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Dentist offices around the country are increasing their number of new patients by offering deals through sites like Groupon and Living Social.

There are three key steps to remember when offering a Groupon:

Keep deals basic and limited to discounted cleaning or whitening
Some dentists have made the mistake of offering full dental cosmetic offers to anyone who purchases their groupon.  Offering complicated procedures, like veneers, can have severe consequences.  Often times, patients that want cosmetic work need something different than veneers, they just don’t know it.  Turning away a potential customer who pre-purchased a service they will not be able to use could generate negative word-of-mouth, ultimately resulting in a business loss instead of a gain.

People are more likely to go to a new dentist for a discounted exam, cleaning or teeth whitening.  These simple procedures don’t require the same kind of dentist-patient relationship that a larger cosmetic procedure would.  Offering a basic service will allow you to reach a broader group of future patients.

Customer service can make or break your new patient conversion rate
After drawing in new customers with good deals, it’s up to you and your staff to turn them into long-term patients.  Good customer service and sincerity can go a long way.  Living Social has a merchant page on their website that provides customer feedback.  Ratings include a “thumbs up” chart, the percentage of people who said they would return to the business, and how many new customers your online deal generated.  This merchant page acts as a guide to help you know what areas you can improve on to better the experience of these first-time patients and turn them into regulars.

Decide how you want to brand your practice before creating an online offer
Before jumping into the world of online deals, take a step back and examine your practice.  Decide what your brand is, what unique service you can offer clients that others in your area don’t, and what you want to be known for.  Once your brand is established, focus all your marketing efforts on it.  Focus on what makes your practice better and different than the other practices in your area.

By doing this, you will attract patients that will stay with you longer than the online offer.  Keep in mind that when you are acquiring patients simply because you are the low price leader, you lose them as soon as someone else becomes less expensive than you.  Marketing and emphasizing your brand is more work than lowering your prices, but it is work that will pay off in the long run.

What are you waiting for?
These three elements are key to a successful online offer.  A clear and basic offer, good customer service and a unique brand that sets you apart from the competition, will raise your new patient conversion.  With these fundamentals in mind, there is nothing stopping you from increasing your clientele and watching your business grow.

Photo via Infowars