dental workforce reports that project supply and demand.
- State-level Medicaid dental utilization metrics.
- CDC data on oral health and access, especially among low-income groups.
- Dental practice valuation guides to inform planning and growth decisions.
Staying current with high-quality dental data helps you keep your finger on the pulse of the overall industry. You can combine these national and statewide insights with your local market research for a complete picture.
Make Data-Driven Strategic Decisions
The most critical step is using your dental market research to guide strategic business decisions. Turn insights into action.
Ways robust market research enables smart strategy include:
- Crafting patient personas and targeting the most viable niches.
- Tailoring your services and treatments to match target patients’ needs.
- Developing messaging and branding that resonates with your audience.
- Identifying referral opportunities and partnerships.
- Adding new technologies your patients prioritize.
- Adjusting prices or insurance options based on demand and competitors.
- Informing your digital marketing and advertising channels.
- Optimizing operational processes to improve patient satisfaction.
- Hiring team members with the right skills and expertise for your audience.
Let the research guide your strategy across marketing, operations, finance, and all other business areas.
Identify Your Target Audience To Find Your New Patients
The dental industry continues evolving rapidly. Following the steps above will help your practice gain a detailed, data-driven understanding of your target patients. This allows you to provide the outstanding experience today’s dental consumers expect. With rigorous dental market research, you’ll attract and retain the patients who are the ideal fit.
Call (858) 333-8950 today to meet the digital marketing team at Now Media Group — we’re excited to help your practice thrive!