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A Marketing Harvest
Low-Hanging
Fruit

You’ve heard of “low-hanging fruit”? In terms of dental patients, this is where it’s at! Referral patients can often be won over with less effort and less financial investment than new patients who don’t have a referral connection to your practice.

Practice Cafe considers referral dental marketing to be any internal or external endeavor that maximizes opportunities to invite new patients through people who are already patients or who you’ve already established a professional relationship with, such as neighboring businesses and referring doctors.

Referral marketing is patient retention’s counterpart, and these two dental practice maintenance and growth focuses are as close to home as it gets. This is where you and your team have the most direct influence of any other marketing initiative! If you meet and exceed patients’ expectations, they’ll keep coming back. And as you and your team continue to build trust with patients and make them feel like you care about them, they’ll tell their family and friends about you! At the dental cafe, we have years of experience designing a variety of affordable, straightforward marketing tools to assist you in your patient retention and referral endeavors. Social media offers additional referral marketing opportunities!

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Perf Card

Practice Cafe’s perforated business card packs a powerful punch for a small piece, working double duty as an appointment reminder card and a tear-off patient referral card. It’s essentially two standard-sized business cards connected by a perforation, giving you four panels of business card real estate in one piece. A “perf card,” as we affectionately call it, is not only practical and very affordable, but for dentists and staff who feel a little out of their comfort zone asking for referrals, this piece is also an easy, natural way to do so because of the appointment reminder aspect. In states where you’re allowed to offer referral incentives, patients sometimes get really into the referral spirit and can become one of your best sources of new patients.

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Patient brochures

Rack Card

Our rack card is primarily meant to be used for external dental referral marketing, but it can be an information piece for internal marketing in your practice as well. This piece is the same size as a common trifold brochure (when the brochure is folded), and the bottom part has a tear-off business card that usually has a new patient offer on it. We recommend establishing relationships with local businesses like hair and nail salons, gyms and yoga studios, chiropractors and other professionals in the health and wellness industry. The rack card is perfect for being displayed in a brochure rack or in a stack on a corner table in these neighboring businesses. It gives just enough information and incentive to interest people in contacting you without requiring as much time and attention as a full brochure. It also gives prospective patients the option to read the marketing information but only keep the business card portion to contact you at their convenience.

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Hand holding brochure

Recall Card

You want your recall system to bring your dental practice back into the minds of patients who are due for their next dental health appointments, thereby helping bring them back into your office. Many of our clients have gone to fully digital recall programs, and we fully support that! For dentists who still need it, Practice Cafe offers two formats for printed recall designs: a singular postcard and a 4-up sheet.

The singular recall card is our standard setup, and some practices have patients handwrite their own addresses so there’s a higher likelihood that the card will catch their attention when it comes in the mail. This format is perhaps a bit more personal feeling than the 4-up sheet, which is designed to be printed directly from your dental software (which some clients prefer).

Even if you haven’t transitioned to fully-digital operations, a print dental recall system should still be combined with a patient communication program that includes email and text capabilities, personal correspondence such as phone calls (even automated ones), and whatever other patient retention tools that your team has the capacity to implement and maintain.

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Mockup showing Sharp Family Dentistry's recall card design.

Notecard and Envelope

As part of your patient retention and professional referral efforts, we recommend occasionally writing notes to patients and colleagues. Yes, we’re talking about handwritten notes sent in the mail. Have you heard of this before? This simple, old-fashioned gesture can be a detail that will make you unforgettable in the minds of your patients! We’re not suggesting that you send a handwritten note to every single patient who comes to your office for anything and everything, we’re just saying that sending a thank-you note for a certain level of treatment and perhaps to first-time patients is classy and memorable! It will take you three minutes and cost little more than the price of a stamp, yet in most cases, it will gain you buckets of patient goodwill.

If you have a group of colleagues who refer patients to your practice, or if you’ve networked with partner businesses that send people your way on a regular basis, a thoughtful handwritten card every now and again shows that you’re thankful (and will make it more likely for those referrals to keep being sent your way).

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Mockup of Queensboro Plaza's notecard design

ER Magnet

Back in the day, we started doing ER magnets because one of our first employees had received an advertisement with a guide to dental emergencies before she’d even had her first baby, and she kept it! She saved it for years because she knew that, eventually, having the guide handy could mean the difference between saving or losing one of her kids’ teeth in a dental emergency. We know from unfortunate experience that this is true! Accidents happen, but when you know what to do, most accidents don’t have to be frantic emergencies. Show your patients that you’re there for them in a dental emergency, from the moment one happens (when they need an ER magnet most) until they can get to your office for care. Our dental ER magnet is a simple, practical gift that will keep giving, both for your patients and for your dental practice.

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First aid guide

Referral Pad

Practice Cafe’s standard size for a referral notepad is 5″x8″ and we customize the content for its intended purpose. If the referral pad will be specifically to welcome patients sent from other dentists for unique services that you offer such as dental implant placement, teeth straightening, or wisdom teeth removal, then the content can be more specific. For more general referral solicitation aimed at referring doctors in a variety of fields from pediatrics to chiropractics, notepad content should be broader. We suggest putting together a nice referral package (to include referral pads) that you can hand-deliver when introducing yourself to potential referral sources. We often call this “cupcake duty.” Yum!

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Examples of several referral pads

Ad Specialties

Ad specialty items, sometimes called collateral, can be used to promote your dental practice in numerous ways. If you give new patients a welcome swag bag, remember that everyone likes reliable pens and free mugs or cups. When patients take their mug with your logo and web address to their job where coworkers will see it and might even use it, that’s marketing exposure snowballing. If you send goodie bags home with patients after their visits, a lip balm or container of mints with your logo and contact information can be a great addition to the usual dental paraphernalia of toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss. Families always appreciate dental emergency guides in magnet form as well as reusable grocery bags, and kids and teenagers like a cool t-shirt they can get a prize for wearing to school on days they have a dental appointment. If you have casual Fridays, your team may enjoy wearing matching t-shirts with your logo and clever dental phrases on them! There are many, many options out there so if you have something in mind, just ask and we can probably make it happen!

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Mockup of logo on a tote bag

Custom Letter

Individual letters to patients, vendors, or colleagues can be printed on your official letterhead, and a notecard with your logo and branding is perfect for sending thank-you notes or birthday cards to patients and others in your professional network. When you need a letter to make more of an impression and to be sent to more people, Practice Cafe’s custom-designed letters have both the wow factor you’re looking for as well as the capability to be mass printed and mailed to your entire patient base. Occasions for sending a letter to all of your dental patients include the end of the year when people can use a reminder to take advantage of their remaining dental insurance benefits before they lose them. It doesn’t hurt to run a holiday special at the same time to encourage case acceptance, or simply as a gesture of holiday cheer. A momentous occasion that calls for sending a letter to your dental practice’s patients is an office move or the addition of another location. Announcements that are perhaps less momentous, yet still important and noteworthy include added partners or associates, new desirable technology and treatment offerings, and more accommodating financial options such as an in-house dental membership plan or adding a popular insurance in the area. Whatever your dental letter needs, Practice Cafe can design something for you that will get the job done and do it beautifully!

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Custom letter

Trifold Brochure

For internal or external marketing communication that needs more space than a rack card, trifold brochures are a tried-and-true option with more room for content as well as a format that’s familiar to the average person. Trifold brochures can be used to convey general introductory information about the benefits of your dental practice, or to promote something in particular like an in-house dental membership plan or a specific treatment process, for example for implant placement and restoration. When discussing dental marketing referral packages, we sometimes suggest including a trifold brochure. It’s an informative piece without being too large to fit in a purse or folded in a back pocket.

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Trifold brochure

Posters

We design premiere posters and promo boards for a variety of purposes. Promo boards are basically promotional posters that are professionally designed, then inexpensively printed and mounted on foam core for display. Our clients use dental posters and promo boards to emphasize particular services, to promote initiatives like patient referral programs or seasonal offers, or to announce added treatments, new technology, and added employees or new in-house specialists. Other messages that can be well-communicated to patients using a poster or promo board include information about upcoming office renovations, a move or an additional office being opened, and details about special events from open houses and holiday celebrations to community outreach and charity events. Our standard size for a promo board design is either 11”x17” or 18”x24” but we’re more than happy to customize the size to your individual needs depending on the purpose of your poster or promo board and where it will be displayed! Some clients display their promo boards temporarily, whereas others frame and hang their posters permanently in their lobbies or operatories. If you’re looking for more dental poster ideas, check out Practice Cafe’s freebies!

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Poster examples

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boost referrals?

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