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How to Turn First-time Appointments into Lifetime Patients

Long line of patients standingFor many dentists, too many marketing dollars are devoted solely to acquiring new patients.  But sometimes, generating new patient appointments isn’t enough. You’ll also want to dedicate a portion of your marketing efforts to building loyalty among your existing patients, which leads to improved patient retention and a steady, loyal patient base in the long term.

Here are a few marketing tips on how you can turn those first time visitors into lifetime patients.

Engage patients between appointments

Since many patients are only coming into your office every six months, it’s important that you find ways to connect with them between appointments. Facebook and other online social media sites are great ways to communicate with your patients from virtually any location and any time. Think of your online interactions with your patients as an extension of the in-person dental care you provide them. These interactions provide an opportunity for you to distinguish your practice, and more importantly, improve the patient experience by conveying your ongoing commitment to their dental health.

Be an authority that patients can trust

Patients want to know that the dentist they choose is highly qualified to provide the best possible dental care available. One way to demonstrate your dental expertise is with a blog. Blogging is a great means to consistently provide patients with valuable information about oral health or other relevant office news.  You can also offer your patients trusted and helpful educational resources via your website.  A robust patient education library or dental videos will provide patients with important information they need even after office hours while positioning you as an authority and teacher in dental healthcare.

Share important news and promotions

Between appointments, keep your patients cognizant of any changes in your office by sharing news, reminders or special promotions. You can do this through direct mail, email or by simply posting updates on your dental website, blog or Facebook page.  Patients interested in teeth whitening, for instance, will be more motivated to contact your office for an elective procedure if they are receiving special discounts between regular visits.

You and your staff should have a keen understanding of what it takes to “win” a new patient over from the moment they make an appointment and walk through your office door. Treat your patients with excellent care and attention, and follow up with patients between appointments to build loyalty and maintain a positive experience. Patients who value your service will not only continually choose your for their oral health needs, but they will also be more likely to recommend you to their friends and family.

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