It is often said that new business is the lifeblood of any successful organization, but nowhere is this truer than in the dental community. While a core of patients usually stays with a practice for a long period of time, older patients may become incapacitated, younger patients can leave for college, and families might move away. Over time this attrition leads to a trickle in the patient base that can eventually become an insurmountable negative outflow.
Dental practices need to place a strong emphasis on practice growth to stem this outflow and provide a constant influx of new patients. Traditionally, it might have been possible to increase awareness through local advertising alone, but today’s digital world makes finding, and connecting with, prospective patients very difficult.
With that in mind here are six dynamic strategies that will draw new patients to your dental practice:
1. Provide outstanding patient service
Although this should not have to be said, outstanding patient care on each and every visit can increase new patient volume. Word-of-mouth is still a strong marketing component. Patients who have a positive experience are far more likely to talk about it, and to recommend your practice when asked for referrals.
2. Promote team growth
The best way to provide outstanding service is to have a dental team that is focused, knowledgeable, supportive and friendly. These traits may not come naturally to all dental assistants or dental hygienists, however, so the dentist will have to lead by example while the practice may need to invest in training.
3. Make a good impression
Take an honest look at your facility, or have a trusted advisor do it for you. If things are looking a little ragged around the edges, dirty, dingy or dusty, it’s time to invest in an overhaul. Nothing turns prospective patients away faster than an office that says, “We just don’t care.”
4. Be visible
This does not just mean having a sign out front, although that is important. It means being visible in your community and supporting local events. It also means being visible online.
- Have a well designed website that works on both desktops and smartphones.
- Create and update your social media regularly with creative and informative posts
- Send the occasional email with quality information.
- Make it easy for “practice shoppers” to find your practice.
5. Make it easy to be a patient
Have dental forms online so they can be completed before the appointment. Make it easy to set appointments. Automate as much of the process as you can. Train your front office staff to be aware of new patient opportunities. Offer an educational seminar and take away any negatives associated with being your patient. Reach out to those you haven’t seen in some time and invite them back.
6. Analyze everything
The only way to really know if your practice is growing is to track your statistics, but don’t get bogged down in a lot of unnecessary paperwork. Automate the process of data collection, analytics and data management, and you will have the information needed to quickly make solid business decisions.
A successful dental practice pays attention to patient satisfaction and patient attraction.