Want more new patients in 2017? A lot more? Implement these 3 no-fail strategies for dental practice growth, and your wish will come true.
Let’s first look at three areas important to practice growth.
One is external marketing. This includes all efforts to attract new patients, such as your website, patient referrals, and print or radio advertising.
The second area is internal marketing, which involves recall and retention. Keeping patient is imperative for not only sustaining, but growing your practice.
Thirdly, and only if your internal and external marketing are in place, a practice should consider building a niche, such as cosmetics, TMJ treatment, implant dentistry, Invisalign, or sleep apnea and snoring treatment. Becoming the go-to doctor in your region for a specific treatment will help increase patient numbers and profits in the coming year.
Having helped thousands of dentists in my career, I’ve seen what works – and unfortunately, what doesn’t – to grow a practice. I’d like to share 3 specific techniques that you may not have employed in the past, to help you quickly and effectively increase your patient base in the coming year.
Ready or not, here we grow! (See what I did there? Yeah, well. I’m no comedian.)
THREE: Patient Appreciation & Referral Incentives
In these days of mass marketing and electronic communication, snail mailboxes are packed full of advertisements for dental practices. Email boxes are inundated with spam, because you cannot sign up for anything without giving your email address. Traditional recall postcards, and the more recent recall emails, usually get lost in the chaos.
However, if you do not keep your name in front of your current patients, three things can easily happen:
- they forget about recall visits;
- they go to another dentist, and
- they don’t refer you to friends and family.
One solution for this is a solid internal marketing plan. There are many options available for staying in front of your patients between their semi-annual visits.
I like the ToothbrushHub.com program. It allows you to send a new toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss (all of your choosing) to patients, as often as you like. Three months is suggested, but once or twice a year are also options. Your shipment can include a postcard to remind the patient to refer you to friends, and to remember their own recall visit. By providing essential homecare tools to your patients, through the mail, you’ll enjoy the benefits of: 1) marketing that cannot be ignored; 2) being viewed as a dentist who truly cares about his/her patients’ oral health; and 3) stay in front of your patients, so they remember to refer you to friends and family.
TWO: Polished, Professional, SEO Rich Website that Pushes Conversion
Your website is your online resume – it’s you’re entire brand at one address. Potential patients and current patients will visit your site. In today’s marketplace, it is imperative that your website be modern, user-friendly, and informative. At the least, it should have information about the practice, the doctor, and the location. But this is just a start – what we call a brochure site – with no SEO value. Your website can (and should) be the single most valuable marketing asset your practice has.
A great dental website:
- impresses current patients to promote referrals,
- while also attracting new patients
- and prompting them to call the office for an appointment.
Only with a solid SEO plan, content management, and responsive design (for mobile and desktop) can you achieve these goals – and win new patients with the least investment.
Identiwrite Creative offers website design and development, not on a proprietary content management system like many web companies, but using WordPress and hosting in your account with GoDaddy or Bluehost. We handle everything, from moving the domain to setting up email to designing, building, and optimizing the website. In addition, Identiwrite Creative handles long-term on-page SEO with content management. We write completely custom text for blogs and webpages, which will ultimately push a site to page one results, then sustain high positioning on Google. Interested? Call Shauna t 940-395-5115 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your website.
ONE: A Niche for Your Practice
If you have a great website, steady new patient flow, and solid retention of current patients, the next logical step is practice growth. One way to promote growth is with a niche. Once you determine which area of dentistry you’d like to focus on, you’ll need to create a brand and online presence for that particular area of expertise.
For instance, if you’re interested in sleep dentistry, building out your website with an entire section dedicated to sleep apnea and snoring cessation should be job one. Your marketing efforts should include email captures, an email responder program, and social media promotions. Particularly for sleep dentistry, I suggest reading Kicking the Bear Out of the Bedroom by Steven Wick. It’s available on Amazon here. Steven’s wife is a sleep dentist, and he’s been in the business side of dentistry for many years. His program for building out a sleep niche in a dental practice is quite impressive.
Resolve to Grow in 2017
Whether or not you believe in New Year’s resolutions, efforts to improve your dental practice will not go unrewarded, as long as you make good decisions, follow through, and get your team on board. For help with dental marketing, call me. I’m Shauna Duty, owner of Identiwrite Creative, and an experienced dental marketing professional. My team of designers, developers, and copywriters has helped many dentists grow their practices and achieve the next level of success. Don’t let 2017 fly by without a plan for growth!