Hand about to pop a red balloon with a nail

To a large degree, how happy people are about their personal appearance is directly linked to how they feel about their teeth.

As a D.D.S., you know this, and you help your patients keep their teeth free of plaque and staining and educate them about their oral health. As you build relationships with your patients and help them create and maintain the excellent oral health, you sometimes see them leave your office happy, then never see them again. Just as you get them on the road to a healthier smile, they’ve disappeared to the competition because of what seems to them to be a lucrative special offer they can’t refuse.

Patient attrition is frustrating and may have you wondering if your promotions aren’t as strong as the competition’s. While your competition may have strong promotions, a patient retention program will net you more dollars than one-off promotion-motivated visits. A well-planned dental marketing campaign targeting your patients of record will help you reduce patient attrition and grow your practice … putting money in your pocket – without spending more than you want to on special promotions.

Engaging your patients-of-record and keeping them loyal to your practice will prevent them jumping ship when they see a competitive offer. Although dental postcards are a common dental marketing technique and an excellent place to start, they are less effective at tapping into your patient retention potential. Building loyalty with your practice gives patients more value over the long-term than a one-off free cleaning, and it lets you remain competitive. Plus, in addition to staying with your practice, loyal patients are more likely to accept treatment recommendations and refer their friends.

Three Tools To Increase Patient Loyalty

In this fast-paced information-age, consumers are more fickle than ever and they are looking for the best price in town. As a business owner, you may not have the same marketing dollars as your competition, and the deal down the street may seem like one that will distract your patients and have them move dental practices. But you can give your patients increased perceived value where your dental practice is concerned. Showing your patients the increased bang-for-your-buck, that staying with your practice gives them over going elsewhere for a free cleaning builds loyalty, and that’s just good for business.

1. Dental Newsletters

Containing a variety of dental health related articles, patient newsletters show patients that you care to give them more than a one-off deal. Educating your patients, communicating practice updates, team spotlights, and technology upgrades, newsletters keep your patients-of-record engaged and connected to your practice, and sharing dental advances keeps them interested in what you offer them.

2. Dental Brochures

Handing your patients a customized dental brochure at the end of their visit is a valuable tool for communicating information you were unable to discuss in the time booked for their appointment. Brochures can further explain treatments, procedures, or home care, and keeps your patients that their health and comfort are your priority. This keeps you in their thoughts, creates a lasting impression, and fosters loyalty.

Retained Patients Bring You New Patients

Loyal patients are great marketing advocates that cost you next to nothing. By developing a rapport with your patients and building their loyalty, you are also expanding on your marketing efforts. More than 50% of your new patients should come from patient referrals – this is a valuable asset. In addition to using your patient newsletter to thank your patients for their referrals, you can also encourage your patients to refer their friends, family, and colleagues, thereby generating higher profit margins and making you more money.

3. Referral Cards

Given out along with patient brochures or inserted into your patient newsletters, referral cards remind your loyal patients that you are accepting new patients and encourages referrals. Additionally, when your patients share the materials (studies show that patients will share materials from trusted sources at a rate of as much as 4:1) you are already building trust with new patients before they walk in your door. Add that to the loyalty garnered by your regular patient newsletter mailings and your ROI will skyrocket – as will your practice value.

So, the next time you see a competitive offer down the road that you can’t match, remember your loyal patients. They are one of the most valuable resources you have.

RELATED: How To Get More New Patients