10 proven ways to drive more patients to your dental practice

10 provenways todrive more patients to your dental practice

Marketing a dental practice in today’s highly-competitive market can be tough.

Despite this, demand, revenue and profit in the Australian dental market is rising so there’s plenty of possibility for growth – with the right strategy. So what can you do to take advantage of this trend? How can you stand out in a sea of generic dental clinics and get more patients through your door?

Based on current marketing best practices, here are some smart suggestions you can employ right now to start bringing in new business.

1. Revisit your current marketing plan

It’s easy to get stuck in a marketing rut, doing the same old thing you’ve always done. You’ve got a website, you produce a new practice brochure each year and you advertise in the local paper and on the radio – surely that’s sufficient?

While this strategy may have worked in the past, both the market and your patient needs and expectations change so it’s important you do too. Take some time to review each of your current channels to see if they’re working, make improvements and look at what other dentists are doing and succeeding at.

2. Rebrand

Strong, unique branding is essential to attracting new patients, as well as to maintaining the loyalty of existing ones. So if you’re failing to stimulate interest, it could be that your current branding no longer resonates with your target audience, or perhaps it wasn’t very strong to start with.

To effectively rebrand you need to make sure you do some solid brainstorming to work out who are as a practice, what your unique selling points are, as well as what you want your brand personality to look and sound like. Importantly, don’t just focus on your visual identity such as your logo and comms, consider all touchpoints from customer service to practice décor.

Related: 7 things to consider when rebranding

3. Be product innovative

As well as making changes to your marketing communications, look to your wider marketing mix and consider introducing something new to your service or service delivery. Is there a new treatment or procedure you could offer or some innovative tech you introduce such as self check-in?

In addition, think about how you could make the experience more enjoyable. Could you add TV screens in the waiting room or over the chair? Perhaps you could start selling products such as healthy snacks or cookbooks as well as the usual toothbrushes, or maybe even run a course for people with dental anxiety?

4. Invest in content marketing

When done well content marketing can help you make significant gains in growing brand awareness and attracting new patients. Why? Because it taps into buyer needs at the decision making stage. By providing people with useful information on health-related topics you can yourself set up as the expert, leading people to your site and practice.

If your current content efforts involve uploading the odd averagely-written blog post every now and then, you might want to try a bit harder. The best content marketers have a written strategy and create a range of relevant quality content, from infographics and videos to e-books and how-to guides. They also actively promote it via email and social media.

Related: 10 content ideas for your medical practice blog

5. Focus on local SEO

SEO in today’s competitive marketplace is an uphill struggle. With so many other dental practices out there ranking for the same keywords it’s hard to get seen. One way to overcome this and to increase your visibility right now is to start focusing your efforts on local SEO.

First ensure your business features on all local listings sites such as Google My Business and Yelp. Next add local long-tail keywords for example, Dentist, The Junction, Newcastle to your home, about and contact pages as well as in your titles, subheads, metatags. Do the same on your social media pages. You could also look to create some locally-focused content.

6. Do talks at local schools

Dental practices have a knack of coming off as clinical and unapproachable, so start showing people there’s more to you than just check-ups and treatments by offering to give free oral health talks at local schools. As well as getting your brand out there, it also shows your community spirit which can be a strong emotional draw.

Encourage active discussion as you talk through good teeth brushing practices, healthy eating habits and other aspects of dental health, using props where relevant. Also take along some freebies to give out at the end such as toothbrushes, timers, stickers and activity sheets. As well as getting your name in front of parents you’ll also be helping kids form good habits.

7. Give PPC advertising a go

While SEO should be your long term digital marketing strategy, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, such as Google AdWords, can be a great way to attract more patients right now. Simply create your ad, set your budget and you can get yourself in a prime spot on the search engine results pages for increased visibility and more clicks.

One of the best things about PPC advertising is, as the name suggests, you only pay when people click on your ad, so you’ve nothing to lose. To get the most from it make sure you talk benefits not features, include your keywords and have a clear CTA. Plus don’t forget to regularly monitor and tweak your campaign for best results.

8. Hold an open day

People have a fear of the unknown, especially when it comes to dentists, and this could be preventing them picking up the phone. The solution?  Hold an open day at your practice and invite potential patients – as well as existing ones – in to have a look around and let them see who you are and what you do.

Adequate preparation and promotion is key to ensuring your event is a success. Assign jobs, work out a schedule and spread the word using posters, leaflets, social media and local radio.  On the day, as well as providing marketing material and refreshments, hold dental and equipment demonstrations plus short talks on dental advice. And don’t forget to take pictures.

9. Have a review/testimonial drive

Reviews and testimonials can be extremely influential when it comes to purchase decisions. If people see that previous patients have had a great experience with you, then they’re more likely to seek out your services. So take advantage of this and start generating them for your practice.

Ask patients face-to-face. Link to your local business listings review pages from your website and social media pages and include requests and prompts in your patient comms such as bills, emails and SMS. You can even try offering small incentives in the short term such as a % discount or giveaway.

10. Try vehicle wrap advertising

While it may not be the most innovative marketing tactic, vehicle wrap advertising can be extremely effective in getting your business noticed and generating more leads. By turning your car into a moving billboard, you can reach thousands of potential new customers each day as you drive and park around town.

Not only does it demand minimal outlay at a cost of around $2000 for the design and printed vinyl, but it also makes you look more professional, is non-intrusive and can even protect your paintwork. The key to success is ensuring you have a strong but simple on-brand design and a clear CTA.

Related: Why your business should consider vehicle wrap advertising

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