Are you a dentist wondering how you can generate more patients for you clinic or a doctor wonder how to increase patient retention? Dental marketing and driving new business can be an extremely difficult area to tackle. According to a recent market research report over 87% of dentists in Ireland rely on referrals and word of mouth to help them generate new patients and often struggle to generate net new patients.
That’s a huge amount of dentists relying on a single source a new patient development. Of course relying on referrals and word of mouth has it’s benefits. Having said that it also comes with its negatives as well. It means if that one source of patients generation drys up then it's back to square one. It also means that there is very little room to scale up a grow the practice/clinic as there is no control over when and who will be attending the practice/clinic.
Here are 7 effective ways Dentists can generate more patients in 2019
1) A User Friendly Website
The purchasing decision of a customer has changed dramatically over the last few years. The majority of customers are taking to the internet to conduct research before even stepping foot in a dental practice.
Your website is going to act as the mascot of your practice and you want to make sure it shines and promotes your services. Ensuring the website is modern and mobile friendly is key. A large portion of customers pre purchasing research is conducted through mobile devices. Studies have shown that businesses without a mobile optimised website loose out on potential new business as a result of this.
2) Online Booking System
Having the least amount of barriers your patient has to your dental chair the better. Along with having a good website it’s now seen as the norm to having an online booking system. Gone are the days of when customers will look up a phone number and call it. It’s nearly expected that you can book your appointments online now.
Implementing this system will create an effective process that will allow potential patients to book times that suit you and also suits themselves. With a book system on your website it means they can book an appointment then and there rather than having to wait for a good time to call your reception and book and appointment. It essentially creates a 24/7 booking service for your practice, meaning that potential patients don’t have to wait for your opening hours to book in.
3) Social Media
Social media is an extremely powerful tool for generating new patients. Ensuring you practice is on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is a great way to generate new clients and raise brand awareness very cost effectively. It also allows you to engage with your customers by finding out what they like and dislike about your services.
Social media gives dentists the ability to showcase their work in the forms of “before and after” pictures and promoting deals and offers. Patients can look up reviews that others have left on your website and can judge from there if they would like to make an appointment with you. Social media also adds a more personal touch to your practice. It can give potential clients an insight into the dentists and staff working at the practice. Customers can also reach out directly to your clinic via Facebook through instant messenger to answer any questions they may have.
4) Establish Thought Leadership
In the medical industry patients seek out medical professionals because they possess knowledge that they don’t have themselves. Like in any industry there are experts in different fields. Dentists that specialise in crowns and implants, doctors that specialise in men's health and dermatologist that specialise in scaring, the list goes on. Establishing thought leadership in you field is vital for becoming the go to practice/clinic.
To achieve this it is crucial that your website reflects this too. Thought leadership can be established through regularly posting informative blogs, articles or case studies showing off your work. Posting blogs on issues patients are looking to solve are a great way to gain trust and promote yourself as a trusted adviser. Publishing before and after pictures are another great way to show off your work and you know what you’re doing. The more information you can provide for free the more patients you’ll gain.
5) Email Marketing
Email marketing is a great way to increase patient retention. Through email marketing you can upsell and cross sell your services. Being able to remind patients that their next visit is due or inform them of the latest deals your practice has to offer.
Email marketing is a great way to stay in touch directly with your patients. You can also go one step further and create SMS notification as well reminding them of upcoming appointments and follow up visits.
6) Re Targeting Ads
Like emailing marketing, creating re marketing ads is another great way to targeting recent visitors to your website or clinic/practice through Google Ads or Facebook. Through re marketing ad you can increase clients retention and up sell and cross sell your services. Re targeting ads may not be as direct as email marketing but are still a very effective way of reaching easy wins and generating more appointments.
7) Google My Business
Google my business is a quick and cheap way to get your website ranking highly. It allows those browsing the web to find you on Google maps, look up reviews and contact details. It’s great for when users are searching for medical professional near them and they can find your clinic on Google maps along with a host of information as well.