Community involvement rewarding, builds loyalty

With summer approaching, parents will be looking for family activities to keep children busy. This is a perfect time for dentists to host a patient appreciation event or participate in some local family-friendly events.

Participating in an event can be an educational experience for those who attend. It provides an opportunity for dentists to connect with their community and let potential patients know about their practice. Oftentimes, it personalizes the dentist and potential patients feel more at ease outside of a clinical environment.

Being involved in community events can be rewarding for the dentist, and can create loyalty from patients, helping to boost word-of-mouth referrals.

“People want to feel a sense of belonging, and more important, they want to feel understood. If you build your practice on community, it has a powerful impact and forges emotional bonds,” said Courtney Isett, a CDA marketing expert.

Isett suggests dentists consider involvement in events such as awareness walks/runs, a charitable entity, concerts in the park and more. Joining organizations such as the local chamber of commerce for mixers, trade shows and holiday events is also an excellent way to take part in community activities.

Here are other community involvement ideas for dentists:

  • Host an open house. Whether you are just opening your doors or have been in practice for some time, an open house is a great way to invite local residents, business owners and referring doctors and staff to your practice. Establish a fun theme for the open house to generate more interest and offer those invited to attend food, raffle drawings or a creative contest. Be sure to follow up with attendees after the event, especially those you had never met before the event.

  • Sponsor local events, sports teams, competitions, fundraisers, clubs, etc. Support your local community and work to have your practice’s name associated with positive events and activities. With sponsorship of an event or activity, publicity is usually received at the event or in the printed materials related to the event. Make sure your message is tied to the event to gain some type of exposure from your sponsorship. Be cognizant of the message you send — it is wise to position yourself as an educational resource or a professional bettering the community.

  • Host your own charitable event. It is easy to find a nomination for a deserving person in need of a “smile makeover.” You can create a nomination form and ask patients to write why the person being nominated is in need of dental services. You and your staff can select the individual. CDA reminds dentists that they may want to put a dollar limit on the treatment. For example, the individual may receive $2,000 toward the cost of treatment. Write a press release about your charitable donation, take photos of the recipient and publicize the activity to local newspapers, publications, radio and television stations. Please note, when using photos of patients or testimonials, be sure to obtain the patient’s consent to use their information for advertising purposes. Please reference the CDA “photo consent form” and “patient testimonials” for more information.

“The interests, needs and values of your community will give your practice meaning,” Isett said. “There is no better growth strategy for your practice than establishing your brand in the community.”

Community-based strategies should be centered around the concept of providing the community with oral health education and/or access to care. The marketing benefits should be seen as an indirect benefit from the exposure gained through serving as a resource in the community. For more information on professional conduct related to marketing, please reference the CDA Code of Ethics. For more information on this topic, reference the following CDA Practice Support resources:

For more details on community involvement, contact CDA Practice Support at 800.232.7645.

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