An effective dental practice provides admirable service to its patients, but a successful practice has to do more. Building a sustainable and successful dental practice requires consistent growth and a strong, thoughtful plan. When working to grow your dental practice, you cannot overlook the importance of marketing. Fortunately, there are a few simple ways to market your practice and drive growth.
How To Grow a Dental Practice
Growing a dental practice takes targeted, mindful action. Patient retention and recruitment are the most important factors for growing a dental practice. In order to reach and retain patients, you need streamlined systems and an effective marketing strategy. The following steps will go a long way toward supporting your dental practice growth.
1. Create Measurable Goals
The best way to facilitate growth is to be able to reference your goals to develop a tangible plan with strategies for growing your practice. Goals can center around components like new patient numbers, revenue growth or patient retention rates. These goals should be realistic, measurable and shared with staff throughout the practice.
2. Track Your Performance
Establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) is crucial for measuring your success toward goals and determining necessary adjustments if performance is not going to plan. KPIs might look like numbers regarding website traffic, online conversions, and patient satisfaction scores. You should check these indicators frequently to monitor your performance to assess the effectiveness of your marketing.
3. Implement Staff Training
A dental practice is not made up of just one person but its entire staff, all of whom share responsibility for the success of the practice. From the patients’ relationship with their dentist to the front desk scheduling patient appointments, there are many elements of daily operation that factor into customer retention and growth.
It is vital that everyone is on the same page about the current goals of the practice, how to achieve them and what success looks like. By implementing regular staff training, your practice can ensure everyone knows what their role is in the success of the practice and how to grow the business effectively.
4. Provide a Positive Experience
The value of patient satisfaction cannot be overstated. A satisfied patient is not only more likely to come back to your practice, but they are also more likely to recommend it to their friends and family, giving you access to more potential patients. Patients are also likely to leave reviews, which are crucial for painting a picture of your practice.
Keep in mind that people often dislike going to the dentist. If your practice can develop a reputation as a welcoming and helpful environment, then you are far more likely to reach these hesitant potential patients.
If this is not motivation enough, then keep in mind that Yelp appears in the top five search results for 92% of Google searches for a city and business category, meaning that people who search for a dentist in your area are more likely to come across reviews.
5. Conduct Frequent Surveys
Feedback is crucial in any industry where a service is provided. Surveys are a great way to understand what your patients need, which helps your practice improve and helps strengthen the patient-provider relationship.
Everyone wants to see that their voice matters. By putting patient needs at the heart of your operations, you show that they matter. Patients should receive follow-up emails asking for surveys and even incentives for completing them.
6. Market Dental Hygiene Habits in Person
Although this should always be the goal, when you are trying to maintain your number of patients and encourage them to come back, it helps to emphasize the importance of visiting the dentist twice a year.
You should constantly remind patients of this, especially when you can directly communicate with them, as it benefits them and their dental health as well as your practice. Scheduling patients’ next appointments before they leave the office is a great procedure to have in place.
7. Have an Effective Appointment Reminder System
Everyone is forgetful to some degree. Not only is an automated appointment system helpful for organization and record keeping, but it also helps to remind your patients of their appointments at reasonable intervals so that they are more likely to show up when it comes time for their visit.
When patients do not show up, your office loses revenue and time that could have been spent serving others. Automated reminders through email and text message can help reduce no-shows and cancellations.
8. Try Dental Postcards
Not all of your prospective patients are going to be tech-savvy, or maybe they have not even needed to search for a dental practice yet. Even in the age of the internet and social media, postcard marketing is still highly effective.
You may be surprised to hear that 86% of people still take the time to look through their mail. This underrated approach can provide your practice with considerable reach in your local area.
Dental postcards also help give your practice a head start, reaching customers before they start their search. This old-fashioned method is an excellent way to keep your practice on potential patients’ minds, even if they do not need a dental service right now.
When the time comes for their next dental visit, they are likely to remember the postcard that they received in the mail.
A great way to take advantage of direct mail marketing is to offer a special to customers, adding a discount, coupon, or other offers for new or returning patients. A promotion like a free comprehensive exam for new patients is a great way to entice potential patients to come and give your practice a chance.
9. Have a Strong Website
A website is one of the first tools that any practice should have in place for establishing legitimacy and reaching potential patients. You should be sure to have accurate information on the website and update it regularly.
Ways to make your website stronger and more engaging include interesting content, an online appointment scheduling tool, and call-to-action pages. If leveraged properly, your website is an excellent tool for generating conversions, providing potential patients the opportunity to call your office or schedule an appointment.
10. Invest in SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) helps businesses rank higher in search results and has become almost required for the success of a business in today’s world. When seeking a service, many people start with a Google search, and 76% of people who search for something nearby visit a business within a day, so it is essential to leverage the power of a search to your advantage by making sure your website is front and center.
People are far more likely to choose the business they see first in their search results. Your local SEO strategy determines whether they will find your practice or a competitor first, so you should take it seriously.
11. Maintain Quality, Consistent Website Content
On the topic of SEO, one of the best ways to rank, and rank high, on search engines is to have a wealth of content on your website. This content should be unique and informative so that it is valuable to potential patients.
The most popular method is making blog posts about topics prospective clients may be interested in. Still, website landing pages for services you offer and areas you serve are also great ways to boost your rankings, thus increasing your site traffic and growing your dental practice. Best practice is to post a new blog at least twice a month for engagement.
12. Develop a Social Media Strategy
Whether they are on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, nearly everyone has at least one social media account. As a result, social media is a great way to connect with current and prospective patients. This social media strategy should highlight the content you post and how often.
By posting regular, positive content, people see your practice in a positive light and are frequently reminded of your services. Your followers may even share posts with their network, opening the door for new patients.
13. Facebook Retargeting Ads
Have you ever noticed how, after you visit a business’s website, you tend to see their posts and Ads pop up when you scroll through your Facebook page? This is not by accident, and is known as retargeting.
While they may seem like an irritant, retargeting keeps you in front of prospective clients and provides brand awareness. The more you can position yourself as the dental practice in your area, the more effective your marketing campaign will be.
14. Use Email Marketing
Social media is not the only way to reach your patients. In fact, one of the best ways is email marketing, which is considered to be 40% better at generating conversions than Facebook and Twitter. Email marketing is the perfect opportunity to personalize your marketing approach and enjoy a high return on investment.
Email marketing helps keep your practice at the forefront of your customers’ minds. It also helps remind them that they should schedule an appointment for their dental health. A great way to use this strategy is to send out an email newsletter once a week, including helpful information, office updates, and even discounts or coupons.
15. Highlight Reviews and Patient Testimonials
When searching for a practice, one of the first factors people consider is patient reviews. People want to see if a practice is trustworthy before they commit to making an appointment.
If you have a range of positive reviews and testimonies that are easy for potential customers to find, then your practice instantly becomes much more appealing. These reviews should be highlighted on the front page of your website, in email marketing, and on social media.
16. Respond to Negative Reviews
Bad reviews happen, but they are not irredeemable. You do not want reviews to give potential patients the impression that poor service is common at your practice. Responding to the review gives your practice a chance to clear up any issues.
When responding, do not be short or snarky in the reply. Instead, show remorse and a strong willingness to correct the issue at hand. The patient is more likely to give a second chance if you do, and everyone else who reads your reviews will see that your practice demonstrates professionalism and a willingness to correct mistakes.
17. Use Google Ads for Dentists
Google Ads allows you to connect with prospective patients by targeting a specific keyword that potential patients may search for. When you pay for ads, prospective clients will see your practice at the top of their search results after searching for a keyword like “dental offices near me”. Google Ads is great for local advertising, reaching those who are most likely to visit your practice.
With Google Ads, you can put your goals at the forefront, choosing whether you want your ads to influence potential patients to call your business, visit your website, or receive directions to your office.
Google Ads is a great strategy for growing your dental practice at scale. Google Ads uses pay-per-click advertising, which means that you only pay when searchers click on your ad. Since you only pay when a user clicks on your Ad, these ads bring you a higher return on investment than other methods. Plus, you are able to set your budget limit, preventing you from paying more than you intended.
For even more positive results, Google gives you reports and insights so you can see how successful your ads are. You will even receive tips from Google to improve them, so over time, your ads have the potential to generate even more conversions.
18. Google My Business is a Must
Another great local marketing tool is Google My Business. This page is found when people come across your practice through Google search results or Google maps and provides key information about your practice, like contact information and added details.
Because of the power of a Google search, your Google My Business page is often the first impression that prospective patients receive regarding your practice.
With a complete business profile, your practice appears more professional and generates more leads by connecting to your website, phone number and address.
Setting up your business page is also a great way to enhance your connections with your patients, as it allows consumers to upload pictures, leave reviews and answer questions about the business. Patient reviews are one of the most important parts of your My Business page.
Your Google My Business star rating is directly affected by consumer reviews, so it is important that you take them and customer satisfaction seriously. Use this opportunity to interact with current and prospective patients by responding to reviews, both positive and negative, answering questions on the page and updating information regularly.
19. Manage Your Online Profiles
Managing your Google My Business account is just a start. Other business profiles like Yelp and local directories matter just as much. This gives you the chance to respond to reviews, connect with new potential patients and ensure that all of your business information is accurate on the profile.
Potential patients who come across an incomplete business profile are likely to move on to one that looks more reliable.
Running an effective practice is more than just providing adequate dental care; there is far more involved along the way. Customer retention and recruitment do not just happen. You need an intentional plan and cohesive strategies to maintain consistent clientele. When building your dental practice, do not take anything for granted. Try these 19 methods and experience the difference they can make for your dental practice growth.