When I first started my dental practice in Los Angeles, California, I knew I had a lot to learn. I had finally fulfilled my goal of founding my own business and could not wait to get started – but it was difficult to know where to start.
As a dentist, I felt I didn’t have significant experience running and managing a company; I didn’t know how to generate clients and create a steady stream of high quality leads for my practice.
At first, I hired business coaches and tried several new techniques, going through everything from hiring staff to using marketing tips and patient retention tricks, but I felt like I never really knew where my money was going.
10 years later, I’m running LA Dental Clinic, which is now a 6 figure business. I certainly could not have done this alone and I thrive with the help of my sister and an incredible team. But everyone starts somewhere and it’s very important to take small steps towards success that will pay off in the long run.
I made many mistakes but have certainly learned from them over time. In this article, I want to share the 6 tips that worked for me when I was first starting out. I think these are the best ways to generate interested clients and keep them involved and coming back.
Choose the Right Staff
When I first started, I had no experience hiring staff. I was facing team building problems and had a high turnover rate. I found that it’s so important to have the right team in place, and I sought out to learn all that I could about hiring and managing qualified individuals.
Your team makes the first impressions on your clients. If someone has a bad experience with one of your staff members, it directly reflects on you and your practice. The right staff create a positive experience that makes patients want to come back. They connect with them and make them feel comfortable and at ease.
I found the best way to ensure my staff and I were all on the same page was to implement frequent meetings and check-ins. Having both group meetings as well as individual discussions were the best ways to ensure transparent communication. We could freely discuss what was working and where improvements could be made. When your staff feels heard, they feel more at ease and valued, and they perform better as a result.
Stay in Control
I initially hired a marketing agency to generate leads and direct them to my practice. I had never worked with an agency before and I was keen to try it out. I was far too busy managing my practice to attempt my own marketing, so I felt that working with an agency was the best fit for me.
However, after a few months, I noticed a few trends. There was very little transparency and I felt that I never knew where my monthly marketing budget was going. I was seeing an increase in leads, but they were not my ideal customers. Most clients were looking for deals and thought that they could get a discount at my clinic. They came for one time treatments and I could never retain them. I felt that there was a lack of communication between me and the agency because I was not getting the loyal, repeat clientele that I needed to continue my practice. I had to take control because I felt like I was not getting the return I needed for the price I was paying.
After these negative experiences, I eventually was able to find a new marketing agency that understood my needs. I had learned from the past agencies and this time I was able to share an in-depth description of the types of clients I wanted to see in my clinic. My agency took the time to understand my needs and they shared detailed progress reports with me to ensure we were all on the right track.
The key to marketing your clinic is to know what you want and be able to effectively communicate that with your marketing agency. Stay in control and keep on top of the monthly reports that they send. Ask questions where needed. Remember, you are the boss.
Target the Right Clients
Initially, when I first opened my clinic, my goal was to get as many new clients in the door as possible. But I soon learned that I needed to target the right clients for my business. Many of the clients that I got were looking for one time treatments, or deals on dental care. In contrast, I was looking for repeat, loyal clients who needed a good family dentist.
I communicated with my marketing team and together we were able to determine the type of clients that best suited the clinic. They then created content and ads which specifically targeted repeat clients and families and my client base improved greatly as a result. If you aren’t getting the right clients, take a step back and re-work your advertising goals to target the right people for your clinic.
Look the Part
Especially now, during COVID, having a safe and hygienic practice is very appealing to patients. First impressions are everything and it is essential that you and your clinic presents a clean and welcoming atmosphere both in person and online. Keep your clinic looking fresh, clean and update any signage if it’s starting to age.
Likewise, your digital presence is equally, if not more important for first impressions. Your website is your digital storefront and it’s vital to keep it up to date, with a modern and mobile responsive design.
Follow-Up With Clients
Repeat clients save you so much in the long run. They are reliable and they trust you with their oral health. You also save on your marketing budget, as there is less need to attract new patients when you have a steady stream of existing clients and referrals. There are several ways to retain your clients and these are the key factors I found to work best for my clinic.
When a client visits our clinic for the first time, we get them registered with our reception. They share their email, birth date, and insurance information. One of the best ways to keep these clients in the loop is through email marketing. Create a mailing list where you share your promotions, rebates, updates and new services that you offer. You can also be even more personal and send clients email reminders of when their next upcoming appointment is scheduled.
You can also follow up with clients after an appointment to ask for reviews and referrals. Encouraging online reviews are an excellent way to boost your reputation as well.
Get Support When You Need It
Running and managing your own dental clinic can be difficult, and I know first hand how overwhelming it may seem at first. I had an excellent team and lots of support from the people around me and I want to share the same experience with you.
That is why I created EPIC: Empower Practice Inner Circle. This group is meant to share support and guidance for women who own and operate private dental practices in Los Angeles, CA. With EPIC, you have the freedom to ask questions and get advice from people who have faced the same problems as you. It’s a chance to get honest opinions of your work and gain perspective with the help of other women who have shared the same experiences.
We offer consistent meetings, business coaching, group support and teamwork so you have plenty of resources to utilize. Boost your clinic’s bottom line and take the guesswork out of success with EPIC. Join our official Facebook group to learn more – we can’t wait to meet you!