Limited time promotions can be a great way to attract new patients and re-appoint current patients during typically slow months.  The month of February often shows a slow down in my dental office schedule.  Patients wanting to take advantage of their remaining dental insurance benefits and time off around the holidays fill the office in December.  January can be busy with restorative treatment for patients who were waiting to access their new calendar year dental benefits, but in February the schedule can become more sparse.  National Children’s Dental Health Month, sponsored by the American Dental Association in February, provides a great opportunity for running an in-office promotion for children with appointments that month.  February is also a good month to send dental hygienists and dental assistants into area schools to educate children on dental health and provide personalized goodie bags with information about your office.

In the month of July, my office will be running a Ladies’ Month promotion.  We have secured giveaways from a local spa and Mary Kay representative.  We plan to offer door prizes and a drawing for free whitening each week.  Women tend to be busy during the summer months trying to juggle summer vacation plans so my staff thought it would be a good time to offer our patients a little pampering.  If this promotion is a success, we will expand our offerings next year.

Our business cycle has demonstrated the tendency for slower periods during September and October each year.  To stave off this trend, we prepare in advance with discounts for patients with an outstanding treatment plan and postcard reminders for patients with overdue recall appointments.  These techniques have helped to even out the schedule during a time of the year that formerly proved problematic.

Online opportunities for advertising patient promotions make it quicker and less expensive to get the word out regarding new promotions in your dental office.  A Google Places listing allows businesses to update their “status” regularly and this tool can be used to highlight a new promotion.  MerchantCircle and Yelp offer similar opportunities to highlight a special offer or promotion.  If you are active in social media through Facebook and Twitter, these platforms can be used to get the word out to current and potential patients as well.  All of the above mentioned online advertising opportunities do not cost anything beyond the labor to set up and update the accounts.

If you are feeling more ambitious about promoting your special offers and you are willing to pay for the promotion, consider sending an e-newsletter through a service like Constant Contact.  Dental patient e-newsletters can be sent to all current patients who have opted in to receive newsletters from your office.  An e-newsletter can be sent any time you are running a new promotion.  You can opt to bypass the cost of using an email marketing company and send out notices from your office’s email account, but for a relatively low cost an email marketing company offers email templates and statistical reporting.  Another paid option for marketing a new promotion is a limited time Google Adwords campaign with an ad specifically designed to highlight your dental patient promotion.

Please feel free to comment with any practice promotions that have been successful in your office.