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Six Effective Traditional Ways of Attracting Patients

Posted by Jason Penrod on Apr 30, 2019

With digital forms of marketing like social media and email taking center stage, it might feel like the more traditional methods of attracting new patients have gone the way of payphones and your MySpace top five. And yet, it’s exactly because of this digital saturation that your practice should still employ a few of the traditional methods.

Patient Referrals

Asking for patient referrals has been the cornerstone of a successful practice marketing strategy, and with good reason. With good reason, as 92 percent of patients trust referrals from people they know making them 4 times more likely to buy than other customers.

If you’re not already doing so, provide your patients with a referral card at the time they check out. It should be simple to fill out and clearly describe any incentives you offer(ex. gift cards for coffee, discounts on whitening home kits, etc).

Referral Alliances

If your practice specializes in a particular kind of dentistry like endodontics, you likely rely on referrals from fellow dentists. However, it’s worth considering forming referral alliances even if you’re more of a generalist.

As new residents move into your region, they’re likely in the market for both a dental and medical practice. If they haven’t already received a recommendation from a coworker or neighbor, they might ask you (or your medical equivalent) for a suggestion of who they might see. Try to build a relationship with your fellow doctors to start sending business each other's way.

Direct Mail

It might seem like mail doesn’t have a place in your strategy when email is inexpensive and the average American spends around 3 hours every day on their smartphone. However, the average patient receives 2 pieces of direct mail each day versus 157 emails and are 4 times more likely to read mail than email.

Try targeting residents that have recently moved into your area as they have a stronger likelihood of being in the market for a new provider. While you can accomplish this through your post office, you might also reach out to local apartment complexes and realtors about featuring a flyer for your practice in their welcome packets.

Targeting Businesses

If your practice only accepts insurance from a few payers that you’re “in network” for, targeting a patient’s place of business can be a great way of getting in front of other patients that use the same insurance. This can be as simple as mailing a gift basket to a patient’s place of employment after a difficult procedure or you can reach out to their department of human resources and ask about providing every employee with a hygiene pack.

Speaking at Schools

Your mileage on this idea will depend on how comfortable you are with public speaking, but elementary schools will often look for professionals within their community to speak to students about their jobs and hygiene best practices. This is a great way to raise awareness of your practice within the community and get the attention of parents looking for a dentist.

Providing Free Services

Events like Free Dentistry Day continue to draw a lot of regional media attention and offers a great way to get your name out in the community. Additionally, close to two-thirds of patients ages 18 to 34 are more likely to choose a business that gives to charity than one that doesn’t. 

Remember that what might work well for other practices might not work well for yours, balancing your efforts between traditional and digital methods will broaden your reach when marketing to patients. As you attempt new strategies for attracting patients, make a note of your successes so you focus more on the methods that are working for you.