Dental Marketing 101: How to Acquire and Retain More Patients

At its core, dental marketing is about acquiring, delighting, and retaining patients. It consists of practices that increase and nurture your patient leads and boost your dental practice’s productivity and revenue. With an effective dental marketing strategy, you can stand out from the crowd by attracting high-value patients, enhancing your patient experience, and reducing your patient attrition rate

To start acquiring, delighting, and retaining more patients, you have to leverage tools to reach and engage with your target patients. The good news is there are a handful of affordable and useful dental marketing tools you can start using today. This article will discuss essential dental marketing practices and suggest tools that can help you maximize your marketing strategy. 

How to acquire more dental patients in 5 steps

Everyone needs a dentist, yet it can be difficult for dentists to acquire new patients. The dental industry is highly competitive, and many at times, dentists struggle to stand out and attract qualified patient leads. Armed with the right modern patient acquisition strategies, you can set yourself apart, promote your dental practice, and attract more patients. We will discuss five tips that can boost your patient acquisition rate

  1. Expand your dental practice’s web presence
  2. Invest in PPC ads
  3. Gather online reviews 
  4. Ask Patients for Referrals
  5. Use social channels to target younger patients 
  1. Expand your dental practice’s web presence

To increase your patient leads, we have to consider first the source of these leads. Today, over 70% of patients go online first when looking for a new dentist. If your prospective patients are online, then you have to meet them there. Start with your dental SEO, a process that optimizes your dental website for local search. When prospective patients search for new dentists or look up dental-related terms, your website will appear on the first search engine results page if it is well optimized for their search queries. 

In addition to optimizing your dental website, you can get in front of prospective patients by claiming your dental practice’s profile on online dental healthcare directories like Google My Business, Healthgrades, ZocDoc, and Yelp. Claiming your online profiles is essential to expanding your dental practice’s web presence. With these profiles, you can showcase your dental practice’s reviews and inform prospective patients how to schedule appointments with you. 

  1. Invest in PPC ads

Paid advertisement, such as pay-per-click advertising (PPC ads), is another effective way to get in front of prospective patients. With paid ads, you can target more patients based on their location, interest, and demography. As such, you can get more qualified patient leads and get more bang for your buck on your marketing investment. 

PPC ads are a more targeted and trackable marketing approach than most organic marketing channels. A PPC ads specialist can help you conduct extensive patient research, set up targeted PPC campaigns, and manage your campaigns over time. This way, you’re able to make changes on the go and maximize your dental marketing efforts. 

  1. Gather online reviews

Your dental practice’s online reputation matters. 48.8% of your prospective patients check Google for patient reviews. Similarly, 32.8 percent, 22.8 percent, and 21.8 percent of patients visit WebMD, Yelp, and Healthgrades, respectively, to read patient reviews as they choose a new dentist. You need online reviews to attract more patients, and you need to start gathering them now. 

The good news is you don’t have to look too far for good sources of online reviews. Chances are your active, high-value patients are more than willing to leave a positive review for your dental practice on dental healthcare review sites. The onus is on you to simplify the process for them. With Connect the Doc’s review tool, you can automatically ask patients for reviews after each appointment and share their reviews on the sites that matter. Contact us today to start sharing your online reviews and promoting your dental practice. 

  1. Ask Patients for Referrals

Like online reviews, referrals are a great way to spread the word about your dental practice. Word of mouth remains one of the most effective marketing approaches to attracting high-value patients. When your active patients share their experiences with people in their social circles, they help break the ice between you and your prospective patients. 

In the United States, 80% of new dental patient acquisitions are a result of patient referrals. For this and many other reasons, you should be prioritizing patient referrals in your dental marketing strategy. Connect the Doc specializes in supporting dentists like you to gather more patient referrals and attract more high-value patients. We understand the value patient referrals bring to your dental practice. With our referral tool, we will work with you to encourage your active, happy patients to become your brand ambassadors. 

  1. Use social channels to target younger patients 

If your target patients include younger patients, consider leveraging social media platforms to boost your social presence and connect with these patients. While this isn’t the most effective approach for attracting patients, it is a useful touchpoint for patient engagement and a tool for driving traffic to your dental website. Set your goals (engagement, reach, etc.), choose the right social channels (you don’t have to be active on all social media platforms), share relevant content (that complies with HIPAA regulations), and regularly manage your comment sections. 

How to delight your dental patients

Delighting your patients isn’t about entertaining your patients. It is more about being a credible source of information to your patients and building their confidence in your expertise and brand. There are a handful of ways to delight dental patients, but we will focus on content marketing and patient engagement strategies for the sake of this article. 

  1. Delight your patients with engaging content

It takes time and multiple interactions to build and grow long-term relationships. Over time, we get to know the people we engage with and learn more about their role or contribution to our lives. The same goes for your patient’s relationship with your dental practice. An appointment isn’t time enough for a patient to interact with your dental practice; they need multiple interactions or touchpoints. 

Content marketing is the process of developing and sharing engaging content with your patients at multiple touchpoints. One of those touchpoints is your dental website; others include email communications (e.g., newsletters) and paid advertisements (e.g., PPC ads). You delight your patients with educational materials, articles, guides, how-tos, and tips whenever they visit your website, receive your newsletters, or come across your advertisement banners as they browse the internet. 

Shared content should inform patients how they can improve their dental healthcare, answer common dental-related questions, announce updates about your dental practice, and provide direction on how they can schedule appointments with you. Over time, patients will begin to see your dental practice’s multiple touchpoints as an opportunity to gain valuable information. Your dental practice will become their first choice when it comes to dental-related matters. 

  1. Build a sense of community for your patients

Another way to delight patients is by building a sense of community for your patients. Patients should always feel welcome whenever they step into your dental practice. Educate your team members on how to engage, positively and respectfully, with your patients. More so, get involved with community-oriented programs, such as charity drives, and encourage your patients to participate. 

You can ask patients to donate to a cause and offer to match their donations, or you can let them know that for each new patient referral they make for your dental practice, you will donate an amount to a cause. These are examples of ways to create a sense of community for your patients, but go ahead and develop even better community engagement ideas. The more engaged your patients feel with your dental practice, the more delighted they’ll be. 

How to retain more dental patients

Much like delighting, patient retention has a lot to do with the quality of your patient experience with your dental practice. The key to patient retention is to narrow your focus on your patient’s needs and concerns. Consider all the ways your patients interact with your dental practice and make it your goal to eliminate barriers or lapses that can lead to a poor patient experience.

How smooth is your scheduling process? Do you send confirmations and reminders to patients before appointments? Do you follow up with patients after appointments? How often do you gather patient feedback? Can your patients interact with you or your dental through your website, using tools like Connect the Doc’s Live Chat? Do you personalize your email communications with your patients? Do you reply to your patients’ reviews on Google My Business and other online dental review sites? Do your patients feel comfortable, safe, and respected when they speak with you or your team members? These are a few things to think about and start improving as you work to retain more patients

An effective dental marketing strategy has several moving parts. From managing your dental practice’s web presence to running paid advertisements and gathering patient referrals, there is so much to think about to execute your marketing strategy correctly. You don’t have to do any of it alone. Our team of dental marketing specialists can work with you to develop and optimize your marketing strategy and position your dental practice for success. Contact a Connect the Doc marketing specialist today to get started.