No matter what size or how old your practice is, reaching out to new and future patients is crucial for every dentist. Even dentists that enjoy strong and reliable levels of repeat business experience natural patient loss as individuals and their families go through life-changes. Therefore, you need to maintain a healthy stream of new patients.
Marketing a dental practice is not as simple as it perhaps once was. We have the internet, and all it has to offer at our fingertips, yet in today’s saturated media market, marketing efforts often just end up in the deleted folder. In order to track your return on investment, you need to understand whether your efforts are reaching the right people.
The following tips can help you market your practice through channels that do work.
Tip one: have a consistent message
All too often the principal dentist and their team’s idea of what their practice’s brand stands for is inconsistent. Furthermore, the actual message to the marketplace in the form of websites and advertising can also be inconsistent with one another. So, if the practice itself is confused, imagine the message to the prospective patient. You may want to consider hiring a practice development specialist who can help you and your staff achieve specific goals, whilst training the whole team, from the front office staff through to nurses, on how to engage with patients.
Tip two: carry out market research
Are your patients local? Do they have dental insurance? What levels of service appeal to them? Based on your practice, target prospective patients with services they will be most interested in, whether it’s a practice aimed at the family, aesthetics such as teeth whitening or veneers, more specialised services like dental implants, or just a straightforward maintenance plan.
Tip three: offer incentives
Offering an incentive can make a massive difference when you’re competing with other dentists in your area. Incentives can come in many shapes and sizes; you could simply offer a free initial consultation or discounts on treatments. Included within the incentive should be a simple ‘call to action’, which will provoke an immediate response from the patient. Ensuring the incentive is time-based will encourage the patient to act quickly.
Tip four: engage with patients online
It’s really important for you to develop your online presence and make sure your website is there when potential patients are searching online for a new practice in their area. Social media is a powerful marketing tool. Over the past 12 months, the internet has established itself as a key source of new patients for dental practices. Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs are giving practices easy access to new patients who buy, not on price, but on relationships and reputation.
Tip five: track your progress
When a new patient comes into the practice, the front-of-house staff should always ask the patient how they heard of the practice and what persuaded them to come in. This information should be recorded so you can analyse which marketing activity generated the most leads. Measuring the success of your marketing activity is vital.
Louisa Buckingham is part of the marketing team at Patient Plan Direct, the UK’s fastest growing dental plan provider, delivering the most cost effective solution to administering patient dental plans. It delivers an approach that offers complete flexibility, embraces 21st-century technology and focuses on support to maximise income and nurture patient-base loyalty and growth.
For more information on discovering a solution to dental plans that fits any practice’s requirements visit www.patientplandirect.com.