How to Compete With Discount Dental Practices

This article originally appeared in the July/2019 issue of the Academy of General Dentistry’s AGD Impact magazine.

By: Jackie Ulasewich

You take great pride in offering the highest quality dentistry available. You invest in the best equipment, attend training sessions to grow professionally and hold memberships in the most renowned organizations. Therefore, you don’t feel obligated to offer discounted treatments. Aren’t patients willing to pay for quality treatment?

The short answer is yes, but competing in a market that is saturated with businesses offering specials and discounts can be tricky. To resonate with the right patients, you have to appeal to their appreciation of excellence.

Help Them Understand

Most patients don’t understand that they aren’t comparing apples to apples when it comes to quality vs. discount. It’s up to you to help them understand that they’re actually comparing apples to high fructose corn syrup. Until you educate your patients — current and prospective — about the differences between your practice and one that offers discount dentistry, it’s only natural that the practice that saves them money (up front, anyway) will be the most appealing.

As professionals in the industry we know you cannot truly be compared to corporate dental clinics. These dentists and clinics are backed by major health corporations with deep pockets and can saturate the market with their flashy website, online ads, TV commercials, billboards and even radio. Unfortunately, the common patient doesn’t know the difference between a private, quality practice and corporate dentistry. It’s up to you to use marketing to educate your consumer and let them know why your practice is the right choice for them. Market your state-of-the-art technology, educate them on quality versus the quantity approach, tell them they are not just a dollar sign in your practice, inform them how you treat comprehensively and don’t perform unnecessary procedures. The list could go on but the goal is to educate what makes you different and how you are the right choice.

Every Marketing Effort Should Promote Quality

Your website, Facebook posts and ads, blogs, landing pages, Google ads and emails need to serve as constant reminders that you offer what discount practices cannot: high-quality, long-lasting and esthetically pleasing dental treatments. Emphasizing the following points will help you do just that.

  • Explain how the dental care you provide will ultimately benefit them. Help them see that, whether it’s greater comfort, enhanced appearance, or longer-lasting results, choosing quality over discount is a better deal in the end.
  • Point out that selecting the quality care you provide can save them money in the long run. Discount dental practices often use sub-par products, rely on outdated technology and don’t invest in continuing education.
  • Target your marketing to the patients you want to appeal to. Consider the education, income and zip codes of potential patients who are most likely to value quality. Use keywords and terms that emphasize the ways your practice is superior and unique, but avoid bashing other local dentists. Your goal is to attract patients who will appreciate the quality dentistry you provide. When you take the time to understand your target patient, you can better speak to them in your marketing. Think about the things that matter to them, and be sure to use those terms throughout every marketing effort you produce online and offline.

While using this approach may yield a lower volume of new patients, it will ultimately help you find those who appreciate quality and are willing to invest in the superior treatments you offer.