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How to develop an Ideal Patient Profile to attract the right patients to your practice

How to develop an Ideal Patient Profile to attract the right patients to your practice
Bob Bowers

One of the few things my wife and I do NOT see eye to eye on is how to go shopping.  When I go shopping I know exactly what I am going to purchase, the brand, the model, and the price I am willing to pay. My wife likes to shop with no defined list or agenda. Inevitably she ends up with a lot of stuff that was “a good deal” but in my opinion may not have been a necessity.


Annnnd I’ll stop there before I get in too much trouble.

My point is, many dental practice marketing programs operate like my wife. They do not know who their marketing is supposed to be attracting. They lack a real target. Predictably they end up attracting new patients that are not a good fit for the practice.

If you want to “shop” more like me and less like my wife, and get patients that fit your practice, you need to develop an Ideal Patient Profile or IPP.

How to define your practice IPP

Apply the Hedgehog Concept

Jim Collins in his book “Good to Great” clarified this idea demonstrating that organizations are more likely to succeed if they focus on one primary offering, and doing it well. By doing so, they can get an edge on their competitors and become truly great businesses. Here is where you as a practice define what you are passionate about and want to be the best in your community at providing.  Are you passionate about cosmetic dentistry, wellness, dentures, or maybe family oriented dentistry? The more specific you can be, the better.

Once you have defined who YOU are, you can then construct an Ideal Patient Profile by answering some key questions.

What are the demographics?

  • What is your ideal patient’s average age?
  • Is your ideal customer male, female or both?
  • What is the income level of your IPP?
  • What area of your community does your ideal patient live?

What are some defining characteristics?

  • What are your ideal patient’s interests or hobbies?
  • What are your ideal patient’s professions?
  • What kind of life priorities do your ideal patients have?
  • What do your ideal patients avoid or dislike?

Where are they shopping for their dental needs?

  • Where does your ideal patient spend their time?
  • Where does your ideal patient get exposed to and interact with marketing and advertising?
  • What blogs or websites does your ideal patient use or read?

What “Fascinates” your ideal patients?

In her best-selling book “Fascinate” author Sally Hogshead shares 7 triggers to persuasion and captivation that you can use to define your brand and attract your ideal clientele. They are Lust, Mystique, Alarm, Trust, Prestige, Power, and Vice.

Define what triggers and captivates your ideal patient profile and interweave those triggers into your patient marketing philosophy.


Here is an example of a practice IPP

We are passionate about cosmetic dentistry with a focus on fee for service clientele.

Who we want to attract:

  •  Age 35-65, both male and female
  • Earning $50,000+ annually
  • Lives in the northwest or west side of the city
  • Likely a current or retired business professional, or employee of ADCO or BEMCO.
  • Live an active professional and personal life with hobbies that may include sailing, fishing, or other activities in the local bay.
  • Care about maintaining their oral health and cosmetics of their smile long term
  • Avoid low quality purchases and place value in long term quality products
  • Likely does not have insurance as a consultant for ADCO or BEMCO, retired without insurance, or small business owner without insurance
  • Patients spend a lot of time online reading local and national news and professional blogs and participate in professional social media groups
  • Fascination triggers include Lust (cosmetics), Prestige (cosmetics, quality), and Trust.


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