9 Ways to Attract New Patients To Your Dental Practice
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In this post, we will discuss in detail about the 9 most practical points to get new people to visit your dental practice. For the benefit of reading, we have broken down the post into 5 slides.
In the 5th slide, you will find a beautiful infographic summarizing all the points.
The success or failure of every dental practice depends on the number of patients visiting it. In all the new professional dental setups, the initial months are always tough.
The financial viability of a new or old dental practice/health establishment is decided by the new people who visit the practice in a week or a month through out a financial year. If the number of new patients is more, it is a sign that the practice is growing and gaining popularity. But if the frequency of new patients is low, then it is indicative that something is not working as per your planning. The dentist needs to identify the issue and solve it. No professional health set up can financially sustain for a long time with decreasing number of new clients.
There is also the point of increasing number of practices. As new dental practices are coming up in every few months, there is a high competition to gain the attention of new patients.
Therefore, in such a complex scenario you need to be ahead in your game to influence a greater number of newer clients to visit your dental practice.
In this long post, we will cover all the possible ways to attract new patients to your dental practice. All these points are from the experience of dentists who have been successfully practicing for a decade or more.
So, without further delay let us start with the first point.
1.Stay in contact with your previous patients
The first, most important and the easiest mode to gain new patients is to remain in touch with your former patients.
As the practice increases in time, most of the dentists, in their efforts to acquire new patients tend to forget about the previous patients they have treated. It is a blunder. So, from today make efforts to stay in touch with all the patients whom you have treated before.
How to remain in touch with your old patients: The patient who visited today will become a former patient from the very next day. So, you have to use certain methods to always remain in a regular touch with them.
- Collect the relevant patient information from the 1st day like name, contact details (mobile number and email id)
- Using the contact details (mobile number or email plan a schedule to connect with previous patients)
- Once in every ten days send an email – mentioning about your practice, new additions (if any), treatment offers, articles from your professional website. If you want to know more on how to use emails for your dental practice, read the article here.
- Use the mobile numbers that you have collected for sending messages about your practice.
- If there are some influencers among your old patients, then make personal attempts to establish a connection with them.
Point to be careful: There is a thin line between creating a contact and being intrusive. Do not go overboard with your emails, messages to the point that your former patients start getting irritated. As a rule, send a maximum of two emails every month and one SMS every ten days.
Recommended reading: How to use email for the marketing of your dental practice – an extensive review.
2. What is your Unique Selling Point (USP)?
Attracting new patients is not easy. As the market keeps getting crowded with more dental/health practices, there is a struggle for getting the attention of new patients. For a young dentist starting a new practice, it gets even tougher.
The fundamental question is why should a patient who has been visiting a particular dentist for some months or years, switch to a new dentist with whom he has no connection yet?
In such a scenario, young & new dentists need to highlight their USP (Unique Selling Point)
- Pick out a particular specialty and get very efficient at it. Use that particular trait as your skill USP. for example lasers, implants, invisible brackets, botox, etc.
- If you can afford, then you may purchase the latest equipment which is still not common. For example a high-end laser unit. But as stated before, make sure that you have the financial power to afford valuable additions to your practice.
- Once you acquire an expensive unit, then do not hesitate to promote. Proudly state it as your USP.
What if you are not able to spend on new equipment? In that case, the easiest thing you can do is make your clinic as pleasant as possible for every patient visiting your set up. That will generate a positive vibe which will help in bringing more patients.
- Be Innovative: One of the senior dentists in my public circle created his USP as the family dentist. He always projected this direction to all patients. For every patient visiting his clinic, he kept giving free to discounted treatment to his/her family members.(especially kids) Over next few years, this became his USP.
As the saying goes – You need to think out of the box.
Due to oversaturation, every new idea is becoming a conventional approach or too costly. So, the smart thing would be to present the usual approach repackaged as your USP.
The article continues in the next slide. Press next to go to the next slide to know the point Number 3 on How to get new patients for your dental practice?
We are discussing the best ways to attract new patients to your dental practice.
3. Make a name among the local population
The most important point to realize for a dentist is that “Dentistry is a locally based profession.”
So, treat the residents in the vicinity of your clinic as the most influential circle of patients. The views, experience, and notion of the local community about your practice, can make or break it.
Therefore, do everything in your power to make an actual name for your dental practice among the local population. Here are some of the activities that you can carry out.
- Attend local social functions and be a sponsor of the local events.
- Make contributions and deliver speeches on dental career/care in school, colleges and community gatherings on health care & awareness.
- Attend treatment camps being conducted by other doctors & organizations.
- Visit rural places to provide dental treatment.(for free)
- The goal is to make yourself visible in your local community.
- Slowly & steadily you will climb the ladder up.
- Buy print ads to promote your practice in local newspapers or try to write health articles in the local magazines.
- You can also use Radio for speech & promotion. Spend money in purchasing an evening slot on Radio to promote your dental practice. That’s one of the easiest ways to get close to your local community.
- Don’t spend too much on online marketing. Your clinic is not an online market like Amazon. Your promotion must target the local population first.
- Don’t over-estimate social media and Facebook promotion over the local advertising. That’s better for big corporations and websites.
All the methods mentioned above have stood the test of time. They have always been efficient in establishing a contact with the local population. If you follow the steps, then you are sure to make a name in your local community for yourself and your dental practice. It will translate into new and repeat patients for your practice.
4. Sensible use of Social Media
We discussed in the previous point about the importance of Local Promotion for your dental practice. Therefore, it is natural that we discuss how you can use the social media sensibly in that regard.
Social media promotion of your dental practice does not mean that you create a social profile on all the social media platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn & others) and start publishing your practice/treatment photos and stories.
On paper, your practice is active in social media, but in reality, it is a waste of time. If social media posts of your practice are seen by some one in abroad or from a far off place, that is of no use to you. That person is probably never going to visit your clinic.
From the very first day use the social media to target the local population (localities within the radius of 10 Km of your practice location).
image credits: SocialHi5
It is straightforward to do. Here are the points that you need to follow:
- On the social media profile of your practice, add all your known contacts first.
- Invest on Paid Social Media promotions. All the major social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) are providing this option.
- You have the choice to publish the information about your dental practice to the users of a particular geographical location.
- If your practice is in Mumbai, Kharghar. Then you can customize the social media posts to be shown in the social news feed of the people residing within 5 KM of your practice. That makes more sense than an individual in a far off location seeing your social posts.
To know more on how to use social media to target the patients in your nearby geographical locations, read this article.
We have discussed in the last few posts on how using the most popular social media medium – Facebook for promotion of your dental practice. In this post we will tell you on how you can promote your dental practice using Facebook to the local clients/patients.
The article continues in the next slide. Press next to go to the next slide to know the point Number 5 on How to get new patients for your dental practice?
We are discussing the best ways to attract new patients to your dental practice.
5. Create a Website for your Dental Practice
Make two points very clear for you:
- You need a website for your dental practice.
- You must make the site engaging, informative and interactive.
You should not even question the above two points irrespective of some people telling you that websites do not have much use for a dental practice.
Why should you have a website for your dental practice (2 reasons)?
- Having a website is similar to having an online identity for your professional practice. Some may not agree, but it is the face of your practice that many potential patients will check by default.
- In this era, for any health professional set up, not having a website makes it look unprofessional.
In the recent years, the cost of website development has reduced drastically. Domain names and hosting prices are the lowest ever. Also, with the popularity of WordPress (which is completely free and easy to use) creating a website has never been this easy. So, every dentist has no reason not to have a website.
The necessary steps to create a website for your dental practice:
- Purchase a domain name and hosting for your website.
- Start writing essential contents for your accurate.
- Contact an experienced and reliable WordPress website designer. (Do not go for random website designers. Ask other dentists and take their recommendations)
- Make sure that your dental website has decent payment option, testimonials, and social media features.
- There are certain points that you must ask the web designer to incorporate on your website. Without these essential features, no dental practice website can be complete.
If you want to know more on the dental internet site, then we have previously covered in detail the points which every dental website must have.
In the fast-moving world of internet and social media, Yes, it’s an absolute must and one of the most important tools of Dental Practice Management. having a website for your dental practice is a must. You might ask why then here are the reasons It’s the 21st century and almost the entire world lives on the internet.
6. Target to Improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
We just discussed the importance of having a website for your dental practice. Therefore, it is natural to consider Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
For every dentist, other than having a website, the next crucial online point to have is to make sure that People can see your dental practice information when ever they search for a dentist on the internet.
Just like social media promotion, SEO can also be made highly Geographic accurate. You will need to take help of an experienced SEO Professional to ensure that people can find your dental practice when they are searching for a dentist.
The most commonly used search engine in Google. So, let us see how a search for a dentist appears on a random search.
I typed “Dentists in Mumbai, ” and you can see the results below.
The results you see below are part of the local listings of Google where relevant results are shown based on the location of the users.
You can also see the top section where you will notice some practice names with [Ad] mentioned next to them. These google ads of dental practices and their websites. You can also purchase such advertisements. These are known as Pay Per Click Advertisements (PPC)
To appear in the top of the organic results, SEO of your dental practice website has to be accurate. You can take help of SEO professionals for this. They can also guide you in purchasing and managing relevant google ads so that your dental practice ads appear to anyone who resides in the area around your dental practice.
Google now not only shows local listings, but it also prioritizes them on mobile searches. It is done to make it easier for people on-the-go to find the business they are looking for. According to Google, “50% of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day, and 34% who searched on computer/tablet did the same.”
Therefore, to find new patients, you must start utilizing the power of Search Engine Optimization. It is a vast topic to discuss that we will cover in detail.
For now, keep track of these points while taking the help of an SEO professional:
- Optimize the name of your dental practice (e.g. Your Area Name – Endodontics center or Your Area Name – Implant center)
- Optimize the meta data for your dental practice with your name (e.g. Your Area Name – Dental Speciality – Dr. John Cuseshak)
The above two are the Location Specific, Speciality Specific and Dentist Name Specific key words)
- Ask the SEO person to use Long Tail Keywords. (e.g. Dentist in Mumbai Who Does Speciality Orthodontics)
- Use the keywords in the SEO of your dental website also. Use social media profiles indicators in the search results.
You must read 17 Daily Habits of the most successful dentists and start using them in your dental career for better results.
To be a professional certified dentist one needs to dedicate years for learning the craft and graduate as a dentist. It again takes some additional years in fine tuning your skills as a dentist. You also need to regularly attend CDE programs to stay updated with the latest developments in dental instruments and treatment modalities.
The article continues in the next slide. Press next to go to the next slide to know the point Number 7 on How to manage the review systems to get new patients?
We are discussing the best ways to attract new patients to your dental practice.
7. Pay Attention to Google Reviews
Online review systems are more important than ever. For every local business including a dental/health practice, it is necessary to garner positive reviews in Google search listings.
When you click on any particular practice name, you will go to the next page with detail consumer reviews.
In this internet era, consumers have become aware. Therefore, before visiting any dental practice, they go through the reviews. If any dental practice has low ratings and many negative/unsatisfied reviews from the consumers, then the chances of that practice getting new patients reduce drastically.
How to get positive reviews on google searches?
- When the patients are happy with your practice in real life, then that happiness will translate into good online reviews and ratings. If you are not good in your work or your mannerisms with your patients, you will only get negative reviews.
- Encourage all your patients after their treatment is over to add their reviews to your website or Google listing.
- Do not try to cheat Google by fabricating positive reviews. That is against their TOS. If you manufacture good ratings by asking or paying people to leave good reviews/ratings, you may escape in the short term. But, if the high scores are contrary to the poor quality work at your practice, then any consumer can complain to Google. In such a case Google will prohibit you from advertising your dental practice on Google search.
- Learn how to deal with the negative reviews: One of the issues of review system is the negative reviews. The best way to tackle negative reviews is not to ignore them. That can lead to cascading the issue. It is always advisable to deal with negative reviews as quickly as possible. Address the matter promptly with proper explanations and reasoning. That goes a great way in sorting out the disagreements.
- Respond to all the positive reviews: Be prompt in responding to positive reviews. Give sincere thanks to the patients for their cooperation.
How to tackle fake negative reviews on your dental practice?
Just like there are fake positive reviews, there are also the chances of fake negative reviews. Yes, it is a reality of online rating system.
Who can post fake reviews against your dental practice?
In most typical scenario it will be disgruntled former employees, and business competitors. They can post fake reviews which have the potential to reduce the online reputation of your dental practice.
Why should you worry?
You should promptly deal with any such reviews as soon as you find them. If neglected, they can create a very negative impression about your dental/health practice in the mind of your patients/clients.
What can you do about such fake reviews?
Respond to the fake review:
- Stay calm, control your anger and DO NOT abuse the false report in your response.
- Calmly mention in detail that regarding the person who has given the fake review has never visited your dental/health practice.
- If the individual is a former employee then categorically mention that in your response.
- Politely and coldly state all the facts and evidence for your statements. If you are sure about your facts, then add to your answer that you are going to take legal course of against the fake reviews and the person posting such reviews.
Report to Google:
- Next, to every review, you will find a flag button. This feature has been specifically provided to act the review that you find fake or inappropriate.
- Once you click on the flag, you will be directed to google policy page where you can file a formal complaint against the fake review.
It is the initial approach to tackle fake reviews. You can read this article to know few more details on taking action against the negative fake reviews.
8. List your Dental Practice in the local directories
One of the major ways to gain new patients for a dentist is also the simplest and easiest. But in the effort to achieve complex solutions, they tend to neglect the most straightforward route – Marketing of dental practice in the local directories.
Irrespective of where you reside, you must always list your practice in the local directories and yellow pages. A majority of the people are still in the habit of checking out the printed yellow pages to find businesses and services in their locality. So not listing your practice in the local directories can be a marketing mistake.
- Make it a point to list your dental practice in all the major online directories in your country. There are two clear benefits of this approach.
- One, you get noticed by Google, and your practice gets listed in google search much better.
- Two, the local population can provide positive reviews (based on your excellent work).
- That works as a referral system by making a positive impression about your practice among the local population.
Also, take help of mediums like the radio that has the power to reach the local community and put the word about your dental practice.
Use the local TV channels to play advertisements about your dental practice. It can be a simple information ad about your practice. Or if you have an adequate budget then you can create a professional ad by hiring professionals. In any case, this is another direct way to get the attention of the local population.
The article continues in the next slide. Press next to go to the next slide to know the point Number 9 on How to get new patients for your dental practice?
9. Provide Free Consultations to New Patients
Many dentists have different approaches about this plan. Therefore, I will mention the plan that one of my colleagues, Dr. Nancy is adopting and it has been proving very fruitful for her. You may choose this method if it suits you.
She has developed a comprehensive system for New Patient Benefits and Offers. Before getting on to new dental patient privileges, let us have a look at all the promotional options she is using to promote her dental practice to acquire new patients.
Nancy is using all the methods for advertising her dental practice that we mentioned earlier in the article. She is using:
- Google paid ads (targeting the radius of 10 Km)
- Paid SEO for her dental website (she is taking help from an SEO professional)
- Paid ads in the local online and print yellow pages.
- Paid ads on the radio & television.
- Paid Email marketing.
- She contributes to social events and awareness programs. She also carries out free screening camps in schools and colleges under the brand name of her dental practice.
All these are targetted towards raising the brand name of her dental practice among the general public. In each of these promotion mediums, she provides a COUPON CODE (particular to each mode of advertising). By this, she can keep track of the response from each of the broadcasting system.
From her assessment, she has found that the paid ads on the local advertising mediums like radio, local TV ads, local online and print yellow pages are referring the most of the new patients.
For every new patient visiting her dental practice, she is providing the consultation free. (that includes expert opinion on the patient problem and the associated X-ray image). Post that the patients will need to pay the regular fees for the dental treatments.
For every new patient visiting her practice, she also provides a discount of around 50 % for the first adult kin/relative of the new patient. She also provides the first treatment (within a fixed price) completely free for the children of the new patient (within 10 to 15 years of age).
Nancy has been using this system for past two years. Initially, the response was limited, but she stuck to the plan. Within six months due to word of mouth promotion and targetted advertising, she started getting real results. There was a good flow of new patients.
The readers also need to understand that for Nancy, the real work started after a new patient landed in her dental practice for the 1st time. From that point onwards no advertising can impress a patient.
In her own words: From the second a new patient lands in my dental practice, my practice set up and myself are the biggest promoters of the practice. My interaction with them is going to decide if the patient remains with us for a long time.
Takeaway: The system we discussed above being employed by Dr. Nancy, has proved to be a very effective strategy. But it may or may not work for you. Every professional dentist needs to devise a promotional system based on their location and surrounding population.
In this long post, we enumerated some of the most practical modern day methods that dentists can employ to gain new patients for their dental practice.
The success of a dental practice depends on the perfect balance between the old patients and new visits to your dental practice.
The growth and profitability of a dental practice rely on the influx of the new patients. Unless there is a regular flow of new patients every month, a dental practice gets stagnant.
Therefore, it is advisable that you use the methods mentioned in this post to make a connection with new people. But always remember the work is not over once you get new persons visiting your clinic (in response to your promotional efforts).
The real work starts once the new client arrives at your dental practice. You and your dental practice staffs must be at their professional best.
Always bear in mind that new patients are very judgemental. They will judge every aspect. When a new person visits your dental practice in response to your promotional activities then you must make sure that they feel assured about your practice.
If not, then the same people can create a very negative word of mouth publicity of your dental practice.
With this, we conclude the post. We sincerely hope that you have gained some valuable insights on how to get new clients for your dental practice.
If you have followed this long post till now, then we have one more bonus for you. Below, you will find a beautiful infographic of all the 9 ways stated in the post. You can download the infographic and keep it as a reminder of the points. You are free to print the infographic and use it in your dental practice or blog.