This article is sponsored content brought to you by AirSmile.
With over 18,000 registered dentists in Australia and counting, one could argue that we have an oversupply for choice for patients with little hope for dentists looking to open a new clinic. However, with over 2 million Australians failing to visit the dentist each year, evidence continues to support that establishing a new dental practice is still an attractive and smart business decision for those eager to take the next step in their dental career. With that said, it can be a challenging road when you are the new kid on the block with little trust and reputation within the community and well-established competitors often within walking distance to your premises.
The good news is there are a few simple steps you can take now to give your new practice the best chance of filling the appointment book fast and building a strong loyal patient base.
1: BUILD A 5 STAR ONLINE REPUTATION – QUICK!
Although word of mouth referrals are still considered to be the best source for high value new patients, the trends in dental show patients are now turning to the online reputation of a dental practice to support their decision in choosing you. Therefore it should become a daily focus for both you and your team to implement strategies to build an online reputation that not only attracts new patients, but the ones you want.
2: ONLINE BOOKING IS A MUST!
Increasingly, making a decision on which dentist patients choose is treated similar to booking accommodation or a table at a restaurant. Fortunately for the new tech savvy practice owner, this allows you to gain an edge over your local competitors by offering a simple convenient opportunity to book an appointment with your in their hour of need. To maximise your online exposure, harness the power of trustworthy online platforms designed to market your practice to their community of users, and since they do the heavy lifting in terms of paid marketing campaigns, you also save big dollars on new patient acquisition costs.
3: WALK THE PATIENT JOURNEY BEFORE THEY DO
In the early days of practice ownership, take time to sit down with your team to map out every step along the path a patient walks during their interaction with your practice. Take note of what they experience from the moment they first learn about your practice, to any reactivation methods should they fall into the all too familiar ‘black hole’. If there are any elements along this journey that will break trust, impact negatively on your reputation, or simply leave a bad taste in the mouth of a potential new patient—get to work immediately on fixing them. Throughout the process, be sure to review external paths that drive patients to your door to make sure they are representing your practice well and delivering on their promise of exposing you to high quality new patients.
If you are looking for more cost effective, convenient ways to engage with new and motivated patients, speak to the team at AirSmile. Created by dental professionals, AirSmile is the patient engagement platform designed to connect patients with the right dentist, the first time. Get started with a risk-free practice partnership – firstname.lastname@example.org (www.airsmile.com)