What is your plan for attracting new patients and standing out from competing dental practices? Marketing should be an important element of your dental practice’s growth, but more than 60 percent of dentists don’t have a specific marketing strategy, according to Dentaltown. This represents a huge opportunity for innovative dentists to separate themselves from the competition and add new patients this year.
However, knowing how to market can be challenging. There are so many choices of how to spend your marketing dollars. Below, we highlight five top marketing tactics your dental practice should consider implementing this year.
Online Review Management
You should have a policy for handling online reviews, whether positive or negative – and especially negative reviews. Dentaltown reported that over half of dentists do not respond to negative online reviews, yet these carry more weight and impact your practice’s reputation more than positive reviews. How you handle them says a lot about your practice. A single negative review can cost you several new patients, whereas a practice with a strong online reputation can often charge higher fees and enjoy more loyal patients.
Referral Incentive Program
This is perhaps the easiest and quickest way to attract new patients, but most dental practices don’t have a plan for it. It’s important to advertise your program in your office, inpatient letters and emails, and on your website. Make sure your staff knows a script for mentioning the referral program to patients each time they visit.
Then, decide what your incentive will be: discounts, specials, gift cards, and free dental products are all good ideas. Set goals for your program, track progress, and make it easy for patients to participate by using online forms.
Your most valuable assets in building your practice are your existing patients. Talk to them and find out what they like about your practice, why they stay, and what they feel is missing from the patient experience. Ask questions like “How satisfied were you with your visit today?” or “How was your interaction with the doctor?” Use a mix of multiple choice and open-ended questions and keep the survey short.
You can use the results of the survey to determine which parts of your practice and patient experience to change, if there are dental services your patients would like but are not offered, what makes your practice better than competitors (in the patients’ eyes), and design customized content like blog posts, e-books, case studies, and infographics.
If your dental practice isn’t on social media yet, it should be. There’s more to a social media strategy than simply creating a Facebook account; first, figure out the demographics of your current patients, and your ideal patients. Where are those groups likely to converge online? Facebook tends to attract older users, whereas Snapchat is popular among young adults and teens.
Once you decide where your audience is, determine what kind of content you want to share about your practice to attract those types of followers. Post regularly, add some level of paid or sponsored posts, and watch your online following grow.
According to Dentaltown, 72 percent of dental practices are not creating videos to market their practice. You should be! Videos have higher engagement than text or pictures alone and are great for driving traffic to your website. Where do you start? You can go as simple as Facebook Live or Instagram videos using your phone, or as elaborate as scripted, professionally produced video sets – or somewhere in between. Content for videos can range from short interviews with you or your staff, virtual tours of your office, dental hygiene tips, or patient testimonials.
There are many other marketing tactics you can use, but we think these five areas will add the most impact and make the best use of your time. What other marketing tools are you using to attract new patients? Tell us, and maybe we’ll feature you in an upcoming blog post!