Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2017 11 Holiday 1

6 ways to fill your dental chairs before the New Year

Nov. 29, 2017
There are some fun and festive ways that you can encourage patients to visit your dental office before the end of the year. Have fun with the process and you'll see success.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! No, I’m not talking about the holidays. I’m talking about the annual combination of events that creates the perfect opportunity to bring new and returning patients into your dental practice.

What opportunity, you ask? I'm guessing your office could use some extra appointments, and everyone with dental insurance could use a reminder or two that their benefits expire in just a few short weeks. This the perfect marketing storm—there’s inherent urgency for your patients, and you’ve got room in your schedule for them.

Smart practice managers will leverage these two things for their benefit. If you’re looking for some guidance on how to do so, here are some ideas:

1. Embrace the holiday season

Make your patients feel like family and send out greeting cards from your office that thank them for their loyalty and wish them a happy holiday season. Make the greeting personal and warm, and consider including a nice picture of your entire team.

Include an office gift certificate redeemable before December 31 for overdue treatment. On the certificate, remind patients that their insurance benefits expire soon and that your schedule is filling up quickly.

2. Go bright

Put a twist on the traditional snail mail reminder and choose a bright color that can’t be missed even in the most crowded mailboxes. Neon colors such as blue or pink work well, or simply choose a bright color that won’t blend with holiday mail. Combine the bright envelope or postcard with a simple but powerful design that tells patients they need to use their dental benefits now or they’ll forfeit them. For any pieces targeted to new clients, make sure you also show off your lovely office space and practice personality.

3. Win on Facebook

Looking for a quick, easy, and relatively low-cost way to get new patients in the door? For most urban and suburban practices, running a Facebook campaign targeted to their service area fits the bill. According to Pew Research, a full 70% of the US population has a Facebook account, and 76% of them check it daily. This means that Facebook is an excellent avenue to remind your local target audience that their dental benefits expire soon and your practice has limited availability. Create a nice image and combine it with a call-to-action that allows patients to schedule an appointment with your office immediately, 24/7.

4. Speaking of social media . . .

There’s a whole world of local Facebook groups and social networks that connect your community. Explore all of your local options, but consider posting a reminder to all of the groups telling them that the end of the year is approaching, and they should make appointments with their dentists. Depending on the network or group rules, you may have to tread lightly and leave your message at that. Or, you might be able to invite people to book with your practice if they’re looking for a dentist. Either way, you’ll be doing the community a favor.

5. Local bulletin boards

Create a flyer that demands attention (think clean, bright, and bold), and coordinate with local businesses to hang it on their community bulletin boards or information centers. Some places to consider are local fitness centers, apartment complexes, libraries, park districts, and coffee shops. Consider printing a few oversized prints in addition to the traditional 8.5”x11” sheet to gain additional exposure in places that will allow you to hang a larger size.

6. Front page news(letter)

If you send out an e-newsletter to current clients, great! If you don’t send out a regular newsletter but have a list of your patient’s email addresses, this is the perfect time to start. Send out an entire email focused on how patients can make use of their benefits before they expire. If you can’t dedicate an entire email, include a bright, attention-grabbing section that reminds clients to book an appointment before their benefits expire. Be creative with your subject line. For bonus points and a higher conversion rate, embed a call-to-action button that directs them to your online scheduling widget.

No matter what your year-end marketing plans entail, ensure that patients have a clear path to schedule an appointment while they have the idea at the top of their mind. Even the most creative and engaging marketing won’t do any good if you fail to convert your target audience into patients.

If you’re interested in learning more about a real-time, online scheduling platform that works around the clock for your practice, reach out to LocalMed for more information.

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Mandy Fischer is the marketing coordinator at LocalMed. The LocalMed Connect platform helps grow dental practices by closing the loop on the marketing dentists are already doing through true real-time, online scheduling. If you have questions about how LocalMed can help grow your practice, reach out to Mandy at [email protected].