You’ve worked hard to build a dental practice you’re proud of, but you’re having trouble attracting new patients. Although your current patient base keeps you mostly busy, you’d like to have all your appointment slots filled each day.
Chances are, new patients are having a hard time finding your dental practice online or making an appointment. Here’s a look at a few common issues dental practices face when trying to get new patients and tips to make positive changes.
When conducting a Google search, 75 percent of people don’t look past the first page of results, according to Moz. If your dental website isn’t ranking highly in search results, new patients probably aren’t finding it.
In fact, 61 percent of marketers cite boosting search engine optimization (SEO) and improving organic presence as their top inbound marketing priority, according to HubSpot. Therefore, the importance of having a robust SEO strategy in place cannot be emphasized enough.
Organic, referral, direct: Understanding dental website traffic sources
Having a beautiful dental website is important, but you need more than that to attract new patients. Get in front of people by claiming online directory profiles and engaging them on social media.
In 2018, approximately 243.6 million Americans used social media — roughly three-quarters of the U.S. population — according to Statista. Social media for dentists is important because you can get more dental patients by connecting with them on platforms they’re already using.
Claiming online directory profiles is also key because patients use these sites to research your dental practice. In fact, 48.8 percent of patients check Google for patient reviews, followed by WebMD (32.8 percent), Yelp (22.8 percent), Healthgrades (21.8 percent), and Facebook (16.8 percent), according to PatientPop.
Most people (74.6 percent) have looked online to find out about a doctor, a dentist, or medical care, according to PatientPop. In fact, more than three-quarters (69.9 percent) consider a positive online reputation to be very or extremely important.
If your dental practice doesn’t have many — or any! — recent patient reviews, this is likely steering people away. Since reviews have become so prominent, people don’t want to schedule an appointment with a dentist they know nothing about.
Sending patient satisfaction surveys after each visit can help you gain valuable feedback and generate more reviews. Inviting satisfied patients to share their experience on your website will give new patients the information needed to feel comfortable making an appointment.
Picking up the phone to schedule a dental appointment is inconvenient for many modern patients. Finding the time to make the call during business hours and waiting on hold can be difficult to fit into a busy schedule.
Consequently, it’s not surprising that 68 percent of patients say they’re more likely to choose a provider who offers online scheduling, according to Accenture. Therefore, if you want to attract more dental patients, consider enabling online scheduling.
When new patients have a toothache or are greatly overdue for a cleaning, they want to be seen as soon as possible. However, on average, patients wait 6.8 days before their first appointment with a dentist across all specialties, according to Statista. Eliminate long wait times by saving a few appointment spots for new patients who want to book appointments in the near future.
While making this adjustment, take an honest look at your appointment times, as a lack of convenience could also be keeping new patients away. In fact, 56 percent of patients seeking traditional healthcare services cite convenient appointment times as an important factor when choosing a provider, according to Accenture. Making a few small adjustments to your schedule — i.e. opening or closing your office an hour later — can have a noticeable difference.
Your dental practice offers outstanding care, so it’s time to stop new patients from missing out. Increasing your marketing efforts and making scheduling more convenient are relatively simple changes that offer big results.
If you’re willing to invest the time and resources needed to put your practice out there, you’ll gain the competitive advantage needed to fill your waiting room with new patients.
For similar content, check out “5 ways to use dental marketing to build trust with prospective patients.”
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