If you are the owner of a dental practice, whether you are just starting out new by developing your own practice, bought a practice, or are one who has an established patient base, you need to be attracting new patients to continue your practice with an optimum patient flow. Developing and implementing a marketing plan can generate the influx of patients you need and will keep your practice fresh with new ideas and innovative treatments.
Many dentists are aware of the need to have a marketing plan but do not know where to start or how to get more patients. One way is to begin by answering a few basic questions about your practice. Then select one or all of the 20 suggestions for how to get more patients into your dental practice.
Your marketing plan begins with determining some of the following:
Once you have established your goals, you can develop an actionable marketing plan. Here are some tips for how to get more patients into your dental practice and for how to keep those established patients coming back.
1) Create an attractive, personalized, optimized website. Most patients now find a new dental practice online. Your website needs to be user-friendly and mobile-friendly. Do not clutter it with too many graphics, but add photos of you, your staff, and your office.
Optimize the page with an explanation of the services you provide. Find out the services your nearby competition provides and emphasize the unique services you provide that they don’t. For example, do you provide after-hours emergency services? Implants? Dentures? Emphasize your strong points.
Your goal is for the person visiting your page to become a patient. Provide an About Us page with information about your practice, practice area pages so they can understand the services you offer, and a contact page where they can make an appointment with you.
Ask for expert help to be sure the design will attract new patients and keep established ones coming back. It will be money well spent.
2) Have a blog on your website. Your blog can be a window into your practice. You can establish yourself as an expert. Keep your content fresh and readable. This is a great way to establish yourself as an expert on various topics.
You may want to expand into podcasts or conduct webinars that have a question-and-answer period to follow. Make a recording of the webinar available on your website so those who were unable to attend will be able to watch and then be drawn to make an appointment with you.
3) Provide 24-hour online appointment making on your website. New and established patients look for ways to make appointments online. They want the convenience of 24-hour access.
4) Get involved in the community. Sponsor a local event and have the name of your practice on t-shirts, coffee cups, or other items that call attention to your practice. Volunteer to speak to parent groups at schools.
5) Encourage patients to leave positive reviews. Post these reviews on your website and include them on the fliers that you leave with other businesses in the area and pass out at community events.
6) Take advantage of directory listings. A large percentage of prospective patients look for a dentist through online directories. Be sure you are listed with any directory you can find like the Better Business Bureau, Yelp, HealthGrades, Vitals, and Angie’s List. All listings should be consistent.
7) Use press releases. Whenever something is in the news that concerns dentistry, or if you add a service or piece of advanced technological e equipment, issue your own press release.
8) Establish a patient referral network. This can take many forms. Establish a relationship with local physicians who will refer patients to you.
9) Use social media for marketing. It is now almost essential that you have a social media presence. It should be such that you can engage with the visitors and answer their questions. Post frequently so there is fresh content that will bring potential and existing patients back to your site to see what is new.
10) Offer new patient specials. This can be the secret incentive to attracting patients who are thinking of finding a new dentist but have not yet made that leap. Check with competitors to be sure your new patient special is different from any other one that may be offered in your geographical area.
11) Offer a membership plan. The ADA suggests that offering an annual membership plan is a new way that dentists are increasing their patient base. They can offer an annual membership at a fee and be specific in the offer about what services will be covered.
12) Offer discounts to keep patients coming back. It can be disconcerting for established patients to read about a special you are offering to new patients. They want to be rewarded for their loyalty. Consider offering discounts, such as a free * cleaning after two other services
13) Utilize the benefits of promotional flyers. Printed fliers are still helpful even in this digital age. You can leave them with nearby businesses and ask that they be made available at check-out counters. Pass them out at local events.
14) Establish flexible payment plans. Not all patients have dental insurance. There are quite a few who need dental work but don’t seek it out since they feel they cannot pay for it. If you can offer flexible payment plans, you will attract them to your office. You can do this in several ways. The most common way is to accept charge cards. Think about partnering with a finance company that will allow patients to borrow for their dental care.
15) Take advantage of radio advertising. Give up the idea that radio advertising is obsolete. Radio Advertising Facts reports that 92 percent of all Americans listen to the radio every week. There is the “drive time” when commuters are going to and from work and a large percentage of them are listening to the radio during that time.
16) Join networking organizations. Join the local dental association and attend meetings. Network with other dentists. Generate referrals to you from dentists who do not offer a service that you offer. Join the Chamber of Commerce to network with other business owners in your community.
17) Add services. Check with your competitors and determine if there are services they are not offering that you can offer. You may want to explore offering cosmetic dentistry for improving smiles. If you like to work with children, advertise your office as child-friendly.
18) Utilize social media. Using social media can position your brand in an economical way that reaches a large audience with little effort on your part. You can develop a large following. Do some research to see what social media platforms are frequented the most by your target audience. Regularly post engaging content related to your practice and the dental industry in general. Use keywords and hashtags relevant to your practice.
19) Ask patients for feedback and referrals. Ask patients to provide feedback. You can do this by sending emails and asking them to rate their experience. Reviews help you know what works and what doesn’t. They can help you improve your practice and use that improvement to attract patients. You can learn how to turn even a negative review into a positive.
For those patients who give you positive feedback, you can send a follow-up email asking them for referrals.
20) Hire skilled staff. Your staff has direct interaction with your patients. They set the tone for whether your practice is inviting patients to return, or off-putting so they find another dentist. One rude or indifferent employee can drive away a host of patients. Skilled, experienced, personable, and trained professionals may come with the need for you to pay a top-dollar salary, but what you get in return for patient satisfaction and referrals will likely be worth it.
Dental & Medical Counsel is dedicated to helping dentists and other medical professionals in developing their practices so they can be the best they can be with the most successful dental practices possible. Our clients have had great experiences with certain marketing companies, so if you want a referral to interview them please Contact us for a free consultation. Our phone number is 925-999-8200.
At Dental & Medical Counsel, PC, we understand dentists have trouble navigating the legal process. We believe every dentist deserves the best advice and service so doctors can do what they do best, treat their patients. We make dentists' lives easier by providing expert guidance, so they can focus on their personal and professional aspirations.
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