Marketing to Patients of a Retiring Dentist

A retiring dentist in the community may provide opportunities for your practice. Learn how to proceed with sensitivity and savvy.

By Susan Richards

Despite – or possibly due to – the challenges faced in recent years, dentists are waiting longer to retire. According to the ADA Health Policy Institute, the average retirement age for U.S. dentists has risen to 68.9 in 2023, compared to 64.7 in 2001. Regardless of the age, a retiring dentist in your community can provide potential opportunities for your practice – especially if you’re in a saturated market.

The transitioning doctor may have a plan to pass their patients on to a partner or associate, or if that’s not the case, they may even approach other dentists in the community. If it’s not feasible to purchase the practice or patient list, it’s critical to develop a proactive marketing strategy to target those patients who may choose to move on.

It can be a difficult time for long-time patients seeking new care and for dentists who may consider their patients as part of the practice family. Therefore, the marketing approach must be sensitive, considerate, and welcoming.

First Steps

The initial steps for a positive transition include identifying your target patient. By analyzing the retiring dentist’s patient base, you can decide if it’s a good fit with your own. What are the demographics? Are there any specialties or services they offer that you do as well? This knowledge will help you create the right targeted messaging and campaigns for their patients.

Speaking of message, you want to communicate this change positively, as an evolution rather than an inevitability. Where appropriate, highlight the retiring dentist’s legacy in the community while offering the opportunity to move practices as seamlessly as possible.

Optimizing Your Online Presence

If you want to welcome new patients, ensure your online presence is enhanced to target those seeking new care. Create a dedicated landing page for the potential patients of the retiring dentist, and be sure to include your services, especially if they align with their current doctor’s offerings. Provide a FAQ section about your practice and introduce your team members.

Improve your search results with the right keywords and phrases that will trigger SEO (search engine optimization). Increase positive online reviews and add patient testimonials from current patients to help build credibility and trust.

Of course, there are multiple marketing channels and platforms where you can maximize your reach. Reinforce your commitment to continuity of care and create a consistent narrative through:

  • Social media
  • Digital display ads
  • Email campaigns
  • Geofencing
  • Lifestyle targeting

Think Local With Traditional Marketing

As a community member, it’s also important to reach out to potential patients with more traditional methods. Tie in a direct mail postcard campaign with your display ads for increased top-of-mind awareness. Distribute a press release letting folks know of your availability to welcome new patients—just make sure the decision is common knowledge, and you’re not sharing news the retiring doctor has yet to announce.

Organize an open house where prospective new patients can meet and greet you and your team. This approach allows them to see the practice in a non-clinical setting, making it easier to plan their transition of care without any pressure.

Consider offering exclusive discounts or limited-time promotions to patients moving to your practice. This offer may encourage them to decide sooner rather than later and avoid interruption in their oral health care.

In Conclusion

As with any marketing strategy, implement tools to track and monitor the effectiveness of your efforts. Review patient responses, engagement, click rates, and any subsequent appointments scheduled as a result.

Ultimately, marketing to patients of a retiring local dentist requires empathy, sensitivity, and preparedness. By determining your target patient, creating a solid digital presence, and establishing your place in the community, you can welcome these new patients while reinforcing your value with your existing base.

DOCS Education is proud to partner with RAMP: Results-Driven Advertising & Marketing Professionals, which offers various leading-edge marketing tools and technology to help you implement a smooth transition for everyone involved. They are offering the DOCS community $1000 in free digital advertising once you sign up for a complimentary consultation. Learn more here: Free Strategy Session.

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Author: Susan Richards is a staff writer at DOCS Education. With over 20 years of experience in local journalism and business marketing, Susan's career includes award-winning feature writing, as well as creating content with context for a wide variety of industries.

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