If you want to attract new dental patients to your practice, you need a strategy. Marketing your dental practice to new patients can be difficult—especially in big cities where markets tend to be oversaturated. A snappy looking website or good practice location may not be enough to grab the attention of new patients. In this post, we’ll explain how to attract patients with marketing and promotions that focus on giving dental patients what they are really looking for!
One way to get to new patients is to capitalize on the relationships you have with current patients. 84% of customers surveyed by Nielsen said that referrals from friends and family were their most trusted source of information on products and services. Ask patients to talk about their positive experiences on social media. Many will do so as a “thank you,” with no incentives required. You can also offer them something meaningful, like a gift certificate to a local spa or a free whitening kit, if they refer a friend to the practice. But before you offer financial incentives, check the ethics of your referral program.
Patients want a dental practice they can trust that understands the local community. One way to distinguish your dental practice from all the others in your area is to get involved at the local level. Apply to host a booth at a local fair or charity event, and bring lots of giveaway promotional items, like toothbrushes and canvas tote bags with your logo. Offer a promotion for discounted cleanings, or one free session of your specialized treatments, like nutritional consultation or homeopathic dentistry. Staff your booth with practice employees and appear in person yourself, shaking hands with potential new patients and talking to them in person about your quality dental care. Or consider hosting a food or blood drive by partnering directly with a local charity. Making your staff’s faces and your practice’s brand familiar in the local community and making a positive impression, is a great way to cultivate new patient relationships. Meeting new patients where they already are—at local events and supporting local causes—is a solid basis for a relationship.
Here is another example: a dentist in Texas who offers cash in exchange for Halloween candy. Kids who bring in candy during the week after the holiday collect $2 a pound for the sweet treats! He also gives prizes to kids who come in for regular checkups and are cavity-free. Coverage of his candy collection event by local news outlets has given him valuable free publicity.
The First Appointment to End All First Appointments!
Here’s what you want: more patients making their first appointments because it’s good for business. But focus on why they should want to make that first appointment with your practice. Offer new patients something extraordinary when they decide to come to your practice, and make it part of why they decide. Think about what a new dental patient wants when coming to a new practice: a sense of security, gentle dental care, a chance to get to know you and not just get in the chair and be poked and prodded. Respond to this with a new kind of first appointment!
A first appointment at your practice could include a detailed, one-on-one consultation with you, introductions to whatever specialty treatments your practice offers: whitening and other cosmetic procedures, dental phobia care, eco- or bio-dentistry, and more. Set aside time each week for longer new patient appointments and be sure to give that new patient 100% of your attention while they are there. Ask about them, their concerns, their priorities for their dental health. Your time and attention is the most valuable gift you can give them.
Another recommendation is to send patients home with a personalized home care plan for their oral health, and educational information that addresses the concerns they voiced. Give patients a reason to view their first appointment as something to look forward to! In all of your advertising and on your website and social media channels, make sure to emphasize that first appointments at your practice are well beyond the standard, individualized, and unique to you and your staff!
Patient acquisition is a goal for you, but the message that reaches potential patients should be all about them. Offer current patients attractive incentives for referring friends, and boost patient retention while you’re at it. Offer new patients a very personalized experience and they will come back. Make this your core message to patients: We’re here for YOU!