What makes someone a good patient? A few characteristics come to mind. Good patients have an appreciation for what your dental practice offers, they listen to treatment recommendations, and then they become long-term patients.
There is one sure-fire way to obtain this kind of patient – referrals.
Consumer studies confirm that when patients are referred by a friend, family member, or coworker they tend to come into your practice filling all three of the above requirements. The Wharton School of Business found that the lifetime value of a referral is 16% greater than clients obtained through other means. And Nielsen found that people are four times more likely to buy when referred by a friend. Add to that the fact that Shareaholic found that in recent years social media referral traffic increased from 22.71% to 31.4%, and what do you get? A great opportunity.
Social media is the confluence of referral marketing and consumer decisions. This is why your practice’s presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is so important. Your social media pages extend your brand image to the public. Posts, updates and blogs help show your personality and build relationships with your current and potential patients. Most importantly, your pages encourage interactions including shares and recommendations.
When existing patients have a great experience they’ll likely tell friends and family. These days that happens on social media. Eighty Five percent of brand fans on Facebook recommend those brands (Syncapse). And 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of advertising (Nielsen).
So how do you take advantage of this movement in referral marketing? First and foremost you have to provide quality dental service. This seems like a no brainer, but service isn’t just in the treatments you offer or the quality you deliver. It’s in the personality of everyone on your staff – in the office, out of the office and while online.
Second, develop a sound social media plan and be sure you’re on the social media channels your current and potential clients are on. Keep your posts targeted at education, timely news, incentives, entertaining facts, office news and last but not least, patient testimonials. Finally, acknowledge and reward your existing patients when they give you a referral. You don’t have to make this bigger than it is. Try writing handwritten thank you notes. If you don’t think that is enough you can offer a small monetary reward. But t-shirts, mugs and other items work well too. As a matter of fact, the University of Chicago found that non-cash incentives are 24% more effective at boosting performance than cash.
With the sharp increase in referrals coming from social media, it’s evident where your practice needs to engage with the public. After all there are more than 3 billion active monthly users combined on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Don’t go looking for a miracle answer. Social media and referral marketing takes time to do well. If this seems like a daunting task or that your time would be better spend on other endeavors for your practice, a qualified Internet marketing company can help you build and implement a plan to meet your goals. Call Prosites today for a personal consultation at 888-932-3644.