The Intake

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5 reasons your dental practice isn’t attracting new patients

Are you having trouble getting more dental patients? Your web presence may be to blame.

dentist and patient

Are you having trouble getting more dental patients? Your online presence may be to blame.

Perhaps you’ve worked hard to build a dental practice of which you’re proud, and you have a strong patient base. Although your current amount of patients may keep you mostly busy, it makes sense to want to fill all your appointment slots so your practice can fully thrive.

Here are reasons your dental practice may have issues attracting more patients, and what you can do to turn things around.

Why you’re having trouble securing more dental patients

Chances are, new patients are having a hard time finding your dental practice online or making an appointment. Here are a few common dental marketing issues that practices face when trying to get new patients and how to make positive changes.

Your dental website is not ranking high enough in searches

When conducting a Google search, 75% of people don’t scroll past the first page of results, according to Moz. If your dental website isn’t ranking well and appearing on that first page, new patients probably aren’t finding you.

In fact, 61% of marketers cite boosting search engine optimization (SEO) and improving organic presence as their top inbound marketing priority, according to HubSpot. The importance of having a robust dental marketing SEO strategy in place cannot be emphasized enough.

While good SEO is a marathon, not a sprint, you’re still trying to win a race. To build your SEO today and over time:

  • Make sure your website loads in less than 2 seconds (use a tool like PageSpeed to check)
  • Implement a mobile-friendly, responsive design so patients can find you on any device
  • Use design choices, like text size and contrast, and alt text on images and videos, to improve accessibility for patients and explain your content to search engines
  • Create individual pages for each service you offer
  • Add images, with alt text, of your office and providers 
  • Consider regularly publishing blog content to establish your dental practice as a local industry leader 

Your dental practice has a limited web presence

A beautiful, SEO-friendly, up-to-date dental website is important, but alone it’s not enough to attract new patients. Get in front of people by claiming your online directory dentist profiles and engaging on social media.

Claiming online directory profiles is also key because patients use these sites to research your dental practice. Start with your Google Business Profile listing. But don’t forget about Yelp, Healthgrades, and the dozens of other online business listings. At a minimum, make sure each profile has a consistent and accurate name, address, and phone number. Include a link to your website. You can also include high-quality professional photos of your providers and office; the services you offer; and a link to your online booking, among other information.

Approximately 308.3 million Americans use social media — nearly the entire US population — according to Statista. Social media for dentists is an important part of your dental marketing strategy because you can get more dental patients by connecting with them on platforms they already use.

To start building a strong social media presence for your dental practice, pick one or two platforms that play to your strengths. Then, post content that shows off your expertise and professionalism on a regular schedule. Engage not just with potential patients but with others in your industry and local community. Also, create a plan for responding directly and promptly to any negative patient reviews or interactions as they come up.

Your dental practice has few patient reviews

Of people who are looking for a new provider, 77% often or sometimes head online, and 93% of patients say reviews are at least somewhat important to their decisions.

93% of patients say reviews are at least somewhat important to their decisions. ”

If your dental practice doesn’t have many — or any — recent patient reviews, this is likely steering people away. Since reviews have become so prominent, people don’t want to schedule an appointment with a dentist they know nothing about.

Sending patient satisfaction surveys after each visit can help you gain valuable feedback and generate more reviews. Inviting satisfied patients to share their experiences will give new patients the information they need to feel comfortable making an appointment.

You haven’t enabled online scheduling

Picking up the phone to schedule a dental appointment is inconvenient for many modern-day patients. Finding the time to call a dentist during business hours and waiting on hold can be difficult to fit into a busy schedule. 

Consequently, it’s not surprising that 68% of patients say they would choose a provider who offers online scheduling. Therefore, to attract more dental patients, consider enable online scheduling.

Patients have to wait too long to be seen by a dentist

When new patients have a toothache or are long overdue for a cleaning, they want to see a dentist as soon as possible. Yet patients wait a mean of 24 days for an initial appointment, excluding emergencies, according to a survey by the American Dental Association.

Eliminate long wait times and increase the chances a prospect will become a patient by setting aside a few appointment spots for new patients who want to book in the near future.

While making this adjustment, take an honest look at your appointment times, as a lack of convenience could also be keeping new patients away. Patients want convenient appointment times when deciding on a new provider. Making a few small adjustments to your schedule, such as with earlier mornings or later evenings, might make a noticeable difference.

Market to new patients so they find your dental practice

Your dental practice offers outstanding care, so it’s time to stop new patients from missing out. Increasing your dental marketing efforts and making scheduling more convenient are relatively simple changes that offer big results.

If you’re willing to invest the time and resources needed for a dental marketing strategy that will put your practice out there, you’ll gain the competitive advantage needed to fill your waiting room with new patients.

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Written by

Karmin Gentili

Karmin Gentili has been a freelance writer and editor since 2016. She has over 25 years of experience in corporate HR and compliance consulting. She has worked to further elevate her skills by pursuing and receiving multiple certifications, including copywriting, video scriptwriting, effective content positioning, case study writing, and SEO. Her love of writing motivates her to use those skills to develop content for the medical field that ensures others can work toward achieving their goals.

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