New Patients & Your Dental Practice
If your practice has plateaued or declined recently, it is time to implement corrective measures to get new patients. First, get out your business plan and mark in a new strategic plan for attracting new patients to your dental practice. Below are the inside tips on how Lucent Spot and numerous other dental practices have begun to bring in new patients on a consistent basis.
1. Be Consistent Across all Media and in Office Channels
Patients are bombarded with about 4,000 to 10,000 advertisements per day (Red Crow Marketing); therefore, patients are not likely to remember your office when your practice creates ads with multiple messages and themes. As shown in the example above, one consistent message, using the same words, font, colors, theme, photo style, and information will solidify your brand personality in your patient’s minds.
Secondly, brand recognition begins with patients recalling your practice when they see your logo on a social media post, brand color in-office, or positive brand message from a customer review. Eventually, with repetition and continuous exposure, community members will begin to remember your office by name without cues. To begin building brand recognition, consider these questions:
- What is the color code for your brand?
- Does your office have keywords?
- What photos encompass the mission of your office (not your logo)?
- How many patients comment using language to further support your brand personality?
2. Use SEO to get New Patients
Use Search Engine Optimization to appear more frequently in search results. Hub Spot reminds us that, “46% of all searches on Google are local.” Being irrelevant or invisible on Google could be the reason that your practice is not gaining new patients. Here are a couple quick tips to dramatically improve your SEO.
- Use evergreen (content that maintains relevant over time) and updated data.
- Remember to insert alt tags. Add alternative text to visuals for an additional description.
- Research keywords and use them as often as possible without overwhelming your reader.
- Include meta descriptions and tags to increase your search results.
- Be original and earn a following.
Likewise, “Google My Business” is a great place for a novice optimizer to begin. Update the description, phone number, address, and hours of operation. An optimized Google search is vital to gaining patients and becoming a competitive local practice.
3. Exhibit Exceptional New and Returning Patient Experience
Dental Marketing incorporates more than advertising and promotion, it also includes curating an exceptional product. From the cleanliness to the aesthetics of the front office to the friendliness of the staff. As a result, reducing wait time, offering refreshments, and leaving the customer with a quality gift bag will ensure a positive impression. According to Help Sout, “Americans tell an average of 9 people about good experiences, and tell 16 people (nearly two times more) about poor experiences”. Therefore, your practice cannot afford to have many poor experiences. Remember, once you gain a new patient, it costs less to retain that patient than to find a new patient.
4. Staff Buy-In and Contests
These tips may seem like a good fit for your practice; however, implementing and gaining staff buy-in is another feat. The best advice that I could give is: focus on the journey, not the destination. Do not distract from the hard work that is required to implement a successful strategy by spotlighting future earnings.
- Explain the strategy to staff in detail. You may be surprised at how motivated dedicated staff members are to growing the practice when they are included in the marketing strategy.
- Set an expectation. Create a realistic goal for a number of new patients your practice would like to attract each month. You may begin with five and then progress to ten and then to fifteen. Be patient and persistent because marketing strategies do not happen overnight.
- Reward Staff Members with Contests. This may be your best motivation tool. Create contests to win a gift card and local outings. One of our successful Lucent Spot clients hosts an auction every quarter. A staff member receives one “chip” for each new patient they schedule and that attends the scheduled appointment. At the end of the quarter, the lead dentists hold an auction with items ranging from Sonicare toothbrushes to flat-screen TVs to restaurant gift cards. Staff members use their “chips” to bid on prizes through the auction. This game motivates staff and increases new patients per month.
“Focus on the journey, not the destination”
Although there are no overnight solutions, with persistence, patience, and a strategic plan your office will increase new patients per month. Maintain a consistent brand, optimize digital search, provide an exceptional patient experience, and get your staff on board to bring in new patients to grow your practice.