Dentistry is competitive, and your practice must stand out in order to succeed. Let’s look at strategies to nurture an amiable, trusting, even lovable relationship with existing and prospective patients.
Your dental practice must feel unique
To elevate your practice in the public eye, it’s critical to focus on attracting new patients and ensuring your current patients are satisfied. You want them to feel happy enough to ignore competitors’ tempting offers.
Your practice must seem different to be successful. You must offer “something” the others don’t offer — your unique selling points.
Think about it, what makes your practice appealing?
Your location, the waiting area, the artwork, the extra hours, years of service, unique expertise, exceptional patient outcomes, excellent Google reviews, videos on your website, your social media presence? Your answers to these questions present the first strategic step in your marketing.
You can set your practice apart by improving communication with patients. Reinforce safety during the pandemic. Focus on convenience to work, home, schools, transportation hubs. If there’s a staff birthday party, post the happy pics on Facebook. Celebrate patients who’ve been with you a long time; post those happy pics as well (with their permission, of course.)
Many dentists don’t think to do this, which leaves patients open to “shopping around” for a new dentist — creating an opportunity for you.
Let’s discuss tactics to win over more patients in 2021:
#1 - Be proactive with patient communication.
During the pandemic, patients have wanted to hear from their healthcare providers more than ever. That’s expected to continue, as the extra communication has helped build trust in those providers.
Patients have indicated they appreciate two-way text messaging to update them on appointments and other important information. For the past year, patients have been less likely to keep dental appointments out of COVID-19 fears. Now, they may need dental care more than ever before.
So this is a good time to start reaching out to them regularly, with proactive communication and education. These strategies will help drive appointment volume.
#2 - Consider all types of communications
You can rely on texting and other patient communication channels at your disposal. The goal is to keep your practice top-of-mind.
A few ideas:
- emails to existing patients with information related to your specialty, practice, and community — with reminders about the need to continue dental exams and cleanings, emphasizing the safety measures in place
- personal phone calls or text messages to rebook patients who’ve missed appointments
- phone call or text message to patients who are due to book their next appointment
- social media posts and blogs – sharing educational information as well as “goodwill” pics
Regarding appointments, always respect your patients’ preferred method for communicating those. If they prefer a text over a phone call, you must honor that request.
To enhance your connection with prospective patients, keep your online presence optimised. That’s your practice website and any social media site on which your professional profile appears. Be consistent in describing your services and approach to care. You want potential patients to get a personal sense of you and your approach to dentistry.
#3 - Elevate your brand’s visibility
You’ll need to optimize your online presence, and claim or enhance online business profiles (Yelp, WebMD, Facebook, Google My Business). Make sure they have up-to-date information, photos of your practice and providers, and accurate practice details.
Update your practice website. Does the site contain information that aligns with what patients are looking for? Update the Questions & Answers section of your Google business profile.
Add a dedicated section on your website that features the most in-demand details, such as where to get COVID-19 tests and vaccines in your area, and general information related to the pandemic. This will enhance your search rankings, which can increase web traffic and drive new patient volume.
Enhance your social media activity. It’s easy to let social media slide when you get busy with your practice. But it’s essential to keep all social media platforms “alive” as your patients will be there, as well as your competitors. It’s simply imperative in this age and serves as a great way to inform patients (and prospects) about dental health, dental services, and your expertise.
#4 - Use technology to automate your communications
To save time and reduce daily work, consider automating your communication. This will help you reach the right patients at the right time. Your staff can deploy email campaigns to send targeted messages to specific patient populations (like those who have missed checkups).
Similarly, using automated text message reminders for appointments removes the manual task of making phone calls from overtaxed front office staff.
#5 - Communicate with anxious patients
Many patients continue to modify their personal habits due to the pandemic. They continue to avoid in-person appointments with their healthcare providers. That’s why it’s important to communicate to help reduce fear and anxiety, and remind patients it’s safe to maintain their healthcare appointments.
#6 - Publish your safety protocols online
If you have a COVID-19 dedicated section to your website, you will build trust among your patients and prospects. You will allay their fears if you educate on safety protocols you are following at your clinic.
Provide details about every step, including patient arrival procedures, cleaning protocols, and staff and patient screening.
Link to this new page from the “COVID-19 information” listing in your Google business profile, as well as any blog posts, social media posts, and text message campaigns you may implement. Setting safety expectations for patients is one of the most valuable communication actions right now for reducing no-shows and influencing patients to schedule appointments.
An outgoing email campaign keeps current patients informed. You can set patient expectations, calm nerves, and reinforce your practice as a trusted source of information related to the pandemic. Let patients know when your staff have been vaccinated, remind them of safety protocols (both yours and theirs) when visiting your practice, and keep them aware of local community COVID-19 metrics.
Overwhelmed? Let us handle the details
Somnowell Marketing has a team in place to professionally create and execute your patient communications campaigns. Emails, messaging, web content, blogs, social media — they can handle it all, taking the burden off your shoulders. The information is always from respected sources, and will dispel any misinformation. Your online content and social media posts are an investment in your practice’s reputation — and that’s undeniably priceless.