Though we are still experiencing a shortage of dentists in the United States, as more dentists enter the market, it will be critical for those graduates starting their own practices to get a competitive edge. Not only are these new practices competing with other new practices, they're often going head to head against established practices in their area. It's key, then, for these new dentists to come into the market ready to go—both with their processes and staff in their offices and utilizing aggressive marketing to get patients in the door.
What are the main components of a successful NEW dental practice? Let's break it down:
1. Aggressive marketing and referral tactics
Aggressive may sound harsh, but that's what it's going to take! You HAVE to get the word out about your new practice. This includes a strong advertising campaign both on and offline, direct mail or flyers, and really getting into the community. You'll want to think through new patient specials and find ways to get those people in the door. Once you get them there, you can focus on the office experience, but each patient who comes in is worth a lot to your practice if you can keep them coming back.
Additionally, these new patients can work for you and become your advocates in the community. It's always a good idea to have a plan for asking for and rewarding current patients for their referrals. Dentistry is one place where many folks rely on the word of their friends and family to find a good fit, so don't neglect this key piece of your marketing puzzle.
2. Stellar office experience for patients
From their first contact with your office, whether it's online, a phone call, or a mailer, you want that person to have a positive experience. This doesn't happen by accident. The businesses who are the most successful focus on ensuring their clients (in your case patients) have a great experience. This means creating processes and procedures for your staff as they usher these patients through appointment setting, onboarding, treatments, follow-up, billing, and more. Any one of these steps can lead to dissatisfied and potentially lost patients.
Do the work before you open to put some processes in place and make sure your staff is all on the same page in regards to responsibilities and tasks. Sure, as you get going these processes will change. You'll make tweaks and constant improvements based on patient and staff feedback. But you have to start somewhere.
3. Consistent follow-up contact
Finally, don't let anyone fall through the cracks. Utilizing a tool like our hello patient (included in our software) can ensure that these patients have your practice in mind. From text reminders for appointments to birthday greetings and online appointment scheduling, our tools can make this consistent follow-up easy!
We know patients don't always remember to schedule their six-month cleanings or even to finish treatment plans. That's why if you're diligent in keeping them in the loop, they'll be back.
When you commit to these three principals, your practice will be ready to take your share of the market and establish a strong patient base in your area. Without a good start, it will be hard to get your practice on firm footing. You only get one chance to launch, and we want to give you every advantage. That's why we've created a FREE ebook for dentists opening a new practice. Get all the info you need to hit the ground running. Just click the button below to get started!
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