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Updated: March 27th, 2020
Running a successful dental practice means maintaining a roster of active patients. Whether you’re planning an expansion or simply trying to protect yourself in case of an economic downturn, it’s crucial to continue marketing to gain new patients.
Figuring out how to attract new patients to your dental practice is key to building a good reputation, improving revenue, and setting yourself up for long-term success.
If you want to know how to get more dental patients, we’ve got you covered. Follow these seven tips to learn how to market a dental practice, grow your patient base, and retain your current patients.
Your website is the first opportunity most patients will have to learn about your practice, so it should be informative and easy to navigate.
First, make sure your office address, hours of operation, and phone number are easily visible. It’s also a good idea to include a page that explains your philosophy on patient care, as well as a services tab that lists the different treatments you offer and their costs.
Next, work on improving your website’s visibility. Optimizing your site for search engines can help you get your practice in front of new patients.
In addition to including keywords related to dentistry on your “about” and “services” pages, incorporate the names of the city, region, and state where you practice, too. Using local terms increases the likelihood that your website will show up when people in your area Google dentist offices.
Once you have potential patients on your site, take advantage of their interest. You can do this by allowing people to make appointments on the site. According to a 2016 PatientPop survey, 42% of survey respondents said they would like the option to schedule health appointments online.
Facilitating the scheduling process for prospective patients can lead to a higher number of first-time appointments. What’s more, giving patients the option to sign up for appointment reminders via text or email can increase the likelihood that they’ll actually show up.
Offering services that set you apart from your competition can help draw in new patients. Consider whether or not you could learn a new skill or invest in technology that would help increase your treatment options.
Many dental offices now offer Botox to help patients deal with jaw pain, for example, while others use laser technology for everything from teeth whitening to gum reshaping.
As you gather ideas, do your research. Find out what current patients are paying for the service you’re considering, how in-demand the service is, and which of your competitors — if any — offer it.
It’s also a good idea to estimate the cost of implementing your new service. You might have to buy new equipment, for example, train your staff, update your website, and place online ads to promote the service. Make sure you schedule a meeting with your accountant to review your financials and discuss the profit potential of the new service.
Content marketing is one of the best ways to find new dental patients. According to The State of Healthcare Marketing 2019 report from True North Custom, 77% of healthcare marketers are currently using content marketing, with nearly half citing lead generation as a top reason why. What’s more, 99% of the survey respondents said their content marketing strategies have been effective.
Content marketing can take many forms, including videos and infographics, but one of the most effective options is a blog. On a blog, you can write articles that address different aspects of dental care. Think: how often you should schedule teeth cleanings or what you can do besides flossing to improve your dental health.
Publishing detailed, SEO-friendly blog posts on your site increases the likelihood that potential patients will find you when they’re searching dentistry-related questions on Google.
Plus, a blog gives patients a glimpse into your dental team’s values and processes. Using your posts to answer common questions or shed light on confusing topics shows patients you’re a trusted, reliable source.
Participating in community events is an easy way to meet new patients. Consider setting up a booth at your local farmers market, attending a charity drive, or sponsoring a sporting event or fundraiser.
You may even want to offer your knowledge or services for free as a form of in-person dental patient marketing. Call local schools and offices to offer to give a free 20-minute presentation on the importance of oral hygiene. Make sure you tailor your presentation to the concerns of the groups you’re addressing. For example, you can talk to elementary school kids about the importance of brushing, while giving adults a lesson on how to better care for their gums.
In addition to handing out informational brochures, consider holding a drawing for a free teeth cleaning or giving out goodie bags with toothbrushes and toothpaste.
Getting involved in your community doesn’t just get your practice’s name out there, it also helps foster trust and care with potential patients.
A good reputation is critical to attracting new patients to your dental practice. According to a 2019 survey from PatientPop, 70% of people consider a positive online reputation to be important when searching for a healthcare provider.
Peer recommendations are a powerful tool when it comes to how to attract new patients to your dental practice. This is especiallytrue in the medical world. In a 2019 survey conducted by Software Advice, 94% of respondents said they use online reviews to evaluate physicians.
To start accumulating positive reviews, ask long-time patients to write about their experience with you on sites like Yelp and Healthgrades. Google reviews and stars also carry weight. Don’t focus solely on collecting reviews, though. Make sure you also respond to the feedback you receive, whether it’s glowing or critical.
Thank patients for their kind words and address any negative reviews with apologies and promises to do better. When a practice responds to a negative review, the rate of patient satisfaction nearly doubles, increasing 99%, according to the PatientPop survey.
You can also go a step further by asking current patients to refer you to their friends and family. Consider offering a gift card or discount on the next teeth cleaning to anyone who makes a successful patient referral.
Instead of pouring your money and resources into one distribution channel, opt for a variety of different types of ads. Think outside the box with your marketing plan fro how to attract new patients to your dental practice. This can help increase your chances of connecting with new patients.
Start by considering your target patient demographic. If you’re trying to attract patients in their 20s, you may want to create a social media ad campaign using pay per click Facebook ads. On the other hand, if you want to expand your base of older patients, you could try sending out direct mailers that offer information or discounts on the first teeth cleaning.
In any case, use your ads not to just grab attention, but to showcase your unique value proposition. Your selling point might include talking about your extended hours, for example, trendy treatment options, or incredible customer service.
For each ad, make sure to include a call to action that prompts people to click on your website, call a phone number, or do more research.
Using social media is an opportunity to increase your practice’s visibility, showcase your values, and build relationships with new patients. According to Deloitte’s 2019 Global Health Care Outlook report, healthcare providers are making more of an effort to utilize social media to engage with patients and establish transparency.
To maximize your social media impact, aim to post a variety of content on the three main social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Every post should either educate, inform, or inspire.
You can offer tips for improving your dental health, post statistics and fun facts about oral hygiene, shatter myths about going to the dentist, create quizzes, or share teeth transformations. Make sure you use relevant hashtags to boost the searchability of your posts.
It’s also helpful to explore social media trends. According to a 2018 survey from Wyzowl, video marketing has continued to grow, increasing by 17% since 2017. To capitalize on video, consider hosting a weekly Facebook live to answer questions or show what a teeth cleaning looks like behind the scenes. You can also turn infographics into animations or create informational videos that address different dental topics, like how to floss correctly.
Keep in mind that posting is just one half of the equation. You also need to engage with your followers by answering questions and responding to comments in a helpful, friendly tone.
Understanding how to attract new patients to your dental practice is an ongoing endeavor. Figuring out the best dental marketing strategies takes time and analysis.
To ensure you’re making the most of your time and marketing budget, it’s important to track your marketing efforts and evaluate the results at regularly scheduled intervals. Depending on what you learn, you may decide to nix strategies that don’t yield a high ROI, while doubling down on methods that have a high success rate.
Paige Smith is a Content Marketing Writer and Senior Contributing Writer at Funding Circle. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and specializes in writing about the intersection of business, finance, and tech. Paige has written for a number of B2B industry leaders, including fintech companies, small business lenders, and business credit resource sites.