Most people try to find reasons to avoid visiting a dentist. Here’s how you can help them overcome their reservations and grow your practice.
It’s an age-old question dentists have been asking for decades: “How can I get more patients?”
Giving your existing patients personalized, comprehensive, and preventative care is priority No. 1, and it will help drive new patient referrals. Regarding your practice, the importance of traditional and digital marketing cannot be understated.
However, when it comes to content marketing, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all plan. As you lay the foundation of your marketing strategy, keep your patients and your local community top-of-mind and don’t make the mistake of thinking that marketing is synonymous with advertising.
Common Patient Concerns about Visiting the Dentist
Approach your target audience with an understanding of what their needs are. When it comes to dental care, most people try to find reasons to avoid visiting a dentist. Once they accept they need to, they are quite particular about what they’re looking for, including:
- Insurance costs. Less than half of the general population with dental insurance are aware of what their coverage provides annually. They need to know what their policy covers and if your practice’s rates are competitive. Of note, and according to an American Dental Association survey, cost and a low perceived need ranked as the top reasons adults of all ages and income levels had no intention to visit a dentist over a 12-month period.
- Elective services. Our research shows, on average, it takes 18 to 36 months before any new patient will opt for an elective dentistry treatment. More often than not, patients will request these types of treatments after undergoing regular teeth cleaning with your hygienist. That’s where the volume is.
- Flexibility and availability. People want to know their dentist is available when they need them, and that their hours of availability are flexible. In fact, 85% of patients prefer their dental appointments do not interfere with their jobs. Thus, you need to be available on weekdays before standard business hours begin, on weeknights, and on weekends to accommodate that demand.
- Clinical excellence. It should come as no surprise: patients expect and demand their dentist and the entire staff at your practice are consummate professionals, thorough, and kind and gentle. One bad experience in the dental chair, waiting room, or on the phone and the chances are that patient will never return.
Five Things You Must Do to Acquire More Patients
It’s important to remember all healthcare – including dentistry – is a people business. Always put your patients’ needs before everything else, and bear these recommended tips in mind:
- Be proactive with marketing. Don’t be timid with your marketing initiatives. In a highly competitive marketplace, you’ll need to promote your practice to about 5,000 homes in your community each month. Statistics show direct mail newsletters and e-newsletters can increase the number of inquiries to a dental practice by as much as 70%. Not only will this tactic help you grow your practice, but it will help retain existing patients.
- Target women with your messages. Research shows women make the household purchasing decisions for their families for everything from groceries to dentists. Ergo, your marketing messages and campaigns must appeal to this demographic.
- Be the go-to expert in your community. Use social media tools, your website, social news networking websites, press releases, and host open houses or meetups to share your knowledge and expertise with the general public. It helps to build trust, and if people feel you and your staff are approachable, they’ll feel more inclined to call or visit your practice. Moreover, if you can help solve people’s dental issues and assuage their concerns by sharing dental health tips and answering questions, they will turn to you when they want or require treatment.
- Optimize your website to rank high in organic searches. Keeping your website content fresh and up-to-date, and leveraging search engine optimization (SEO) best practices and keyword analysis (a method to determine what words people use to search for specific businesses, services, or items) can help give your organic search ranking on Google and other search engines a lift. Why does that matter? Higher search rankings equals more patients will call.
- Telephone etiquette is essential. Your frontline staff must be the height of good manners when speaking to prospective and existing patients at all times in person, and especially on the phone. It’s critical your employees use a sensitive tone of voice that conveys kindness, authority, and confidence. Furthermore, don’t rely on an answering machine to cater to your patients. During office hours, ensure your phone is answered by a staff member every time it rings.
Need professional and experienced assistance marketing your dental practice? We can help. For over 24+ years, Patient NEWS has worked exclusively with more than 7,000 dentists across the U.S. and Canada. Call us now at 1-888-377-2404 or request a callback.