Dentists and other dental care professionals are always looking for ways to provide better services and grow their practices. Nevertheless, attracting prospective patients can be extremely challenging, especially if you consider the other dental professionals competing for your audience’s attention.
You need to understand your patient’s needs beyond dental services, create a blueprint, and implement improvements that help you achieve sustained revenue growth and acquire new patients. Not only this, but you also have to master new channels and focus on delivering value outside of your services.
In this article, we’ll go over ten tips to help dental health professionals expand their patient base and grow their practices.
10 Ways to Expand Your Dental Practice
As with all small businesses, dental practices need to stay profitable. For the most part, individual patients don’t require dental services on an ongoing basis. This means that every dentist needs to find creative ways to attract new patients and drive revenue growth.
It’s important to understand that every dental office is unique. Whether you specialize in cosmetic dentistry, have a partner that’s in a specific dentistry field, or have a unique collection of services, make sure to lean on your strengths and tell patients what to expect when walking into your practice.
Here are ten tips that you can implement to encourage patients to book an appointment at your practice.
1. Establish Your Practice Online
A recent survey revealed that more than 61% of Americans choose a dentist based on online reviews and Google search rank. It’s safe to say that the internet has become the best place for dentists and other oral care experts to promote their services.
There are many similar platforms, but keep in mind that most new patients will look at your practice’s Google Reviews rating before anything else. It doesn’t matter if you use new technologies and the latest equipment, if you have a poor online reputation, your chances of getting noticed are not ideal.
Learning how to market your dental practice online is essential, but keep in mind that this is a gradual process. First, you need to understand your target audience, in other words, the group or groups of consumers you want to reach due to their high probability of becoming future patients. Your first point of call should be your existing patients, so make sure to study the steps that each individual took before becoming a patient.
Next, you need to identify the channels that your patients use to find patients in their areas. Search engines are usually among the top channels, but these can also include social media networks, review sites, messaging apps, and many other options. Review the list of options you identified and start brainstorming creative dental marketing ideas.
Setting up a newsletter or sharing a valuable blog post on a regular basis can lay a great foundation for your digital campaigns. Just make sure to have a set marketing plan with strategies like search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, email marketing, and Google Ads.
2. Join a Dental Membership Program
No list of tips on how to grow your practice is complete without mentioning dental membership programs.
Dental membership programs create a win-win situation for both patients and practitioners. In simple terms, a dental membership program is a plan that allows patients to access high-quality oral care at a discounted rate.
Patients pay a yearly or monthly subscription fee, which gives them access to services from dentists within a network. Some of these services have no cost, while others can be purchased at a reduced price.
The beauty of this setup is that the monthly subscription encourages patients to see their dental practitioner, while the dentist is guaranteed an additional monthly income stream.
3. Focus on Improving the Patient Experience
While many dentists group this step with marketing for dental specialists, it’s important to focus on creating a great patient experience. Whether you’re caring for current patients or new dental patients, you should go the extra mile to create a positive patient experience.
The first step is to make dental patients feel more comfortable. You should train your staff members to ensure that they provide the best service and reduce the chances of getting a negative review.
4. Regularly Evaluate Patient Satisfaction
Although it may be difficult to gauge, patient satisfaction is one of the most important statistics you have to track in order to set up a successful practice. With that in mind, one of the biggest traps that dental practices fall into is measuring patient satisfaction once per year.
The reality is that you should have a patient satisfaction rating system that operates constantly. This is the only way to have an accurate read of how patients perceive your practice at any given time, which can help you build better marketing campaigns.
5. Share Information About General Oral Health
So, you’ve created your social media profiles, website, and other digital channels. Fantastic! Now, remember that your patients don’t only use these channels to contact you. They also look for information and solutions to their symptoms before booking an appointment.
You should create valuable resources about general oral health in order to answer these questions and share this information through your marketing channels. Besides giving your patients tips and tricks that can help them out, it will set you up as an expert in the field.
6. Capture the Right Data During the Registration Process
The best way to create interesting promotions and offer services that your patients need is to understand their demographic. Your registration process is the best time to collect information directly from your patient, so make sure that you’re asking the right questions.
In addition to common information like questions about their medical records, you should ask patients to share additional details you can learn from.
7. Implement an Efficient Appointment Mechanism
Patients are also consumers, and as such, these individuals want to feel empowered to take control of their dental health. One of the best ways to empower your patients is to develop an efficient appointment system that they can leverage without speaking to anyone from your team.
Appointment systems are usually built into an app or website, which means that patients will have to create an account. Because these patients won’t be registering with your team members, you should take this opportunity and ask the type of questions we covered in the previous point.
Remember, to have the right effect, your booking mechanism must be easy to use and accurate. If not, you run the risk of frustrating patients and potentially losing their trust.
8. Send Patient Reminders Using Their Preferred Channels
Patient reminders have proven to be the difference between practice with a high attendance rate and a large number of cancellations. As the name suggests, these notifications remind patients that they have an upcoming appointment. These messages can be simplified, often featuring a few words as well as details like time and date.
It’s a good idea to develop specific reminders for larger procedures that require patients to follow steps prior. For example, if you’re going to perform a procedure that can’t be performed on patients who have ingested food right before the treatment, you can create a tailored reminder including all details they should know.
9. Incentivize Patient Referrals
Word of mouth is still one of the most powerful marketing tools you can leverage today. The main challenge with this form of marketing is encouraging patients to share their experiences with friends and family. Fortunately, you can incentivize patient referrals and create a program that rewards current clients for referring new patients.
In these cases, you can offer a basic service, like a checkup, for free or a discount on comprehensive services. In either setup, you enjoy two advantages: getting referrals and encouraging current patients to address other dental issues they may have.
10. Become an Active Member of Your Community
Practices that aren’t present in the community are not as visible and, therefore, have a much more difficult time establishing themselves as successful businesses.
Dental care providers that become active members of the community have a much higher chance of becoming a pillar and transforming their neighbors into loyal patients.
Looking to Expand Your Dental Practice? Join a Dental Program Today
Every single dental practice is different, so you need to evaluate your goals and resources in order to create a blueprint to success. We hope that the tips above help you implement a few adjustments and finetune your practice in order to deliver the best service to your patients.
To learn more about joining a trustworthy dental membership program, get in touch with Membersy, and our team will be glad to help.