This article originally appeared in the April/2019 issue of the Academy of General Dentistry’s AGD Impact magazine.
While some may feel that New Year’s Day is the perfect time for a fresh start, we happen to think it’s whatever day we dedicate to Spring Cleaning. It’s a great time to reevaluate what’s been working or not; if you haven’t worn that bulky sweater in years or you forgot to read the past 11 issues of National Geographic, it’s time to make a change. Why stop at your house, though? Why not keep the momentum going and do some Spring Cleaning for the way you market your practice? Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Is it time to revamp your online presence? Think about the image you present … are you in better shape now than you were last spring? Have you increased your number of reviews? Is your “star status” more impressive? If not, you might want to toss what you used before in favor of something that resonates with the patients you’re trying to reach and a system for capturing positive reviews from your extremely happy patients.
If your number of reviews is insufficient, then it’s time to put your patients to work! The time to strike is while the iron is hot — in other words, while your patients are happy. If they’re grinning from ear to ear after a procedure, ask them to leave a review! If you forget to do so, reach out with an email. Remember that the more positive reviews you have, the less likely potential patients are to see the handful of surly reviews you might have.
Another important spring cleaning duty is to increase your number of stars. People are busy, and if they don’t have time to read reviews, they’ll certainly take a look at how many stars you’ve earned. Make it easy for people to leave reviews — stars or otherwise — by providing links to your Google and Facebook review pages. If they have to search for these sites, they’re far less likely to sing your praises.
If patients are contacting your office inquiring about sealants but you’ve been hoping for more dental implant cases, for example, you definitely want to change things up this spring. Does your website prominently feature the benefits of dental implants and provide information on what could change in their life if they get dental implants? Do you focus on dental implants in your Google ads? Have you posted “Fun Facts About Implants” to your Facebook page? If not, use these as a springboard for the refreshed online image you present to the world.
- Are you hanging on to patients? If you’ve filled your chair with a fair number of new people but can’t remember the last time you saw some of your long-time favorites, the numbers aren’t working in your favor. Be sure you prioritize the loyalty of your current patients by using Facebook and email to stay connected and share your genuine personality. Doing so, in addition to attracting new patients, will increase your potential for true growth. Want to maximize your potential? Make sure your loyal patients are referring you to their friends and family. If you stay in the forefronts of their minds by posting regularly to Facebook, then the next time someone mentions needing a dentist, you’re the first person they’ll think to recommend.
Another benefit of reaching patients through Facebook and email is that your messages might be just the right push to get them to commit to treatment. If you provide education, encouragement, and a reminder that you and your team are committed to their comfort and their dental goals, you may find even your most reluctant patients in your chair.
- If last year’s plan was to appeal to the masses, let this year’s be to appeal to the patients who will actually end up in your chair. How do you know who that is? Review your new patient manifest and evaluate what marketing efforts brought them through your doors. Did they respond to a Google Ad about a cosmetic treatment or did more patients respond to a Facebook ad? Learn from the past year and customize your marketing to appeal to those who are showing up and booking appointments. To make tracking this type of information easily this year, make sure you’re using a dedicated landing page or phone number.
If you didn’t meet the goals you established last year, it’s definitely time for some Spring Cleaning. To ensure that your time, energy, and resources are being used efficiently, toss out the old and seed a path for the new.