By Kathy Simpson
Marketing your dental practice is hard work. Not only do you need to set your practice apart from every other practice out there, you also need to spread your marketing message in a variety of ways. This combination of online and offline strategies can help you reach a broad base of new potential patients – and keep your appointment book filled.
Here are 13 ways to find new patients and keep them coming back:
1. Add a new service. Hiring specialists to augment your skills and those of your staff can help your grow your business. Or, you may want to raise your service levels – with a patient coordinator or additional hygienist, for instance – for an exceptional customer experience that sets you apart from your peers. When you add new employees and services, be sure to update your insurance protection so your business’s expansion is covered.
2. Create and actively manage a Google+ business page. Google will reward you with high rankings in search results, especially at the local level where your visibility matters most. Update your Google+ page regularly – with new images, videos, articles and offers – to keep your search rankings going strong.
3. Claim your online directory listings. These are highly visible opportunities to market your practice at no cost. Use them to your advantage: Find all of the sites where your practice appears, claim each one of your listings, update your practice information and most importantly, add a link to your website so potential patients can quickly access information on what you have to offer.
4. Encourage social reviews. Online reviews carry a lot of weight with potential patients. Ask your existing patients to post their positive feedback on Google+, your directory listings or Facebook page – and check back regularly to monitor what they have to say.
5. Advertise. Pay-per-click online ads, email campaigns and postcard mailers are among the many advertising options to explore. You might also try a lead-generating website that collects contact information from potential patients.
6. Block out time each week for new customer appointments. If you see new patients within one week of their initial contact, your new patient numbers could increase by as much as 50 percent.
7. Send reminders. Avoid missed appointments by reminding your patients in advance. Software programs such as Demandforce, Televox and Lighthouse 360 can minimize the work effort by sending email and text reminders automatically.
8. Keep track of inactive patients. Send them a holiday card or special coupon to let them know you value their business and to encourage their return.
9. Ask for referrals. Your current patients are your best salespeople. Offer them an incentive in the form of a small gift or prize to tell their friends about your practice.
10. Network. People are more likely to use the services of professionals they know. Join your regional chambers of commerce and professional networking organizations, and look for other opportunities to be seen within the community.
11. Keep up the effort. Successful marketing isn’t a one-and-done endeavor. Maintain your marketing momentum and evaluate results on a monthly basis. As your efforts begin to pay off, be sure you’re taking the necessary safeguards to protect your clients and your business, and get the insurance protection you need.
12. Create a stellar website. Feature information that makes your practice stand out, including your credentials, customer testimonials, high-quality before-and-after photos and articles on topics that your patients frequently ask about.
13. Make sure your website is mobile friendly. A site that adapts responsively to all devices is well worth the investment in today’s mobile marketplace. You don’t want to miss out on a potential new patient because your site is difficult to navigate or view on a smartphone.