There are a lot of considerations when looking at expanding and growing your dental practice.  From staffing and hiring to expanding to new locations or improving your current office, you have a lot to consider.  But one area that should be one of your top considerations is “how does this change allow me to get more patients?” and “How much is each new patient worth to me?”  While the first question is dependent on a lot of factors, the second questions is something you and your office can control, and a piece of information that you should know. 

Determining a dental patient’s value

There are many ways that you can determine the value of your new patients, and it can take time to get the full picture, but here are some basic practices you can use to try and find the average value of each new patient in your dental practice.

1. Group your patients by type.  Because each patient you see is completely different, breaking your patients into groups is the easiest way to start determining value.  For example, let’s say that in the last year you performed 12 emergency procedures, or about one each month, and let’s assume each one was a new patient.  That is a very defined group with a specific type of treatment.  You can do the same with new patients looking for implants, cosmetic dentistry, or any other procedure.  For family dentistry, you may look at factors like average family size to help determine the average family size in your area.

2. Once you have groups, determine the average annual value of each group.  In this step, you are not oly looking at dollar amounts, but trends as well.  In the case of emergency procedures, you will want to see if those patients return for cleaning and continual treatment, or if they are simply a flash in the pan.  In the case of family dentistry, you can look at total number of family members treated, then find the average value of each family, which will give you much more consistent data.

3. If available, determine the average length of patient treatment by group.  This number, while harder to track if you have recently purchased a practice or are just starting out, not only helps to determine long term patient value, but how your practice is retaining each type of patient in the long run.  This also helps you to look at longer averages, which tends to make your number more consistent and provide a better valuation for each type of patient.

With this information, you are ready to make an assessment to your practice for each type of new patient.  We found that, in broad terms and not taking any specific groups or trends into consideration, over the course of a three-year period the average dental patient is worth between $900 – $1,200, after expenses.

Patient Valuation Helps to Determine Marketing Efforts

If you look this and say “well, you already gave me a number and it is close enough, why should I worry about the value of each patient?” The answer is, to determine your marketing success.  When you look at a marketing campaign, be it an open house, mailers, or any other type of outreach, you should know what your return on investment is.  For instance, let’s assume your average patient is worth $1,000 over the course of three years, and you do a mailer campaign that costs $500.  If you got two new patients from that mailer, that is $2,000 over the course of three years, or about $650 in the first year. That means that those mailers may take a year to pay for themselves.  If you were to get five new patients, that is $5,000 over three years, and the mailers pay for themselves in about six months. 

Ignoring Your Local Ranking in Google is Leaving Potential Money on the Table

With 80% of people using search engines to find local product and service information, you are missing a huge part of the market if you are not investing in your search engine optimization, or SEO.  Unlike mailers, search engine optimization and local search optimization provide long term results and are not a one-and-done service.  Yes, mailers can get into the household of potential patients, but how many of those mailers end up in the garbage?  How many of them are really saved for that time when they may need a new dentist?  When you rank page one, number one for your key search terms on Google, that means that people are seeing your practice while they are actively looking for your service, at any time, on any device.  How many patients are you losing by not being on page one? 

Get Started Today

If you are ready to bring in new patients and stop leaving money on the table, contact us for a free consultation.  We can discuss your marketing efforts, and how we can help you to grow your practice through local search optimization, reputation management, SEO, Pay-Per-Click, and social media.  And if you need help in creating a website, or even a mobile app, check out our amazing limited time offer.