The number of dental practices in the United States is growing at an exponential pace, thus increasing the competition between practices. You must have seen new dental clinics pop up in your area, promising a variety of unique services and lucrative deals. Creating a competitive edge in such a populated market is extremely difficult.
Most importantly – offering exceptional patient service is the best way to create a competitive edge for your dental practice and stand out from the competition. Once you have established a benchmark for delivering an exceptional patient service, your practice will need to focus on reaching the target audience who are searching for services similar to what you are offering. In order to reach and influence your target audience, you will need a stronger online presence that takes advantage of existing trends and best practices in dental practice marketing.
Your competitors may deter potential patients from choosing your dental practice. While this may make them seem like the enemy, the truth is that competition is not always bad. In fact, it is essential for practices to have competitors because it is through competition that innovation and improvement are likely to occur. However, innovation and improvement can only occur if you know how to recognize and respond to competition. By learning about your competitors and distinguishing your offerings from them, you can actually benefit from local competition.
So, how do you find new patients for your dental practice? Here is what you have probably already read about this business challenge:
- Identify your target patient by creating a patient persona.
- Determine the preferred social media or traditional marketing channels in order to reach your target demographic.
- Set realistic targets for number of new patients in a given time.
- Decide on your healthcare marketing budget for bringing in new patients.
- Ensure your dental practice is visible on social networks.
And, while these tips are correct, they do not tell you how to hook new patients. In a market where patients have infinite choices, it is critical to stand out from the crowd. Plenty of other dentists are offering the same service like yours, and if you do not make an effort to reel your patients in, it is likely those patients will be taking their business elsewhere. So, how can you gain an edge over your competitors? Here are 10 ways to make your dental practice standout:
1. Build a patient-doctor relationship: A dental practice is successful because of its patients. This is the most basic rule that all dentists must understand. You may be great at your job, but without connecting with your patients, you may never be able to convert a new patient to a loyal patient. Patients do not just look for treatment options or insurance coverage. In fact, most patients seek compassion, care, and warmth so that they can go home with reassurance regarding their health.
2. Set clear goals: Not just a vague idea of where you want to be next month or next year – your business goals must be specific. What are your sales targets? What steps should you take to meet your sales goals? Break down your goals into small steps. The problem most practices face is too much distraction, a hectic routine, and a lack of focus. It is a lot easier to beat the competition when you are focused on achieving your goals.
3. Be accessible to your patients: It is not acceptable for most patients that you send a nurse or assistant to check up on them. Each check up requires you to be there personally so that maximum patient satisfaction can be achieved. Your absence may send out signals as if you are not interested in the well-being of your patients. However, if you find it difficult to make time for each appointment, then make yourself available for phone calls and emails. This can be done by giving patients your contact number or email address where they can contact you as and when needed.
4. Build an online personality: It is important to become memorable by having not just an online presence, but a strong online personality. Many dental practices have made a name for themselves on social media by giving an edge to their practice’s voice. Bigger and fancier practices that have an active online presence are able to attract more attention and stand out from the competition. Being witty and funny on social media, even if you are playing a game of squabble, is a good way to make a lasting impression on your fans and followers.
5. Announce exclusive offers: You can separate your dental practice from the pack by putting a spin on the ordinary. You can set the trend by announcing theme days for spicing up regular days. You can have “ToothcareThursday” or “MeetTheDoctorTuesday.” These exciting ideas will keep your patients engaged and coming back for more. Engaging your patients will not only demonstrate that there are real people behind the online brand, but it will also help improve brand loyalty.
6. Provide excellent customer service: Often, unhappy patients do not complain; they just never return to your practice. If you do not provide excellent service to your patients, they may never even tell you about your mistakes, or how you can improve your offerings.
Dissatisfied patients, in addition to not returning to your practice, will likely tell their family and friends others about their disappointing experience. This ripple effect can be very damaging to your online reputation. Make sure your medical and non-medical staff is trained in providing excellent patient care. Do not ever allow your staff to make a patient feel unwanted because no patient would want to repeat that feeling. Warm and welcoming employees will help a patient feel connected and may generate a positive review.
7. Build a professional website: Patients usually visit your practice website to share medical records and receive test results. However, most websites are not designed to act as destinations; they are simply a secure post office to send and receive emails and medical records. However, you can easily transform your website into a digital media channel. This will help you share educational content, respond to comments and questions, share links to relevant websites and post valuable information about dental procedures and treatments.
8. Focus on search engine optimization (SEO): It is important for dental practices to invest in SEO tactics because the website ranking is critical to marketing their dental practice. This is because when the patient looks up dental practices online, you want to show up on the first page of search engine results. If you plan on expanding your reach through your website, be sure to invest effort and money into effective SEO strategies. In addition, content plays an important role in website ranking as Google promotes websites that publish informative and useful content on a regular basis.
9. Start a blog: Blogging can add fresh content to your dental website on a regular basis and help with SEO. Consistently posting fresh content on your blog shows that you know your business well and are trying to keep your patients engaged. On your website, you may also provide information about general dental procedures, share oral hygiene tips, announce discounts and updates about your practice. You can promote your blog using social media and use it to engage with existing and potential patients.
10. Focus on social media marketing: Social media is a powerful marketing tool, but it has to be utilized correctly in order to leverage full benefits. Social media is playing a significant role in how dental practices will market their businesses going forward. You must select your social network carefully and be sure to dedicate sufficient time and resources to market your practice the right way. Having a strong social media presence is an excellent way to build a brand following, which will help drive new patients to your dental practice.
These dental marketing strategies will not only help you expand your patient base but will also help you stand out from the competition. These strategies will also help you maintain a positive relationship with patients, and ensure continuous growth of your dental practice.
Practice Builders helps healthcare marketers increase revenue contribution by solving some of their toughest data management problems. We understand the challenges of results-driven marketers and provide solutions to make dental practice marketing predictive and effective. Whether you want to expand your dental practice or stand out from the crowd, Practice Builders can not only get you in the game but also help you win.
To learn more about how we can help make your dental practice, get a free assessment and a demo today.