How to Build a Patient Referral Marketing Flywheel for Your Dental Practice

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When you’re good at referral marketing, you can produce a continuous cycle of new patients for your dental practice.

When you’re really good at it, you’ll steadily build momentum like a flywheel, generating more and more new patients as it spins faster and faster over time.

What are the secrets to building this kind of perpetual lead generation machine for your practice?

Always Delight Your Patients

There’s no doubt that patient satisfaction is the engine that keeps your referral flywheel turning. After all, it will only be your happiest patients who will recommend your office to family and friends. On the flip side of the coin, disappointing your patients and losing them can be costly, and not just in terms of lost treatment fees. You’ll spend 6 to 7 times more money to attract new patients than you will to keep the ones you have.

Try as you may, you can’t make everyone happy, but the patients who are most pleased with your practice are the ones that really count. In healthcare practices, it has been found that 12 to 15 percent of patients who are faithful to a single practice represent 55 to 70 percent of appointments.

And the value of happy patients only multiplies once they start spreading the word about their satisfaction with your office.

Encourage Your Happiest Patients to Refer New Patients

The good news is that more than 80 percent of satisfied patients are willing to recommend a business to a friend. The bad news is that fewer than 30 percent actually do.

That’s disappointing, especially since the average referring consumer will invite 2.68 people to try a business. A lack of positive buzz about your office can also cut into your other promotional efforts (marketing effectiveness can increase as much as 54 percent when supported by word-of-mouth).

So, don’t be afraid to ask your best patients to recommend you. Having an effective referral program in place that is both rewarding and easy can help motivate your patients to speak up and spread the word.

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Make Sure Referred Patients Become Your Happiest Patients

Happy patients are great. Happy referred patients are even better.

The lifetime value of a referred customer is 16 percent higher than a non-referred customer. That’s because they are more loyal and stick around longer, with a 37 percent higher retention rate.

That doesn’t mean that their satisfaction with your practice can be taken for granted. You’ll need to work just as hard to keep them happy, but you’ll reap the rewards of your effort when it comes time to ask them for referrals.

Ask Your Happy Referred Patients to Continue the Cycle

Once you’ve had a chance to impress your newly referred patients, be sure to ask them to recommend you to their own friends. At this point, it should be getting easier to spark new referrals. Referred customers are four times more likely to refer to your business, and five times more likely to participate in your referral program.

It’s pretty easy to see how referral marketing can steadily pick up momentum and accelerate your new patient acquisition over time. You just need to keep your focus on keeping patients happy and asking for referrals in return.

Don’t Let Unhappy Patients Slow You Down

Unhappy patients can bring your referral marketing to a screeching halt. If you do get a bad review, do you know how to deal with it effectively? Download a FREE copy of our guide, Responding to a Bad Review and be prepared to handle it properly.

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