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Do you wait for patients with a toothache to call you for an appointment?

It’s time to stop hoping the business will come to you.

No matter how busy you are, you need to constantly search for new patients. A steady stream of new dental patient referrals will keep your cash flow healthy and help your practice thrive.

There are several effective methods for reaching potential patients, so don’t limit yourself to just one. The more referral-generating techniques you can implement, the faster you’ll drum up new business.

Dig into this list for inspiration on dental patient referral techniques that really work.

1. Establish a referral rewards system.

People don’t always remember to recommend their dentist to someone. So it does help to remind your patients that they should spread the good word.

If you let your patients know that you have a referral rewards system in place, then they’ll be more motivated to tell their friends and relatives about you.

Ask new patients if they were referred to you by a current patient. Have a reliable system in place for documenting who referred who. Once someone has reached, say, three successful referrals, reward them with a gift card.

2. Partner up with other dental professionals.

Referrals between respected dental professionals should be two-way.

For example, if you’re a general dentist who refers out root canals to an endodontist, then talk with them about referring patients back to you for restorations.

3. Become a trusted authority on dental information.

Have you started a dental blog for your practice website?

By publishing the answers to common dental questions that people in your area are searching for, they’ll be more likely to schedule an appointment at your office. They’ll sense that they can trust your expertise and will want to see you to learn more.

Speaking of websites, make sure you’re listed on local healthcare and business directories so that patients will find your practice in an internet search.

4. Get involved in community activities.

Helping out with the occasional fundraising event will give your dental practice great exposure and put your community values on display. People will remember you as the dentist who gives back and will probably favor your practice over others.

5. Set up and maintain a fun social media page (or two).

A smart social media strategy will put your practice in the places where it’s going to get noticed and generate new patient leads.

A Facebook page for your dental office is a must given how much people rely on the platform for information. You can post:

  • Short videos that offer a preview of certain procedures
  • Impressive before-and-after photos
  • Links to informative articles
  • Notifications of special offers and events

Instagram is an excellent choice if you feature cosmetic procedures since the platform is designed to catch the eye with esthetic or trendy photos.

The other benefit of social media is that having a presence allows your patients to promote your services or share a positive experience with just the tap of a button.

6. Encourage patients to leave an online review.

Tell your patients that you value their feedback. Let them know they can post a review or rate your practice on Google or Yelp and ask permission to share their positive reviews on your website where prospective patients will notice them.

7. Send out reminder postcards.

This classic marketing technique can bring back some of those patients who stopped making appointments. Send out traditional hand-written postcards (they have that personal touch!) or an email that lets those patients know you haven’t forgotten about them.

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