The marketing landscape in 2019 offers a boundless supply of techniques, with digital strategies getting smarter by the day and a new social media platform at every turn. It’s critical to stay current on the latest digital marketing trends in order to keep your practice at the top of the search results and top-of-mind for potential patients. However, it’s equally if not more important to foster and maintain perhaps the most timeless advertising strategy there is: good old word of mouth. In fact, a survey of dentists conducted by the Levin Group Data Center revealed that 88.3% named “referrals from current patients” as their most effective marketing method. So how can your practice harness the power of this valuable approach? It may be easier than you think.
The first step in generating patient referrals will seem obvious to most, but it can never hurt to reiterate: provide exceptional service! Consider every step of a patient’s journey. Doing great dental work is important, but consider how to provide an experience someone will be truly excited about. A warm, welcoming atmosphere at the front desk can go a long way, especially for those with anxiety about vising the dentist. Encourage everyone from techs to office staff to develop a rapport with patients. Many positive reviews begin with “I usually hate going to the dentist, but…” which goes to show that creating a positive experience outside of actual dental work can really resonate with people.
Another important step in achieving referrals is simply asking. This also may seem self-evident but can often be easier said than done. Once you develop the patient rapport mentioned above, asking for their help spreading the word about your practice will feel natural and less stressful. You can also use signage to encourage referrals, or have staff ask happy patients while they’re checking out. It never hurts to be proactive; current patients don’t know you’re seeking new ones unless you ask! You can also create and hand out referral cards to patients, and create a referral page on your website to make things easier.
Contests are also a great way to generate referrals. Give patients a timeframe in which to refer as many new patients as possible, and offer a prize to the winner. The better the prize, the more motivated patients will be to participate. It can be wise to consult with an attorney before launching a contest, as laws about such contests can vary from state to state. An attorney can also help you choose the right language to use in a disclaimer about the contest to protect your practice from loopholes or abuses. An hour of an attorney’s time can be pricey, but will seem much more manageable when compared to the amount of revenue a referral contest can generate.
Patient referrals are a cost-effective way to find new patients and build great, long-lasting relationships! Stay tuned to our blog for more industry tips and insights.