As a dentist and business owner, you want your dental practice to be as successful and lucrative as possible—and that means leveraging different strategies to connect with potential patients, get the word out about your practice, and drive business growth.
It sounds simple, but how, EXACTLY, do you do that?
I'd like to show you a few actions you can take to increase your exposure to new patients, build your base of patients, and grow your dental practice:
Develop your marketing plan
Making a plan is an important first step whether you are in start-up mode and getting ready to open, or if you're trying to find ways to expand a well-established dental office. Without a marketing plan, you will get lost quickly. You wouldn't venture in the forest without a map, right? So don't do marketing without a plan.
Your marketing plan will be your roadmap, your guiding light. It will outline where you are now, where you're trying to go, and (the best part) how you'll get there.
Marketing plans can vary from practice to practice, but every marketing plan needs to include:
- Your marketing goals (for example, landing 10 new patients every month)
- Your marketing budget
- Any of the marketing tools or materials you’ll need to carry out your marketing strategy (for example, a social media management tool, print materials, or content marketing)
- The different marketing strategies you plan to implement to grow your business and reach new patients
Your mom wasn't too far off when she said if you don't make a plan, you are planning to fail. So if you want your strategy to pay off in the long run, and successfully grow the practice, make sure to invest the time and plan!
Focus on your digital marketing
The most effective marketing always reaches customers where they are, and all of your future patients are living online.
A strong digital presence is no longer optional for dentists.
One of the cardinal rules of marketing is to target your customers where they already are. And in 2020, all of your new customers are online.
There are a few different areas where dentists need to focus their digital marketing:
- Website. Your website is often a potential patient’s first experience of your business and your brand—and you only get to make a first impression once. Make sure your website is professional, well-designed, and clearly outlines your dental services.
- SEO. You want your website to look amazing—but you also want it to bring in new patients and drive growth. Search engine optimization (SEO) helps your dental practice become more visible in search engines like Google, and makes it easier for new clients to find and choose you. The Diamond Group are dental SEO experts, and we can help you rank higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
- Social media. TikTok, Facebook, Instagram.. Your ideal new patients are all hanging out on social media. Building a presence on relevant social media platforms is a great way to connect with new patients, have relevant conversations, build trust, and ultimately drive new business.
- Online advertising. Online advertising (like Facebook or Google ads) allows you to target your ideal customers and send extremely targeted messaging at key times during the sales cycle—so if you have the budget, it’s definitely a marketing strategy you should consider investing in.
- Reviews. Social proof is an incredibly powerful marketing tool—and, as such, there are few strategies more powerful for growing your electrical contracting business than generating a host of glowing online reviews. Many dentists do reviews wrong. It's important to ask for positive reviews on sites like Yelp and Google Reviews and not from within your scheduling software. When new customers search your practice, they will see you have a reputation for doing high quality work—which will make them more likely to reach out and visit you.
Ask your existing patients for referrals
One of the best opportunities for finding new patients and growing your practice is your existing set of patients.
Word of mouth marketing is so successful because you are tapping into the enthusiasm others have for your practice, and asking them to share that enthusiasm. Because the potential new patient is being told about your practice by someone they trust, it makes them easier for them to convert into your newest patient. A great marketing idea is to incentivize your existing customers to send new patients your way by offering them a discount on their next visit.
Partner with Other Small Businesses to Increase Your Exposure
To grow your dental practice, you need to be seen by as many future new patients as possible.
One awesome way to get more exposure is to partner with other small businesses that have a similar customer base to your own.
Take a look at business in your area that do another service that your patients might need, and see if you can partner to increase exposure for both of you.
Possible partnership ideas for dentists could be daycare providers, real estate agents, schools, soccer clubs, etc. The possibilities for partnership are endless. Just make sure that the future partner provides a service or product that would be mutually interesting for your ideal patient.
Some of the ways that you can partner together are:
- Leaving flyers or business cards in their retail space
- Offering an exclusive discount to their customers
- Cross-referring business
Bottom line? Partnering with businesses in your area can help you get your foot in the door with their customers—and will also help them get a foot in the door with your patients. It's a win-win for both businesses and patients!
Go and grow your dental practice
Knowing how to find new patients, expand your reach, and drive revenue growth isn't easy. With any luck you'll see exponential growth.