How many of you doctors feel you have to internally market your dental practice? This is the most common thing we hear; Market Market Market… Get new dental patients in. Most office we see have on the average 50% of their patients overdue for their recall appointments. It makes no sense to market new patients when you have a ton of patients already in your patient base you just need to call. This can be overdue recalls or reactivation calls. Either way, this is a much more cost effective way to internally market than spending money for new patients.

If you look at what is cost to bring in a new patient versus calling your existing patients, it is much more cost effective to market your existing patient base first. What is needed is a systematic plan in place to try to activate people to bring them.

As we often teach, typically the difference in effectiveness is subtle. Try getting the patients’ “good” email. This address is the one they use personally, not the one they give to the public. Have you ever asked your patients for the email that goes to their phone? This is the point of contact that they will respond to. Of course ask their permission to use this for correspondence. Now you can email or text message your patients.

A couple of ways to reactivate are;

  1. First contact is a friendly reminder that you haven’t seen them in a while and invite them back into the practice.
  2. Second reminder is one of concern. “We are concerned about your health. Here are the relating concerns…” mentioning particularly to their own health, for example, their health history. This is personal to them.
  3. The last effort says, “we haven’t heard from you in a while… we plan to inactivate your chart. This often this prompts a call.

You can also incentivize with promotions offering free or discounted services (whitening, Starbucks $5 cards, etc.) Be sure to check your State restrictions on offering free or discounted services. These ideas are far less expensive that marketing a new patient who has never seen you. In house email marketing your patient base is far more cost effective than spending for new patients.

Another very strong source of referrals to your practice is communicating with your Oral Surgeon’s and Orthodontists in your town. Meet with their front office team. The front office team are the ones referring patients who are seeking a General Dentist, perhaps to your office.

When is the last time you personally asked your patients for a referral? Are you willing to ask, in the most professional way, to send your friends and family? This can be done easily with a heartfelt gesture. For example; Mrs. Jones, your treatment is not only complete, your smile is beautiful. Do you have any friends that would enjoy this same type of dentistry? We are accepting new patients.


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