5 tips for improving patient referrals

It’s no secret that word of mouth is the ultimate marketing tool for a dental practice. Even in today’s digital age, growing your business through referrals is a solid strategy.

Here are 5 tips to help keep referrals rolling in.

1.   Offer incentives

Generate new referrals by implementing a simple-to-follow program of incentives. For example, you can offer a reward to your existing patients when they send friends your way, such as a voucher for a dental cleaning.

2.   Send handwritten thank you notes

In today’s digital environment, a handwritten note is sure to stand out and be appreciated. It’s best that your thank you notes be personalized and executed in a timely manner. They should arrive while the reason for the note is still fresh in the mind of the recipient, sending them a clear message that their referral has been recognized and appreciated.

3.   Set specific referral targets

It’s hard to know how well your referral programs are working without a goal to measure against. Instead of making an arbitrary plan to improve referrals, decide exactly how many new patients you hope to attract via referral in the coming year and track your progress. A good rule of thumb is to have half your patients refer one new patient each year. Monitor your numbers quarterly to revise your strategy.

4.   Talk about unique or new services

As soon as you roll out a new service, display your advertising materials where they will engage your current patients. Ensure staff members are well-versed in these procedures and capable of explaining them to curious patients. Positively influence your existing patients to pass on that information to their friends and family, inspiring them to join your patient list.

5.   Don’t be shy!

Don’t be afraid to ask patients to refer their friends and family. Hang a sign in the waiting room that says, “We’re always looking for new patients!” or “The best compliment you can give us is a referral!” Train staff to ask, “Do you know of anyone who could benefit from our services?” when the opportunity arises. Use your website, social media platforms and e-newsletters to ask for referrals.