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How to get more patients

In the past few months, we’ve talked about countless online marketing tactics you can use to improve your dental practice. We’ve covered everything from social media to education-based marketing.

But the one area we have left out — which is still extremely vital — is strategy. This is arguably as important, if not more, than understanding all the latest and greatest marketing tactics. If you don’t understand the psychology — meaning the emotional wants and desires — of your patients… how can you ever hope to truly give them a great experience? In other words, you need to understand what your patient’s really want, before you can give that to them.

But does it apply to your practice?

Now, most of you reading this article are probably thinking: “My patients want healthy teeth, or a good-looking smile, etc…” But that’s unfortunately missing the point. You need to look an entire level deeper into the marketing equation. For example, while you recognize that some of your patients want a beautiful smile, do you realize the implications that has? Or the underlying emotional desires that have led them to this desire?

In this case, the underlying emotional need might be respect, or admiration, or beauty. The top-level item is the “healthy smile” but the real desire is to be respected, admired, or thought of as beautiful. Now, the reason this is important for your marketing, is because this same mindset shift applies to your customer service, and the entire way you run the practice.

Optimizing For Patient Happiness

While your competitors are able to learn (nearly) all of the same modern online marketing tactics that you have access to… they can’t compete with a practice that has happy patients. You can write a better headline, and a more compelling advertisement, but you can’t mimic or steal a better company culture… or a more welcoming front-desk, or having a truly-caring doctor as your preferred dentist.

If you’re thinking this doesn’t apply to your practice, or your city, or your specific situation… think again. These ideas have real-world implications, you just can’t measure, test, see, or articulate them on a spreadsheet. When the rest of your competition is thinking about optimizing their practice for return on investment, the best counter-move you can make is optimizing for patient happiness. It doesn’t have instantly visible implications for your bottom-line, but that doesn’t mean it has no effect. In fact, I would argue it has one of the largest effects on the growth of your practice… you just don’t realize it.

Unfortunately, for the same reason that you cannot track these changes, there are no practical or directly actionable strategies that I can give you to accomplish this task. It all starts with being invested in the happiness of your patients, taking the time to really decipher what they desire (more than what they think or say they want) and giving exactly that. So the next time you are looking to improve your practice, and bring in more patients… ask yourself:“What can I do to improve the experience for each and every single one of my patients?”

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