According to a study by the dental care company Henry Schein®, dental practices lose 17 percent of their active patients each year. As a leader of your practice, how are you supposed to ensure that your patients continue to pick you for their dental needs?
In marketing, this potential loss of patients is referred to as patient attrition, and it is a problem all businesses have to deal with. But when it comes to an area like dentistry, which can be subject to sudden insurance policy changes that are outside your control, dentists must rely on online marketing tools in order to keep patients returning.
How To Mitigate Patient Attrition
Let’s start with the cold, hard truth. In an environment where external changes are common, some patient attrition is unavoidable. However, by using some of these handy tips, you can mitigate the problem and ensure that your dental practice has a constant influx of satisfied patients.
- Online Marketing: As obvious as it sounds, practices that have little or no online presence are less likely to retain patients. If a person is looking to follow-up on dental care and finds it difficult to access their records online, receive updates about closures on social media, or request appointments on their dental practice’s website, they will likely search for a more tech-friendly replacement. In this day and age, social media has become customer service, and it starts before your patients even call! Make sure to keep your website and social media accurately updated with your current policies and services.
- SEO: We harp on it a lot, but Search Engine Optimization is absolutely key for any practice trying to retain patients. In an ocean of Google search results, using an app like Google SEO can help your listings rank higher on searches. According to a recent study on appointment reminders, text messages and e-mail are increasingly ineffective ways to keep patients updated. The reality is that most people leave their texts and e-mails unopened, especially when they contain obviously standardized messages. A good SEO strategy not only attracts new patients, but helps old patients find your site again if, like many people, they don’t respond to standard reminders.
- Online Reviews: Patient feedback is your friend! Make sure to publicize your online reviews on an easy-to-access section of your website. 67% of people will consider leaving a review for a positive experience. This means that satisfied, responsive patients are walking marketing tools for your practice.
- Give Your Marketing Effort Time: If you’ve recently launched an updated website or retooled your digital marketing in any way, giving your new approach time to work for you is important. Marketing efforts can snowball and pulling the rug out from under your new strategy in order to retool it too frequently can erode patient trust. Make sure to put forward a consistent, informative marketing aesthetic in order to avoid attrition.
- Reach Out: The quest for patient retention does not start or end at the office door. Use all available messaging services, including text and direct mail, to thank patients for their visit, remind them of any additional appointments, and follow up on their dental health. Make sure to use original, or original-sounding messages to come off warm and approachable. Avoid generic text like the plague. Some patients might not read it! But the ones that do will feel a personal connection to their dental practice.
Whether you are thinking of kickstarting a successful marketing campaign, or want to improve your pre-existing marketing efforts, ProspectaMarketing can help you attract and keep new patients so that your practice can continue to grow! We are an experienced Internet marketing firm specializing in dental practices and the tools of Internet marketing. We help you reach key prospects who are looking for what your practice has to offer. Our unique and thorough approach provides visibility, financial accountability, and ongoing refinement and improvement. You can find out more by contacting Lane Anderson toll-free at 1-877-322-4440 Ext 101, by email using the form on our Contact Us page, or online at ProspectaMarketing.com.