It cannot be understated that the current situation surrounding the NHS clawback (dare I say) controversy is set to be fairly monumental for the profession. There is a growing feeling that NHS and mixed practices that were already struggling may be forced to either close completely or drastically change their offering and become fully private. This will no doubt make waves in the private dentistry sector, with more competition and potentially more patients in the market. How best then to stay one step ahead?
Firstly, let’s look at what the opportunities are. A smaller NHS provision will naturally force more people to undertake private treatment. That’s going to be a huge boon to practices who are struggling with patient numbers if they seize the chance to get the early adopters through the door as fast as possible. I’ve mentioned before in this blog that pay-per-click advertising is incredibly useful for this kind of marketing push. Emergency and New Patient campaigns don’t break the bank, and in the last 18 months we’ve seen conversion rates for these that have been higher than anything that’s come previously. With more and more people on the look out for a new practice or desperate to see a dentist for emergency work, there’s every possibility that this trend will continue and even grow.
The sensible practice will also be reviewing their finance options. By definition, many of these new patients may not have the financial resources that traditional private patients may enjoy. As such, you’ll need to look at what you’re offering new patients. Is there a practice plan they can go on for regular check-ups? What about children? What about treatment plans? These are the kind of things that patients will look for when finding a new practice, so it’s important that your website accurately reflects what you can offer.
The potential danger, of course, is that the market may be flooded with new private practices, especially ones owned by corporates that just love snapping up practices sold by independent dentists. It’s vital in these situations that you stand out from the crowd. What are your strengths as a practice? Your USPs? Does your digital front door put your best foot forward, or is it looking old and dated? With more people than ever before on the lookout for a place to get their dental treatment, it’s critical that your website is capable of picking up and converting these opportunities.
As always, any turmoil in the industry can be worrying, but much like how the post covid world meant that practices were busier than ever before, the post clawback world is likely to mean even more opportunity to fill books. So long as your practice has all its ducks in a row in terms of website, SEO and pay-per-click, then the potential for growth remains huge.