Laser Dentistry Blog

ONCE UPON A COUPON

Posted by Svetlana Li on Jan 18, 2013 2:02:00 PM

dental_couponsDear Doctor, 

I need a dentist.  Or at least I can say I'm not particularly loyal to the dentist I currently go to every now and then.  So here's my question: Would you please offer me a 20% discount so I could come and get your professional services? What about 15%?  

Hopefully, 
Iris Ponsible  

Let's start again.......  If you are thinking about coupons or the modern craze of Groupon-like programs, realize that essentially you are discounting your services and cutting your profits.  If you are willing to do that, then go ahead and send out the coupons.  But at least put some restrictions and controls on them.  Retail stores such as Target thrive on volume; they want as many buyers as possible showing up with a coupon. But you don't want 500 new patients showing up one day; you don't especially want bargain-hunter patients who will be looking to go elsewhere for a more attractive coupon; you don't want to give away too much profit; you don't want to be stuck with honoring the coupon forever. You need to control your couponing.  
First ask yourself why you are willing to discount (coupon). Are you looking for new patients to come in on 1 or 2 slower days? Or do you want patients to increase their spending?  Are you promoting a new service?  There's no question that couponing can add patients to your business, but you must always ask yourself at what cost.  Determine up front an ROI goal; foresee any additional costs (e.g., hiring an additional receptionist); determine precisely the cost of the discount; understand clearly your profit margin now and, as best you can project, the decrease caused by the coupon program. Do your homework; know your finances.

Probably the smartest thing to do is to get help from a pro in the field.  Valpak, a direct mail coupon company, has knowledgeable people who can work with you to structure a program that meets your goals.  Groupon, Half Off Depot and similar companies will assist you in analyzing your goal, determining your criteria, formulating a program and projecting your ROI. Via these online promotion companies, I receive local special promotions from dental offices 2 or 3 times a week, just opening my e-mail every morning.  

There is merit in couponing -- as long as it is the right way, for the right purpose.  Before you start, remember these points:
• In essence, you are discounting your services or products (e.g., whitening kits).
• You need well thought out controls.
• You would be wise to seek the help of a professional expert.  

Then you can respond intelligently to Iris.

Author: Joe Skillin

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Topics: Dental Tips