By Nancy Hyman
Patient referral patterns continue to vex practices as professional referrals decline and Internet referrals become increasingly important, leaving direct-to-the-public promotions as an afterthought. Don’t take this important segment of practice growth for granted! In addition to a strong patient-to-patient and sibling program, consider increasing name identification by going directly to the source of school-aged children and adolescents.
The orthodontist and a key team member may visit select local schools based on current patients’ enrollment and proximity to your practice. The visit may be impromptu or scheduled. I prefer an unscheduled visit as I have found it very easy to locate the appropriate decision maker by speaking with the school secretary.
Bring an introductory letter and use it for discussion points, leaving the letter as a reminder of services benefiting the school. I have outlined a sample letter below for your reference:
(Opening statement) The orthodontic office of Dr. William Hyman would be delighted to partner with your school in appreciation of your students and the valuable educational services you offer the community. I suggest the following initiatives for your consideration:
- Our dental team will provide tooth brushing clinics in the classroom. Each hands-on clinic is 30 minutes and conducted by two licensed dental assistants. Students will learn the proper way to brush and floss in an entertaining and relaxed presentation. Each student will receive a complimentary oral hygiene kit and an offer for a panoramic x-ray and orthodontic exam at no charge.
- Dr. Hyman will provide custom mouth guard for each athletic team player. We will offer designated days at our office and team members will be fitted for the mouth guard. Appliances are made in our office and players may pick up the guard within 7 days.
- Nancy Hyman welcomes your parent-teacher association to the office for a demonstration of our practice slide show: slides that you may produce for promotion of your school. The slides are on a constant loop in two prominent areas and will be an excellent format for promotion of your schools’ events.
- Nancy Hyman will meet with your parent-teacher association to collaborate on one project per year. The project will involve a financial donation.
- Dr. Hyman is available for dental screenings of each student in the classroom or a designated area at your school.
(Closing statement) I am open to your suggestions as well! Kindly email for additional details. Let’s get started on the road to success for our children! (End of letter)
Think beyond traditional marketing and expand your strategies to include a robust school plan for an added referral stream.