You went to school for years, fulfilled your clinical requirements and passed the state exam to become a dentist. Now that you have your own practice, how are you going to make the most of it? To quickly grow your practice, follow these six steps.
Identify Your Target
Decide which aspects of dentistry you prefer to focus on. A successful practice means one that makes money but also one that allows you to do the kind of work that energizes and fulfills you most. You may want to be endodontist or periodontist, or perhaps you prefer to work with a particular demographic such as children or the elderly. Once you have identified your target patient it will be much easier to focus your marketing efforts, choose insurance partners and make pricing decisions.
Create a Positive Culture
If your employees don’t want to come to the office your clients won’t either, so it is crucial that you create a company culture that expresses the unique characteristics of your practice and encourages worker engagement. Create a culture that gives employees purpose, opportunity for success, appreciation and inspiring leadership. Let staff know that the firm truly cares about all aspects of their well-being: physical, mental, emotional and social. Policies such as personal time off and employee assistance programs, and perks like on-site daycare and fitness centers may help accomplish this. However, you must go beyond those superficial facets and conduct regular, comprehensive assessments to ensure you are doing all you can to maintain the best culture for your company.
Invest in Marketing
Community involvement can be a crucial piece of your marketing plan. Reach out to preschools and youth organizations with lessons in basic brushing and flossing habits or visit senior centers with information about dentures and implants. Have a professionally designed and maintained website. Online marketing includes social media, where you should have a presence on at least three platforms. If you don’t have the time to invest in regular posting and responding to others’ posts, contract a social media expert to do so for you. It is essential to manage your online reputation which includes monitoring rating and review sites, cultivating positive reviews and responding to negative ones.
Position Yourself as an Expert
Begin a blog that addresses current issues regarding dental health or explains the finer points of dental care. For greater peer respect, conduct original research and publish your findings in trade journals. Create a channel on a social media platform and produce informative videos. Post a series of short videos, two to three minutes each, that show proper technique for brushing and flossing; explain how dentures are made and show how patients can ensure a good fit. You and your practice can become a reliable authority and viewers will perceive that your office is uniquely qualified to provide superior service.
When patients are in the office, they should see advertisements for products and services that may be of interest to them such as specialty toothpaste and mouthwash you have available for purchase. If the hygienist notices that a patient’s teeth have yellowed, he or she may mention whitening services. Offer holiday specials for cosmetic procedures. At Christmas and graduation time, offer discounts on water flossers and electric toothbrushes, or put together care packages that clients can give as gifts.
These days many people find themselves without dental insurance but don’t let that deter them from coming into your office every six months. Offer a membership or dental care plan wherein patients pay a monthly or yearly fee in exchange for no-cost cleanings and discounts on other services. Individual and family plans can be a great way to ensure that patients continue regular check-ups and treatment, and they produce unmatched customer loyalty. Members also appreciate referral bonuses. A $50 credit to their account does represent an expense to you but it is a small price to pay—after all, word-of-mouth advertising is priceless.