Home Dental How Can You Know Which Way to Go if You Don’t Know Where You Are?

How Can You Know Which Way to Go if You Don’t Know Where You Are?

by adminjay

Having goals is great, especially for a dental practice looking to grow. It’s good to clarify what the future should look like and plan out how to get there through marketing. In fact, I highly recommend it. However, the mistake many practices make when setting goals is not taking the time to fully understand the current state of things. Establishing a viable marketing plan and achieving sustainable growth is nearly impossible without first knowing where the practice stands.

Targets are nice, but before devising a plan on how to reach them, a practice must establish a baseline. Think of it this way: when a patient comes in asking for treatment, the dentist first gathers information through consultation and examination to establish their baseline oral health. This baseline becomes the foundation for building a solid, achievable treatment plan. No dentist would dream of treating a patient without an initial assessment.

The same goes for establishing a marketing plan. Before anything can happen, the practice must evaluate its current practices and results to understand how close or far away it is from where it needs to be. Establishing this baseline makes it possible to make decisions based on facts and actual data rather than feelings or preferences.


The first step in establishing a baseline is understanding how well current marketing strategies and practices are working. This means analyzing every marketing channel and in-house practice, including answering the phone and responding to new patient inquiries, to determine what is netting results and what is not. To do this, the practice needs to gather accurate data. For instance:

  • On average, how many new patients call in or inquire online per week?
  • Of those, how many schedule appointments?
  • On average, how many calls are missed in a day?
  • Of those, how many come in after business hours?
  • How many missed and after-hours calls are returned/followed up on?
  • Why do some calls and inquiries not result in appointments?
  • How did the new patient hear about your practice?

Gathering this data takes time and dedication. There must first be a system for tracking calls and inquiries and logging results, either through automation or by hand. After getting that squared away, data collection should take place over a long enough time frame to get a number that truly represents normal activity. For example, a day is not usually enough time to get a good idea of the average call volume. Four to six weeks may be better. Some days are naturally busier than others, and many practices have shorter or longer hours on certain days.

Once sufficient data has been gathered, the practice can determine the average number of new patient calls and inquiries that convert into appointments. This is the baseline. Knowing this information is necessary to create an effective marketing plan to attract more new patients.


New patient conversions are just one piece of the puzzle. Other metrics go into establishing current performance, including website traffic. Practices need to find out how many people are finding the website and what pages they are viewing. Practices should also track the sources of new patient inquiries: How many new patients are finding the practice through Google My Business? Social media ads? Existing patient referrals?

It is also important to calculate the number of new patient inquiries coming in from every active marketing channel and how many of them convert. All this information and more is essential for understanding how a practice’s current marketing is performing, what is working well, what is not, and where opportunities lie.


Once all the information has been gathered, it is possible to see patterns and trends, strengths and weaknesses, and then set realistic, achievable goals based on the findings. Similar to creating a treatment plan for a patient, creating and implementing a marketing plan for a dental practice is a step-by-step process that starts from the baseline. Each step in the plan, properly executed, brings the practice closer to the end goal, whatever that may be.

Source link

Related Articles