Building Your Dental Tribe

In this guest post, Grow Practice Grow CEO Sean Hamel walks us through how to tap into loyal dental patients and build a "dental tribe" by capturing their enthusiasm and turning them into evangelists for your practice.

Reviews and referrals will always be your most potent weapons in your practice marketing arsenal.

Consumers trust the experience of other consumers, especially if that recommendation is coming from someone they know.

According to a recent Nielsen report in which 28,000 respondents were polled, 83% say they trust recommendations from their family and friends over all other forms of advertising. Eighty-three percent, folks.

There are many steps to effectively marketing your practice, but what’s most important?

The experience of being your patient.

A great patient experience results in great relationships. Great relationships are how you effectively connect with your community and get your patient base referring your practice to everyone they know.

Your evangelists are out there and we’re going to get them talking!

In my last post, I explained the importance of authenticity and transparency in your marketing.

People want honesty. Focusing on building a tribe of loyal brand evangelists will provide more ROI than just about any other marketing expenditure.

As I always say, spend more time on your marketing, not more money.

Do You Have Brand Advocates or Brand Evangelists?

You want evangelists, not just advocates.

So, what’s the difference?

An advocate is someone who will recommend your practice if someone asks them. An evangelist promotes you without ever being asked.

Evangelists are walking advertisements, telling everyone how incredible you and your team are. How great the experience of being your patient is. Just how much you care. Exactly how much time you spent answering their questions.

How they will never go to another dentist ... ever!

How to Create Evangelists

Really examine the patient experience. I mean really dive in with your team and think about every aspect of what being your patient is like.

Every touch point. Every aspect of how your website looks, feels, and works. Is it responsive? Is your site ADA compliant?

How does your team sound when they answer the phone? What are they saying? Do they greet patients warmly? And is the team “killing them with kindness”?

What does recall look like? Are you keeping in touch and providing value outside of treatment?

Building your tribe starts with providing a solid brand that customers and your staff alike can rally around.


They have to believe in it.

They need to feel it.

The average patient remembers their experience and how they are treated. They are not going to praise your incredible clinical skill (the majority won’t anyway).

Understanding that, you can start to build your brand based on what makes you different.

Why should you be their choice as a dentist?

Not gimmicks or discounts.

Really imagine if a prospective patient sat down with you, face-to-face, and asked how you got where you are and why you should be their dentist. What would you say?

Strengthen Your Relationship with Patients

Stop thinking that being a patient ends the moment someone leaves their appointment. And that it only begins again once it's time for recall.

You need to delight and engage your patient during that six month hiatus (in a perfect world it’s only six months).Encourage them to like you on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and anywhere else you may have a social media presence.

This doesn’t mean they like your page and then you infrequently post every three months. Engage with them on social media regularly.

This is where relationships can be built!

You have the ability, like never before, to connect and engage with your customers 24/7. Use your social media accounts as the powerhouse marketing platforms they are!

Here are a few ways you can engage and build relationships on social media:

  • Customer surveys
  • Games & contests
  • Doctor or hygiene team Q&A or “get to know” videos
  • Personalized holiday and birthday messages
  • Pre and post-op instruction videos
  • Dental tips & tricks graphics
  • Online polls about a variety of topics
  • Patient activities and events

Valuing Loyal Dental Patients

At the end of the day, it’s all about connection.

It’s built in to our DNA that we all want to belong.

We are built for community.

Provide a tremendous service to a lot of people, then, get those people to connect and engage with each other.

As they connect with the shared, incredible experience of being your patient, the more trust you will gain.

The more people continue to have great experiences and the more trust your brand is able to gain, the more this thriving referral network will start to pay dividends.

Sean Hamel is the CEO of Grow Practice Grow, and recently launched a revolutionary new dental product called DentalVU. DentalVU takes the difficulty and expense out of quality video content by providing ideas, scripts and content generation, unlimited video editing, and storage through the BigVU App. Learn more here!

Learn more about how RevenueWell improves case acceptance and creates more close-knit relationships between dentists and their patients.