Maintaining a steady stream of appointments throughout the year is an important goal for any dental practice. But the truth is, there will always be seasons that bring in a bigger influx. Back-to-school time is one of those seasons!
You might lament the volume of appointments shoved into the end of July, August, and September, but you can still devote focused effort to take full advantage of the timing. If you are a pediatric or family dentist, back-to-school dental promotions can especially land you a slew of year-round patients.
Here are four marketing ideas to achieve that full, more balanced appointment schedule!
1. Offer Low-Cost Incentives
Being that back-to-school dental season is a busy time already, you don’t want to offer any major discounts or bonus services. After all, your appointment book is likely quite full already.
What you do want to consider is how you can make your practice the best choice for your patients over another local dental office. In doing so, you can form a relationship with families that results in year-round patient appointments. You’ll also make sure to fill out that appointment book to its fullest potential.
So, how can you make your practice the top choice for parents and kids seeking back-to-school dental services? Here are a few ideas:
- Promise a game plan for a “sugar-bug-free year” and consult parents at the end of and during their child’s appointment. You could also provide a special, limited-time pamphlet.
- Add a cheap, fun little toy to take-home bags and market them as special “Back-to-School Goody Bags.”
- Say that you’ll give parents who book back-to-school appointments first pick of six-month follow-ups. They’ll feel like this offer makes it possible for them to schedule around their work hours and on a day when the kids can easily leave school to see their dentist. Including language like “while availability lasts” in your offer helps you to cover the bases if they choose a day that is already booked up for you.
2. Advertise with Local Schools
Put an ad in the school paper or produce an e-blast they can send to their list of parents’ email accounts. Either way, getting your practice’s name out to a school community toward the end of the school year is a great idea!
You could also work with PTA committees to share more information about your practice, services, and back-to-school promotions. Start with the school(s) your own kids or a team member’s children attend so you can begin working from a personal connection. Then, you can share the emails, flyers, or other promotional materials those schools used to demonstrate to other local schools how they could present your back-to-school appointments and how that ended up providing a positive, helpful experience for the parents and kids.
3. Put Back-to-School Dental Content on Social
We know you keep hearing us push the importance of social media for your dental practice. Sorry (not sorry), but social media is key and it’s here to stay. This is especially true as your patient base of parents is now primarily in the Millennial generation.
To reach today’s generation of parents of young families, your practice needs to be on Instagram, Facebook, and more to most effectively promote your back-to-school dental appointments. (But note that Facebook is most popular with that demographic.)
Think about making these social media posts into a series that will be beneficial for the parents, rather than just a one-time ad. For example, your practice could publish a week-long series where you post several tips for parental persuasion. I.e., encouraging kids to do things they need for healthy growth but that maybe your kid doesn’t want. You can frame this series through the lens of being a dentist, which a lot of kids don’t want to go to. At the same time, you can feature various dental-related tasks, such as brushing and flossing regularly, visiting the dentist for regular cleanings, and avoiding eating too many sugary treats.
4. Make Appointments Better for the Kiddos
Much of this advice ultimately focuses on booking as many appointments as possible during the back-to-school season. But you also want to ensure those patients will return! Since people often move during the summer so that their children can start a fresh school year in a new place, July through September is a great time to find new long-term patients too.
When it comes to back-to-school dental appointments, that means you’ll want to impress the little ones. If Mom and Dad don’t have to deal with a crying child, but rather, one who thinks the dentist is pretty awesome, who do you think they’ll be coming back to visit in six months?
As for how you make that happen, we’ve got a resource for you! We interviewed Dr. Mary Pham of Lollipop Dental Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, and came away with a ton of advice on how to make pediatric visits memorable.
Do these four things, and you’ll be able to make the most out of that post-summer back-to-school dental boom!
- Offer Low-Value Incentives
- Advertise with Local Schools
- Put Back-to-School Dental Content on Social
- Make Appointments Better for the Kiddos