DIY Dental Marketing Guide to Gain More Patient Referrals
In a recent survey, a group of people were asked about their decision-making process and who influences them when making their decisions. The survey found that many people turn to two resources for advice: experts and everyday people, like their friends and family. It is a perfect blend to create a marketing plan for your practice. You are an expert in diagnosing and treating patients with problems in their teeth, gums and other areas in their mouth. Additionally, you are an expert in helping patients with their oral health. You have patients who are happy with your services, and they are connected to many people. Your marketing guide should include two most important things: your expertise and your patients.
Create your own marketing strategies that match your practice’s core values. Once you have a marketing plan in place, start a list to track how much time you are spending on your marketing efforts and what strategies are providing you with the best ROI (return on investment). Here are some tips to help you when starting your own do-it-yourself marketing guide for your practice:
Use social media – What are the benefits of using social media to gain more patient referrals? Statistics are showing that about 42% of consumers are viewing health-related consumer reviews through social media. What does that mean for your practice? I can’t tell you how many times I have seen a post from a friend or a neighbor that is looking for a recommendation on a good dentist in the area. Your patients’ network is like a gold mine. When your practice is active on social media and provides educational materials for patients to share with their friends and family, you are already expanding your marketing reach. For example, a patient likes you on Facebook. The next time a friend of your patient stumbles upon your page, he/she will see how many friends in their network liked your page. This piece of knowledge will help an individual make a decision or ask more questions. Either way, this “new stranger” from your patient’s network is now talking about you or knows a little more about you compared to before.
Create a mobile online presence – As stated in our previous blog post, 77% of Americans own smartphones. There is a heavy reliance on the use of smartphones and mobile devices to research and access online information. Have you checked your website lately? Try searching for your practice online and see if you can find your website. Once you have found your website, try accessing and navigating your website with a smartphone or mobile device. Another thing to keep in mind is ease of use. Do you have your practice telephone number listed on top of your page instead of displaying it under the Contact Us page? Another important strategy to consider is to make your telephone number a click-to-call button or link so that mobile users can quickly contact your practice with a simple click.
Reach out to your current patients – Word-of-mouth is one of the most powerful ways to grow your patient base. A trusted recommendation from a friend, family member, or colleague can instantly generate a new referral source for your practice. I often hear from practice team members that it is awkward to ask current patients to refer new patients to their practices because it will imply that they are not busy enough, and therefore, are looking for more patients. Instead of asking for referrals, try to remind your patients to talk about your practice on social media. We live in a world where people love to share their experiences with others. For example, engage your patients in taking a picture with the dentist and posting about their outstanding experiences while tagging your office on that post. Your patients are delivering an instant marketing hype about your practice to people they know. I am willing to bet that a good percentage of the people that they are connected to on social media are local people. Another way of asking for a referral can be simply stating the fact that your practice is accepting new patients and if they know of anyone looking for a new dentist, please send them your way.
Connect with your professional network – You need to refer a patient to see a specialist for a treatment. What is your current process when sending that patient to another doctor? With an online referral platform, your practice will be able to send and track all patient referrals securely. Make sending and receiving secure patient referrals an easy process for both you and your referral network. Consider using an integrated referral solution to automate some of the manual steps, such as exporting x-ray images and patient information out of your software in order to send the referral to another doctor.
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