8 Ways To Get More New Patients
More new patients. When they call us, that’s what almost every dentist says. As one of the leading dental marketing agencies in the industry, getting more new business for our clients and helping their dental practices (and group organizations) grow is our number-one task.
Here are 8 ways to get more new business.
- Promote your differentiating features to your community
- Offer incentives for new patients
- Re-contact lapsing patients
- Ask patients for referrals
- Improve your web presence
- Work with referring doctors and businesses
- Leverage positive patient reviews
- Get involved in your practice community.
Promote your differentiators
You want your dental practice to be visible where your patients are located. That will be both in their homes around your practice and online. But how do you make your practice stand out? This is one of the biggest challenges dentists face – consumers perceive that most dentists offer the same thing, so differentiating your expertise, your team, your services, and your practice is so important and can help you cut through the noise of all the competing dental offices.
We work hard to create brand differentiation as part of your overall dental marketing strategy. We promote your unique products, services, and patient experiences to build great direct mail campaigns and great websites, paid media and patient newsletters. It’s our mission to help our dentists and DSOs to “stand out & grow.” If you’ve seen our group of zebras, you’ll see that only one stands out. That’s what we do for you.
Differentiating your practice in your community will boost team morale, increase new patients, and improve practice productivity and profits.
Offer incentives for new patients
It’s funny when I think back over the years of all the dentists who said they didn’t want to discount their services, didn’t want to offer new-patient specials, or consider a membership program. It’s funny because now that we have the data in Practice ZEBRA from thousands of dental offices, we can see that special offers actually have the opposite effect of reducing revenue. New patients contribute often 2X that of an existing patient, and membership patients are the same in that they contribute 2X that of a non-insured patient.
Offers trigger something of urgency that get people to act – bringing new patients to your chair, new patients that need additional services above and beyond the cleaning offer you provided. And, maybe, because they feel they’re getting good value and have the opportunity to get to know you and trust you, they accept more treatment than the average patient. Incentives work to attract new patients and drive practice growth.
Re-contact lapsing patients
The average practice has a quarter of their “assumed active” patient base in the lapsed category. That means 25% of active patients haven’t had a return visit for any treatment in over 9 months. That’s big for the average practice with 2000 patients. Do you have 2000 patients? If yes, you could have 500 patients that are over-due and possibly open to a competitor offer.
How are you reaching out to lapsing patients? Based on the stats we see in Practice ZEBRA, we can confidently state that the reactivation programs generally available with reminder services aren’t all that great. Our automated reactivation cadence is amazing, maybe because it’s been designed by dental MARKETERS (and not techies – no offense tech folks), it’s more eye-catching to patients. Success has been great, driving 70% more daily bookings at launch! You’ll also reactivate patients with a good direct mail campaign, and we can help with that too! Why not book a free demo with our awesome team to find out more.
Ask for referrals
We recommend that you ask patients for referrals in every patient newsletter – email and printed and mailed. When you receive a compliment from a patient, thank them, and they say, “Hey, by the way, that was so nice to hear and since you feel that way I thought you should know we’re welcoming new patients and would love it if you would refer your friends and family to us…” Expand this if you have a referral incentive you can tell them about.
It’s simple, it’s not overbearing, and it works. Getting patients to act as your ambassadors is so important for practice growth and security. Everyone on your team should be proud of the work you do and be confident to ask for referrals. You can also include care-to-share type referral cards in your quarterly patient newsletter (which is the ONLY way to reach 100% of patients with your important messages) to help spread word-of-mouth advertising.
Improve your web presence
What patients and new patients find when they look you up online – and they will be doing so to find your number quickly – will impact buying decisions. Is your website out of date? Is it SLOOOOOWWWWWWWW? Are you proud of it? And what about reviews? New patients will read reviews before making a buying decision. They want to see volume, rating, recency, and 9 out of 10 read through reviews – most look at lower reviews to see if the complaints are things they care about.
Even better than referrals, patients will leave a review when asked – and when it’s made convenient to do so. Our Review Booster product is best-in-class (and we’re dental only), so it makes sense to ditch the amount you’re paying to Birdeye, Podium, or Swell to use our solution in Practice ZEBRA. Not only will you boost reviews, but our program will elevate your practice reputation in the eyes of patients because it provides VALUE to your patients at a critical moment when you’re asking for a favor. Get a free demo to find out more.
Referring doctors and businesses
You already have good relationships with other medical services in your area where you refer patients back and forth. Maybe you have special arrangements with other non-healthcare businesses in your area. You can leverage these relationships by having them include your web URL on their site, linking back to your website, and by providing them with brochures and special offers to promote your services in their locations.
Leverage your great reviews
Make sure you’re pulling your great reviews from Google, sharing them with your team, thanking your team for doing such a great job, and using these referrals across all marketing platforms. Include them on your website, in PPC campaigns, in your printed materials, practice brochures, neighborhood newsletters and postcards, even in your patient newsletters. “We’re sending a shout out to Amber M who left us this great review on Google” … include the review and ask other patients to post reviews to your site.
Let everyone know what patients love about your practice so they can repeat the messages to others.
Get involved in community
This is a fun one for many dental teams. I love seeing the photos come in for patient newsletters showing dental teams at charity events, all wearing their team colors, smiling, and having fun. Ask your team which events they’d all like to participate in and get visible. In our local community, one of our dentists does an incredible job with what they’ve named Volunteer Dental Outreach. For the past 10 years they’ve been providing dental services to those who can’t afford needed treatment (well over 1,000 patients) and $3 million in free dentistry. With social sites, local PR, and supporting events like an annual golf tournament that attracts local residents and businesses, the community outreach is not only a great thing, but it also keeps the founder’s dental practice highly visible in the community. This type of activity is really important because we hear from many dental owners that practice awareness is an issue for them. Find your niche and start playing to keep your practice visible.
Here we are mid-August. How are you at making decisions? If nothing changes at your practice, you can’t expect to magically get more new patients. We have a step by step process that can help you uncover your best opportunities for practice growth that will help you make more confident decisions using relevant information and data. The key is to start now so that you can get what you want when you want it.
Here’s one metric to get you thinking about calling us. If your practice is losing one new patient booking per day that you’re open, you could be missing out on roughly 250 new patients added to your roster. That’s 5 per week. Not much, right? Except that the average new patient contributes $1800 per year. Missing 1 patient per day adds up to a loss of $450,000 to your topline annually.
If you’d like a piece of that revenue – schedule a FREE DEMO now.