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Do Your Patients Remember You? A Marketing Measuring Stick for Dentists

By Kathleen Gage


Although front end systems such as advertising, public relations, press releases, direct mail, sales letters and promotional items are important in your marketing, equally important are what you and your staff do after you see a patient. Many dentists will invest incredible amounts of money in campaigns to gain new customers, yet have no system to build and maintain the customers they were so eager to attract in the first place. Having a system in place to keep your name in front of existing and potential patients is a very important part of a great marketing campaign. Additionally, having programs in place that make it easy for people to do business with you is essential to the health of your revenue stream.


A successful practice depends on repeat business; you absolutely must have a good patient retention system in place in order to thrive in today’s competitive environment. This is the primary area where practices fail to succeed at the level they are capable of. The thinking with countless dentists and their staff is, "If they want our services, they know where to find us." While a potential patient is looking for you, your competition may find them first!    


As an example, a practice could easily increase revenues by having a reminder system in place to notify the patient when their cleaning is due. They may also consider using a punch card that gives the patient a complimentary service after a predetermined amount of visits have been made. If patients feel you care about them they are more likely to remain loyal.

What would your profit margin be if you were able to turn the occasional patient into a loyal patient? Patients who are loyal are more likely to refer you to their friends and associates.


Moving patients from being a one or two visitor to trusting you to guide them through the process of what is best for their dental care can increase your bottom line tremendously. With a bit of vision and creativity, one basic service can open several opportunities. Most dental practices can take their basic service and expand into other offerings. Think about your current offerings. Are there other products and services you could develop that are consistent with your market and your practice vision?


This is where you can create an incredible backend list of possibilities. Once you think about other offerings, what are some new avenues you could open?  Is it possible to partner with other companies where you could offer each other’s products and services?


Here are some possibilities:


-One successful dentist offers oil changes while his patients get treatment.

-When a patient gets a smile makeover what about giving them a complimentary day spa visit?

-Partnering with an image consultant can result in untold hidden revenues.


As you develop your marketing campaign, include methods for keeping in touch, developing a list of companies you can partner with and increasing strategies for gaining and maintaining top-of-the-mind awareness for your patients.


Marketing is about timing. Just because you contact a patient today does not mean they are ready to use your services today. However, if you keep in regular contact with them, when they are ready to have dental work done, there is a good chance you will be the one they call. When keeping in touch with them, offer them something of value such as an information piece on how to care for their teeth. You might consider giving them a refrigerator magnet with all local emergency numbers. Of course, your name and contact information needs to be on the magnet.


Today’s patients are busy. New choices are thrown at them every day. Keep your name on the top of their mind by consistently reminding them of their great experiences with your practice. Great marketing systems will help you gain and retain patients for years to come.



This Business article was written by Kathleen Gage on 8/24/2006

Kathleen Gage is a business advisor who works within the dental industry. Join Kathleen Gage for a FREE dental marketing teleconference on September 6th by visiting