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 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:
- How To Get New Patients Dental
- 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 the 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 as yours, and if you do not try 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 18 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 checkup 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.
Dive Deeper: How to grow a dental practice with social media?
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 “Tooth care Thursday” or “Meet The Doctor Tuesday.” 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.
11. Launch a Targeted Ad Campaign
Modern targeting tools can identify your ideal patient with laser-like precision. This means your advertising will get in front of the people who are most likely to respond to it and you won’t have to pay to have it shown to people who aren’t likely to become patients.
But targeting is more than just “who.” You can also use targeting to deliver your message when it’s most effective – and not just for direct, highly-competitive search terms such as “dentist near me.” For example, your ad may pop up when someone in your local area searches for “toothache remedies” on Google. It may also appear on the screen of someone who recently purchased oral pain relief gel or even searched for it.
12. Start a Referral Program
Even in the days of digital marketing, nothing is as effective as word-of-mouth advertising. People understandably trust their peers more than they do advertisements. Getting your current patients to recommend your business to friends, family, and co-workers can bring in lots of new business.
One of the best ways to do this is to create a referral program that rewards people for recommending new patients to your business. Discounts are a popular and simple incentive for referrals. You can offer your current patients a flat or percentage discount on their next service if a new patient mentions them in the intake process.
13. Enable Online Dental Appointment Scheduling
Online scheduling on your website can be incredibly useful to your dental practice in a few different ways. First, it is simply far more convenient than scheduling over the phone or even over email.
Online appointment booking also allows patients to schedule their next appointment at the moment they think about it – which could be well after business hours. It also attracts potential patients who prefer to handle scheduling and other business online, rather than over the phone or in person.
14. Build Up Your Online Reviews
Review scores are one of the main things that people look at when considering a purchase decision. Chances are that the business with the highest scores with high numbers of reviews is much more likely to win new patients than others.
To inspire more people to leave positive reviews online, make it easy for them. One good way to do this is to send a follow-up email after an appointment thanking the patient and providing a link for them to leave a review. You can also post QR codes around your practice in strategic locations that link to places to leave reviews.
15. Take Control of Your Directory Listings
Making sure your directory listings are accurate and consistent across the internet is quick and simple compared to many of the other strategies on this list. However, it is also one of the most important things you can do.
Check out your dental practice’s listings on pages like Google, the Better Business Bureau, Yelp, Angi, and others. Your first order of business is to ensure that you’ve claimed those pages as the business owner. Then, check that all of the information listed on those sites, such as your address, operating hours, and phone number is accurate.
This ensures that potential patients will have the correct information about your business. But it also helps present your practice as professional, legitimate, and trustworthy.
16. Sponsor Local Events and Organizations
Brand visibility and brand familiarity are two pillars of marketing success. With a localized business like a dental practice, becoming a recognized part of your community can help make you the default choice in town.
While digital marketing is effective and efficient, don’t discount old-school in-person advertising. You can sponsor local events like farmer’s markets and concerts to have your name displayed prominently to a crowd of people. You can also do the same by sponsoring local organizations like sports teams or charities. If these events and organizations have an online presence, they may also include you in their digital marketing as part of your sponsorship agreement.
17. Offer Specials To New Patients
Getting customers in the door with an irresistible deal is one of the oldest tricks in the book. But there’s a reason people still use it: it works.
Offering a new patient special can provide a good incentive for people to choose your practice over another. It can also give people a good reason to switch from their current dentist.
18. Create Membership Plans
Prepaid service plans aren’t just for cars anymore. Packaged deals that provide a discount on services bundled together can be an attractive option for many people.
In addition to the deal it provides, it also creates a more transparent pricing model. Patients can know for sure how much they’ll pay for, for example, a year’s worth of services. This can make some people more comfortable compared to practices that aren’t as up front about their prices.
Strategies for Attracting Patients to Your Dental Clinic: Conclusion
As you can see, you have a wealth of options when it comes to attracting new patients to your dental practice. Each has its own distinct advantages and associated costs. With a localized business like your dental clinic, making yourself visible both online and in person is vitally important.
No single strategy or combination of strategies is the best answer for every dental clinic. At Practice Builders, our professional team can assess your needs, goals, and opportunities to help you design a custom strategy that works for you.
Attracting Patients to Dental Practices: FAQ
How do I get new dental patients?
The best way to get new dental patients is to design and execute the right marketing strategy for your practice. As a localized business, it’s a good idea to commit to physical advertisements in your community. But you’ll also want to engage in digital marketing, since that’s how most people learn about new businesses and make decisions.
How do I market myself as a new dentist?
To market yourself as a new dentist, you’ll first want to make sure you are presenting yourself professionally, both in person and online. That means having a clean, attractive physical location and a professional-looking, easy-to-use website. Once you have these in place, you’ll want to create a marketing campaign that reaches people in person and on the internet. Unless you have lots of experience in marketing, it’s a good idea to work with a professional marketing team.