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Beyond the Tooth: Getting To Know Generation X

By Planet DDS
February 12, 2021

5 Insights That Impact Practice Growth in 2021

By Dr. Greg Grillo

As we review tomorrow’s schedule, we’re likely to see a handful of Gen Xers sandwiched between the Baby Boomers and Millennials. Demographically, that’s right where they fall. 65 million of them, born between 1965 and 1980, are hustling to raise kids and maximize their peak earning years. As a group, they present an opportunity to our practices. They need care, and so do their growing families and aging parents.

Gen-X deserves our attention, but they often get overlooked.

Fewer people can describe Generation X relative to other demographics, but that may reflect their adaptability. They’re comfortable with multiple social media platforms, and they’ll look at a paper coupon in the mail. Consider these five insights and how they’ll impact our practices in 2021 and beyond.

7 out of 10 Research Businesses Online

Generation X has one foot in the past and one in the future. They enjoy traditional TV, magazines, and newspapers, but they’ll use the internet to check out our practices before choosing to schedule.

IMPACT : You might have some success with traditional marketing methods, but it will take a strong digital presence to convert Gen X into patients. The implications stretch across the landscape, but here are a few essential action items:

  • Don’t leave reviews to chance. Implement a system that consistently nurtures feedback from patients of all ages.
  • Make sure your business listings are accurate across all directories. Accuracy affects your SEO, but searchers notice it, too.
  • Optimize your search results, and don’t let your website look like it’s still in the 2000’s.

95% of Generation X Resides on Facebook

Social media occupies so much digital real estate that it’s hard to imagine a world without it. But Facebook has only been part of anyone’s generation since 2004. Generation X migrated to Facebook early, and it continues as a favorite for this demographic, spending nearly an hour per day on the platform. Younger dentists may overlook the original platform for trendier options like Snapchat or Instagram. But the average person spends 38 minutes daily on Facebook, and older users constitute the fastest-growing demographic on Facebook today.

IMPACT: We’re free to use any social media platform, but we’ll get the best return by focusing our efforts on Facebook, followed by Instagram. That’s where we’ll find parents, two-income earners with dental benefits, caregivers, and the demographic with the highest-earning power. Key action items for us to consider:

  • Post on a regular schedule, ideally 3-4 times weekly. Consistency matters, and mix in relationship-building material.
  • Make Facebook reviews part of your ongoing strategy.
  • Update your address, website, phone number, and hours on your page.
  • Consider Facebook ads, or boost specific posts or videos for greater reach.

Gen X Dominates Brand Loyalty

This generation grew up during a time when traditional business and marketing ruled their formative years. When they discover brands they love, they tend to stick with them. In dentistry, we can earn and hold their loyalty through exceptional service, and we can reinforce our relationships with digital tools.

IMPACT: If we attract Gen Xers to our offices and show them the best healthcare experience, they’ll probably stay with us for years. 68% of people are willing to spend more with businesses that offer excellent service. Consider these strategies to build loyal Gen X patients:

Ask for referrals and follow-up with a thank you that includes a gift card. Make this process predictable by automating so that you never miss an opportunity.

Use pre-appointment comfort surveys to customize care and deliver an experience that bolsters loyalty.

Keep referrals flowing by sending patients a link via text and email after their visit. Their loyalty helps drive more patients to your office with a trail of Google and Facebook reviews.

Generation X Spends 110 Minutes Daily on Mobile Devices

A phone attached to the wall decorated Generation X’s homes when they grew up, but they’ve firmly adopted mobile devices today. It makes those of us in dentistry cringe, but worldwide more people own smartphones than own a toothbrush.

IMPACT: Fortunately, our patients own both phones and toothbrushes, but mobile devices represent an essential multi-tasking tool for everything from social media to research. Don’t overlook these key strategies:

Optimize your website for mobile. Over half of traffic comes from mobile devices, and your practice page marks your digital presence.

Users expect to pay bills and book appointments online, especially on mobile devices. Use mobile-friendly patient portals to meet their expectations.

80% of searches occur on mobile, so optimized campaigns and top listings on Google Maps pay big dividends.

Half of Gen X Feels Overlooked by Brands

It may not be an inferiority complex, but this demographic could use some love. Followed by more prominent demographics, we may not perceive them as tech-proficient as Millennials or Generation Z. Still, they’re comfortable with technology and ready to give their loyalty to brands that meet their expectations.

IMPACT: With a little strategic planning, we can build connections when other practices are looking past Gen X. Here are a few ways to make that happen:

  • Recognize they tend towards nostalgia more than other generations. Build messages that reflect on familiar memories or themes.
  • Send email campaigns that target this age group with patient-centric information about topics they care about. Consider family and cosmetic topics.
  • Use Facebook or Google Ads that display to this demographic with messages they like to hear.

Grow by Customizing, Automating, and Understanding

We tend to lump our patients into one bucket or classify them based on their insurance benefits or employment status. By understanding our patient mix’s unique generational characteristics, we’re more effective at designing targeted strategies.

Stop guessing you know what your patients want. Sign up for a free WEBINAR featuring a panel discussion with Gen X patients and help provide greater empathy and drive growth at your practice.