Because it is Cheaper to Keep ‘Em: Basic Dental Marketing Techniques You Can Use to Grow Your Practice.
The national average for Dental Practices is that roughly 30% – 45% of patients “fall through the cracks” every month. Over time this can erode the profitability of your dental practice making it difficult to get ahead. After a while you may get the feeling that when it comes to your practice that you are like a gerbil running on a never ending treadmill.
There are five ways that you can retain most all of your patients each month and get off the treadmill. These five simple mechanisms can help you to grow and expand your dental practice.
One: a robust and repetitive patient recall program. Some dental practices over the years, in an effort to cut costs, only send email or text messages out to their patients. This is good, but to be effective you need to do the following:
- Oversized appointment cards. We recommend the card being 2.5” x 4”. This is big enough that it stands out and will not get lost.
- Sending out dental patient recall cards. There are ways to save on the postage and mailing costs we can help you with.
- Call in. Yes, the phone is still one of the most effective means of getting patients to show up for their appointment.
- Then, of course, send them email and text messages.
Two: Regularly mail a newsletter to your existing patients. By regularly I mean at least once per quarter and for best results you should mail a newsletter every two months. We can help you develop a newsletter that your patients will look forward to reading. With most of your patients being on the 2x a year cleaning schedule, a newsletter is a vital tool to help you stay in front of patients in between visits.
Three: A referral program. Dental Patient Referral Programs have many names, but the most common is Care to Share Cards. To be effective, your patient referral program needs to involve more than passing out care to share referral cards. Your front desk person needs to drill on how to ask patients for referrals. You may want to consider paying a reward to your staff for asking for and getting referrals from your patients. Your existing patients can be a rich source for getting new patients for your practice.
- Patient follow-up calls. Some dental offices still do this today, but years ago the most successful dental practices called patients three to four days after a visit to follow up with the patient. This is a nice personal touch that is missing today. Patient follow up calls are an easy way to boost patient loyalty.
Four: Google reviews. On the back of your oversized appointments cards, put a QR code that goes to your Google Review page. Most people have smart phones nowadays and by including a QR code link is an easy way to boost your positive reviews.
Five: Send a thank you note to the patient. Thank you notes are still another way to build patient loyalty, cross promote other products and stop patient attrition. You can have preprinted thank you notes or have one of your staff write a personal note to the patient.
The personalized note card is more effective, but with high patient visits it may be a challenge to do, which is why created a program to automatically send out handwritten thank you notes.
Putting in the above steps and combined with a regular new patient direct mail program, your practice will be able to achieve double-digit growth that year.
[box type=”bio”] About the author: Mark Hale is a marketing guru with 30 years experience in direct marketing and broadcast marketing. He has helped businesses expand and grow by using direct marketing techniques. His company Wilson Printing USA offers robust and effective dental marketing programs. We operate as your marketing division helping you to position your practice against and ahead of your competitors. Our purpose is to help you build the dental practice of your dreams through comprehensive dental recall and new patient marketing solutions.[/box]
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