Know Your Neighborhood

There are opportunities all around for increasing a dental practice. The first and sometimes least obvious is frequently right down the road from us and we just don’t see it. In our city, Athens, Georgia, we have several large employers. There is a large Piedmont Medical Center with many associate offices. There is a Caterpillar Manufacturing Plant and supporting businesses. There is the University of Georgia and several other post-secondary educational institutions in our metro-area. 

These have large populations of people who come to Athens with no previous connection to the area. New arrivals need service providers, but there will need to be an effort on your part to get them into your practice. A cogent, consistent outreach plan is important for entry into these groups. Once you can get on the radar screen of these populations, then good things happen. So where does one begin in reaching out to these groups?

The broadest approach is the use of traditional print and broadcast media. An ad in a local newspaper or magazine announcing that you will offer a discount to, for example, a local university educators and staff. Having worked for over 30 years as a student and lecturer at the University of Georgia, I can tell you that most institutions will not give or sell email lists to the public, but many are published in a variety of different departmental websites. These sites are open to the public and have work email addresses posted. Sending an email “Special offer for UGA Faculty and Staff” in the title will provide a legitimate reason for them to want to open it.

You will find that most large organizations and businesses publish employee directories of email addresses. Once you get into their population, the growth process starts and more email campaigns, newsletters, office Facebook, Instagram and Twitter generate referrals and eventually you will become a stable service provider for that population. It is a slow grow at first, but worth the time and effort. Once critical mass is reached, then the core numbers stabilize and a measurable, progressive growth begins. All because you took the time to court these specific groups. You made them feel welcomed and appreciated.

Any organization with a large workforce offers the same possibility. Groups have a certain herd mentality that makes them good candidates for these types of campaigns. I do not mean that these are people like sheep; quite to the contrary. What they are is a close-knit group of busy people who will ask others to recommend the names of good service providers.

It is an effort worth making, but it takes persistence and patience. After 90 to 120 days, you should see concrete results.


John Ross

PS: I have added a link to an interesting article about the future of Oral Health Care in the coming years. I hope you enjoy it.