NOTE: The following is an excerpt from TeleVox’s report, “Top Challenges for Dental and Orthodontic Practices: Results and Observations from the 2015 Practice Readiness Survey”, a survey of nearly 500 dental and orthodontics professionals and their common problems of practice management they anticipate to be most challenging in 2015. Download the full report
Thinking about attracting new patients to your practice, which of these common problems do you feel will be most challenging to your practice in 2015?
Here is how survey participants responded along with some additional thoughts on the top three ranked answers:
#1 – Lack of referrals from current patients or other doctors
As practices seek ways to drive more referrals from their current patients, a successful guiding principle has been to make it as easy as possible. Practices have experienced strong results from adding “Refer-A-Friend” or similar buttons to emails for patients and practice newsletters – a convenient way for patients to click and refer. Incentive-based referral programs have long been popular for generating new business, and practices should work to promote these programs through a variety of outlets, including the practice website, social media channels, patient email communications and in-office signage.
#2 – Obtaining more organic Google Reviews
Statistics show that 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and reading positive reviews shows potential patients the level of rapport the practice has built with those patients they currently serve. But the importance of online reviews also crosses over into website performance and search engine results. Best practices for obtaining reviews include coaching the staff on when to encourage patients to submit a review, including signage with catchy calls to action, adding links to review site on the practice website and email signatures, and printing small handouts or cards as a takeaway reminder for patients after their appointment.
#3 – Lack of web traffic from search engines
Generating new business from search engines is about making sure patients find the practice in an online search. After all, 15% of a website’s visits from search engines convert into new opportunities for the practice. The ranking in that search also matters, as 60% of all clicks go to the top three organic (non-paid) search results. Additional attention to search engine optimization (SEO) in initial setup of a practice website and on an ongoing basis can help practices solve this common challenge.
Additional challenges listed:
- Competing with other practices in the area.
- There is a general lack of desire in obtaining dental care.
- Having insufficient space in the schedule to see patients in a timely manner.
- Unsure of where to most effectively spend marketing dollars.