Les Jones, Marketing Director at Practice Plan, shares some low-cost ideas on how to attract new patients to your dental practice.
The first thing you need to do is ‘get out there!’ and get your face recognised. Networking is a great way of establishing your presence in the town. Find out where the key influencers are within the town and make an effort to join their circles – business clubs, sports clubs and societies are a good place to start. Many of these organisations hold regular meetings and events, and some are quite often looking for speakers – volunteering to put an interesting talk together on the health benefits of good dentistry could also get you in front of a few audiences.
2. Creating a co-operative
There are many other businesses in a town that have a common link to dentistry – fitness, health, and looking and feeling good. Why not get in touch with your local health club/hairdressers/beauty spa/etc and offer to display their promotional material in your practice if they reciprocate with yours. It’s a zero-cost win/win.
3. Social media
A hard-working Facebook page and Twitter page is a must for any practice wanting to spread the word. Find the person in your practice who is most experienced in social media and ask them to head up your social media activity. But make sure you concentrate on providing engaging and relevant content, not just a stream of adverts for your practice.
Everyone likes a good deal. Why should potential patients give your practice a chance? Think about low-cost, but high-perceived value ways in which you could incentivise patients into your practice. For instance, you might be able to buy an electric toothbrush from the trade for £20 – but in the high street stores it would retail for nearer £90. You could run a promotion (make sure it’s time-based) offering a new electric toothbrush worth £90 for each new patient that has an initial health check and joins the practice.
If people are looking for a new dentist, a Google search is likely to be their first port of call. An attractive, informative and benefits-driven website is essential in getting you noticed. After word of mouth, your website will be your most important marketing tool – make sure you invest in getting it right.
6. Good signage
It sounds obvious, but how visible is your practice? Many practices don’t have the right signage to a) create the right image and b) be noticeable to passers-by on foot or in a car. Take yourself 100 yards down your street and then walk up to and past your practice – is your signage visible enough?
7. Leaflet drops
Most towns have a free newspaper that is delivered to every household. Placing a promotional leaflet in each copy can be a cost-effective way of getting the word out to a large number of potential new patients. Make sure your leaflet is customer focused and contains a time-based incentive (e.g. half price first appointment before the end of March).
8. PR activity
If you’re a new practice on the high street, you have a story to tell. Engage with the local press and provide them with interesting copy and information about the new practice, what your aims are and the skills and experience of the staff and you will stand a good chance of gaining some free coverage in your local area. Why not take at look at our useful how-to guide on creating great PR?
9. Open day
An open day is a great way of getting a number of potential new patients into your practice in a short space of time. You can publicise it through your social media channels, the local press and via your network. But make sure you think about what you want to happen on the day – demonstrations, presentations, tour of the practice, meet the team, etc. The day needs to have structure and a clearly defined set of outcomes.
For even more low-cost and easy to implement ideas for marketing your practice, check out our Resource Library. It’s safe to say you’ll be amazed at what gems you’ll find!