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    How to attract new patients

    When the market is already saturated, how do you make your practice stand out?

    I recently had the opportunity to sit down with a good friend of mine, Dr. Kyle Triggs, a dentist in Anchorage, Alaska. I met Dr. Triggs several years ago when I was working for a company called Dental Intel.

    Because of what Dental Intel does, I had the opportunity to analyze a lot of the statistics for Dr. Triggs' practice and I was always impressed by success that his practice was seeing. When I started interviewing dentists about their growth strategies, he was on my list of people who I wanted to interview.

    Related article: One simple way to build patient loyalty

    Just for a bit of context, if you are bidding on the most commonly searched keywords in the Anchorage market, you can expect to pay more than double what you would pay in Los Angeles. This means that people are investing thousands of dollars per month to attract new patients.

    Dr. Triggs, you have been practicing for more than 30 years now. How have things changed in the time that you have been running your practice in Anchorage?

    Dentist with patientThings have changed tremendously. I was one of the first few dentists in Anchorage, so new patients were not hard to come by. Running a successful dental practice required no marketing. As long as you did good work and were a good people person, you pretty much had it made in the shade.

    That all changed starting about 15 years ago. Dentists came flooding into the Anchorage market along with several corporate chains. They started marketing very heavily and we were required to adapt quickly.

    So what did you do to adapt then, and is that what you have continued to do?

    When the market started changing, everyone started running mailers on a regular basis. I would personally get two or three mailers per week at my house. I knew I needed to do something, but I felt like I would be a needle in a haystack if I just jumped on board with the mailers.

    Related article: How do your dental marketing habits compare to other practices?

    Our office decided that our focus would be on internal marketing. We had a very loyal patient base, and we decided to take a two-pronged approach to growth. First, we would provide the best patient experience that we could possibly provide, and second, we would let people know that we would appreciate referrals. This is still our main approach for new patient acquisition to this day.

    I understand what you are saying, but this doesn't seem all that different from what a lot of other dentists try to do. It was obviously successful for you, so how did you do it?

    You are right. This isn't a whole lot different than what other dentists try to do. In fact, it is not even a whole lot different than what our office was already trying to do, but we did it a little bit differently.

    Adam Smith
    Adam Smith got his start in the dental industry working for a company called Dental Intel. He was their first data analyst and worked ...


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