Dental Marketing - New Patient Acquisition and Referrals
Posted On Jun 3, 2016 in Small Business Marketing by Chris Barr
new patient acquisitionNew Patient Acquisition
 
According to a recent survey conducted by a leading dental consulting firm, the top 25% of one-doctor dental practices average more than 40 new patients per month.
 
The bottom 25%? Less than 10 new patients per month.
 
For practices featuring multiple doctors, or multidisciplinary dental teams, the numbers increase accordingly.
 
So, if your new patient acquisition is lagging, you need to quickly take action. A constant stream of new business is critical to both your short-term and long-term success.

And in most cases, poor performance is a direct result of poor marketing.
 
The Importance of Marketing – for Referrals
 
Wherever there are people, families, and homes, there are new prospective dental patients.
 
Marketing simply connects those patients to your practice.
 
Aside from the obvious benefits, there is another absolutely critical benefit to bringing in a steady stream of new patients.
 
Referrals.
 
Nearly 90% of dental practices list referrals as their most successful marketing method. And that is scary, because referral marketing is largely out of your control. You need to secure new patients and provide them with a overwhelmingly positive experience before they are willing to spread the word.
 
Why is the importance of referrals so high for dentists?
 
Unlike in other industries, medical and dental care is a very personal choice that requires each patient's trust, respect, and commitment. By comparison, there’s more to choosing a dentist than ordering a pizza.
 
As such, the decision process requires a patient to consider personal, physical, emotional, psychological, and financial risk factors. Fears and anxieties, derived from years of formative and societal experiences, are largely at play.
 
That’s why referrals, such as those between family members, are perceived by prospective patients as a major source of risk mitigation. Simply put, referrals reduce the anxiety inherent to the decision-making process.
 
Delight Your Patients
 
If 90% of dentists list referrals as their most successful patient acquisition tool, it’s probably a smart play to acquire them.
 
What’s another name for a referral? A delighted patient.
 
When you bring in new patients, through multiple impression marketing campaigns, and delight them, the end product is often a referral. People are social, perhaps more so now than ever before (thanks to Twitter and Facebook), and when people love a product or service, they share it with their vast, mostly-local network.
 
Word of mouth is an old term. It still rings true, but these days, it’s even better. Word of mouth equals lasting ratings and reviews that are indexed for eternity by search engines. From Yelp to Google Reviews, if people love your practice, the positive word will undoubtedly travel through entire local communities.
 
True story
Would you trust a dentist named Dr. Pain?

Several years ago, I saw nearly every one of my co-workers switch to a single dental practice thanks to a positive review posted by a member of our senior management team. Believe it or not, the dentist’s name was, Dr. Pain!

That’s the power of referrals.
 
Every Referral Starts as a New Patient
 
To generate referrals, you need marketing that delivers results. Without a steady stream of new patients, your referrals, and the entire practice, can quickly grind to a halt.

And, as you so often remind your patients, “grinding is bad” for your health.
 
The most effective form of local marketing

Integrated marketing (IMC) is the most effective way to generate awareness, get the phones ringing, and set appointments with new patients. The idea behind IMC is to reach new patients, across offline and online channels, with a consistent and unified message.

Advertisers now realize that "fitting in" with individual consumers, and their lifestyle preferences, is the key to acceptance, sales, and long-term success. Today, consumers have physical and digital lives, both of which deeply influence their decision-making process, requiring dental practices to step up their marketing efforts accordingly.

Where should you start? How can you reach new patients and their families directly?

Luckily, new technologies have made it a breeze to build and launch your integrated direct mail and email marketing campaign. You can do this online in ten minutes or less.

Get started today, and see results tomorrow.

As a wise man once said, "The worst thing you can do -- is nothing at all."

Good luck and happy marketing.