Marking the start of a new year is a way to gather energy towards forward momentum. Setting dental practice goals is key to unlocking that energy and harnessing it to grow your practice in the coming year. What trends should you look at when setting your dental practice goals for 2022? Where should you invest your time and money to meet your goals? What are the must haves for your dental practice to be successful this year?
Your Dental Practice Goals
Setting reasonable and attainable goals and putting together an organized plan to achieve them is an important part of running your dental practice. Ultimately, you want to provide the best dental care for your patients, bring in new patients, and retain the ones you have. What areas of your business need improvement, enhancement, or re-evaluation to help you do that? The answer is the basis of your dental practice goals, and analyzing dental industry trends can help you find the answer.
Dentist practice goals that lean into these trends can help you make the most of 2022.
A Look at the Trends
One thing the pandemic has taught us is that the world can change rapidly, and staying on top of those transformations is an important part of being a business owner. As the new year gets underway, let’s take a look at some trends in the dental industry.
An Emphasis on Digital Marketing
Digital marketing was important before 2020, but the effects of the pandemic have made it more so. People are online more than ever, especially with their phones. A marketing plan that does not hit people where they are at is doomed to fail. Digital has become more pinpointed and sophisticated. A simple website that is rarely maintained and a few social media posts is not going to cut it. Integrating your digital marketing channels and utilizing the full capacity of digital marketing tools to make it all work together is significant moving forward.
A Focus on Patient Experience
Patient expectations are requiring more personalized and thoughtful connections at each touchpoint in the patient experience, whether virtually or in-person. The time patients spend with your practice needs to be valuable and responsive. Patients expect faster, more efficient care, and your ability to provide it helps grow your practice. Going forward, what can you do to optimize your patient experience?
A Focus on Patient Engagement
The trend is to build stronger connections with your patients not only during the time they spend in your office but through channels that continue that connection when they are outside your office. These connections help build loyalty and trust, which boosts patient retention, increases patient referrals and positive reviews, and reduces dental anxiety.
Leveraging Technologies Is Vital
Each of the trends discussed so far are tied to technology in one way or another. It is impossible to implement solutions that lean into these trends without leveraging available technology to boost outcomes.
Success in 2022
The must haves for 2022:
- Enhancing patient care
- Increasing dental office productivity
- Expanding product and service offerings
- Implementing successful dental marketing strategies
Enhancing Your Patient Care
Patient care is the foundation of your business, making it feel personal is the type of foundation that loyalty and trust are built upon. Concentrate your efforts on finding patient centric solutions to patient care.
A few questions to ask:
- How can you improve patient care in a way that patient’s want and will respond to?
- What are your goals for optimizing what your practice has to offer patients?
- How do you offer more to your patients without adding cost or confusion?
A few things to consider to show that you prioritize your patients’ oral health:
- Make the most of the time your patients spend in the chair and answer their questions.
- Communicate with understandable language that clarifies care for your patients.
- Automate your scheduling process and make it more convenient, including text appointments, rescheduling, and confirmations.
- Rethink your office hours to fit patient preferences.
- Find virtual solutions to streamline points of access such as voice search, chat portals, or tele-dentistry.
- Add services or specialists to further support your patients’ oral health.
Increasing Your Dental Office Productivity
It may seem that increasing your dental productivity has to do with streamlining your processes or automating your scheduling or training your staff on new software. All of these things are true. All will increase productivity and reduce expenses.
The underlying reason, however, is that increased productivity increases the quality of care you give your patients. This is what everything in your practice hinges on. Investment in increased productivity trickles through your whole practice.
Utilizing software and automation to manage your practice workflows will augment your patient experience and reduce overhead costs. Something as simple as sending your patients an automatic dental appointment reminder cuts down on missed appointments, which cuts down on time consuming follow ups and rescheduling by your staff.
More efficient and convenient patient care can be achieved with:
- Cloud-based practice management software
- Task management software, such as Trello, Monday.com, Asana, or Clickup, to streamline communications, tasks, and job responsibilities
- Electronic forms for patients
- Payroll management software
- Automated patient follow-up instructions
- Digitized and automated charts and documentation
- Digital imaging software
Expanding Your Product and Service Offerings
Adding new services and product offerings to your practice over the course of time creates a more robust practice.
Expanding your service and product offerings can:
- Open up more revenue streams for your practice
- Show your patients that your practice is a one-stop location for their oral health care
- Demonstrate your commitment to patient care
- Add a level of convenience to your practice
- Help build the loyalty and trust you are after
Of course your goals for increasing your product and service offerings are dependent on the overall goals of your practice. Align the addition of products and services with your practice goals. Make choices that make sense to who you are as a dentist and who your patients are.
Examples of product and service offerings to add to your practice:
- An Endodontist
- An oral surgeon
- Invisalign or braces
- Teeth whitening or veneers
- Dental implants
- Electric toothbrushes
- Recommended toothpaste
- Custom-made nighttime mouth guards
Adding a specialist, a new service, or an expanded product offering needs to also become a part of your marketing plan. For example, adding an oral surgeon will necessitate oral surgery marketing ideas.
Your Dental Marketing Strategies
Your dental marketing is organized around hitting the right people at the right time with the right message. Branding your dental practice around a central message is essential. Utilizing automation and digital marketing tools keeps your dental branding ideas consistent across multiple channels and tailored to your target audience. Consistency helps build relationships and loyalty.
- Dental website
- Social media platforms
- Dental blog
- Video marketing materials
Your Dental Website
Upgrading your dental website may be in order for 2022. It is essential to have an optimized website design to harness dental trends and reach your dental practice goals. High quality dental website content and a dynamic, responsive design with fast load times keeps visitors engaged.
Your website design should have:
- User-friendly navigation
- Links to electronic forms and booking
- A clear call to action
- An online patient portal and scheduling
- A clear and concise Q&A section
- Information on payments and insurance issues
- Dental SEO with targeted keywords
- Optimized content word counts and metadata
- Internal and external linking opportunities
Social Media Platforms
Social media is a must have in your digital marketing arsenal. It builds your reputation through engaging and informative pages and posts. It creates referral and review opportunities that build loyalty and trust. It increases your visibility to potential new patients and improves your website traffic.
Informative, educational, and professional blog posts about oral health, professional industry insights, or topics relevant to your patients help to:
- Increase the awareness of your dental practice
- Establish your credibility
- Expand your niche
- Build your authority
Blogs increase the traffic to your website and help boost your SEO ranking while also continuing to enhance patient engagement by building loyalty and trust.
Video Marketing Materials
Video marketing for dentists that uses branded video content is an opportunity to tell the story of your dental practice through a visual medium. The second largest search engine after Google is YouTube. Utilizing it can increase your brand presence and your SEO ranking. It also has the benefit of adding a personal connection to your practice.
You can create videos that provide information on treatments or new procedures, give a behind-the-scenes look at your practice, or even welcome new patients and help them feel comfortable visiting your practice before they even walk through the door.
Enlisting An Expert
Juggling multiple platforms and channels takes a lot of time and effort. 2022 may be the year to enlist the help of a dental marketing expert to help make the most of your dental marketing messages. Partnering with a dental marketing consultant can help you set your strategic dental practice goals for 2022 and can also help you reach them. It is an investment in not only the year ahead but all the years to follow as well.