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How to Increase Your Patient Referrals

Posted Oct 30 2010 1:11pm

The following is a guest post by Misty Clark of Jameson Management, Inc. . If you are interested in guest posting for Dental Heroes, please sign up here .

You invest a generous amount of time into furthering your continuing education so that you can provide the latest and greatest to your patients. But do your patients know this? Use your desire to enhance your skill set and knowledge base by educating your patients through internal marketing strategies. You can deploy a simple 5-step process each time you complete a course to leverage yourself. Doing so will make you stand apart from other dentists, show your patients that you are staying on top of the ever changing dental world, keep patients in your practice, and help them refer patients back to you.

1. Internal verbal skills
Make sure your team is aware of the course you completed and the benefits your patients will receive. Have your team (including you) mention it in conversation to your patients during your visit. For example, if the patient asks how you are doing, reply by saying, “Great. We are so excited that Dr. Jameson attended a course on whitening techniques. You know, she is always researching to find the best methods of whitening to offer you.”

2. Press release
Write a press release with factual information on the course. Many times the course will offer a pre-written press release into which you can insert your own information. Send this press release to local newspapers and publications. You can even include it in the hygiene bags for your patients to read, mail with statements, or include in a separate mailing.

3. Update your Web site
Add the new course to your Web site. The home page should have a mention of it with a link to learn more about CE event. This page should contain program details, the press release, benefits to the patient, logo (if relevant – i.e. Invisalign logo), and photos.

4. E-mail Marketing
Formulate an email to send to your patient base. The email should state the new benefits of the course that the patients and/or the practice will receive. The email should include a link to your Web site for more information. Be sure to invite your patient to call the office for more information or to utilize the new service.

5. Social media
Mention the course before, during and after the event on your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Do you have a flip camera? If so, use the flip camera to take video during the event. Or you can film yourself or a team member giving props to the course after the event. Post that footage on your social media sites and to your Web site.

If your continuing education is in regards to a new piece of equipment, place signage around the office with the announcement. You can even have a “limited time only” special promoting the new technique or equipment. A great example is for CEREC. If you have just started using CEREC, post signs that introduce the new equipment and list a special for moving forward with treatment. The offer can be “Receive a complimentary Sonicare toothbrush when you have a CEREC crown placed—limited time only.”

The goal of continuing education is to bring more service offerings to your patients and to enhance what you do so that you are giving the best care possible. Why not let your patients know what you are doing for them? They will appreciate you for it and may even send more patients your way!

How has your practice increased referrals? What hasn’t worked well?

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