No matter how well-equipped, managed and staffed a dental practice is, it won’t be very successful if it can’t attract and keep a suitable number of able-to-pay patients. In fact, finding a loyal, financially-stable clientele can easily be the first order of business for a new dental practice.
Since people can always switch dentists and can’t always be expected to keep coming back (unless provided with special incentives), it’s also an important function for dentists who’ve been in business for a while.
Here are some time-proven strategies sure to produce results:
1. Make better use of post scripts (PSs)—as a matter of fact, don’t underestimate the value and power of emailing as a marketing tool. Post scripts, the short “summaries” or parting thought(s) you leave at the end of your message, may be the only part people read—as such, make it count! Give people a compelling reason to respond.
2. Provide lots of educational material for an information-hungry public; in fact, turn your website into a one-stop virtual library of useful dental health information, including important links to major dental schools and government health agency websites, blogs and publications.
3. Make special introductory offers no one in their right mind is likely to turn down or ignore. Forget about piddling offers like “10% off your dental cleaning for first time patients”—instead, shoot big.
How about a “$50 gift card for all new patients” or “pay only $15 for a check-up, cleaning and x-rays—this applies to new patients only!” Your exam and x-rays are bound to find out things these patients probably don’t know and can be excellent reasons for a return visit.
4. Establish and maintain a strong social media presence on the Internet. This may require having to officially assign someone to this task but, in the long run, it will be well worth what you invest.
5. Offer services other run-of-the-mill dentists may not offer—maybe because of the high cost of purchasing the equipment, not having trained staff to handle it, etc. These may include Bitewing digital X-rays, cosmetic procedures, implant placement, etc.
6. Work on generating positive online reviews; there are services you can hire that specialize in handling this function. These outfits, by the way, know ways to remove or challenge bad reviews, which may be unfairly (if their content isn’t true) hurting your practice.
7. Offer a meaningful gift/incentive to any patient that refers someone else to your practice. Again, don’t be cheap about this—i.e., make it worth their while to make the effort.
8. Make it worthwhile for satisfied patients to write cogently-written testimonials on behalf of your practice. Studies show that it’s mostly people who had problems that will write about their experiences. In general, therefore, you will have to sweeten the pie (or at least make it easy for them), if you want satisfied clients to write testimonials.
9. Make use of Pay Per Click (PPC) and Social Media Marketing (SMM) advertising options. This is a great way to kick start your dental marketing. It takes only a day to set-up and launch and can generate leads within days.
10. Establish good “business referral” relationships with other businesses or practices in your community. Visit local physicians, for example, and give them reasons to send patients with dental issues in your direction.
You may be surprised how many more patients you can garner through these win-win relationships with other professionals. Remember, you can also refer to these physicians you develop a rapport with patients with non-dental problems spotted during your examination.
These days, considering how bad the economy is and how much competition there is for all services, you can’t afford to just wait for patients to trickle in on their own
Instead, have a proactive approach which, if followed assiduously, should provide you with all the patients you may need in order to have a thriving dental practice.