One of the top challenges of any practice is acquiring new patients. At one point in this blog, I suggested starting a blog of your own and, even though this will generate interest among those looking for a dentist, the important thing to remember is to plan when it comes to successful marketing tactics.
In his article, “So What’s the Plan to Better Acquire and Retain.” Dan Pisek, Co-founder and President of Full Contact Marketing wrote the following tip: “One of the easiest ways to grow your practice and become even more successful is to develop a planned, systemized approach to managing your market.” What does he mean by this? Well, he goes on to clarify that the planned approach includes– clearly defined goals, a strategy, a schedule, and a budget. These are all things to consider seriously when moving forward; and it’s imperative to keep in mind that acquiring is not the end of the road, rather it is just the beginning and there will definitely be more work ahead to retain these new patients. But let’s just focus on the acquiring for now.
- Enhance your presence online
Social media marketing is detrimental to building your online presence. Leon Klempner, CEO of People and Practice, a marketing consultancy, he wrote that “people looking for a dentist will search online” and even likens social media marketing to the dentist providing a window into their practice. This is how potential patients can learn about your dental practice and even read the reviews of current patients.
Your online presence also includes website design, blogs, and general SEO (search engine optimization). Because each dental practice is different, some would prefer using Adwords while others choose to avoid them. A tip to those unsure about using Adwords comes from a member of the Dental Town message board: “stay away from Adwords if you don’t know what you’re doing or doing it yourself without a good understanding of the solution.”
- Manage your reputation
As important as your online presence is, it’s just as important to manage your reputation as it does have a major impact on your ability to acquire new patients. Klempner writes that “market research into the effects of online reviews on people’s decision-making shows that 9 out of 10 people who read reviews decide whether to contact a business based on what they discover.” Reviews make up the bulk of your reputation and you want the majority of them to be positive, even glowing. Ask the patients loyal to your office to share some positive reviews online. The more positive reviews you receive the more visible your presence will become, allowing you to dominate the searches made in your area.
You want to stay away from reviews like “horrible dentist” and “I’ll never go back there again.” These negative reviews are damaging to your reputation; however, most can be avoided by exercising clear communication, prompt feedback, timely appointments, office organization, and genuine concern. An important thing to remember is that no one is perfect and not everyone will be one hundred percent satisfied. The proper way to handle negative reviews is to respond quickly in order to dispute comments that slander your practice. The only response you have any control over is your own, so always remain professional and courteous.
- Observe your competition
Remember that other offices in your area are trying to achieve the same goal as you are. Do not underestimate their strengths. Keep an eye on them and be aware of what they’re offering when it comes to similar services and insurance plans being accepted. By doing this, you will stay one step ahead of them every time.
- Provide a High Converting Website
With digital advertising, you are doing more than just writing a blog or posting on Facebook. You are showing why you are the best in the business. Klempner writes about three very important qualities necessary for a successful website.
- “show and tell” focuses on showcasing your relationships with your patients. You can do this by creating an ad that links to positive patient reviews and testimonials.
- The quality of “being helpful” suggests sharing valuable information to those looking for a dental professional they can trust.
- To “provide clarity” is to focus on using images that are “clear and evocative” while also telling true stories that make you more relatable and gives your patient more information about your dental practice.
- Utilize word-of-mouth marketing
Positive reviews don’t necessarily have to be utilized for your online presence, they can also contribute to how a patient speaks about you to the people they know. Nielsen’s survey on Trust in Advertising found that “Word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family (…) are still the most influential.” In fact, 84% called word-of-mouth the most trustworthy source. This kind of marketing has a lot of impact and is free of charge. The only requirement is your ability to exceed expectations at every possible opportunity.
Every dental practice is different, which means all marketing plans will not be the same. Be sure to ask yourself what marketing tool will work best for you and your team before moving forward, and remember that planning is the key to successfully achieving your goal. If you have other suggestions and want to share them with us, feel free to let us know in the comment section below.
- Klempner, Leon. “Want to Compete with Big Business? Tap into Your Relationships.” Dental Town. Jan 2016: 74-77.
- Pisek, Dan. “So What’s the Plan to Better Acquire and Retain.” Oral Health Office. March 2016: 34-35, 43.
- “Figuring Out This Marketing Thing: Practice Management Message Board.” Dental Town. Feb 2016: 32-34.