Why Millennials Are The Ideal New Patient and Efficient Untapped Referral Machine

Majority of dentists want to shake their head and dismiss this LARGE demographic and FUTURE patients of dentistry, and I say…you better embrace them because they’re extremely loyal, and will determine your future success as a practice.

If some millennials aren’t smiling, there’s good reason. A recent study by the American Dental Association found they’re oral health is struggling– from tooth pain and anxiety about the poor condition of their teeth.

Decaying teeth and gum problems make one in three young adults aged 18 to 34 (33%) reluctant to smile, the ADA found. About one in five have cut back on socializing as a result of dental problems. And 28% say the appearance of their teeth and mouth undermines their ability to interview for a job.

The ADA study also found that:

  • More than 30% of young adults have untreated tooth decay (the highest of any age group)
  • 35% have trouble biting and chewing
  • Some 38% of this age group find life in general “less satisfying” due to teeth and mouth problems.
  • They are three times more likely than children to lack dental care due to financial reasons, with only 30% of millennials visiting the dentist each year.
  • Tooth pain was the most common dental complaint.

The Millennial Generation (as controversial as it is) brings with it the opportunity to attract an entirely new crowd of Pay, Stay, and Refer patients.

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Some dentists might find it hard to wrap their minds around millennial consumers, but they’ve got to do it. These are avid, passionate people who lean towards intense brand loyalty…IF you’re able to appeal to their wants and desires correctly. The millennial generation is larger than the Baby Boom generation and three times the size of Generation X, numbering roughly 77 million, millennial’s make up about one-fourth of the US population (src: Nielsen).

More than ever before, Millennial’s are the generation that don’t want to be sold, but they love to buy. These young women and men don’t respond well to marketing slogans or paid advertisements. Instead, they want to know the truth behind the facade of marketing.

Today’s patients have more access to information than generations past, and so they spend more time vetting their service providers.

Dentists are going to have to come to the harsh truth that you’re going to have to going to have to change to appeal to millennials who are extremely sensitive about technology and convenience.

Here are some criteria to keep in mind when targeting and attracting milleninal patients:

  • Millennials will compare you to other dentists and largely use Google to determine if you’re reputable or not. They are used to comparing service and costs and living on their smart phones: just like when they use INSTACART, UBER or FAVOR.
  • The won’t tolerate inefficiency with scheduling or within the hygiene department and certainly won’t deal with long wait times.
  • They expect transparent cost, pricing options, open communication and quality information when it comes to your practice and dental services. If you forget one of these then you might lose them permanently to a more efficient practice.
  • They place a premium on convenience and speed of service.

Call me a broken record, but THIS absolutely exemplifies why there is no better time than now to get your online search presence, especially your Google house, in order.

To understand why, you have to view search engines, social channels, and online directories as not just typical marketing vehicles, but venues for digital interactions.

Millennials look to the Internet for opinions, interactions, and community. They start and continue conversations with other users there.

By having a strong online presence with glowing reviews, positive testimonials, and the like, you are showing that you have made the effort to be part of this community and can be trusted. You become a known and already-vetted quantity, the same way you would react to a recommendation from a friend (or in this case, multiple friends).

As you continue to build your online presence, be it through online reviews, blog posts, and more, here are three additional hints to keep in mind

1. Build A Tribe

Millennials value community and inclusion. They tend to align themselves with entities that are not just hawking their wares, but serving a purpose. So how can you build that kind of community and show that sense of drive and mission?

Do you participate in local charity events or diversity rallies? Does your staff run marathons or participate in local chili cook-offs?

Talk about it — post a status update on Facebook or photo on Instagram photos with your staff, etc.

Show that you and your team are a part of something and that you aren’t just cashing checks at the end of the day.

2. Create Quality, Relevant Content That Can Be Easily Consumed

It’s easier than ever to create your own video series through YouTube or photo stream with Instagram, and these social “neighborhoods” are where your prospects are hanging out.

Think about how you can leverage these channels to control the conversation and keep your prospects’ and clients’ minds where you want them.

As a sample idea, once a week, get someone from your staff to record (with her iPhone) you giving a one-minute tip on dental wellness.

Gab about fun and buzz-worthy topics. Something along the lines of “2 Minutes to Whiter Teeth”.

On this particular episode, you could drop some hints on daily activities to keep one’s teeth whiter, casually dropping hints that your office offers whitening treatments that are fast, safe, and affordable. Then, publish that video to YouTube with appropriate tags and keywords and mention it on social media channels, to your email list, and even to patients — “Have you seen our YouTube channel? It’s awesome!”.

By the way, your Millennial-aged front desk staff can help you figure out the mind-numbingly easy task of posting a video to YouTube.

3. Educate and Inform Instead of Selling

This begins with a mindset shift on your part.

In our Darkside of Dentistry series, we talk about how most doctors believe that actively marketing and selling their services is sleazy.

Think again.

You are doing your patients a complete disservice if you’re not informing them about treatments and products that could help them. You just have to A) have it come from a place of service, not profit motivation, and B) have the “pitch” be educational in nature.

Consider this: When you go to see your CPA, she is your trusted adviser. You are depending on her to give you the best advice that will save you the most money. If she recommends something, it’s likely in your best interests, right?

You are your patients’ trusted adviser when it comes to their mouths. So when you recommend a procedure or or other service, teach your patient why it would be helpful to them.

In doing so, you’re not just “the guy or gal who I see once every 6 months for 30 minutes”. You become the one who helped them not be afraid to smile at parties anymore, or got rid of their jaw pain.

However, you need to adjust how you approach those conversations, which begins with you changing how you think about those conversations in the first place.

In short, marketing to and serving Millennials might involve a shift from what you’re used to, but ultimately, you are joining and participating in a community. And given the fact that you’re already a community dentist, it shouldn’t be all that hard.

NEED HELP MARKETING TO MILLENNIALS? BEFORE Millennial patients call your office, they will look up your name/practice on Google. Google has become the MOST “trusted resource” when people want to know if YOU are reputable or not.

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Be Bold and Make Things Happen!

Graig Presti, MBA
CEO Local Search For Dentists®; , A 4x Inc. 500/5000 Approved Dental Marketing Company
Best Selling Author

PS- I put my money where my mouth is. I guarantee this will be the most productive 5 minutes you’ve spend in over a year.

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src: http://www.ada.org/~/media/ADA/Science%20and%20Research/HPI/OralHealthWell-Being-StateFacts/US-Oral-Health-Well-Being.pdf?la=en