Read time: 8 minutes
You might know it by another name - the buyer’s journey or the customer journey - but no matter what you call it, understanding what your practice's Lead Conversion Journey is and how to improve it is an essential part of marketing and growing your practice.
What is a Lead Conversion Journey?
While Marketing does have a bad reputation for cheesy catchphrases, this one is pretty easy to break down:
This refers to your prospective patient enquiries. Anyone who is enquiring about starting a new treatment at the practice qualifies as a ‘lead’ for that treatment.
In this context, conversion refers to the moment when a lead turns in to a patient - when they sign on that dotted line and confirm they’re starting treatment. Conversion can occur at different points, depending on different treatments, and it can also be used to refer to when a lead moves through different parts of the journey.
This is the ‘decision-making’ journey that a lead is on. It’s the various points, stages or statuses that a lead travels through while they’re gathering information and deciding whether or not to go ahead with treatment, and whether or not to take up treatment with you.
When put together, the Lead Conversion Journey is really just the customer experience - it’s what happens to your prospective patient from the moment they first start thinking about a new treatment, to when they first get in touch, attend an initial consultation, and then finally decide to go ahead and become a patient.
How does that help your practice?
Whether you like it or not, in the modern practice, the experience your patients and your leads have at the practice all boils down to the basic concept of customer experience. Your practice provides a service or product, and your patients/leads are your customers.
As the old adage says, the customer is always right, so encouraging them to pick you as their dental provider, review your services positively and refer other people to you, is in your favour. This is even more true in an evolving world where information is at your fingertips and competition is growing on every side.
Having a smooth lead conversion journey ensures that your leads have a good experience and a positive interaction with the practice. It builds your reputation and grows your position in the industry and the community.
As such, understanding and monitoring your lead conversion journey will help you grow your practice by ensuring that you make the most of your enquiries and leads, turning as many of them into patients as possible, and providing an ROI on your marketing efforts.
The points in a conversion journey
In marketing parlance, there are a couple of key stages within a conversion journey, that a lead travels through to 'convert' and 'purchase' the service: Attract; Interact; Engage; Convert.
In DenGro, we've customised these into Status Points to be specific to dental treatments and the journey at prospective patients take when deciding to start treatment:
These are high level status points that don't necessarily reflect every small detail of what is involved in the full process of converting a lead in to a patient. Within each of these status points, you may have a number of smaller steps that need to be taken to move that lead through to becoming a patient.
Mapping your Lead Conversion Journey
It’s essential to know what your leads are experiencing, so make sure you walk through the journey every couple of months and check if it's still relevant - visit your website/landing page, submit your details, check how quickly the team responds and how.
When mapping your own conversion journey, start by documenting the high-level Status Points first, then detail what the lead experiences during each of those status points.
Go in to as much detail as possible about what steps need to be taken by the lead - and by the practice - in order to move a lead through the journey. Get an idea of how long each step and each status point might take, and how that might impact on the lead's decision to start treatment.
Try to put yourself in the shoes of someone who doesn’t know the practice, the treatment options, or the process. How does it feel?
Ready for improvement
Once you've mapped your current Lead Conversion Journey, it's time to improve it. Your conversion journey will never be perfect for long, so the key is to keep refining by monitoring and reviewing it on a regular basis - either every time you start a new marketing campaign, or quarterly.
When refining your mapped journey, you should keep these 3 key focuses in mind:
How many steps are there in the journey and how long does each one take - can you reduce the amount of time between the lead enquiring and them being able to start treatment?
Where are you currently losing leads. Is there a point where you can see they’re dropping off, losing interest, or going somewhere else? Find out what the barriers are and find solutions to reduce the loss and keep leads moving forward.
Are your team up to scratch? Encourage your team to walk through the conversion journey with you and include them in plans for improvements. They’re most likely on the frontline of the lead experience, they’ll have the anecdotal feedback that your reports might not show you, or suggestions that can make your journey more successful.
Sadly, a Lead Conversion Journey is never finished. However, once you've got the basic steps and a regular review process in place, monitoring and improving becomes easier.
As you've been going through the above, you'll have found that one conversion journey doesn't necessarily fit all treatments - Invisalign or Implants may have more steps than Whitening or Hygienist Services. And that's OK.
The key is to create a basic journey that empowers your team and helps the practice understand the approach and the direction. From there, it can be used as a springboard, adapting the journey to match the treatment, the lead, and the patient.
How can DenGro help?
We’re experts in how to nurture leads into starting treatment and have a wealth of data, experience, and knowledge to support that.
We know that managing and tracking leads in a successful way that encourages conversion is time-consuming, which is why we created DenGro in the first place: to try and simply the process, improve the customer experience, and support you lead conversion journey.
To find out more about how DenGro can help you grow your practice and make the most of your new treatment enquiries, book a quick online demo at www.dengro.com/book-a-demo or call the Practice Support team on +44 1225 375 025