January 30, 2018
You have a steady stream of patients, and you love those loyal customers. They are the ones who will always be there. They never miss an appointment. They tell other people about your practice. They pay on time. If every patient was like them, life would be easy! But, are you measuring your success by those loyalists?
What defines success to you and your dental practice? Are you assessing that by the number of new patients you have or by the number of good new dental patients?
If you aren’t struggling with it already — a common marketing challenge you’re sure to face is balancing new dental patients you bring into your practice with the right patients for you.
How to Get the Right New Dental Patients
Just know you will need to do some soul searching and evaluation to determine what kind of patients you are actually seeking. If you want to start bringing in high-value patients, you need to know how to market to them and attract them to your practice. There’s no right or wrong answer, but identifying your preferred clientele will help drive your marketing plan and give you a measurable goal of what to achieve in your patient demographic.
Once you’ve identified your “right patient,” you need to take steps to make sure your marketing efforts align with that goal, and you’ve got the support of your office staff.
1. Getting Referrals from Current Patients
When you have a patient who is thoroughly happy with their dental treatment, you want to make sure you ask them for a referral to your practice. But there is more to it than just happiness with results – you want to create a raving fan, and the way you do that is by giving your patients such a great experience, they will want to tell everyone they know about their visit!
When you make the commitment to turning your patients into raving fans, you are taking all the negatives a patient might anticipate and turning them into positives! From the first point of contact through the duration of their treatment, you can take steps to give them a personalized, exclusive experience that will make them a fan for life!
There’s a practice in Ann Arbor, Mich., that goes above and beyond for its patients. While patients are at their appointments, they have people on staff that will take care of the errands the patients would otherwise need to be doing if they weren’t sitting in the dental chair. They shop for their patients’ groceries or take the car in for repairs, plus they have an onsite daycare so patient parents don’t have to worry about paying a babysitter when they have an appointment. And to top it off, they will send an Uber service to patients who need it! Now, that’s service! And that service creates raving fans that are happy to write about their experience and refer their friends and family to that practice.
2. Utilizing Gift Card Marketing
Who doesn’t love a discount? We’re used to regularly seeing it in the retail industry, but people appreciate discounts in their medical/dental care, too!
Cherry-pick two to three patients a week and take the time to thank them for their treatment. Get those thank you cards ready, because you’ll want to hand write a personalized thank you note to those patients, and include two practice-branded gift cards: one for the patient, and one for their family or friend who they want to refer to you. This secures the loyalty of your patient, and hopefully garners you a new patient…the right patient.
One practice of ours in South Florida says this method provides them the best source of getting new patients! They know this through the tracking function gift cards can provide you. You note the serial numbers of the cards you issue and can literally track it back to that patient, so you know who referred you!
3. Patient Communication
Make sure you’re staying in front of your patients with various communication methods. The two most popular methods for this purpose are through newsletters and targeted E-blasts.
Take advantage of your general newsletter to your regular and prospective patients and highlight your practice, members of your team, and timely events, such as end-of-the-year benefits. Those items will strike a chord with patients and drive them to want to schedule an appointment.
Find those patients in your database with undone dentistry. You are missing out on upwards of a $1 million of revenue each year if you allow undone dentistry to go unscheduled! Once you identify them, send specific E-blasts to them with targeted messaging. Tell them about new technology in your office or new specials you’re running – anything to entice them to call you and schedule that treatment hanging out there.
The bottom line is you need to be thinking about what you’re doing to attract your patients. They aren’t just going to come to you without some effort on your part. Take a step back, figure out what you’re doing to get the right patients, and start adding these methods to your arsenal.
If you need help in determining your preferred patient demographic and how to identify, target, and attract those patients, give us a call at TNT Dental today!
About The Author
Tim Kelley is one of the founders of TNT Dental, the #1 creator of custom websites and marketing strategies for dentists. Recognized as a leading expert in helping dental practices grow, Tim is passionate about harnessing the power of online marketing to attract and keep new patients. If there is anything Tim can do to help you, please do not hesitate to contact him directly at the office, (877) 868-4932, on his cell, (972) 989-9137, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Of course, you can always visit www.TNTDental.com to learn more.