How can a group dental practice ensure that each practice performs well against the competition in each market? The goal may be the same across the board—to keep patient volume high and healthy—but different locations will have different needs to fulfill that goal.
Here are a few DSO marketing best practices to reach new and returning patients and keep your appointment books hot all year round across locations.
1. Light it up: Understand the digital journey your potential patients travel through and how your practices are represented in this journey
Everyone relies on the internet when hunting for health or medical information. According to the latest figures available on Google Trends, the popularity of the search term “dentist near me” has been on the rise since December 2020 across all 50 states. Other recent popular searches related to dentists include:
- “Dentist near me that takes Medicaid” – up by 300%
- “Best dentist near me” – up by 140%
- Emergency dental near me – up by 90%
Making it easy for patients to find you and schedule an appointment sets the tone for the overall patient experience. Can any of your group’s multiple locations and primary services be found in under 10 seconds? Are your dental offices listed on Google Maps and relevant directories like American Dental Association (ADA), Dentist Directory, and Dentists.com
And now that more and more consumers are using voice assistants, such as Alexa and Siri, SEO strategies need to cater to them. According to PWC, up to 71% of consumers prefer using a voice assistant to search online rather than physically typing a query into a search engine. Google backs this up, citing that 20% of web searches are voice searches.
To get ahead of this trend, build your SEO strategy around how people talk and ask questions. They tend to ask conversational “who, why, what, and where” questions (“Where is the highest rated dentist in East Beverly?”) vs. typing “top dentist in East Beverly.” The simplest way to do this and increase your ranking in search engine results pages is by building Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) pages that focus on these long-tail queries.
2. Fan the flames: Put your patient database to work and launch data-driven, targeted campaigns
Your practices are collecting a lot of patient data, but are you putting it to good use? Leverage your patient database to tailor your communication according to your patient’s location, treatment history, demographics and other specifics you want. Your patients are more likely to engage with your practices if the outreach was relevant and personal.
With segmentation, you can:
- Create hyper-targeted messaging based on insurance codes, charts, and more
- Drive new appointments based on procedure or service
- Target patients with pre-med requirements to ensure they are prepared for pre-appointment needs and requirements
- Automate your recall and reactivation campaigns
- Follow up on treatments or appointment cancellations
Segmentation makes it possible to launch a successful group-wide campaign. A good example is Familia Dental’s Memorial Day drip campaign for 33 of the group’s 42 practices. Targeting patients who hadn’t scheduled an appointment in the last 12 months, the group generated $100,000 in revenue off that single campaign.
3. Turn up the heat: Fill gaps in your schedule with an ASAP list
Missed appointments, last-minute cancellations, and no-shows are just part and parcel of a dental practice, but in the event any of these occur, you should have an ASAP list handy to accommodate the patients who’ve requested to be seen as soon as possible.
An ASAP list comprises patients who have appointments on the book but are keen to get in sooner. You can easily contact them via email or text message to let them know a slot has opened. Many practice management systems have this feature, so you’re losing out if you’re not already taking advantage of it. For Eaglesoft users, this list includes anyone with a future scheduled appointment where the appointment has a box ticked for “sooner if possible”. For Dentrix users, this includes any patients who are on the “ASAP List”.
RevenueWell allows you to quickly pull these patients from your PMS and send a quick phone call or text message with just a few clicks.
4. Blaze a trail: Solicit reviews from your happy patients by emailing or texting them
Word-of-mouth remains the strongest marketing tool for dental practices and should always be part of the overall strategy. Online reviews are a credible, convenient way for your patients to recommend your practices. Think about it—we don’t buy so much as a cheeseburger anymore without reading reviews, so what more when it comes to choosing a dentist?
As a DSO, managing multiple locations means managing several review platforms for each location. Google My Business, Facebook, and Yelp are the main channels for online reviews. Make sure all your properties on Google My Business have been claimed and enhanced with accurate business details. We also recommend that each office location has its own Facebook page.
Healthgrades is another great platform, but unlike the others, it focuses on the doctors and not the practice.
You can keep a steady stream of online patient reviews by doing the following:
- Establish a standard operating procedure for staff to request positive reviews, especially when you know the patient is happy. Send an email inviting them to submit a review.
- Make it easy for patients to review with links on your website
- Put a process in place to respond to positive and negative reviews. Thank your patients for their thoughts and publicly rectify any poor experience that is shared. Patients with negative reviews might be inspired to change the complaint to praise.
One of the best ways to increase reviews, and establish consistency and repeatability around review collection is through automation.
Once you’ve locked down a solid cadence for collecting reviews, the next step is to manage those reviews. The worst isn’t a bad review—it’s a bad review that you don’t respond to in a timely manner. Staying on top of all reviews across your practices can be a full-time job in itself. Learn more about how RevenueWell can automate review monitoring and collection so you can focus on the big picture while maintaining an A+ online rep.
5. Hot stuff: Texting remains the most efficient way to engage with patients
Where emails may not be effective, you can count on text messages to get through to your patients. Most patients are used to receiving text messages from businesses and usually prefer it.
Your patients are busy people with a lot going on. Receiving quick texts with information that can help them tackle their to-do lists is the key to keeping them happy.
Imagine sending your patient a quick text when you get a cancellation: “We have an opening for next Wednesday, can you make it?”
They’ll quickly check their calendar, respond, and get on with their day. That’s a win for them and you.
Hot Wings, Hotter Schedules: Keep Your DSO’s Appointment Books Full in 2021
Looking for more hot tips? Catch our free on-demand webinar featuring RevenueWell’s DSO marketing experts Sam Aponte and Melissa Petrucci serving up the hottest marketing playbooks for DSOs with a side of yummy hot wings. We’ll reveal sizzling smart moves to consistently keep your dental chairs full.