- 3 Minute Read -

How many times have you made a decision based on a friend’s or family member’s opinion or experience rather than relying on a Google search? Our guess is probably quite a bit. The suggestions, or referrals, we get from trusted sources carry more weight than what a stranger may recommend. The same idea applies to patients. If they feel like they already know you because a friend, family member, or colleague is a champion for your practice, it’s a lot easier to bring them on and retain them. 

Still, the question remains — how do you find these advocates and get those new patient referrals? If you sit back hoping your current patients are broadcasting your awesomeness from the rooftops, you might be waiting awhile. Instead, we invite you to explore five ways to increase referrals. 

1. You never know unless you ask…

If this headline makes you squirm in discomfort, never fear. While directly asking your best patients to spread the good word won’t make you morph into a cloud of embarrassment, it might not be for you. (Just so we’re clear, there is no shame in asking if you’re comfortable.) A simple sign in your office can make all the difference. It can say something like, “We are accepting new referrals,” or “Please feel free to refer your friends and family to us.” It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece of written work. Just get the word out there.

2. Do you have a website? What shape is it in?

We’ll go out on a limb and assume you have a website for your practice, but if not, get one now. If you do, what kind of content are you pushing to the site? Do you have a strategy for keeping that content up to date, informative, and/or relevant? Blogs are a great way to converse with your audience, and it gives them a peek into your practice and you. 

When you continually post great content, your audience will subscribe and often share your materials on social sites — giving you even more exposure and increasing your chances of attracting new patients. If you’re not sure where to start with your website strategy, we might know someone who can help…

3. Get ready to mingle

Hosting an event at your practice is a great way to introduce your business to the community and hook new patients. You can hold a patient appreciation day with refreshments and swag giveaways, or hold an open house — keep the refreshments flowing and the swag well stocked. If you want to impart some wisdom, you can offer a seminar on a topic you specialize in and folks would be interested in learning about. Get creative and get mingling!

4. Build your brand and do some good      

It’s worth considering cross-promoting with a nonprofit organization on a fundraiser. You’ll discover a great source of referrals and build your brand as a trusted and dependable member of the community. If your state laws allow, you could offer nonprofit members a special exam rate, or donate a percentage of proceeds from new referrals to the nonprofit. Yes, you’ll take a small upfront hit, but you’re building tremendous goodwill that will pay it forward. 

5. It’s never too late to learn a little something about email marketing

Email marketing to existing patients is an inexpensive way to keep them engaged. A short newsletter to let them know what you’re up to and that your practice is accepting referrals can make a difference. The best part is, there are a number of email service providers that provide free accounts (up to a certain number of subscribers) so you can test it out without spending a dime. Have fun with this one, recruit someone in the office who enjoys doing these, or if you know a good writer in the family, enlist them.

Building your referral base takes some effort, but word-of-mouth is still a very effective way to attract new patients. Opening your office to the community and partnering for a good cause shows that you’re committed to providing a vital service, one people won’t soon forget. 

If you want a partner in boosting your practice’s brand, we’d love to chat. Schedule your Practice Growth Call and see what’s possible. 

Like this blog? Here are other recommended readings:

How Dentists Can Attract New Dental Patients That Are Better

THIS Is Why You Should Ditch Your Grumpy, High-Maintenance, Flaky Patients


Written by Smartbox

SmartBox employs the best minds in dentistry to help you grow your practice. Our Practice Growth System™ is proven to help dentists in every market area across the country achieve predictable year-over-year growth.

Be The First To Comment