So, you’ve just started a new dental practice, and you’re looking for ways to attract new customers. Fortunately, increasing your patient numbers and profitability is relatively straightforward.
Use these tips to get started.
1. Create a user-friendly, responsive website and patient portal system.
The very first step you should conquer is creating a great website. For most dentists, this means going to a professional website designer.
While Squarespace, Wix, and other DIY website tools are able to help some businesses create their own websites, dentists shouldn’t use these tools because they’ll inevitably be handling sensitive medical and financial information. Therefore, as a dental practice, you’ll need to ensure that your website designer and IT team have cultivated a targeted strategy for mitigating security breaches.
On your website, be sure to have an About page, a Services page, a Contact page, a Blog (that you update regularly), and a Patient Portal. This last feature will also require help from a tech professional.
2. Utilize social media.
As a business owner, having social media accounts is a must. It’s a way to be seen in your community (and beyond) and to earn trust with your audience. The top social media sites to sign up for include Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Be sure to create business pages on these sites. To cultivate better relationships within your industry, you can also create a LinkedIn profile.
The key to gaining more social media followers and becoming successful on these platforms is updating and posting regularly. Make your content useful. For example, you might post a video explaining the best way to brush your teeth or floss. You could post something about dental health for kids or what to expect when a baby gets their first tooth.
You’ll also want to interact with your community on a regular basis. When people comment with questions or concerns, try to be responsive and shoot them a message back.
3. Utilize search engine optimization.
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a way of making your practice’s website stand out in search engine searches. Basically, what you’re doing is creating a user-friendly, responsive website with lots of regularly updated, useful content. The content should be cohesive and thoughtful, and it should also include your target keywords and target keyword phrases.
What are target keywords and target keyword phrases?
Here’s an example: let’s say you own a dental practice in Houston, Texas. For SEO purposes, you’ll want to target the keywords and keyword phrases that your potential clients are going to be searching for when they look for a practice like yours online.
For instance, one target keyword phrase might be something like “best dentists in Houston.” This is a phrase you’ll want to include within your text at least a few times. Google and other search engines will recognize the presence of this keyword phrase and rank your website higher in the search results when someone uses it.
4. Be responsive to all online reviews.
Not every patient will leave a review of your practice, but many will, so you’ll want to monitor the top healthcare review sites. For dentists, this usually means keeping an eye on Yelp, Healthgrades, Zocdoc, Google My Business, and 1-800-Dentist.
It’s good protocol to respond to all new reviews you see. Make it a daily practice to check these sites daily (or sign up for notification emails for new reviews). Of course, hopefully, you’ll get nothing but positive reviews. For these, be sure to thank the patient and follow-up in a generally kind and courteous manner.
For negative reviews, it’s also important to comment, but resist the urge to argue with the reviewer about their complaints — even if they’re wrong. A good general response is to apologize to the patient for the fact that they were inconvenienced or had a negative experience. Then, invite them to reach out to you privately to discuss the issue further and figure out a way to solve the problem (if possible).
In order for your dental practice to grow at a steady rate, remember that your best friend will always be word-of-mouth marketing. Patients who are happy with your practice and services will be sure to tell their friends, family, and co-workers.
Naturally, in order for this style of marketing to be successful, you’ve got to wow your patients at their first appointment. And of course, this aligns with the constant truth that quality care and service is always the best way to grow a successful business.
So, be friendly and welcoming! Offer discounts and specials. Give away free welcome gifts like tote bags, custom tumblers, pens, toothbrushes, and stickers. Care for your patients like they were your own friends and family, and always be looking for ways to improve their experience.
In other words, be a great dentist with a great practice … and the patients will come!