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Chicago Midwinter Meeting: 5 Ways to Turn On the New Patient Faucet

It’s always possible to bring new patients into your dental practice. You just need to use the right marketing approach. That was the message of Michael Abernathy, D.D.S., during his continuing education session at the Chicago Midwinter Meeting last week. According to Abernathy, the key to successful marketing is to make sure that the proper practices are in place before you begin.
Darcy Lewis
PUBLISHED: Monday, February 27, 2017

4. Reach Out to New Residents.
When people move to your area, that’s a prime time to add them to your practice. Abernathy suggests contacting a mailing list broker.
“Ask for new residents in a 3-5 mile radius from your office,” he said. “Choose an appropriate income level for the demographic area and then send them your best new patient offers.”
5. Engage in Meaningful Community Outreach.
Abernathy and his colleagues have long prioritized public outreach to children at schools and other organized settings. He shared a flyer that goes to parents of each participating child.
It reads, “Your child had a terrific time today. There were films, balloons, toothbrushes, a dental poster contest and brushing instructions. As a public service, your child was also given a free dental exam. Areas marked in red (on the accompanying diagram) on permanent and baby teeth require attention. Please call your dentist at your earliest convenience. Provided as a public service by (insert practice name).”
The practice also had a huge success by offering a free dentistry day. They took out a newspaper ad that read, in part, “We will be donating our services to anyone who cannot afford dentistry. … We consider this a mission project; no money will be accepted. … If you or anyone you know needs dental treatment that can be completed in one day, please be at our office on (date, time).”
As a result, 200 people lined up to receive care, and the local paper wrote an article and sent out a photographer to capture the event.
But as noteworthy as these organized events are, Abernathy said there is no substitute for true community participation: “It’s important to shop and dine near your office so that people see you as part of the community.”
He also suggests cultivating relationships with local pharmacies, urgent care centers and hair and nail salons so that they will allow you to display promotional materials on site.
Above all, be consistent in your marketing approach and efforts. “Practice growth is the natural result of practice health,” he said. “Growth occurs when our message and our methods are balanced.”

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