When it comes to new patient referrals, do you know who (or what) is really referring the most patients to your practice?

In today’s fast-paced world, it pays to track and analyze your referral sources. That precious data can help you understand what’s truly working and reaching your patients where they are, allowing you to focus more time and money on proven marketing strategies that really work best for you and your orthodontic practice.

Use these tips to uncover valuable insights and grow your practice:

  1. Every patient must have a referral source. Ask every patient that contacts you or sets up an appointment. You and your team may be surprised at the answers. It may be as obvious as another dental office, a current patient or a marketing campaign, or something a bit more unexpected, like a casual neighborhood event your orthodontist attended, or even a friend of a friend of a coworker. You don’t know if you don’t ask!
  2. Be specific. Having a patient simply say “the internet” is their source is not enough. Ask whether they found you through a Google search, your social media page, your website, or somewhere else.
  3. Use your reports wisely. Make your reports really work for you. If you had 30 new patients this month, make sure each one has a clear referral source.
  4. Thank your referrals and new patients – People who refer other patients want to know how much you appreciate their referrals. Personalized thank you notes, cards or emails go a long way in thanking both those who are bringing in new patients, as well as the new patients themselves.
  5. Add a referral reward program – Adding a patient referral program – or even combining it with your email or social media marketing efforts – makes it easy and rewarding to refer other new patients to your office. Actions that get praised and rewarded get repeated. Just make sure you’re following your state and HIPAA guidelines.
  6. Make educated marketing decisions. Once you can pinpoint where your patients are coming from, it’s much easier to determine your ROI and focus on maximizing it.
  7. Find ways to capture multiple referral sources. Most people will likely see, hear, or read about your office several times before they decide to call you or schedule an appointment. Set up an easy way for patients to mention multiple referral sources. For example, your patient may have seen a postcard from your office, and also heard their friend talk about the great experience she had at her last visit. Which one should the new patient list as their referral? If they’re limited to only one source, which one takes priority?

Referral sources are key bits of information for your orthodontic practice. Using tracking software to help you gather and evaluate the ROI from your efforts will ensure you’re putting your money in the right place. To help gather and retain this valuable insight, Greyfinch’s practice management software automatically asks new patients where they heard about the practice during the onboarding process, so staff members don’t have to.