General Practitioner Marketing Recommendations
Consider every touchpoint a patient or a potential patient may have with your practice. The following general practitioner marketing recommendations can help guide you on internal and external efforts.
Internal Marketing Recommendations
- Welcome each patient by name as they enter the practice. New patients can also be greeted by name. “You must be Sara Jones; my name is Susan. Welcome to our practice.”
- When retrieving a patient from the reception area, walk up, and shake hands. Introduce yourself if you haven’t met yet. Standing at the clinic door and calling out a name signals you are not vested in relationship building. Relationship-building is at the heart of all marketing recommendations.
- Focus on building relationships that let the patient know you care about their entire well-being.
- Reserve a parking spot for new patients if parking is limited. When confirming the new patient, let them know there will be a spot reserved for them.
- Address dental fears/anxiety with active listening skills and offer solutions to make the patient comfortable. Openly discuss these concerns with the patient, doctor, and auxiliary providers to ensure everyone is aware of their needs.
- Check on the patient’s comfort level a few times throughout the appointment. Let them know if they will experience any post-op discomfort to avoid any surprises.
- Display your Mission Statement and any other accolades the doctor has earned in the reception area. This reinforces the patient made the right choice in dental providers and provides further opportunities for referrals.
- Provide a photo book in the reception area of community service events for which the doctor or team has participated.
- Make post-op calls daily for large or complicated cases, fearful patients, and children who received anesthetic. Ideally, the doctor makes these calls on the evening of the treatment provided.
- Consider beverages, snacks, mints, and other ‘hospitality’ items in your reception area and consult room.
- Scent the office, so it smells more welcoming than a “traditional” dental office.
- For patient convenience, stock prescription fluoride, chlorhexidine, or electric toothbrushes.
- Ensure you have a map and new patient forms available on your website for new patients to complete.
- Represent your clinical style and expertise through the appearance and cleanliness of your facility.
- Offer complimentary toothbrushes and toothpaste in the patient restroom.
- Evaluate customer service issues such as waiting time in your office and quality of phone contacts. Respect patient confidentiality by conducting discussions about patients privately and financial arrangement discussions in a private area.
- Use written and verbal patient compliments from a positive dental experience to build new patient confidence. With patient permission, include their quotes in your practice brochure, on your website, in newsletters, and in frames in your reception area.
- Actively ask for Google, Yelp, and Healthgrades reviews from your patients. Follow-up on requests with an email or text that includes a link to review sites to make it easy for the patient to post.
- Send a handwritten thank-you note to patients who have referred to you.
- Send a handwritten thank-you note to new patients who allowed your practice to provide their oral healthcare.
- Connect with patients experiencing life events such as a new child, grandchild, wedding, illness, or death in the family with flowers and a card from the entire team.
- Utilize confirmation systems to send video birthday greetings from the staff.
External Marketing Recommendations
Patients want quality, as well as convenience. Your sign works 24-hours a day to let patients know you are close and ready to help. Make sure it is professional and visible in every direction.
Studies show most patients will search review sites before selecting their dentist. On average, seven reviews are read. It is more important to have quality reviews than quantity without comments. Focus on review requests for Google, Yelp, and Healthgrades sites.
- Update your website, if needed, to reflect your branding. Photos of the practice and staff members with short, fun bios gain direct consumer growth. Provide a call to action on each page of the website for quick access to contact the practice. A short video of the doctor and video testimonials are worth the investment. Your site needs to be mobile-friendly. Refer to our Practice Support Team website checklist.
- Add video testimonial from patients.
- Use Google Ads to move your practice website to a higher listing on a Google search.
Social Media Marketing
- Maintain engaging social media sites, including Facebook and Instagram. Plan professional and social posts at least twice a week.
- Consider Facebook ad posting to targeted audiences in your geographic area. Facebook campaigns are inexpensive and can reach a wider audience.
- Post video testimonials from patients to your Facebook page. Videos and images are more compelling than text.
Maintain a Healthgrades premium profile listing.
- Connect with local physicians who jointly treat your patients. Keep them updated, in written form, on the oral health status of joint patients. This will promote additional referrals.
- Join local business chapters.
- Sponsor a Patient Appreciation Night (bowling, pizza, movie, golf, etc.).
- Deliver a gift basket to the patient’s workplace with relevant dental and non-dental items for patients to share with co-workers. Gift baskets are a nice thank you for a patient who has completed a large case.
- Give patient appreciation items to “connected” patients to share with friends and family. Consider 3-5 of the same logo items packaged together, which could vary by season.
- Locate a well-respected beauty salon close to the practice. Offer free whitening for everyone who works in the salon in exchange for leaving practice information.
- Sponsor a local youth sports team connected with a favorite patient.
- Participate in school programs and community services where your patients are involved. Consider giveaway products with your practice information on them.
- Have an “Open House” to share the benefits of a remodel or new equipment, and invite your patients, their friends, and nearby businesses.
- Could you hold your team meetings at a busy, nearby, local restaurant? Would they hang a photo of your team meeting there or post it on their social media pages? Give them a great review online (deserved, of course), recommend them, and they will often recommend the practice.
- Consider a reusable bag with your practice information for dental hygiene items for your patients.
- Hold a drawing for a desirable gift item such as an ultrasonic toothbrush, Bluetooth earbuds, or a local restaurant gift certificate. This can be an incentive for patients as well as team members.*
- Provide an incentive for visiting your website, such as new patient forms, post-op instructions, featured patient testimonials, or newsletter updates. Consider online entries for prize drawings.
- Select a local charity and fully participate in a fund-raising activity for them.
- Maintain a Facebook profile and Instagram page for your practice and encourage engagement.
*Board rules regarding gifts for referrals differ by state; please check with your state dental board to confirm you are compliant with state guidelines.