Summer is here and new doctors are joining dental practices. Here are two great tips to get the word out to patients and the community.
First, send an e-mail or letter to patients of record and be sure to include a photo of the new doctor and the established doctor. Show them smiling and shaking hands. The established doctor has spent years building up trust with patients. A photo of two doctors shaking hands strongly implies that the mantle of trust is now being shared with the new doctor. If a new doctor is joining a group practice, then you need a photo of all the current doctors welcoming their new colleague.
One patient said that he had not been to see his dentist in two years. He remembered getting a photo of the two doctors, so he called the practice and made an appointment with the new doctor. He said he might have forgotten or passed over a written notice, but the image stuck in his mind. When he was ready to seek dental services, he contacted the new dentist.
Next, send out a news release. You want to generate some publicity for your practice, and bringing in a new doctor qualifies as “news.” To learn more about the power of news releases, see my blog called “Five Ways News Releases Help Your Dental Practice.”
You may have heard the phrase, “yesterday’s news.” For something to be newsworthy, it has to be fresh and new. If the new doctor is joining the practice this summer, then now is the time to get the news release out. Don’t wait until the fall or the end of the year; act now while the information is timely. You should begin planning to get your release out even if the new doctor has not officially started.
I help practices get the word out to patients and the public about new events by creating well-crafted letters and news releases. Take advantage of my “summer special.” Contact me now for a free consultation and let’s talk about getting the word out regarding the new doctor in the practice: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Magnetic dental marketing is all about attracting new patients. You have walking billboards that frequently attract interest—your team. Individuals who work in dental offices can turn inquiries into dental patients very easily by following some simple steps.
- When team members leave the office wearing clothing with the practice name and logo, they frequently attract attention. “Where do you work?” “Oh, is that a dental office?” “I’ve heard of that dentist.” These are questions people ask when they see a doctor’s name emblazoned on a shirt.
- If the person wants to end the conversation at that point, then that is their choice; but if the discussion goes further, then talk up the practice by giving your 15-second practice summary. Click here for my podcast on that topic.
- Offer the person who asked the question a business card and answer the questions that are posed.
- Ask them open questions to determine if they need a dentist. Many people will ask for advice about a dental problem and are eager to hear what you have to say. If they need more information or you think could benefit from seeing the doctor, proceed to the next step.
- Ask for their business card. If they have one, that’s great; if not, give them another one of your cards and use this script: “Please write your name and contact information on the back of this card. If you like, I will have our office manager contact you to answer questions and help you make an appointment.”
- Tell the prospective patient that, if they prefer, they should call the office to make an appointment. Here’s the script: “Call the office and mention my name. Say that I said to get give you priority and get you in as soon as possible.” Now the new patient has clout. The patient can call the office and use your name to get special consideration. You are using magnetic dental marketing to encourage someone to call the office.
- Make sure that everyone who answers the phone in the office knows that a team member has made a contact. The script is as follows: “Yesterday I met a woman named Jane while I was out shopping. If she calls, say that you have been expecting her call and that you will give her priority scheduling because she knows me.”
Note how each step makes the person feel important and enhances the likelihood that the person will call the office. This is magnetic dental marketing. Attracting new patients is all about seizing opportunities, making people feel special, and seeing the process through to the happy conclusion–a new patient on the books.
I know they are out there. It’s a question of finding them and bringing them into your practice with adroit dental marketing. One middle-age woman with a mouthful of broken down teeth, an unattractive smile, and significant periodontal disease recently completed dental implant treatment. She found the dental office that helped her when she responded to the practice’s Internet advertising. For years, this individual had driven past countless dental practices. She had no doubt been bombarded by ads promising replacement teeth and a beautiful new smile. Until one day, she searched on the Internet, clicked an ad that caught her eye, and made the decision to make a new patient appointment. Her life was changed forever.
This success story reminds us that demographics are destiny: we have an aging population with significant unmet dental needs. At my recent lecture at the American Academy of Implant Dentistry in Las Vegas, I identified four major challenges in dental marketing, specifically dental implant marketing:
- Increasing competition. There was a time when dental implants were placed only by specialists, but now general dentists routinely offer this service. Dental implants have gone mainstream. Trying to get a patient into your practice for implant dentistry is harder because every dentist around you has the same idea.
- Downward pressure on fees. With more competition and some very aggressive pricing in the market place, patients are seeing eye-popping fees for dental implants. It is harder for traditional practices to justify their fees, which nonetheless remain quite justifiable.
- It is difficult to cut through the clutter and get your message out. Doctors are honing websites, testing Google ads, and using more targeted television advertising to find patients who need their services. It’s not about “mass mailings” any more; it’s about precise demographic and geographic targeting.
- People often have priorities other than needed dental implant treatment. The patient I described above is now delighted with her new teeth, but she rationalized her procrastination for years before seeking treatment.
While marketing challenges have multiplied, the profession’s ability to deliver implant dentistry in an efficient and predictable manner has also increased. I will discuss specific marketing strategies in future blogs. Finding the “right” patients requires finely-tuned dental marketing, but every day we are reminded that they are out there.
David Schwab, Ph.D.