People of all ages have been neglecting their dental appointments thanks to COVID-19. In fact, Spectrum News reports that “the American Association of Endodontists (AAE) found that more than half of Americans surveyed say they have put off routine dental visits.”
Dr. Wayne Lipschitz, a dentist at the Eastman Institute for Oral Health, warns patients that postponing even routine appointments can have dire consequences. According to Lipschitz, most dental problems start off small and are relatively manageable. When patients ignore them, minor dental problems become major ones.
For example, if you seek treatment for a cavity right away, dentists will fill the cavity, preventing the spread of tooth decay. If you leave cavities untreated for too long, a run-of-the-mill cavity may ultimately require serious treatment, like a root canal or tooth extraction.
As a dental practice, it is your responsibility to educate patients about the potential repercussions of putting off dental treatments too long. Of course, that is not — and should not — be the only way to get new and returning customers walking through your doors.
Make your dental practice truly appealing to patients and reap the benefits. Learn how to attract patients to your dental practice below.
Invest In Renovations for a Pristine Dental Practice
The past year or so has made it clear that cleanliness and professionalism are some of the most important values businesses can have. That is particularly true of dental practices. Pinning down exactly how to attract patients to your dental practice in Rochester, NY is not complicated. In many cases, it is simply a matter of reaffirming to the general public that your business is a safe place to be. To do that:
- Consider timely commercial renovation. Now more than ever, it may be time to consider whether there are any renovations that you need to make to increase the safety of your practice and help put patients’ minds at ease. For example, if your practice is notorious for being a little too cramped, now is the time to address it. It can be especially cumbersome — and sometimes even anxiety-inducing — for your staff members to be bumping into each other in the hallways when best practices advise staying six feet apart whenever possible. Now is the perfect time to call in contractors to discuss tearing down walls and creating a more open floor plan for your customers and staff.
- Be open with your customers. While you may know that you are doing everything you possibly can to mitigate hazards in your dental practice and you may feel extremely confident in those measures, many of your customers may not have the same confidence in your response unless you directly communicate with them.
Let customers know exactly what you are doing to keep them safe. If you and your staff members are wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE), sanitizing, deep cleaning, and/or increasing air filtration in the building, communicate that to your customers. Put up signs in the windows and at the front of your practice stating as much. Devote a page on your website to COVID-19 safety measures, blog about the safety of seeking treatment now and in the near future, and post about the precautions you are taking on social media. Get the word out on protecting and prioritizing patients’ health.
- Take further measures to protect you and your practice. It is important to do all that you can to protect your patients. It is just as important to protect your business as well. For your peace of mind, make certain that you look into business insurance and get the appropriate coverage for your dental office. Depending on the type of coverage you purchase, business insurance may cover liability, wage loss, property damage, lawsuits, and more. All of these have been and continue to be especially relevant in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
When it comes to exactly how to attract patients to your dental practice, keep current events in mind. Do whatever you can to ensure that your practice is as hygienic as possible, and let your customers know it, too.
Ensure the Outside Of Your Building Is Presentable
First impressions matter. If the exterior of your dental office needs a little TLC — or a lot of TLC — that may be affecting your bottom line. According to research by analytics firm Escalent, 95% of customers admit that the outer appearance of businesses directly impacts their decisions to support them. Over 66% say that they have taken their business elsewhere after coming face-to-face with a particularly rundown or lackluster building or exterior.
To add curb appeal to your dental practice:
- Add a new coat of paint. If the paint on the outside of your building is fading, peeling, or cracking, it is time to do something about it. A fresh coat of paint can do wonders for your curb appeal, and it is likely something that you can tackle on your own — or at a relatively low cost.
- Replace well-worn walkways with decorative rock paths. The details matter. Customers will notice if there are weeds growing up out of the cracks in the sidewalk or if there are potholes in the parking lot as they walk in. Make sure your parking lot is in tip-top condition, and replace old, well-worn sidewalks with sophisticated rock pathways instead.
- Invest in new signage. If you have had the same sign up for years, chances are your business will benefit from a new one. Large fonts and bold lettering help draw your customers’ eyes to your sign and ultimately inside your dental practice.
- Keep up appearances. Something as simple as regular cleaning and maintenance can go an incredibly long way. Clean the sidewalks, remove trash and debris from the parking lot, trim trees and hedge bushes, and wash windows on a weekly or monthly basis as necessary.
Wondering how to attract patients to your dental practice? Doing that starts with maintaining curb appeal or working on the outer appearance of your building or office space.
Create a Welcoming Environment Inside
Of course, customers’ impressions when they step inside your dental practice are just as important. To create a welcoming environment once customers step inside the door, pay attention to the details.
Make sure your commercial air conditioning is up to snuff. This is especially important as the hot summer months approach and as businesses amp up their indoor ventilation to help combat the coronavirus. Keep the space tidy and fresh. Dental practices want to convey the utmost professionalism and promote calm. Keep paint colors and works of art simple and refined. Breathe some new life into the room with fresh plants, and set up a refreshment bar with water, coffee, and tea to help your patients truly feel at ease.
Hire a Professional to Build Your Practice’s Website
The best tips and pointers about how to attract patients to your dental practice are not just about the physical premises. For dental marketing that is truly effective, you will have to focus at least some — and ideally a great deal — of your efforts online. If you are not exactly tech-savvy, rest assured that there are plenty of businesses that can help you.
Talk to web design professionals about the best ways to market your dental practice. They will talk to you about building a website that will engage customers and draw new customers to your practice as a local dentist.
Utilize a Digital Marketing Agency’s SEO Services
Speaking about marketing strategies surrounding how to attract patients to your dental practice, any and all companies would be remiss without exploring the benefits of search engine optimization (SEO).
In addition to making your website look professional, talk to online marketing companies about drawing new people to your dental practice. These companies can help you tackle large-scale and local SEO. For example, while it may help to rank on keywords like family dentistry up to a point, they will also talk to you about optimizing your website and your social media posts to target patients specifically in the local area. By targeting local keywords and/or long-tail keywords, you increase your rankings to customers in the immediate area and customers using relatively new technologies, like voice search.
SEO marketers will work with you to optimize your website and social media. Work with them to target voice search inquiries, keep your web pages genuinely useful to your patients, and learn the best ways to keep your content fresh and up-to-date.
When it comes to learning how to attract patients to your dental practice, don’t be afraid to get help. Talk to professionals about making your website as professional as possible while implementing critical tools like SEO.
Advertise Your Variety of Dental Services
In addition to a sleek, professional website and on-target SEO, it helps your bottom line to set your dental practice apart from others. How can you do that? Do that by advertising the wide breadth of services your practice offers to its customers.
For example, add value to your name by advertising your services for same day dental care, emergency dental care, preventative dental care, and more. If your practice offers special services, like cosmetic treatments and procedures (i.e., tooth whitening, crowns, and implants), make that known as well. Plus, if you and your staff members have any special tools or methods for easing dental anxieties and phobias, that is another perk you can benefit from advertising.
Advocate for Flexible Financing Options
Unfortunately for your patients, reliable dental care can be expensive. Cleanings may range from $75 to $200, fillings cost anywhere from $150 to $450 each, and root canals can set patients back $300 to $2,000! While insurance may help cover a portion of these costs, that is not always the case. Plus, some patients do not have dental insurance and rely on paying entirely out of pocket instead.
It benefits all of your patients to have flexible financing options in place. This may include payment plans, sliding scale payments, credit card payments, and even taking part in charitable events that offer free or low-cost dental cleanings at least a few times per year. These events may target specific demographics, like veterans, or might be an opportunity for students studying to become dentists to get some hands-on experience and learn from your staff.
At times, when brainstorming the best ways about how to attract patients to your dental practice, it is best to think of your patients’ humanity. Offer flexible financing options and take part in charitable community events to show that your job is about more than simply cashing in a paycheck.
Offer Relaxing Techniques for Patients With Dentophobia
Once again, one of the best things dentists can do when mulling over how to attract patients to your dental practice is to acknowledge your patients’ humanity. Dentophobia or dental anxiety are serious problems — ones that affect your patients far more than you might expect. One study in the Journal of Dental Hygiene reveals that 50 to 80% of patients have at least some dental anxiety, and that anxiety can be fairly mild or debilitating and severe.
Dentists can help ease this anxiety by:
- Playing calming music or setting up televisions in patients’ rooms.
- Talking openly to customers about their fears and what you can do — as a team — to address them. For example, some patients find it helpful to raise their hand when any pain becomes overwhelming.
- Using alternative treatments if and when available. Many patients actively do not like the sound of a whirring dentist’s drill. It is now possible to use lasers, noiseless drills, and other alternatives to make customers’ experiences as peaceful as possible. Consider investing in new technologies if dental anxiety is a frequent concern among your customers.
Learn how to attract patients to your dental practice by carefully reading through the tips and tricks above and by taking proactive steps to put them into practice. Learn the most effective practices through trial and error.