There are a lot of really effective ways to generate new patient leads for your dental practice. Pay-per-click ads, search engine optimization, and other forms of digital advertising are probably the first things you think of. But you’re missing out if you’re not taking advantage of one of the best forms of dental lead generation around – your current, happy patients.
If you continually delight your patients with excellent service and pleasant office visits, they can then become your biggest promoters by directly, or indirectly, spreading awareness for your brand through their network of family, friends, and neighbors.
The best way of attracting new patients from your current ones is through referrals. Recommendations for a dentist that come from a trusted friend or relative carry far more weight than any form of dental advertising you could pay for. Plus, the quality of new patient leads you get from referrals is almost always better than those that come from paid marketing, since your best patients tend to attract other patients who are just like them.
To encourage more referrals, make it easy for your patients to recommend you (and give them an incentive to do so) by setting up a patient referral program. Provide patient referral cards that they can fill out and give to someone they know. When that person schedules a new patient appointment, reward the patient who sent them your way with a gift card or credit to their account.
After referrals, the next best dental lead generation boost you can get from your happiest patients are testimonials. Whether they are in written or (even better) video format, genuine quotes shared by patients about their personal experience at your office are far more convincing than marketing copywriting and can reach a broad audience if you share them through your website, social media, and other marketing channels.
The best way to get more testimonials is to ask! Most people who have a good customer experience at a business are more than happy to tell others about it… if given the opportunity. So make it as easy and spontaneous as possible for them to express themselves. Use your mobile phone to capture testimonial videos before they leave the office (don’t forget to get a signed consent form as well). Hand them an iPad they can use to type in their comments. Send a follow up email with a link to a form they can fill out. There’s no right or wrong way to collect testimonials, but do find one that works for you and your patients.
Reviews are a lot like testimonials, except you’ll have to take the bad with the good. Positive feedback can be the deciding factor for new patients if they are deciding whether or not to contact you for an appointment. But negative reviews (or even a lack of any reviews at all) for your practice can be a red flag for people. Your best strategy is to get as many glowing reviews as possible, and share them in as many places as you can.
The approach for collecting reviews is very much the same as testimonials – ask, ask, ask. Do make it a point to respond to every review you receive, whether good or bad. If someone praises your office, thank them enthusiastically. If they are critical in their review, then be apologetic and interactive in trying to address their opinion. Your response and the way you handle a negative review can have a more lasting (and even positive) impression on those who read it.
Another great way to get your patients to spread the word about your practice is through social media. Encourage them to like, follow, and comment on your Facebook and other social media accounts. You can use contests, surveys, and other fun post ideas to encourage interaction so that their connections will become more familiar with you.
Who doesn’t like free stuff? Giving away items like water bottles, t-shirts, and canvas bags with your logo on them to patients (especially as a gift to new patients) is an easy way to get your branding out there and seen by the people in your community. Brand recognition takes effort and repetition, so the more often you can use your patients to spread your brand image, the better.
First things first
Of course, the more happy patients you have, the better your dental lead generation will be. Are you doing everything possible to delight your new patients? Download your FREE copy of the Ultimate Guide to Improving the New Dental Patient Experience to see how you can turn them into your best promoters!