5 Fun Marketing Ideas for Dental Practices
Every dental practice knows that a new patient referral from an existing patient is the best referral of all. Usually the expense associated with converting this new patient is very low compared to expensive external marketing and advertising efforts. Better yet, these patients are coming to your practice with an inherent level of trust because a co-worker, friend or family member already believes in your practice. But…
Asking for a referral is sometimes awkward.
For many years most dental consultants have educated offices to come right out and ask an existing patient for a referral. Even with training, some team members struggle to find the right words and worry about sounding pushy or insincere.
Today, patients don’t necessarily respond to the run-of-the mill marketing messages that focus on a caring staff or the latest implemented technology – even if it’s being passed along by your existing patient. They’ve heard it all before and it doesn’t differentiate you.
It’s time to change the way internal marketing is approached. Its “Show” not “Tell”.
Five Fun Internal Marketing Ideas:
Here’s a list of 5 fun internal dental marketing initiatives. In each, the primary focus is on the existing patient, but allows potential patients insight into the practice, the dentist and team.
- Rent out a movie theater for a private showing of a recently released film. Invite patients and allow them to bring up to 3 friends. Be sure staff members and dentists mingle before the movie starts. It’s a great way to interact with existing and potential patients outside the office. Click here to see showtimes in your area.
- Sponsor a 5K run/walk for a local cause. Give existing patients a free entry + one. The cause or beneficiary need not be dental related, but instead community related. (Think about raising funds for a new park, helping the local youth center or supporting the town’s pet shelter).
- Send flowers to a patient – at work. Whether you want to acknowledge a patient for repeated referrals, apologize for keeping her waiting or just tell her how much you appreciate her, your surprise will delight her. Think about how many times she will be asked, “Who sent those to you?” FTD.com and EdibleArrangements.com are popular and convenient online services for this.
- Cross-market with a local photographer. Provide a free sitting with a photographer at the completion of a cosmetic, reconstructive or orthodontic treatment. Encourage family photos in addition to professional head shots. Patients only pay for the pictures ordered. The photos not only serve as a frequent reminder of the care received, but also become a marketing piece for the practice. Others will see the photos and word of the practice will spread.
- Host a candy buy-back. Do it the first Saturday after Halloween in front of the office or in the parking lot. Market the event to existing patients but make it open to the public. Consider adding a cookout. Kids bring in candy in return for time in a bouncy house, a pony ride, or tickets to play games. Have on hand promotional giveaways branded to the practice.
Engaging patients outside the dental office will strengthen community ties and create further awareness of the practice. It’s not wrong to directly ask patients for a referral. But, don’t forget to provide opportunities for patients to show others what the practice is all about.