acquire and retain patients

How to acquire and retain patients in dentistry?

Initial days of starting a practice are exciting. There are new patients who are happy to discover your practice and who you are happy to connect with. Over time, the new patient numbers start falling. One of the reasons for this is that when you start a practice, there is naturally some marketing associated with it, at least by way of people noticing your practice. Once that group of people gets exhausted, most practices fail to maintain numbers to acquire new patients. It becomes necessary to actively market your practice to keep new patients coming in.

Running a practice in today’s competitive landscape requires a full fledged marketing function with good patient engagement. Patients today are expecting more and more to be satisfied.

So, how can you acquire new patients?

Marketing:

Enough emphasis can not be given to marketing. It is one crucial element that should be continuous. Simple marketing methods like branded merchandise, contact cards and online forums can draw patients to your practice. However, this alone is never sufficient to grow your practice. For a growing practice, you should always aim to fill your production capacity and expand.

Marketing campaigns that integrate various channels from direct mailers to SMS can expand recall among patients in your area, thus improving referrals. Practice management systems with integrated marketing functions can help you align such campaigns, run them and even consolidate and follow-up responses easily.

Better patient engagement:

It’s not enough that a patient books a slot, you should actively follow up till he visits and his treatments are completed. And then, you should try to sign them up for regular hygiene check-ups at your practice.

Such engagement gives confidence to your patient and he feels connected to your practice. Most patients are happy to be reminded of their appointments. They will consider it a service rather than your marketing. But, apart from reducing no-shows, it also builds patient satisfaction.

Online engagement:

It takes few minutes, but responding to queries on social media regularly can connect you directly with your patient base. However, most practices miss out on regularly staying in touch and actively promoting their social media presence.

It is a good idea to take the help of practice management systems that let you integrate with your social profile and allow you to respond to all your patients regularly. Make sure your practice management system supports 2 way communication with various channels your patients can engage you on.

Get a profile on business platforms:

This is where consumers determine whether a business is worth their time or not. And they’re basing their choices increasingly on reviews. In fact, 70% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.

Become the Knowledge leader in your community:

Actively engage in social media and drive the talk around everything related to dentistry and dental hygiene. Read more about better social media engagement in our next blog post.

Better patient experience:

A large majority of patients claim that they would pay more for a better experience. Focus on customer experience, not just keeping their costs low.

Use more SMS:

SMS has a much higher response rate. Try and collect mobile number databases from your patients so that you can communicate with them regularly.

use social media to get more dental clients

Social media engagement for dental practices

Social media presence has become important beyond just reaching out; it has also become a tool that patients use to verify and judge your practice before booking an appointment. Maintaining an active social media presence shows you as an active practice that its patients are actively interacting with. This develops trust and ensures you get more new patients.

Here are some tips to help you improve your activity on social media:

Post good pictures:

Photos help you establish credibility online. Post good photographs of your facility, your team, your patients, or even deliver important messages through pictures.

Post a casual campaign like #tbt:

A #hashtag campaign helps promote your content among a larger circle by encouraging your followers to join in. For example, a picture from the past of you, your practice or your team posted as nostalgia on a Thursday may be picked up by your patients and they may actively post their own pictures with the hashtag.

Tag real people and show patient transformations:

There is nothing that establishes credibility like a real person who underwent a transformation. This not only improves your credibility and showcases your skill, but it also encourages more people in your vicinity to go ahead with restorative procedures. Instagram was made for this.

Go hyper-local:

Always make it a point to be supportive and participate in local events such as fundraisers or community event that makes the local population see you as a member of the community and less as a business.

Ask questions:

Questions and interactive messages are especially effective because every time you get a member of the community to respond, you are adding their social circle to your interaction. Interesting questions and interactive posts, asking something from your followers and patients are a great way to promote social media engagement.

Videos:

Another upcoming trend is the use of videos. Everyone has a fast internet connection on their mobiles and many people prefer video content. They are short and precise and convey your message much better with a human touch. Post more videos on dental advice or even post a wish to engage users during the festival season.

Automation:

Social media requires constant updates and dedicated attention. This can become tricky in your busy schedules. One way to balance this is to use automation and scheduling of posts so that interactions look regular, whereas your attention can be in other areas without distraction.

Be genuine, be casual and real:

Social media works on the principle of being human. Every bit of data in there has a human element attached. That is why we find it attractive. Do not miss this crucial element. Make your posts genuine, be open and real in your conversations rather than following a formal template.

Post customer testimonials and reviews:

It is useful to post some of your good reviews from time to time, thanking your patient or the author. These help your ‘patients and followers trust your messages more since they are vetted by 3rd party reviewers.

Freebies:

Freebies might seem a bit too much. But, reality is freebies still draw human interaction and people still chase rewards. Use freebies from time to time to promote specific campaigns. Design your campaigns well so that you can reach out with the best message.