Dentistry has been a very popular career choice for young people over the past century. Unfortunately, dental education is still not geared to meet the business needs of today’s busy dental professionals.
The main challenge of dentistry in 2021 is not about the science of dentistry or the technology available to optimize oral health, which has never been more sophisticated, but about how to set up a successful dental practice.
The Dilemma of Modern Dentistry
Dentistry is a highly skilled profession requiring years of training and education. The average dentist in the US spends approximately $60,000-$70,000 per year to maintain their dental practice. In addition, most dentists in the US are self-employed and have no access to healthcare benefits or retirement plans. So unless their practice flourishes, they will experience both financial and personal hardships.
Unfortunately, while dentistry uses the best science and leading-edge technology and the use of proven scientific techniques to offer patients the best quality of dentistry, one of the biggest challenges for dentist practitioners is how to leverage the power of digital communication, advertising, and marketing to build their practice.
Why New Dentists Struggle to Find Patients
Although every single person needs a dentist, it’s hard for a new dentist to attract new patients. There are multiple reasons for this. One might be because these people don’t know what they need or they might have been dissuaded by the cost of dentistry services. Another might also be because of the lack of awareness on how to maintain one’s teeth properly and prevent dental problems from occurring in the first place.
However, the biggest reason a new dentist struggles to find patients is that the modern world has become more impersonal, less community-oriented. Back in the day, people would find a dentist in their hometown. Nowadays, it’s hard to attract new patients because of the influx of hundreds of new businesses in small towns and thousands in large cities. Consequently, many small and independent dental practices are not as noticeable as they used to be.
Still, yet another reason highly qualified dentists with state-of-the-art clinics struggle to find patients is the increase in digitalization; dentists are finding it harder to attract new patients as these days people are more likely to look for dental services online.
Creating an Effective Marketing Strategy
Every dentist needs a strong marketing strategy in order to succeed in their field. A marketing strategy needs to be well-planned, with all tactics well documented so that they can be easily implemented as needed by the business owner.
As a dentist, you will need to develop a cost-effective way to advertise and connect with potential patients. This involves not only the professional side of things but also the customer side. Whether it is an incoming patient or an existing customer, marketing creates a welcoming environment that will make them want to stick around.
Some general marketing techniques for your dental office include creating an online presence through a website, boosting your brand image through social media and advertising, and personalizing your services to reflect on your target audience’s specific needs
Here are some more specific marketing techniques for dental offices to increase revenue, build brand identity, and attract new patients.
1. Advertising: Dental offices can advertise with companies that provide dental marketing services. These companies have the resources to design and implement effective campaigns.
2. Public relations: Dental offices can engage in public relations activities such as developing relationships with local media outlets and taking part in community events so that their clients can share the office’s message with a wider audience.
3. Social media: Dental offices can use social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to create awareness about their services and gain new leads for their practice through online advertising.
While these are all excellent, one overlooked but highly effective method is the use of directories for healthcare.
A Quick Overview of Healthcare Directories
An online directory is a website where users can search for local businesses by category. The difference between an online directory and a yellow page is that the latter only lists business listings, while an online directory allows users to search by keyword as well as geographical location.
There are two qualities that make directories more appealing than other websites for advertising your business. First, they have a large traffic base; and second, consumers trust them, preferring over paid or organic search results. Consequently, people looking for specific services like dental offices close to where they live will be able to find you easily through these directories.
Some directories charge a fee to get listed or featured on their directory while others are completely free.
For instance, two free directories are HealthGrades and Vitals.
HealthGrades helps users find doctors in their area who meet their needs, through what they call “personalized search.” This means users can filter the results by location, specialty, experience level, or insurance requirements. Meanwhile, Vitals allows users to make appointments with doctors and hospitals. It’s easy to use, helpful, and completely free. Users can get an instant online consultation with a doctor or nurse who will view the patient’s information, diagnose any health issues, and provide treatment recommendations based on their findings.
By comparison, Zdoctor.com and ZocDoc charge consumers for doctor’s visits and prescriptions, but they are not the only ones in the industry who do so. Other companies like HealthGrove also charge for services that consumers can avail of in a subscription model.
Online healthcare providers have grown because of the rise of digitalization and the increasing demand for convenience. This has made it easier than ever for consumers to access healthcare without having to drive across town or wait hours in a clinic.
Unique Benefits of Advertising in Dental Directories
While Healthcare directories are one option, a better alternative is to use directories specific to dentistry alone.
denTEL, for example, is a platform that is specifically designed for dental professionals. It provides them with the online resources to be successful and profitable.
It offers consumers some unique advantages:
* It is a dental platform where users can find dentists, make appointments, and track their insurance coverage. It is an exclusive platform designed for convenience and security.
* It connects patients with dentists in their area who have been endorsed by trusted sources such as the ADA, the American Dental Association, or the National Dental Association.
* It provides details on each dentist’s professional profile including annual income, specialties, office hours, and more. Dentists can also create a profile on denTEL to be found by patients in search of care within a specific area.
It also provides dentists some unique advantages:
* It is a free platform that helps dentists build a profile, share case studies, make special offers, or describe their professional specialties with their target audience.
* In the future, you are likely to see even more features to make your dental practice more profitable. As soon as the new features roll out, patients will be able to receive treatment quote requests, virtual consultations, insurance coverage on treatment plans, and patient financing pre-approvals. These features will help patients more conveniently and easily connect with their doctors while also giving them more power in their treatment.
Getting listed on denTEL is beneficial for your business because it will attract a targeted clientele that is looking for the dental services you offer. People seeking a dentist in their local area to see your profile.
Building a Steady Patient Base
Creating a steady base of regular patients will help your practice in many ways. Not just because it will be easier for you to maintain patient loyalty, but also because it will allow you to have more time for yourself and your family.
There are many different ways to build a steady patient base and get new patients, but to be successful, it is important for you to stay in touch with the latest marketing trends and what the market needs.
Setting up an automated marketing plan will help you overcome one of the main challenges for dentist practitioners. Once it’s done, you can now focus on the quality of your work, catering specifically to the needs of each individual patient, develop staff training to better manage your appointments, and offer dental services that will increase patient loyalty, referrals, and retention rates.