The generation born between 1981-2000 is often called Millennials, Gen Y, or digital natives. The are ethnically diverse, socially aware, and plugged into technology. Creating a dental practice that is appealing to Millennials is a wise move, as there are approximately 80 million of them in the US — the largest generational cohort in American history. While marketing personas are essential to creating a practice that appeals to the patient group you are targeting, know that only 40 percent of Millennials identify as such, so marketing as a "Millennial" dental practice is ill-advised. Instead, you should:

Be Mobile-Friendly

Not only should you have a mobile-friendly website with a patient portal to manage accounts, but you should also allow for making and canceling appointments via your website and filling out new-patient information online. Ensure that these things can be done on a smartphone or tablet, as well as a laptop or desktop computer. With a whopping 86 percent of Millennials owning a smartphone, your mobile web design should include an app-like interface that makes it easy to navigate and utilize.

Also, employing a service that texts appointment reminders will keep your patients in the know — since most of them have opted not to have a home phone. All of this investment in technology has an upside. Google likes it too, which helps you place high in organic listings.

Offer Free WiFi

The waiting experience is also important when designing your practice with Millennials in mind. Offering free WiFi to your patients is something that's becoming more of an expectation and less of a luxury. Televisions are less important to this generation because they are bringing their entertainment with them on a tablet or a phone.

Understand the Importance of Reviews and Social Media

Millennials are largely influenced by their peers, particularly by social posts. A dental practice that wants to appeal to Gen Y should make it easy and encourage rating and sharing on social media. Referrals are key to a Millennial-focused practice, and most are willing to make these referrals if they have a good experience. You can influence people to write more reviews by posting something in your lobby, adding it to your email signature, and linking to your reviews on your website.

Creating opportunities for your patients to shine is also advisable. This could be a funny photo-op in your lobby or a gorgeous smile board. Millennials capture everyday life often. A survey estimates they spend 54 hours a year taking pictures of themselves.

Be Something More

Millennials are socially aware and interested in giving back. Brands that do double duty by offering a product or service and helping the community are very popular with Millennials. Like the Boomers, Millennials want to save the world. If they think you're a part of that altruistic movement, they'll be more apt to become loyal patients.

Millennials make up nearly a quarter of the U.S. population, so making your dental practice more appealing to them is a wise business decision. By employing technology and sharing who you are on social media, you're bound to make an impression.

Image via Flickr by Image Catalo

Image via Flickr by Image Catalog