December is the last month of your final quarter for 2021 – What are your marketing plans for December?
The ideas that I am sharing for the month of December WILL help you attract more new patients, build relationships within the community, as well as exceed your current patients’ expectations. Get people talking about you! As always, my goal is to also help you all stress-less and have more fun at work!
Dental Marketing (Growth) Tips and Ideas for December 2021
(Note: If there are other months or topics you would like to find ideas for simply put the keyword into the “search” bar to the right of this page or if you’re reading this on your phone it will be at the end of this page. )
Community Involvement: Donations – Open your office as a Drop-Off Location for donations of non-perishable food items or winter gear for families/individuals in need.
Patient Appreciation Gift Idea – Cookie Day: 4th and Hot Cocoa Day: 12th – All month long you can give away individually wrapped cookies with a packet of cocoa and a tag/label attached that says “Warm Wishes for a Sweet Winter“.
To encourage patients to keep their scheduled appointments during December, consider having a drawing for a gift basket (ie: filled with hot cocoa supplies) or gift card to a local business that your patients can enter to win when they come in for their dental appointment before December 23rd.
Travel Toothbrush Bags – Many of your patients travel during the holidays – Surprise them with a small gift for their travels. Put together toothbrush bags that include a toothbrush, floss, toothpaste, and a “what to do in a dental emergency” handout. You could also include other travel-sized items such as lotion, Advil, lip balm, etc.
Gift Certificates: Remember, Gift Certificates/Cards for Teeth Whitening or Dental Treatment should always be available for your patients to purchase as gifts for their loved ones.
Educational Idea –National 12-hour Fresh Breath Day: 12th – Great Dental Education Opportunity to discuss with your patients and on your social media platforms the possible causes of bad breath and treatment remedies.
Social Media Post Content Ideas to help improve and encourage engagement during the month of December
National Pear Month
National Cupcake Day: 15
Winter (Winter Solstice): 21
National Candy Cane Day: 26
Bacon Day: 30
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Is your office past-due for a good cleaning and organizing? Maybe even some remodeling or redecorating? It’s that time of year when many take advantage of the warmer weather to “spring clean” their homes. This is also a great time to spring clean your dental practice.
I encourage you to make a checklist of all the areas in your office that may need some cleaning. I’ll help you get started by showing you how to take advantage of using your 5 senses while cleaning your office. This is by no means an exhaustive cleaning list but it will give you ideas of where and what to clean.
Before you read on please remember that the patients’ (and potential patients’) perception of you, your team, the office, and the quality and safety of the care you provide is your reality. This means that everything that you do or don’t do…matters!
Even if you feel like you’re just too busy to tackle a project like this you’ll want to make the time; why? The long-term growth and success of your practice depend on it.
Sight, Smell, Sound, Touch, and Taste.
What do your patients and potential patients see?
Areas to “see” include;
Office Exterior (Curb Appeal)
Safety Concerns/Handicap accessibility
Reception Room – Sit in your reception room, what do your patients see, touch, hear, smell and taste? Look high and low. What do you see? Dirty carpeting/flooring? Outdated magazines & decor? Stained or worn chairs? Peeling wallpaper? Cobwebs? Dusty plants/floral arrangements? Light bulbs that are out? Look over at the front desk area, if you see a sliding glass window that is full of signs and papers telling your patients what to do and what not to do…remove them immediately. It’s very unwelcoming!
Restroom – Most if not all of your patients that visit your restroom WILL determine the quality and safety of your care from that experience. (Isn’t that true of you when you’re at a restaurant or any public restroom? No one wants the gas station bathroom experience…not even when you’re at a gas station.) Your restroom should be clean, nicely decorated, and well-stocked with quality paper products and soap.
Front Desk Area – Clutter represents indecision. Make a decision to get rid of the clutter! (That includes any sticky notes attached to computer monitors, coats/sweaters hanging on the backs of chairs, and fast-food drink containers sitting out on the counters.) Purchase hot/cold beverage tumblers, preferably with your office logo on them for your team members to use at their workstations – this looks much nicer than your patients seeing soda bottles or coffee shop cups.
While you’re visiting the front office area, don’t forget about cleaning these areas too…
Current Protocols– Hygiene Continuing Care, Incomplete Treatment Reports, Confirmation, A/R-Collections, Greetings, Patient Hand-off, New Patient Welcomes, and Referral Thank you’s, etc.
Paper Communication Materials –Intake forms, Letterhead, HIPAA forms, Financial Policy & Postcards.
Job Responsibilities/Descriptions –Have every team member write down a detailed list of all of their job responsibilities. This is VERY helpful in determining more effective ways of doing things as well as finding out what is NOT being done.
Moving on to other areas of the practice…
Operatories – Sit in the treatment room chairs. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you taste? What do you smell? How do you feel? Again, your patients don’t measure the quality of care, they measure the quality of their experience. Keep your patients loyal to your practice by making certain they consistently have great experiences.
Closets – Make an inventory checklist. Throw away any expired or outdated products, equipment, manuals, etc. While you’re at it, if there is anything that isn’t be used properly due to lack of education or training, go ahead and schedule a time for continuing education/training.
Equipment/Technology – What needs repairs, upgrades or to be tossed? Computers, Software, Internet Speed & Access, Printers, Scanners, Copiers, Telephone Systems, TV’s, Postage machines, including…dare I say, typewriters?
Employee breakroom(area) / staff lounge – don’t forget about the employee break area. Is it clean and organized? Check out the refrigerator, microwave, cabinets, counters, and tables. There is no reason for this room to be messy and/or dirty. While you’re at it freshen up the room decor and stock the cabinets/refrigerator with snacks and beverages for your team.
The Team – Appearance – Wear clothes that reflect the excellent care you give your patients. Professional, clean, and wrinkle-free clothes. Clean hair, nails & body). Attitudes – Remove any toxic attitudes.
Office Policies – Review and update employee benefits and expectations. If you don’t have an office manual and/or employee handbook please get one asap.
TIP: Make a cleaning schedule – including the who, what & when. When will the parking lot, restrooms & reception room be checked & cleaned? This should be done several times throughout the day. Do not wait for the “cleaning person” to take care of those areas. If the flooring needs to be vacuumed… vacuum it. If the glass on the windows/doors have fingerprints…clean them. If the restroom toilet and sink are dirty… clean them. Make a promise as a team that if you see it (and you know you do) clean it.
Online Presence – What do your potential patients “see” when looking for a dentist in your area? Remember to spring clean your online presence too. Your website, Google My Business listing, and Social Media Pages. See: Dental Office First Impressions – Online Presence
Get rid of the dreaded dental office smell. There are products out there that will eliminate that smell without aggravating patients with allergies. Bake chocolate chip cookies if necessary. Be cautious when using scented candles, air fresheners, and essential oils that they are mild and won’t aggravate those with allergies.
Keep the noise down! Patients want to be put at ease; they don’t want to hear the latest office gossip or a TV that is too loud. Avoid using patients’ full names or complaining about patients when you can be heard from the reception room or treatment chair.
Music – Consider playing music in the reception and treatment rooms. Wireless headphones will allow patients’ to listen to music or the TV while in the chair.
Beverage Station in the reception room. Complimentary coffee, tea, cold bottled water, juice, etc. See this Pinterest board for beverage station design ideas.
Snacks – Offer snacks such as fruit, granola bars, etc. This is especially nice for patients that may have been in for a lengthy appointment and need a little boost in energy.
Allow patients to rinse with mouthwash before and after the appointment.
Offer pre-pasted toothbrushes for patients that didn’t have time to or forgot to brush their teeth before their appointment.
Reception Room – Is it comfortable & welcoming? (Please keep COVID safety guidelines in mind before implementing some of these ideas/recommendations.)
Reading Material – Have a variety of magazine and books for patients to read.
Temperature – Keep the temperature in the reception room at a comfortable setting.
Lighting – Be sure that the sunlight from the windows isn’t blinding some of your patients during the day.
Treatment Rooms – Be sure that your patients are comfortable during their visit. Your treatment rooms should be exceptonally clean from top to bottom. Get rid of any clutter sitting out on the counters, floor, or shelves.
Massage Pads on Chairs
Blankets (If you have a patient that is always cold, pop the blanket in the dryer for them right before appt). Consider offering a weighted blanket during treatment to help reduce anxiety.
Distractions – (Movies, Music, Digital Aquarium, Etc.)
Give Painless Injections…always.
Put your patients at ease by talking with them before you start looking in their mouth.
Free Stuff – Give away items imprinted with your office name, website, and phone number to each patient at their appointment. Such as; toothbrushes, hand sanitizer, calendars, pens, and lip balm.
Using your 5 senses, look closely at yourself, your team, the exterior, and interior of your building, all office systems, your lab, sterilization procedures, website & social media sites, marketing materials, marketing programs, and the patient experience.
Your goal should be to find ways to consistently exceed your patients’ expectations and remove anything that is hindering you from reaching that goal.
If you’re struggling to reach your goals each month or struggling to get your team on board with your vision for the practice maybe a coaching relationship is just what you need. Feel free to reach out to me to set up a complimentary 30-minute call to discuss how a customized coaching program will help you to reach/exceed your goals.
If you enjoy the complimentary ideas that I share each month, I would love and truly appreciate for you to please leave a review on GOOGLE and/or FACEBOOK
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The phone is ringing, the calls are coming in, but appointments aren’t being made. In fact, it is quite possible potential new patients are unintentionally being turned away.
“You never get a second chance to make a great first impression.”
What kind of impression is your dental office team creating for you? Do you really know how effective they are in answering the office telephone? Are you tracking how many calls come in and how many of those callers schedule an appointment? Does it really matter? Absolutely!
All your marketing efforts lead people to the phone first. Don’t waste your money by losing the potential patient or aggravating current patients due to poor telephone skills and habits. Your entire team (clinical & admin) should be trained on how to properly answer the phone and effectively care for the caller.
Answering the phone is a privilege and a great opportunity!
Here are 10 helpful telephone tips & ideas:
Always Smilebefore you pick up the phone.
Answer the phone within the first couple of rings.
Answer the phone with a thank you for calling, identify the office and give your name. (ex: Thank you for calling Dr. Smiles, this is Betty. I can help you.)
Do NOT let the caller go to voice mail (or a busy signal!) during business hours (including and especially lunch hours). People hate leaving messages. Oftentimes, they’ll hang up and call the next office on their list.
Never, ever answer the phone with “hold please” or “can you hold?”! Take a quick second, find out who they are and what they need. People hate to be put on hold. If you are habitually needing to put callers on hold, you need more people answering the phones.
Get the caller’s name early on and use it often. BEFORE you answer their initial question, you should know who you are talking with. (ie: “Great question, I can help you that. Again, my name is Betty may I ask your name?”)
Find out how they heard about your office (document the referral source in the software!).
“What type of insurance do you have?” shouldn’t be the first thing you ask. In fact, let the caller bring that part up. Your goal is to build a relationship with the caller, to get to know them and their expectations.
Offer an appointment. Sounds obvious right? You might be surprised to know how many offices miss this important step. Seriously, this one is so simple and yet it is shocking how many offices totally miss this opportunity. Remember, the goal should be to end the call with an appointment scheduled.
Set aside some time to meet as a team – everyone in the office should be trained on how to not only answer the phones but should know how to effectively handle the calls. At the very least, professionally & courteously direct the caller to someone who can help.
Practice, Practice, Practice how to effectively handle different types of calls and questions until you feel comfortable. (Yes, I am talking about role-play – I know we hate role-play it’s uncomfortable (and embarrassing) to do but it’s necessary to be truly successful. Work through the discomfort. It’s worth it!)
As a team, create your Telephone Principles (scripting guidelines)which are your goals & expectations for each call.
Know how to respond to the following callers (not just answer their question but with the goal of welcoming them into the practice by scheduling a new patient appointment):
Shopper Callers – Great opportunity! Typically, the shopper caller has a need and is ready to “buy”, that’s why they are “shopping”. Don’t blow it by refusing to quote fees over the phone or by failing to invite them to come in for a complimentary consultation.
Insurance Questions – Have a great response for: “Do you take XYZ ins?
Wrong Numbers – offer an appointment anyway.
Sales Calls – Be kind, they’re just doing their job. Maybe they need an appointment. Plus, you don’t know who they know. It’s simple – always be kind.
Organizations or local businesses requesting donations – Empower your team to fulfill their request. At the very least, offer them an appointment.
The telephone ringing should never be viewed as an interruption to your already too busy day. Certainly, handling the phones is a big responsibility but it’s an even bigger privilege. Don’t miss out on any opportunities to set your office apart from the others by always exceeding the caller’s expectations.
If you have questions about how to successfully handle telephone calls or need help training your team, don’t wait, ask for help. I’m ready to help you. Email:email@example.com
If you find the complimentary ideas that I share each month to be helpful for your practice, I would love and truly appreciate for you to please leave a review here on GOOGLE and/or FACEBOOK –Thank you!!
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What do you have planned for March to help your patients have a great visit to your office? Are you on track to reach or exceed your first-quarter new patient and established patient reactivation goals? If not, there is still time to end this first quarter strong!
You’ll find that the Marketing Tips and Ideas that I share each month target the following 3 different areas to help you grow and improve your practice:
In-Office / Exceed Patients Expectations – Ideas that exceed your patients’ expectations and gets them talking about you, your office, and your team (in a good way) to their friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers after their appointment.
Social Media – Look for and create opportunities to help your patients and potential patients to see the personality of the practice. It is a good way to simply keep your name in front of your active and inactive patients too.
Community – Ideas to help you build and strengthen relationships within the community.
Marketing Tips & Ideas for March
Product/Service Feature: Teeth Whitening
Theme: Tropical Luau (March is a great month to bring a little warmth and fun to the practice!)
Special Offer: Offer teeth whitening at a reduced price or BOGO (encourages patients to bring a friend) or donate a portion of teeth whitening collections to a local charity.
Remind your patients that gift certificates are available!
Product/Service Feature: Orthodontics
Theme: March Madness (Bracket Madness)
Our Office Patients are a Slam Dunk! OR
May all your straight teeth “swishes” come true!
Patient Appreciation Gifts– little basketball kick balls (Oriental Trading) or little oranges (clementines) that you use a food-grade marker to draw basketball lines onto them.
Contest/Give-Away – Basketball Themed Gift Basket. Filled with snacks, a basketball, toothbrush, floss, mouthrinse, and whatever else you’d like to add.
External Marketing Ideas to Build Relationships Within Your Community:
Celebrate Your Name Week March 4-10 – Fun & Inexpensive give-away idea: Pick 2-4 names each day (that the office is open) to post on Facebook/Instagram, the persons with those names can come by the office on that day only to pick up a FREE toothbrush (or lip balm). An easy way to get posts shared! (Get your name out there!!)
National Nutrition Month – Deliver some healthy snacks to a few local businesses and be sure to include a special offer and/or information about your in-office savings plan.
Educational Opportunities –
National Kidney Month – Both tooth decay and gum disease can lead to infections that can cause problems for people with kidney disease. A study in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology reported that people with kidney disease and those on dialysis are more likely to have periodontal disease and other oral health problems than the general population.
Sleep Awareness Week® 14th – 20th– It is estimated that sleep-related problems affect 50 to 70 million Americans of all ages. Your goal is to help improve their overall health and well-being with better sleep.
Social Media Post Ideas to Improve Engagement during the month of March:
National Caffeine Awareness Month
National Procrastination Week: 7th–14th
American Chocolate Week: 21st – 27th
World Compliment Day 1st
Pi Day: 14th
Kick Butts Day 17th
Pecan Day 25th
What are your plans to make March a great month? Please share your plans and ideas with me!
Here are some Practice Management & Leadership Tips & Ideas for March 2021
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