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Internal Marketing

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How to Ask Your Dental Patients for Referrals

by Naomi Cooper December 1, 2016

How to Ask Dental Patients for Online ReviewsHappy patients are a dentist’s most valuable marketing assets! They already value your skills and trust your opinions, and best of all, they never hesitate recommending your office to everyone they know.

Check out my video to find out the best ways of communicating with patients to ensure they keep referring their friends and family to your practice now and into 2017!

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Dental Marketing: 5 Steps for Asking for Patient Referrals and Online Reviews

by Naomi Cooper March 11, 2015

Dental Marketing: 5 Steps for Asking for Patient Referrals and Online ReviewsAsking a patient to refer others to your practice can seem daunting. Some dentists find it too “salesy”; some just aren’t sure how to comfortably broach the subject within patient conversations. While it may not be easy at first, asking for referrals is a critical component of any successful dental practice.

The best time to ask for a referral is when a patient gives you or your team a compliment. You know they are satisfied, making the process that much easier.

  1. Thank them for their recognition. Thank you so much!
  2. Make a statement about the practice that shows their experience wasn’t an accident. It’s our goal to exceed our patients’ expectations so they have an experience just like yours.
  3. Then compliment them. And we appreciate having patients just like you!
  4. Ask for the referral. We are always accepting new patients so if you know of anyone who would appreciate the same kind of care you feel you’ve received in our practice, I would appreciate it if you told them about us and your positive experience. 
  5. Don’t forget about online reviews too, especially for those patients whose smartphones are glued to the palms of their hands throughout their dental appointment. I’ve noticed how tech-savvy you are – would you mind sharing your experience on Yelp/Google/Healthgrades?

That doesn’t seem too terribly difficult, does it? Practice makes perfect, so be sure that the entire team has the verbal skills and comfort level needed in order to help generate as many patient referrals as possible.

Word of mouth remains to be the best form of marketing there is, not to mention the most cost effective. Boost word of mouth for your practice and make a committed effort to make asking for patient referrals and online reviews a habit for the entire team.

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Growing Your Practice Through Patient Referrals

by Naomi Cooper December 10, 2014

Growing Your Practice Through Patient ReferralsEveryone wants to know how to attract new patients. Dentists often spend big money on external marketing and promotional activities, but did you know one of the most effective ways of increasing new patient flow starts with your existing patient base?

Asking current satisfied patients to refer their friends and family to you is a relatively inexpensive way of promoting your practice, but for many dentists and staff, it is easier said than done. Here are 5 tips to help your practice start asking for more patient referrals in 2015:

1. The Marketing Mindset: The first hurdle that must be overcome is to shift your mindset. Asking for referrals doesn’t have to sound cheesy, desperate or sales-y. Remember, you aren’t selling snake oil; you are simply looking to provide the same high-quality dental care that your existing patients enjoy to others who will appreciate it!

2. Make It A Habit: Remember, marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s not about asking every patient for a referral for the next week and then losing steam, it’s about making it an everyday practice for everyone on the team. Get the entire office on board and don’t forget to reward the team for results!

3. Practice Makes Perfect: Working the process of asking for referrals into normal patient conversations on an ongoing basis requires practice. Role playing between members of the team is a great idea, and working on verbal skills training for the entire practice can pay off huge dividends in the long run.

4. Ask For Reviews Too: Remind web-savvy patients that in addition to referring others to your practice, you also welcome them to share their experiences online on influential third-party patient review sites such as Google, Yelp, and Healthgrades.

5. Set A Team Goal (& Incentives!): “Goals in writing are dreams with deadlines,” according to Brian Tracy, author of The Psychology of Achievement. Don’t forget to set new patient goals for the team and establish an objective way to measure results as you go. And finally, dangle the carrot! Whether in the form of individual spot bonuses or a team incentive, be sure to communicate to the dental team the reward that they will earn for a job well done.

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Dental Practice Marketing: 5 Reasons to Get Your Team Involved

by Naomi Cooper October 29, 2014

Dental Practice Marketing: 5 Reasons to Get Your Team InvolvedNothing keeps the dental practice moving forward like having staff meetings or morning huddles. Gathering the team together can open the lines of communication, and keep the staff abreast of new marketing tactics. When I’m consulting with my dentist clients, I remind them of the importance of staff meetings, especially when it comes to the marketing plan.

Here are 5 ways staff meetings can have a meaningful impact on your practice marketing:

  1. Better Return on Your Marketing Investment: Your marketing budget will be executed best when everyone is working together. For instance, the front desk needs to be aware of all current marketing campaigns since they should be asking the question “How did you hear about us?” or “Whom may we thank for referring you to the practice?” every time they speak with a new/potential patient. A staff meeting is the perfect time to keep the team informed.
  2. Increased Participation: In addition to keeping your staff informed, a staff meeting can be a great way to get them involved and invested in the marketing strategy. Show your entire staff what kind of marketing you are doing and when it will be hitting the marketplace. Tell them how much it costs and what kind of return you expect. And above all, remember to reward your team members for helping to make the campaign a success.
  3. Increased Word of Mouth: The entire team needs to be actively participating in the internal marketing process and proactively asking for patient referrals (and online reviews). This doesn’t come naturally to most people, so a staff meeting based around verbal skills training for the team is a must!
  4. Increased Input: Good marketing sometimes requires out-of-the-box thinking and a great way to generate new ideas is to solicit the input of your staff. Use your next staff meeting to host a brainstorm session to come up with ideas for a new branding strategy or to gather topics for upcoming blog posts or social media updates.
  5. Create a Sense of Ownership: As a dentist, between managing the practice and treating your patients, you already have enough on your plate — so delegation can pay off in spades. Designating a staff member to take the reigns on a specific aspect of the marketing – managing the social media calendar, writing blogs or tracking the response from a particular campaign, for instance – can help increase their engagement and give them a greater sense of personal responsibility.

As you can see, staff meetings can play an integral part of the practice marketing strategy. When the staff feels an increased sense of ownership, you’ll see that your return on your marketing investment will improve dramatically. The team will be more satisfied, the dentist will be happier and the practice will be operating more efficiently, making staff meetings a true, all-around winning solution!

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6 Ways to Improve Your Internal Marketing 

by Naomi Cooper October 7, 2014

6 Ways to Improve Your Internal Marketing When dentists hear the word marketing, they often think of external marketing and promoting their dental practices to the public. When it comes to increasing new patient flow, sometimes you don’t have to look any further than your existing patient base.

Internal marketing focuses on building long-term relationships and instilling trust and loyalty in patients. This is accomplished through strong communication skills, starting with the front desk, the hygiene and dental teams, and even ongoing communication after the patient leaves.

I recently wrote an article on this very subject for Dental Products Report6 Simple Steps to Elevate Your Internal Marketing. With the right internal marketing processes in place, your best patients can also be your best advertising.

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Personalizing Your E-Communication Strategies

by Naomi Cooper June 23, 2014

Personalizing Your E-Communication StrategiesI often hear from my dentist clients that they worry that they are losing “the personal touch” when automating their patient communication with e-communication tools like email and text message appointment reminders. Good customer service certainly requires personalization, but the reality is that technology can actually improve your patient communication.

Patient reminder systems like Sesame 24-7, DemandForce and Patient Activator save the practice time and energy by syncing with practice management software to automatically confirm appointments via email and text messaging. Many services can also help with other internal marketing tasks such as sending birthday cards, creating newsletters, promoting special offers, reaching out to dormant patients, or soliciting feedback and reviews. Using services like this can help reduce no-shows, shorten average recall times, build patient loyalty and even help boost case acceptance – and production.

Successful e-communication comes down to implementation. Maintain a personal touch by calling patients the first time you send the email appointment reminder to confirm they received the email and even offer to walk them through the confirmation process if needed. They’ll appreciate the convenience of email communication & the personal phone call shows you care enough to help them walk through the new process.

Also, be sure to give patients the ability to opt out of electronic communication. Some patients will never grow out of wanting a postcard reminder, but don’t assume that someone’s age necessarily determines their technology-savvy. The fastest growing group of Internet users today are 55 and older!

If you are still worried about losing that personal connection with patients, consider the time and expense involved every time you make ten appointment confirmation calls, mail out a batch of recall cards or create a newsletter. Using technology to automate these processes frees up the front desk to take part in truly personal communications like sending handwritten thank you notes to patients who refer, interacting with patients on social media and spending more time with patients and prospective patients both on the phone and face to face.

Patients not only want their dentist to be a “good dentist,” but also to be someone who truly cares. Utilizing e-communication tools makes consistent patient communication – with a personal touch – easier than ever before.