How do I get patients into my practice?

January 19, 2017
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We’ve finished dental school and residency programs. We’ve obtained the skills to start practicing. We’ve worked so hard to get to this point. All we need now is patients!

People use the internet to research everything on these days. Most consumers won’t reserve a hotel room without viewing pictures and reading reviews first. Bearing that consumer mentality in mind, doctors need to be proactive in creating online visibility. Potential patients are using search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing to try to find a dentist in their neighborhood. If you aren’t visible on the internet, you’re missing out on accessing a huge market of patients. Even with strong word of mouth referrals, prospective patients will still conduct some form of online research to find their potential doctor.

Many dentists fear bad reviews, which can be a deterrent not only to new patients, but to existing patients as well. Online reputation is of the utmost importance. The key is being proactive in engaging patients to write that special something that can go a long way for your practice. Research indicates that consumers are drawn to businesses with many consistent reviews. If the majority of reviews about you are favorable but one or two are not, consumers have more confidence in the authenticity of the information. Websites that review dentists, such as ZocDoc, RankMyDentist, Yelp, and Healthgrades help dentists to build their online reputations.

For quite some time, dentists have relied on printed promotional material, radio, television, and more recently, email for their marketing plans. These options are costly and don’t have a great return on investment (ROI.) Instead, there are platforms such as Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat to help you reach many new potential clients with a relatively small investment. You can direct your marketing efforts to a very specific audience with social media. As a result, you may need some help to optimize these platforms and utilize them to their fullest potential.

Another investment in your online presence is a website for your practice. It is very important to post photographs of your work, your team members and your office. If humility permits, you should also post a picture of yourself so that prospective patients can connect a face with your name. The website needs to be optimized properly so that when patients search for you, they will find you. Since many consumers use their cellphones to conduct their online searches, you need to make sure your website is cell phone adaptive.

A trip to the dentist used to be thought of as a painful, scary experience, but not anymore. We live in an exciting time for the dental profession. Between the technology and the advanced procedures used in patient care, there’s a lot for dentists to showcase.  In addition to using the internet for marketing, it is important to educate the public about what dentists are capable of achieving. Oral health is the gateway to overall health, thus it’s vital for patients to find a dentist who makes them feel comfortable and who shares their vision.

Author Bio:    Dr. Daniel Rubinshtein is a cosmetic and restorative dentist based in New York City. He finished his general practice residency at Yale University and received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from New York University College of Dentistry. Dr. Rubinshtein also became a fellow in 2015 of the International Academy for Dental Facial Esthetics. Dr. Rubinshtein was featured in TheVerge.com as an innovator in the healthcare industry and someone who thinks outside the box when it comes to branding himself.