Dental Marketing

Successful Referral Marketing for Dentists: 5 Steps to Get You Started

By December 17, 2019 February 27th, 2020 No Comments
Smiling Dentures from Dentists Office

In a bid to drive more business into their practices, countless dentists today are investing in paid online advertising, content marketing, and social media marketing. The traditional method of referral marketing is sometimes sidelined in favor of the more techie strategies.

But referral marketing is far from obsolete.

In fact, referral marketing could be the most effective way for you to generate those new patients you need to help your dental practice thrive.


Referral marketing is the one advertising method that your potential dental patients can trust. Some 92% of consumers state that they trust recommendations from others they already know. It’s human nature to trust what a friend says more than the claims made by a stranger. 

Your current patient base is probably more willing to refer their friends to you than you might realize. Don’t underestimate them. People often are quite happy to recommend their dentist when they have good experiences. 

Tap into the lead-generating power of a trusted referral by using a referral incentive program to encourage your current patients to spread the good word.

92% of consumers state that they trust recommendations from others they already know.

Here are a few steps to get you started.

Offer a gentle reminder.

Your current patients may love the care they receive at your practice. But they don’t always remember to tell their friends about the experience. It costs virtually nothing to remind them.

Mention that you have a referral rewards program at some point during the appointment. From the hygienist to the receptionist, everyone on your team can and should have a share in this aspect of your referral marketing campaign.

Thank You Card for Client Referrals - Word of Mouth Advertising

Create a referral card.

Design a system for tracking which patients refer new patients to you. You can do this with a simple pre-filled referral card. Leave a blank space for patients to write their names. Let them take home a few cards to hand out to their friends and family. When those acquaintances visit your practice, they’ll hand in the card with the name of the patient who referred them. 

Establish a rewards program.

When one of your patients refers even just one person to your practice, they aren’t just sending in one customer; they’re sending in potentially thousands of dollars of revenue to your office. 

Give your patients the benefit of the doubt by assuming that they know this and reward them appropriately for their referral. Don’t just hand out little tubes of toothpaste or branded coffee mugs; think bigger. Consider free teeth bleaching kits or gift cards or entries into a raffle for a special prize. Your incentives need to be worthwhile for your referral marketing plan to work.

Harness the power of social media networking.

Social media is a great technique for drumming up interest in your services but it’s also a convenient way for patients to promote your practice. They can easily broadcast their positive experience to hundreds of followers by simply “@” your practice.

Thank patients for referrals.

Follow up the reward by thanking your patients with a special note via postcard or email acknowledging the favor they did for you. This will strengthen the positive impression they have of you and it will help them remember to refer to you again in the future.

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Now we want to hear from you:
How has referral marketing impacted your profit margin?
Which referral marketing methods have worked best for your dental practice?