A focus group is a research method that involves collecting opinions and feedback from a small group of people about a particular product or service. The feedback can provide a better understanding of how the general public is likely to feel about the product or service being offered, or how the product can be improved. For a dental pricatice, these insights gathered through focus groups can be sone of the most powerful marketing tools at your disposal.
Focus groups can be used by dental practices in a variety of ways, such as trying out a new product or procedure, testing the office intake process, determining whether to expand to new locations, or even discovering the best way to deliver affordable dental services to your community. Unlike market reports that help you understand the success of your marketing efforts in terms of numbers, focus groups can help your practice learn first-hand, specific information about how your patients feel.
How Big Does a Focus Group Need to Be for Your Dental Practice?
The more feedback you receive, the better, right? Well, yes and no. The recommended size of a focus group is actually between 5-7 people, and never more than 10. The reason to keep the group small is to encourage the individuals to participate in dialogue online or face-to-face, with each participant in the group having an opportunity to have their say. This is difficult to obtain with a larger group and often leads to less information being offered by the participants.
In addition to participants, successful focus group efforts also involve a moderator. The moderator’s job is to ask questions of the participants and guide the discussion, posing follow-up questions and involving all participants in the conversation.
What Are the Advantages of a Dental Focus Group Over a Survey or Other Research Tools?
Like surveys, focus groups allow you to direct the type of information you receive through the questions asked. However, unlike surveys, focus groups also allow participants to interact with each other and with the moderator to give deeper insight into their feelings about the selected topic. For a dental practice, this can provide numerous benefits, including:
- Fast results: A highly concentrated series of discussions can be performed over a short period and the feedback is instant.
- Inexpensive feedback: For the amount of information focus groups provide, it costs very little to assemble and obtain the services of an experienced moderator.
- Flexibility: While focus groups traditionally involve in-person discussion, technology has given rise to online focus groups utilizing video or text chat features. This makes them even more affordable and easier to schedule than an in-person gathering at a venue.
- Direct Feedback: Dental practices are provided with results that are easy to understand and easy to share through direct quotes from the participants. In many cases, the focus group discussion can be recorded to be reviewed by you or your team at your convenience.
Focus group insights can spur creativity and innovation as you learn exactly what your target market needs, wants, and expects as it pertains to your dental practice. Additionally, focus groups can uncover unexpected problems with a planned service, enabling you to develop solutions for your patients before offering the service to everyone.
Using Focus Groups When Preparing Advertising Campaigns
An advertising campaign for your dental practice is often a large investment of not only your money, but also your time. Because most ad campaigns are built around a message, it is important to know before you make the investment how that message resonates with your target market. Testing marketing messages is where focus groups shine, providing you the opportunity to obtain feedback not only from the participants’ discussion but also from their facial expressions and body language.
It’s important to evaluate the group to determine if they are truly representative of your target market to ensure the discussion provides the information you need. However, what happens if the focus group’s interactions indicate that your proposed ad campaign is unlikely to be effective? Worst case scenario, you tweak your strategy or postpone the campaign to conduct further research, but this way, you won’t spend a lot of money and time on an ineffective campaign.
Tips for Effective Focus Groups for Your Dental Practice
If you’re ready to assemble a focus group and learn more about your target market, there are a few considerations to make. The first is understanding the amount of opinions you need in order to give credibility to the insights gained through the group. Often, multiple focus group sessions can allow you to keep the group size small but garner feedback from a larger number of participants. There is no rule as to how many focus group sessions you can hold, but be sure you have the time and staff to handle them.
Define the specific demographics you want to be included in the study. If you’re planning to offer a new product at your pediatric dentistry practice, for example, your discussion should include children in the targeted age range. Develop the questions you want to ask the participants and arrange them in a sequence that will logically allow participants to journey from a general discussion to specific details.
Finally, ensure the moderator you use is experienced, able to control and guide the conversation, and has enough background knowledge of the topic to know when to ask follow-up questions.
Market My Market Can Help You Get the Most Out of Focus Groups
At Market My Market, our team takes pride in our diverse backgrounds and experiences. We strive to create an environment where everyone has the opportunity to contribute new ideas. We understand the value that focus groups can bring to your dental practice as you build and grow your business, and we enjoy partnering with our clients to ensure they receive the marketing information they need.
Focus groups are just one tool we can use to improve your practice alongside top-notch content writing, excellent SEO services, best-in-class video production, and much more. To learn about our services, schedule a Zoom call through our online contact form or call us at (866) 270-2250.