Is Dental Marketing Necessary to Attract New Patients Into a Dental Practice?
Marketing necessary to attract new patients
There’s an endless debate between dentists.
One side says that if you have great services, you don’t need dental marketing to attract new patients. Word of mouth is enough to keep a dental clinic busy. The other team counter-attacks with the argument that patients are searching for a dentist online. So if your dental practice doesn’t show up there, your competitors will.
Who is right and who is wrong? Let’s see.
There’s no doubt that referral marketing or “word of mouth” is one of the most powerful ways to promote anything.
The same applies when marketing a dental practice. Referrals will bring a steady flow of new patients provided that the dental clinic provides quality services.
But there are two main questions/challenges here:
1) Are referrals enough to supply all the production a dental clinic needs?
2) How do you attract new patients if you’re a new dentist and you just opened up your clinic?
Let’s take each situation separately.
Are referrals enough to attract new patients into a dental practice?
Let’s face it, only a very small percentage of people actually refer other people.
And there’s something more.
The percentage of new patients referred is even smaller for most dentists.
Because dentists don’t have systems designed to get referrals.
For instance, they don’t ask for reviews. They don’t ask for testimonials. And they definitely don’t ask people if they have friends who haven’t visited a dentist in a long time and might need one.
A simple system that asks for referrals in the right moment can even DOUBLE the number of patients for a dental clinic.
But even with this, is it enough?
Let’s do some simple math.
What if you have 100 patients per month and only one percent of these patients actually refer another person?
This is one new patient every month.
Is this one new patient enough to create a steady stream of patients? Probably not, right?
Referrals work and work even better when the clinic is already quite established and ALREADY has a steady flow of patients coming in every month.
Which leads us to our next question.
How do you attract new patients if you’re a new dentist and you just opened up your clinic?
Let’s say you’ve opened up your new dental clinic or dental practice. You have a nice little street advertisement so you already get a few patients coming in.
But you have your costs to run the whole clinic or office. You have salaries to pay. You have costs.
Those few patients are probably not enough.
What do you do till you get known in your area and people start recommending you?
Well, you’ve got some patients because people DISCOVERED you. You’ve put yourself in front of people, right?
Why not continue doing that, but maybe start online because it’s cheaper and more targeted.
For instance, why not show up when someone searches for a dentist in your area?
There are so many online dental marketing ideas to attract new patients quickly.
Google Ads is one way.
Dental SEO is another way (and it’s free).
You can also create a Google My Business listing so that you promote your dental practice on Google Maps (for free). You can also run some local, hyper-targeted Facebook ads to market your dental office only in your area.
And these are just a few ideas you can start right away. Just do a quick Google search and you’ll find tons of blogs that can show you some great marketing ideas to promote your practice online.
Ok, but how much effort should you dedicate to actively promote your dental practice and how much should you focus on getting referrals?
Let’s see an easy dental marketing plan.
Dental marketing plan to promote any dental practice
Dental marketing shouldn’t be complicated, especially when you’re just starting out.
Here’s a simple dental marketing plan to get started.
1. Attract new patients.
2. Convert those visitors into patients.
Not everyone who visits your website actually ends up a patient. .
In fact, most of them won’t. This is why you need some dental marketing ideas to convert those “strangers” into actual patients.
Here are a few marketing ideas for this:
- Create case studies, reviews etc.
- Use Facebook re-targeting to promote those case studies
- Offer educational articles to build trust and goodwill
- Create videos with your team/office and use them in your retargeting strategies.
3. Get referrals
Marketing your dental practice doesn’t stop after you’ve converted strangers into patients.
Referrals are (or should be) also part of your dental marketing strategy.
Here’s the best dental marketing tip you can start with:
Ask for reviews. Ask people to give you a video testimonial.
These things might seem little. And they require you or your team to go out of your comfort zone.
But these little improvements will yield 10 times the results in the long run.
Conclusion: is dental marketing necessary to attract new patients into a dental practice?
If you are a well-established dental practice, referrals might be enough.
But if you are just starting out or if you constantly struggle with getting new patients, referral marketing won’t cut it.
In one way or another, you have to get your dental practice in front of people.
Whether you use some online dental marketing tactics or you simply rely on more traditional marketing approaches such as flyers or street banners, you have to somehow reach new patients.
And the sooner you realize this, the sooner you’ll get in front of your competition :)