Archive for April, 2012

Social Media – is it worth it for dental practices?

It’s an overwelming “yes” if you are looking to build your patient base and engage with your current patients.

Firstly, the sheer volume of people, including your patients, that use this form of communication. Did you know that over half the UK population are on social media? It is currently ranked the fourth most popular activity on the internet (above email). 

Four of the most well known ones – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn offer your dental practice the best opportunity to reach the people you want at your practice.

The primary and most well known social media platform is Facebook. There are approximately 800 million members worldwide. 100 million of those are active on the site every day, keeping in touch with friends and family.

Dental practices can set up a Facebook Page where updates on the activities taking place at the practice can be posted. For example, latest dental news, booking availability, and special offers could all be added to the Page. Useful information such as top tips on how to look after your teeth could also be posted, as could information on more specialist type of treatments. A person can share content they particularly like with friends and family. Potentially this content could then go viral (spread fast) within Facebook.

A Facebook Page offers existing patients the opportunity to “like” the page and follow it for updates. These updates will then appear on their personal Facebook profiles where their friends and family may also see them. In addition, Facebook Ad campaigns (pay per click adverts) can be run that target particular age groups and locations. These will gain further likes for the Facebook Page. Over time, all these activities may draw new people to your dental practice as they become aware of the range of services you provide.

For advice from our Social Media specialist, Chris Wood, contact us.

For information on our range of social media training and support packages.

Active patient retention. It’s a must for survival and growth

If you are finding it hard to attract new patients cost effectively and many practices are, it’s even more crucial that dental practices have patient retention initiatives and systems in place. Reactivation or recall are terms often used to describe encouraging patients back in for an appointment.

Before doing any reactivation with your patient list it’s important to understand how many patients you have on your books and which of these segments they fall into. 

Divide your patient list into 1. patients (they have come in for treatment in the last say 12 months), 2. dormants (they last had an appointment between 13 - 24 months ago - maybe because they haven’t got round to booking an appointment or money is a bit tight or they simply haven’t been reminded!) and 3. lapsed patients (24 months + ago and your practice is now well and truly off their radar, they may have defected to another practice for all treatments or they have simply not been to any dentist in that time). 

A few insights from our experience:

1. What you send, email, text or say to your patients should be different according to which segment they are in. 

2. Contacting your dormants with meaningful updates (on new treatments, new practice news, a simple appointment reminder, a birthday card, a voucher or whatever it takes to gain an appointment) will definitely bring patients in. 

3. Don’t give up on lapsed patients. Test trying to win them back and by test I mean, take a sample, say 50 or 100, and contact them

4. Measure your reactivation activity and what works best 

5. Contact your patients regularly. Maintain and build your relationship with them. After all, a happy patient is an advocate and a source of referrals for your practice

6. Last but not least, patients coming from your own patient list are always the lowest cost source of fee income for a dental practice

For a review of your patient management policies and procedures, contact us