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When you share your savvy, everybody wins. We recently asked dental office managers what strategies they’ve used to keep patients engaged and returning. They shared their best patient marketing and communication tips to enter a $300 Visa Gift Card giveaway. The winner was randomly chosen, and it’s a good thing; there’s no way we could have picked a favorite from all the great suggestions!
Because the responses we got were just too good to keep to ourselves, here are a handful of the most popular and successful patient engagement strategies we received.
“Tell your friends about us”
When it comes to growing a practice, the most consistent response by far was “word of mouth.” A sizable number of the office managers who participated in our giveaway cited referrals as their primary source of new patients. Over and over, our respondents touted the importance of making superfans out of patients. Making them feel welcome, appreciated, educated and heard were top of the list for converting patients to promoters.
A token of our appreciation
Many practices say thank you for referrals with a gift. Whether a coffee, gas or grocery card, free fluoride treatments, or a quarterly drawing for bigger-ticket items, the message is clear. Patients appreciate the appreciation. Gifts and giveaways are also popular for new patient gift bags, post-surgery recovery kits and other events.
If you had a great experience, could you write a quick review?
Right up there with referrals are positive reviews. Dental offices are always looking for ways to rack up the ratings. Posting a QR code at the front desk – then pointing it out and asking the patient to do it while their bill is prepared – is just one of the clever tactics used to ensure it happens. “Don’t expect them to remember to do it once they’re home,” we read again and again, “get the review before they leave!”
Get out there
Being a visible, active member of the community goes a long way toward building a reputation. Dental practices get involved in myriad ways, often tied to the size and character of the area. Giving oral hygiene talks at elementary schools, attending and sponsoring events from youth sports to county fairs, and sponsoring food, mitten and even pajama drives put a practice at the front of your neighbors’ minds and in a positive light. One of the more delightful stories involved a winning bid on a prize-winning pig.
Even when you can’t be physically out there, making your logo, tagline, and even the face of the practice ubiquitous can really boost your profile. From having a strong, active social media presence to billboards and branded merchandise like T-shirts, caps and lip balm, get visible. A particularly fun approach one practice took was to put their doctor’s face on all the local grocery carts. Community members got involved by photographing the carts and posting clever captions like “My buns are right next to the doc” and “Doc is hanging out in a shady place today.”
Communicate when and how they prefer
Texting has made a huge difference in how dental offices stay in touch with their patients and keep the chairs filled. Confirmations and reminders via text – and the convenience of allowing responses – has been a real game changer, drastically reducing no-shows. Many patients prefer this method, but for those who prefer an email, phone call or postcard, we read repeatedly how valuable it is to have a comprehensive, customizable strategy. Find out how your patients want to hear from you, then let them hear from you.
Speaking of savvy…
We could go on and on with all the great tips we received, but we know you’ve got patients to treat so we’ll keep this short. The right marketing strategy is a combination of knowing your patients and having powerful communication solutions. Along with your unique ideas for setting your practice apart, having the right technology on board helps you execute with even greater success. Our Patient Engagement solutions are just what you need to put it all together.