5 tactics to increase patients flow without costly campaigns
For any dental practice to acquire new patients and keep existing ones coming back, it needs a strong online and offline presence. Advertising can help you reach a wide audience quickly but can be costly, and in many cases – not so effective. Moreover, often it can be perceived as unethical, and in some countries, it is even restricted by regulations. Fortunately, it is not the only way to promote your dental services.
Here are 5 strategies to help you market your dental practice without spending a fortune:
- Referrals from patients
- Partnered giveaways
- User-generated content
- Online directories
- Content marketing
Referrals from patients
Recommendations are one of the oldest methods to acquire new patients. With digital technology, they are even easier and more effective than before. Unlike personal offline recommendations to a few friends and family members, online reviews influence the decision of many more potential patients.
You can strengthen the referral aspect of positive reviews and maximize their potential for acquiring new patients. A specialized review platform with embedded rewards for patients who rate your practice can help you incentivize referrals without additional costs.
Many dental practices run solo giveaway campaigns during the holiday season, the practice anniversary, or other special occasions. However, hat on your own, you cannot reach a lot of new people unless you invest in advertising. On the other hand, if you team up with other local businesses to offer giveaways for bigger contests, more potential patients will hear about your dental practice.
For example, you can offer one of the prizes for local contests, participation in annual town feasts, prizes during sports events, etc. The giveaway items should match the target audience, and can be services such as teeth cleaning, teeth whitening, oral care products, e.g. electric toothbrush, children oral care kits, etc.
Another variant of this approach is simply to do a joint giveaway campaign with another local business to provide a bigger prize. For instance, a Las Vegas-based dental clinic, Smiles Today Dental, together with a local spa offers a complete makeover package as a first prize.
This strategy is widely used by fashion brands. They encourage customers to share a photo with a new outfit of the brand and to tag the company on social media. Usually, this is part of a giveaway campaign.
Similarly, dental practices can incentivize patients who completed major treatment to take a photo of themselves smiling, and tag the dentist’s social media page or use a special hashtag. The upside of these posts is that they reach a wider audience of patient’s friends and social connections. The downside is that the content they share is out of your control.
Here is an example of this tactic used by Platinum Dental Care:
There are many reputable online directories where you can list your dental practice for free. From general websites like Google My Business and Yelp to specialized platforms for dentists such as Dentacoin Trusted Reviews.
Make sure your listing page is complete and always up-to-date. More information and eye-catching pics of your team, the premises, and patients happy with their treatment will make it more prominent. Also, it is good to check if there are unverified listings of your practice and claim them so that you can keep control over the content. Note that profiles with ratings from patients get more page visits. You can share your profile page on social media to encourage patient feedback, as in this example by Alabang Lonzane Dental Care Clinic:
Social content marketing
Social media provides an effective way to engage with patients regularly. Furthermore, recent research shows that patients perceive dentists with social media presence as more caring and innovative.
Building an audience of followers requires time and planning of regular activities. When thinking about the content, take into consideration that primarily people visit social media platforms as a form of entertainment. You can use this to your benefit by creating engaging posts that people will feel want to share, like, and comment on. This way, your content will also reach their connections on the platform.
For instance, you can drive engagement with oral health tips with captivating images and a dose of humor; a funny boomerang video from the office, a poll with a question that touches upon a common pain point for patients, etc.
Here’s an example of how Whitinsville Family Dentistry, a dental clinic based in the United States, used the theme of overstocking during the coronavirus outbreak and made a short funny video:
Successful marketing of your dental practice is not all about costly advert campaigns. While advertising will always have its place as a patient acquisition technique, other tactics can help you reach, engage, and turn target audiences into patients.
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