How do I get new patients for my dental practice?
Dental practices often struggle with finding new patients, and many of them invest heavily in online marketing campaigns to generate leads. Dental lead generation is the process of attracting prospective patients to the dental practice or DSO. Practices can do this through a variety of digital marketing methods such as SEO (Search Engine Optimization), PPC (Pay Per Click) ads, social media campaigns, email marketing, and more. By using these tactics, they can reach potential patients that are interested in receiving services.
What is dental lead engagement software?
Generating leads is only half the battle, as converting those leads into patients requires prompt and effective follow-up. This is where lead engagement SMS software can make a significant difference.
Lead engagement SMS software is a powerful tool that automates the process of following up with potential patients who have filled out an online form. This software immediately sends a text message to the lead, thanking them for their interest and providing them with more information. The lead is then placed into a nurturing sequence, where they receive additional SMS messages that keep them engaged and informed about the practice.
Dental practices can customize the content of these texts to suit their needs. For example, they can provide information about the practice’s services, its team of dental professionals, or its location and hours of operation. The goal is to keep the lead engaged and interested in the practice. When they are ready to make a dental appointment, they will choose the practice that has been nurturing them with useful information.
Prospects expect a quick response
One of the biggest advantages of lead engagement SMS software is that it allows dental practices to follow up with leads immediately. In today’s fast-paced world, people expect quick responses to their inquiries. If the practice waits too long to respond, the lead may lose interest and look elsewhere. Consider that the prospect is likely researching other local dentists that offer the same services. By sending an immediate SMS message, the dental practice shows the lead that they are responsive and professional, which increases the likelihood of converting the lead into a patient.
Patient journey mapping
Dental practices that use digital marketing provide several paths for a prospect to become a patient. For example, many people search for a local dentist using the name of their town. When your website, social media site, or ad comes up in the search results, that’s their first touchpoint. Hopefully, they click on the link and fill out the form so they can continue on the “journey” to becoming a loyal patient. Using a structured method to design the lead/patient process is called patient journey mapping. It is a component of the larger marketing plan.
Lead engagement analytics
Analytics go hand-in-hand with patient journey mapping. Lead engagement SMS software makes it easy to track and analyze the effectiveness of digital marketing channels and messaging. Dental practices can monitor how many leads they are converting into patients, which messages are generating the most engagement, and which channels are most successful. Armed with this information, the practice can refine its messaging and improve its conversion rates over time.
Lead engagement software also helps retain existing patients
Once a lead has booked their first appointment, you can’t take your eye off the ball. Dental practices that don’t actively work to retain patients can lose them. In fact, if they have significant churn, their patient base can shrink or remain static even if they manage to consistently acquire new patients. Automated SMS lead engagement software is just as useful for patient retention as it is for acquiring new patients. The most profitable dental practices and DSOs use lead engagement software in the following ways:
- Automated appointment reminders. SMS lead engagement software can automatically send appointment reminders to online leads who have scheduled an appointment. This could help reduce no-shows and increase appointment attendance, ultimately leading to more new patients and fewer holes in the schedule. The most profitable dental practices are proactive about limiting cancellations.
- Follow-up messages after consultations. Once a lead has had a consultation with the dentist, the software can automatically send follow-up messages to check in on their progress and answer any additional questions they may have. This can help build a strong rapport with the lead and increase the likelihood that they will schedule the treatment discussed in the consultation.
- Promotions and special offers. Dental practices and DSOs can use lead engagement platforms to send promotions and special offers. This could include discounted rates or special deals on certain services. By offering incentives, the practice or DSO could increase patient lifetime value as well as loyalty.
- Feedback requests. After a new patient has visited the dental practice, the messaging software can be used to automatically send a feedback request. This can help the practice or DSO understand what they are doing well and where they need to improve, ultimately leading to higher patient satisfaction and increased likelihood of referrals.
Digital Dental Marketing: 4 Key Findings
- Most dental practices need to acquire 20-50 new patients per month to maintain the patient load and basic growth of their practice. (First Dentist)
- Elite practices (those that grew 20% in 2022) are three times more likely than their peers to use automation to streamline workflows. (NexHealth State of Dental 2023)
- Lead conversions by channel are as follows: referral 3.7%, organic search 3.2%, direct search 2.7%. (Cosmetic Dental Conversion Benchmark Report, Ruler Analytics)
- 92% of Elite practices actively use patient communication technology. Common applications of the technology are to digitize the booking process, converse with patients through SMS, and collect medical information via forms, reminders, recalls, and reviews. (NexHealth State of Dental 2023)
Increase the ROI of your digital ad spend with automated lead engagement software. By sending an immediate text message and placing the lead into a nurturing sequence, you can keep potential patients engaged and interested so they are more likely to book that first appointment. Once they become a new patient, the software can help them stay engaged. This results in more appointments, happier (and healthier) patients, and a more robust bottom line.
At TrueLark, our SMS dental lead engagement tools help practices across the country attract, nurture and convert new patients. If you’d like to discuss how it can help your practice or DSO, schedule a demo today.
TrueLark Customer Success stories
Excerpt: “With the TrueLark dashboard, The Smilist management can see all conversations and filter by practice, which provides real time oversight of every patient interaction and the call resolution rate throughout the organization”
West Davis Dental and Lovers Smile
Excerpt: “Since we implemented TrueLark, we have acquired around 88 new patients each month. This has generated $57,200 in additional monthly revenue. TrueLark can completely handle 75% to 80% of patient inquiries entirely on its own. In fact, it is so intelligent that patients think they are interacting with a person!” -Elisha Enoksen
The Pennsylvania Center for Dental Excellence
Excerpt: “From after-hours calls alone, over a one-month period, TrueLark booked 13 new patients that would generate at least $9,750 in additional production for the practice. TrueLark also booked 17 returning patients for checkups, cleanings and emergencies. Overall, more than 85% of booking requests were converted instantly into scheduled appointments by the AI. Of the 297 patients that interacted via TrueLark in one month, less than 30% needed further action or follow-up by the staff. This saved at least 50 hours of staff time during the month, allowing them to better serve patients that were at the location.”