How to grow your orthodontic practice
There will always be difficulties when expanding an orthodontics practice, but if you’re willing to learn from others’ experiences, it will be easier to manage.
The motivations that influence how practices operate tend to vary from owner to owner. Some may prioritize efficiency, while others may prioritize quality. Others may prioritize balance and quality of life for their team over revenue or efficiency. Not every practice owner is focused primarily on growing their practice in size, but being growth-oriented is still important.
So where should you start?
Organic Search Presence (SEO)
Are you only using word-of-mouth marketing to tell others about your orthodontic practice? While this can be powerful, it shouldn’t be your only marketing method. Orthodontic marketing is all about attention to detail and authentic engagement.
In today’s digital age, you have a ton of resources right at your fingertips, so use them. Start with your orthodontic website, and update the content to include a page specifically for orthodontics. Be sure to curate content specifically for each of your unique services. Google wants you to be detailed and engaging.
Make sure current and prospective patients know what to expect from your services by describing them and addressing FAQs. Post reviews and testimonials to give others a better idea of what you offer.
Once your content is ready, you can start optimizing your online presence for better search engine results. Use keywords, phrases, and images in your website, blogs, and social media content to target your ideal audience. Google will reward you with higher search engine results if the information you provide is relevant and helpful. Orthodontic SEO is a crucial part of a modern orthodontic practice’s marketing strategy.
A recent study has shown that orthodontists who use social media and have a practice website are more likely to get new patients. The study also showed that orthodontists should post information or run social ads in the evening, when patients and their parents are more likely to be using social media.
Utilize social media to its fullest capabilities by posting at appropriate times. Keep in mind that content is king, and that posts with authentic content that emotionally connect with your audience are more likely to be successful. Provide value to your audience, but be careful of over-posting. Monitor where new patients are coming from, as this can help you tailor your social media posts.
Patients are increasingly using the internet to research doctors and dentists, with 74.6% of patients looking online for information on medical care, according to PatientPop. Furthermore, 59% say that online reviews influence their decision on which provider to choose.
It’s not enough to just have patient reviews – they need to be good. Nearly half of consumers (47%) won’t use a business that has less than 4 stars, according to BrightLocal.
Reviews are important for local search rankings. If you don’t have enough reviews, or if your reviews are not frequent enough, or if you’re not reviewed on multiple sites, you’re not giving Google the information it needs to rank your practice higher. This means that without reviews, your practice will have trouble attracting new patients.
Use Online Scheduling Tools
No-show and cancellation rates are extremely important, as they are the primary drivers for your collections. Part of patient education is teaching patients to keep track of appointments. In a 2013 study, 27.8% of respondents said they relied on memory, and 40% of respondents said forgetting was the reason for missed appointments in the past.
As part of your treatment plan delivery, your staff should ask patients about what scheduling reminders work well for them. This could be intrinsically tied to a patient’s lack of understanding about the treatment they are receiving, or why that treatment and showing up to their appointment is important.
If you are experiencing poor attendance and cancellations, you may want to reassess your scheduling tools. Do you use an online scheduler? How about a text reminder service? Identifying where the problems are with scheduling can help improve your operational and treatment efficiency, both of which are important for your bottom line.
It is important to use social media, but it is not a substitute for getting to know your patients in person. Do everything you can to become part of your community. Attend local events. Get to know other business owners. Consider joining groups like the local Chamber of Commerce. This will make you more recognizable and people will see you as a good guy instead of just another orthodontist.
To reach more people in your community, plan a special day just for them! Offer free consultations, screenings, and a Q&A session, as well as family games. You can’t grow your local presence unless you’re actively involved, so this is a great way to make an impact.
Grow your orthodontic practice one step at a time.
You can’t grow a successful orthodontic practice overnight, but there are steps you can take to scale your growth strategically. The tips above can help you reach more people, grow your knowledge, and establish your team as community leaders.
Focus on your digital marketing efforts first. It’s easy to blend in with your competition by mistake. Be intentional and build a simple and solid website. Most marketing campaigns point back to your website so ensure it showcases you and your staff appropriately. Modern consumers see right through stock photography and uninformative content.
Choose the right partnerships. You can outsource your digital marketing efforts to a reliable agency resource. But, don’t think that removes all marketing from your dental practice. It’s important to own your local presence, doctor referrals, and relationships with your patients/parents.