How to Attract More Dental Patients in 2021
Every dental practice’s goal is to have their treatment chairs full and consistent appointment bookings from new and existing patients. However, it isn’t always easy. With more dental practices popping up every year, you must stand out to attract more dental patients and grow.
Here’s how you can attract more dental patients and keep your treatment chairs occupied in 2021.
Identify What Type of Patients You Want to Attract
The foundation of every successful marketing campaign is an in-depth understanding of the target market. If you can identify your ideal patient base, you can successfully market to them because you will know what issues they have with finding great dentists and leverage that.
Step 1: Identify Your Ideal Patient Base
Do you want to build your general patient base? Do you want more younger patients? Do you want more patients that are aged 50+?
Think about who it is that you want to attract before setting out in any activities. The better you understand who you’d like to attract, the better you can position yourself.
Step 2: Check What the Stats Are Saying
Some research says that women make more than 90% of all dental buying decisions. In this case, providing a lot of information upfront is crucial.
You could take that demographic to heart and also take into consideration your current patient base. What is the majority? How did they find out about you? A great dental marketing campaign will combine what has worked along with what might work.
Position Yourself as The Answer to Their Problem
According to research from the American Dental Association a few years ago, the growth in the number of dental practices is higher than the growth of the American population.
An article on dental practices in Canada showed that there are more private practices now, with the patient to dental practice ratio significantly reduced. With more people turning to private dental care in the UK, I wouldn’t be surprised if the stats show the same.
With Google making it easy for patients to find dental practices, you have to take your brand positioning seriously.
Step One: Define Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Your USP is what makes you stand out from the other dental offices that you are up against in your city. Answer this question: why should patients choose us?
Your answer to that can include the treatments you offer, your specialty, waiting times, emergency care availability, availability on weekends, or open late at night.
This also connects with the first point on defining your ideal patients. For example, if your ideal target is younger patients, being open on weekends, short waiting times, or having long hours could help you stand out.
Step Two: Educate People
Once you have defined your USP, you need to show or prove your USP to prospective patients. You can do that by presenting the information on your online platforms: website, review platforms, social media, and so on.
For example, add the dental treatments you provide to your website to inform potential patients about the nature of specific treatments and possible alternatives to various needs.
Discover Where Your Potential Patients Are Living
Market within a geo radius that makes sense. Most people will search for a dentist close to them, and most patients won’t drive further than 10 miles to see a dentist unless a very specific or complicated treatment is required.
As a result, most dentists should only market within a 5-10 mile radius around their dental office to make the most of their marketing budget. Marketing that’s effective in this regard include:
Listings on search engines
Targeting your local area in your organic and paid social media campaigns
Sponsoring local charitable or medical-related events
Register on local business, medical and dental directories
Reward existing patients when they refer new patients.
Deliver A Great In-office Experience and Genuine Value to Your Patients
You win when you offer an excellent in-office experience to your patients. They will likely refer you to their friends and family and write great reviews about you.
Understand that patients judge the entire experience they have with your dental office. It is not enough to be an excellent dentist; the whole business has to pull on the same string.
Your front-office staff, usually the first point of contact with your dental office, need to be responsive, friendly, professional and answer the phones when people are trying to contact your office or respond to emails promptly.
Cleanliness is a top concern for patients when choosing a dentist. Your office should be tidy and show-off that you take care of all the little details. If they come in and see an untidy office, they are more likely to broadcast that unsatisfactory experience on every review platform that they can. That will prevent more patients.
Make people feel comfortable by having a well-lit waiting area to help make them feel at ease and relax as much as possible before their treatment/appointment to relieve tension. Several studies have proven that light lessens agitation and eases pain. Great lighting can help your patients have a better experience, and a better experience can help you get referrals.
The usual smell of hospitals stimulates fear and anxiety for many people. That can cause a patient to associate fear and anxiety with dental procedures from entering the waiting room. Introducing pleasant fragrances could lead a patient to perceive his or her experience positively.
Think about it: wouldn’t you be more comfortable in a dental practice with a pleasant smell than one with the typical smell of medical practices? So, consider using devices to provide a pleasant but not overwhelming smell in your dental office.
Play relaxing music in the background. That can help ease the tension of the patient and elevate their mood. It doesn’t only work for your patient; it works for you and your staff as well.
Dental practices manage scared patients and deal with loud noises from dental tools. Using relaxing music works at all levels to ease tension, from the patient to the dentist. A relaxed and happy staff creates a better patient experience.
Leverage Your Existing Patients – Ask for Referrals
I briefly mentioned getting referrals in the previous two points. I’ll give you more tips here.
Understand that you don’t necessarily need to offer an incentive to get referrals from your existing patients. If you’re providing value to your patients, you can get referrals. To encourage referral, it’s more than providing a great patient experience.
You can start with something as simple as sending a thank you email or text to patients after visiting your dental office. In your email, you can encourage feedback and if the feedback is positive, send a follow up thanking them and asking for referrals.
You can also send a thank you email following a referral; this could encourage more referrals. Another way to do it is by creating referral cards and giving them to patients after a visit.
Regardless of how you do it, remember the rules. Don’t go offering priority care to patients if they refer a new patient.
Section 4 (PRINCIPLE: JUSTICE (“fairness”)) of the ADA’s Principle of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct states that “The dentist’s primary obligations include dealing with people justly and delivering dental care without prejudice.”
Check here for Canada’s laws. If you are not sure what pertains to you, check with your local jurisdiction for clarification.
Show Off Your Reviews And Make It Known That You Take Care of Your Dental Patients
Social proof is important when choosing a new dentist. No one wants to visit a nightmare of a dentist. Most people check reviews on Google, TrustPilot, and so on before booking an appointment with a dentist.
Think about it; if you were to buy a product on Amazon that you have never had an experience with, you would check the reviews. Bad reviews will discourage you from purchasing, no matter how hard they advertise. With Healthcare, people are more cautious and will check.
Step 1: Register on All Relevant Review Sites
The most important ones now are Google My Business and Bing Places. You can also try others like TrustPilot and Yelp. Register and fill out your information with care. Certain factors matter when filling information on such platforms. If you are not sure what they are, a consultation with a dental SEO agency will help you.
Step 2: Get Reviews from Existing Patients
Encourage your patients to leave reviews. It could be through a thank you email or just telling them as they check out of your office. Most importantly, provide great service; that way, you’ll get positive reviews.
Step 3: Show Off Your Reviews
Showing off your positive reviews will help you attract more dental patients. Once you have done the hard work, delivered a great experience, and received 5-star reviews, it is time to show them off to local residents, e.g., prospective dental patients.
Use the positive reviews and push them in various channels, both online and offline. Print them out and show them off at the reception desk or display them in the waiting area. Use them in ads online, display them on the website, etc.
Build A Network and Partner Up with Local Non-competitors
Reach out to your local non-competitors. A quick Google search can help you get contact information and the names of important persons. Don’t look for just any non-competitor, but one whose clients can intersect with yours, such as orthodontists, pediatric dentists, surgeons, other medical professionals.
Build your network with them and have a referral chain. You send your patients to them, and they send theirs to you.
Engage in Re-call / Re-activation Campaigns
Getting new dental patients requires more work than reaching out to existing patients because your existing patients have already experienced your care. There are two primary strategies for connecting with your existing patients:
Re-call: for those that have missed a recent appointment
Re-activation: for those that haven’t visited your dental office recently
The success of your campaigns will depend on your message and the means you use in delivering them. You can use emails, mails, phone calls, or a mix of two or three.
Also, the timing matters. If there’s anything that 2020 taught us, it’s not to push the majority of your patients to book an appointment when it’s not safe to have such crowds. Plan your campaigns around when it’s safe to have a full house or plan your hours to ensure that your waiting rooms are not tightly packed.
Develop a list of patients that qualify for re-activations. Don’t go too far; patients within three years and three months since their last visit work. If your list is large, run your re-activation campaigns in batches, starting with the most recent patients on the list.
Offer Freebies / New Patient Specials
Offering and marketing your freebies are ways to get new patients. People love freebies and are more likely to remember your marketing campaign if you offer a free service or extra exclusive to new patients. Here are some ideas:
A free dental exam
Free dental products, such as a whitening kit
Discounts on some cosmetic procedures
Add Calls to Action to Every Piece of Marketing
A call to action removes friction from your marketing materials because it makes it clear to anyone reading or watching what action to take. If you want to maximize your marketing efforts, you must add calls to action to every marketing piece. Here are some ideas:
Call us today on (your phone number)
Email us now at (your email address)
Book a free consultation
Click here to find out more
Book a free consultation with Dr. (name) today
Complete our feedback form
Make It Easy For People to Find You
Strategically place signage outside of your office to take advantage of local foot traffic. Earlier, I mentioned that most people would prefer to visit dentists within 5-10 miles. Your foot traffic includes your target patient. Place your signage where they can easily see it as they walk or drive by.
Create A Professional Website for Your Dental Practice
The importance of a professional website for your dental practice cannot be overemphasized.
A Website will help you convert those searching on Google and other search engines, build online visibility, provide answers to potential patients’ questions, take bookings for consultation online, and convert patients. When getting a dental website, keep these things in mind.
Invest in Professional Photography
Professional photography is needed to show off your staff and your office in the best possible light on your website. It can make a big difference in how well your website will work to convert website visitors into new patients. Blurry images taken on the phone simply don’t cut it in today’s hyper-competitive environment.
Ramp Up Organic Traffic – Invest in Dental SEO
Look at the results of a survey of how users pick their dentists:
All of them are connected to SEO. These days, the first review they will check is Google My Business. They find the dentist closest to them by searching “dentist near me” on Google, and you will only show up if you have invested in SEO.
“The top-ranked one in search results” doesn’t need to be explained. The cheapest one will be from the list of those they have likely found on the first page of Google search, same with the best-looking website.
The bottom line: invest in SEO.
Maximize Your Local Visibility with Online Advertising Using Google Ads
It takes 6-9 months for new websites to start ranking on the first Google search result page. Given that more people click only on results on the first page, you should invest in Google Ads. That is necessary not only before your SEO kicks in but also if you are looking to generate more patients quickly.
In this guide, I have shown you how to attract more dental patients. It might be a lot, but I assure you that you will attract more business to your practice if you do all of the above consistently with quality in mind.
Managing a practice and marketing it simultaneously might not be feasible, and that’s ok. You can reach out to us via our contact form to help you.
Do you have any questions? Get in touch or leave a comment below.