Where Do Patients Come From?
Finally, you’re ready to open. You found the perfect location, received financing, bought equipment and completed all the other steps that you might not have thought about at first. But what happens when you open the doors? Do people just start coming in? Where do patients come from? There are generally two ways that you have the chance to win the business of a patient. Either they come to you or you go to them. Most successful practices utilize a mix of the two approaches. The first way that patients might find you is that you accept their insurance policy. As long as the overhead involved in accepting policies is not becoming a burden which outweighs the benefits, increasing the size of the pool from which you draw patients is almost always a good idea. Patients may also find you because you are in a visible location. Highly trafficked roads and sites next to places of note like grocery stores and local landmarks increase the odds that passersby know about your practice. But as mentioned above, most practices (particularly new ones) don’t just wait for patients to come to them. Traditionally, marketing strategies have been limited to direct mail and in some cases advertisements like billboards which rely on capturing a low percentage of a large number of people. Today the digital age has changed how an increasing number of people find their doctor - or any business for that matter. These days, when you’re looking for a new restaurant you will probably go to Google or Yelp and search your area for a type of food. Without even realizing it, you’ll miss all the restaurants that don’t have an online presence. Next you’ll move right past those with bad reviews and look for the good ones. Much like a smile is somebody’s first impression of you, your website and online reviews are their first impression of your dental practice. Of course if you don’t have anything, you’ll be difficult to find. So what can you do? First, any practice opening today should have a website with a modern appearance. This step alone will usually lead to your inclusion in Google results. In addition, some practices utilize Google Adwords in order to appear near the top of results. You should also monitor your practice’s online reviews. If you don’t have the expertise or time, digital marketing companies can typically help with everything from logo and web design to reputation management. Whether or not you decide to outsource this work or do it yourself it’s vital that that the world knows about your practice and has a positive impression of your work.