5 Efficient Ways to Increase Patient Referrals for Your Orthodontic Practice

Even in today’s day and age of booming technology and fancy online marketing techniques, good old-fashioned word of mouth advertising is as powerful as it has even been to increase orthodontic practice patient referrals.

In a 2014 study by Ogilvy, Google and TNS, 2,500 consumers were surveyed on their top 10 “points of influence” after making purchases.  Not surprisingly, word of mouth ranked number one at 74%.

People trust their friends, and they trust the experiences of others. If you’re looking to improve your practice and bring in lifetime customers, you want to do everything you can to increase orthodontic patient referrals.

Here are five simple ways to increase patient referrals for your orthodontic practice and help your patients spread the word.

1. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Referrals

Asking for business can seem a bit risky. After all, the last thing you want to do is sound like a sales company. But, how are your current patients supposed to know you want new patients without some form of communication?

It doesn’t have to be as blunt as “Refer us!” Instead, put up friendly signs where customers can see them saying, “New patients welcome!” You can also note it on your patient correspondence. Have your front desk coordinator casually mention it at check out, especially to patients who seemed very pleased with the service. Using a memorized script, you and your staff can ask if there’s anyone who might need your services.

2. Up Your Customer Service Care

People don’t refer businesses they don’t like to their friends, family and social media followers. Stand out and give your patients a reason to brag about you. One of the best ways to stand out in business is by exceptional customer service. Create a friendly, comforting, and helpful environment for your patients.

3. Include a Variety of Different Internal Marketing Strategies

Even if you have the best marketing strategy in the world, one single marketing tactic isn’t enough. Different people respond to different approaches. Implement at least 15 advertising strategies. From signage to social media to contests, various methods will be more likely to reach and connect with a wider audience.

4. Hire a Professional

Managing a patient referral program is no easy task, and it may not be wise to go at it alone. Invest in a part-time marketing coordinator who has the skill and experience to move your strategy forward quickly and efficiently.

5. Set a Goal

It’s no new concept that setting goals improve performance. In one study, setting goals improved work performance by 12-15%.

Setting goals acts as a source of motivation, inspiration, and accountability. Set a specific referral target. As an example, you might want to set a target of one referral per year from 50 percent of your patients. Break that goal up into quarterly, monthly, or weekly goals and use it to motivate your staff or marketing coordinator.


It’s true that marketing is moving in a whole new direction with our ever developing technological society. But word of mouth is one marketing tactic that’s not going anywhere anytime soon.  Increase your orthodontic patient referrals through word of mouth by following the guidelines discussed here. It will offer an excellent return for the time, money, and effort your practice puts into it.


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