4 Ways to Cultivate Practice Growth Through Community Involvement

4 Ways to Cultivate Practice Growth Through Community Involvement

Written By:

Ariel Kuhn

Senior Account Manager
February 13, 2024

4 Ways to Cultivate Practice Growth Through Community Involvement

What’s better than running a race by yourself? Running it with other people. Whether they’re challenging you to give it a little more oomph, warning you about a pothole, or cheering you on from the sidelines (funny t-shirt, encouraging sign, or Bring It On-style cheer required), having others there for you inspires you to go further than you would have on your own.

When you decided to become a dentist, there were a lot of questions that went through your mind, and I’m sure at least one of them was about the type of people you could see yourself running the race with – your family, friends, team, patients, and yes, your community. Where did you see yourself five years into that startup? Probably not alone.

Here at Studio 8E8, we believe your story is worth it. We invest our time, energy, and frequent flier miles into getting to know you, and frankly, we become quite attached. We believe your community would appreciate and benefit from the same opportunity - connecting with you on a personal level. By implementing a few heart-centered strategies and practices, your office can operate out of your mission on a deeper level –establishing strong ties with the community, increasing brand awareness, and attracting new patients in order to grow sustainably.

You chose to practice dentistry in your town and to do your part in making the families there feel seen, heard, and well taken care of. You help each person who walks through your door leave with a smile they can be proud of. It’s no small feat. But your role –and your impact –can extend beyond the confines of your office walls. Every smile you serve, every conversation you have, and every greeting you give can foster a healthier and happier community. In forging those connections, you’ll see the profound impact that trust, understanding, and genuine care can have on the lives of those around you.

Now the big question –how? 

How do you engage in your community? 

You’re knee-deep in paperwork, numbers, and those darn TikTok recording days, how can you find time to meaningfully grow roots in the place you’ve planted yourself? We’ve got a few ideas. 

1: Share Your Story, Ask About Theirs

Virtually, this one is easy once you’ve got that handy dandy content back from your trusty marketing team. Use the content captured at your session to share why you got into dentistry, what excites you about it, and what you love most about your job. Sharing your perspective opens space for others to do the same. Try posting a video clip or a team photo with a snippet of your story and asking your community about theirs – and don’t forget to reply thoughtfully to any responses.

Personally, finding ways to connect with your patients can be easier than pulling teeth, especially when they’re right in front of you. A new grandbaby on the iPhone screen, a Veteran’s hat, a Buffalo Bills hoodie, or a light-up Bluey on tiny sneakers. Look for ways to connect with your patients through conversation or what you see as they come in. Keep notes, remember their name, and show them you care about who they are.  They won’t forget you noticed.

2: Hit the Streets 

Your community likely already has a calendar of events ranging from parades to postage stamp seminars and finding common ground apart from teeth is a great way to get plugged in. Participate in health fairs or community festivals to offer information about dental health and promote your practice's services. Ask about sponsoring local sports teams or community events to increase brand visibility. Partner with other healthcare providers or businesses in the community to cross-promote services and make a few friends along the way. Collaborate with schools to implement oral health education programs for students and parents. 

Known as “Ground Marketing,” local relationship building is at its core just being genuine and motivated in wanting to learn more about the people you’re serving, then using what you learn to improve each patient’s experience. Finding ways to join in on the fun goes a long way.

3: Be the Hostess with the Most-est

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times when an introverted sophomore had to plan, orchestrate, recruit for, and run her own events as a newbie Resident Assistant back in the ol’ college days. But boy, did the creativity come out. Including (but not limited to) High School Musical-themed karaoke nights and a toothbrush bracelet-making extravaganza (the first sign I’d end up in dental marketing). Hosting your own events shows passion, personality, and pizazz that your patients will appreciate. Here are a few ideas to get you started - 

-Organize free dental check-up days for the community and connect with schools in the area to spread the word –have a theme and prizes for anyone who comes in costume!

-Host an after-hours event with grilling, snacks, games, and nametags (definitely nametags) to encourage mingling in a relaxed atmosphere at a nearby park or courtyard. Sort of like our friends at Cusp Dental Boutique did!

-Take a look at upcoming social media holidays and grab a treat or item for patients that day –I’m lookin’ at you #NationalDonutDay, #NationalStickerDay, #NationalPuzzleDay, #NationalOrangeJuiceDay (who comes up with these)...you get the picture. Make coming into your office fun, surprising, and engaging for the kid in all of us.

-Host a trivia night for all things dental, or all things [Insert Your Town Name Here]. Have music playing, snacks available, and hey, why not more prizes, for a fun night that uses all those years of school. 

4: Support a Good Cause

If hosting events isn’t your thing, maybe philanthropy is a better fit. Partner with a local non-profit to collect pet supplies, backpacks, Christmas gifts, clothing, or school supplies (like our friends at South Avenue Dental!) all year round for underserved groups in your city. Bring signage into your office explaining a portion of each appointment goes toward that particular cause. Encourage your team to volunteer at local shelters, nursing homes, or charitable organizations to provide dental care for underserved populations, or take one day off per quarter to do so together.

Collaborate with local schools like Lagniappe Dental did or collaborate with your local community center to conduct oral health education workshops or offer discounts or special packages for organizations or members. Find a way to serve the people who need you most, but may not know how to find you. You never know the ripple effect that time well spent will have.

Though this is far from an exhaustive list –we didn’t even get into flyers and raffles and bulletin boards, oh my –you get the picture. Patients want to have that personal buy-in with the practitioners they choose to trust. They want to know you, they want to refer you, and they want to leave those five-star reviews. We want you to be successful and getting the community involved on your behalf is a great way to do it.

More than that, you’re not alone in this race. 

Your family and friends are supporting you, the community is cheering you on, and there’s a kick-butt marketing team that’s got your back. And hey, if you don’t have one of those, we should talk.

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