5 Ways to Help Your Practice Avoid Getting Stuck in a Slump

There's nothing more discouraging than realizing your practice is heading towards a slump. A few days without many new patients might not seem concerning, but when these days turn into weeks and the weeks into months, there's a problem. Luckily, SmileMakers has 5 tried-and-true methods to beat the slump and keep your practice fresh and inviting.

Dive into your social media and digital marketing
If you haven't spent any real time investing in online advertising, time to dust off the keyboard and get to work. 72% of Americans look for healthcare information online*, and that number keeps growing. Diversifying your online marketing strategies is more important for long-term success than ever.

5 Ways to Help Your Practice Avoid Getting Stuck in a Slump

There's no greater tool for connecting with your patients than Social Media. A strong social media presence allows you to engage with your community far beyond scheduled appointments. It keeps your practice in the spotlight and reminds current patients to get the treatment they need. But social media is also a very effective way to reach new patients, too. Boosting your posts can help reach new patients in your community, or even catch the eye of your patients' friends and families. If you're worried about your numbers flat lining, a fun, smart social media campaign can greatly increase the attention you're receiving from the community. It's the perfect way to reach out to new patients without being overbearing.

Social Media is not the only digital tool at your disposal. If you're looking to avoid a quiet month, Google Adwords and other Pay Per Click platforms can give your practice an extra boost. While these forms of advertising require a bit of know-how and additional funds to support the campaigns, they will generate calls that your front office can turn into appointments.

Engage with your community
While many people are turning to the internet when selecting their healthcare providers, nothing beats a face-to-face interaction. Building a strong reputation within your community may take time, but it's a worthy investment. The more people you meet in your community, the more recognizable you become. Hosting an event like an open house, or making a point to participate in community events and initiatives will increase your stature in the community. With every connection and conversation, you're building goodwill and trust. This creates a bond with your neighbors and builds a strong reputation for your practice. You can also use these interactions to your advantage by encouraging referrals through a rewards program or a new patient special. Incentives can be incredibly persuasive.

Change up your practice essentials
If you feel like your practice is just going through the motions, nothing beats the monotony quite like a change of pace. The next time your supplies are running low, try livening up the stock you buy. Cute pediatric dental accessories and memorable take-home dental kits are both wonderful opportunities to leave an impression with children. They can set you apart from the competition, and help generate positive buzz about your practice. It's free publicity for you, too. Children are always willing to show off the fun toy or sticker that they received from a dental appointment.

It's not just the children that will help promote the practice, either. Parents notice when you go the extra mile for their children. They're the ones who will leave a good review or suggest the practice to their friends.

Once you find that your new practice essentials and pediatric prizes are really making a difference, you can make the ordering process even easier by automating it. At SmileMakers, our AutoShip, easy reorder, and Quick Order features allow effortless reordering and shipping of your practice supplies with just a few quick mouse clicks. This saves both time and money when you're restocking, and allows you to focus more on your patients and their experience at your practice.

5 Ways to Help Your Practice Avoid Getting Stuck in a Slump

Start a fundraiser or raffle
People like sharing good causes and fun events. A raffle or fundraiser is a simple marketing tool that can kickstart a genuine connection with your local community. Not only are these initiatives easy to track online, they are inherently shareable for your current patients. Without paying extra for advertising, you can remind people about your practice and attract new patients. The prizes can be filled with all sorts of promotional giveaways and custom merchandise from your practice, along with the obvious sweet treats. Don't be afraid to throw a discounted treatment in there, too. With a successful fundraising campaign, you'll easily make it all back. The increased exposure will simply be the cherry on top.

5 Ways to Help Your Practice Avoid Getting Stuck in a Slump

Take a break!
This may seem counterintuitive at first, but it's easy to fall into a slump if you're low on energy. A well-earned vacation may be just what the doctor ordered. Taking your mind off your practice for a week or so is healthy for you, and will allow you to see it with fresh eyes when you return. This is also healthy for your staff, too. Giving the team that chance to recuperate will ensure that no one is burnt out or exhausted by the time summer is over.

Looking for more creative ways to re-energize your practice?
Sometimes it's the little things that can help brighten up an office. Simple changes like wall decals or exciting new capsule vending machines can add that extra element that patients will remember. They're great details to brag about on social media and can help create an unforgettable patient experience.

Sources:
*Fox, S. & Duggan. M. (2013). 'Health Online 2013.' Pew Research Center. [Accessed on 06/11/2018]
http://www.pewinternet.org/2013/01/15/health-online-2013/