5 Powerful Ways to Build a Loyal Patient Base (Dentist Edition)

Did you know that just a 5% increase in your patient retention…Click to view source in a new tab… can boost your profits by up to 75%?

But how do the top 10% of dental practices turn patients into raving fans?

The secret lies in understanding the psychology behind patient decisions.

If you get how people buy, you can dramatically transform patient interactions and retention rates.

So… I’m sharing the 5 marketing psychology tactics you should use for your marketing.

When I say psychology tactics, I’m not talking about being manipulative and pushy to score a quick sale.

I’m talking about using these tactics for good to build and nurture strong relationships with patients.

Let’s dive in and make your practice the one your community can’t stop talking about.

Here’s our first big psychological trigger…

#1: Social Proof

Social proof is when people mimic the actions of others because they believe it’s the correct behavior.

It’s like following the crowd.

The most common examples of social proof are testimonials, reviews (like Google), and case studies.

Why does this matter?

The more someone sees social proof, the more likely they’re to trust and choose your services.

A study by BrightLocal found that 75% people always or regularly read online reviews…Click to view source in a new tab….

And 81% use Google as their #1 source…Click to view source in a new tab… for reviews.

And that makes sense.

Think about it…

Would you trust your smile to someone with over 600 5-star reviews?

Or the dentist with 14 reviews?

I’m going to the one with a ton of reviews.

So, how can you leverage social proof in your dental practice?

Start simple…

Ask for Google reviews. And make this into a system.

And make it a system in your practice.

Ask in person or send a follow-up text or email with a direct link to your review page.

Consider automating this process with a nurture email sequence.

Automation makes regular requests hassle-free and can significantly increase your review count.

Once you get into the habit of asking for reviews, gather video testimonials.

Then put them everywhere online…

  • Your website’s homepage
  • Your social media posts
  • Create case studies with these videos

And here’s a bonus: Level up your case studies with before-and-after images (especially for high-ticket services).

The more social proof you add, the faster people will trust you and say yes to treatment.

Now, let’s get into marketing psychology trigger 2: Reciprocity.

#2: Reciprocity

Reciprocity is when someone does something nice for us, we naturally feel compelled to return the favor.

It’s a strategic approach to building deeper, more loyal patient relationships.

When patients feel genuinely cared for beyond basic dental services, they develop a strong loyalty to your practice.

They’ll return for future appointments and even refer friends and family.

The perfect example to describe reciprocity is someone you might not expect…

Taylor Swift…

She’s not a billionaire because of her music. It’s because she’s created a community with her diehard fanbase (AKA the Swifties).

She celebrates her fans, makes them feel special, and includes them in her world. She’s…

She even leaves Easter eggs in her albums…Click to view source in a new tab… with coded messages that her fans are OBSESSED with.

Taylor’s actions create a profound, emotional connection with her fans. And they support her relentlessly.

That’s the power of reciprocity.

You can make your patients feel special – just like Taylor Swift.

Make them feel like a VIP.

Surprise, delight, and wow them.

For example…

If a patient has a birthday coming up, send a gift card to a local café or bookstore.

If a patient is recovering from surgery, send a wellness basket

Send a new toothbrush or a handwritten card reminding patients it’s time for their hygiene appointment.

Then, follow up with a personal call from your front desk.

Share unique dental hygiene tips through short-form videos.

This not only helps patients but also boosts your visibility online, especially with Google’s latest SGE update.

Do “Welcome Gifts” for new patients. Have it waiting for them in their operatory room.

For your long-term patients, give them an unexpected gift at their next appointment. A smartwatch, a smart TV, an iPhone.

Create an experience and atmosphere that makes them go… “Woah! A dentist has never done this for me before.”

If you get them to do that… then you’ve got a patient for life.

#3: Customer Perceived Value

Customer Perceived Value is essentially how patients judge the value of your dental services based on what they get compared to what they pay.

Think of it like this… you want to go to a lobster dinner.

Would you choose…

A plain diner in the middle of an empty highway?


A luxurious, high-end restaurant cooked by none other than Gordon Ramsay?

It’s the same lobster. Same food.

But the experience at Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant dramatically elevates the perceived value.

  • The ambiance
  • The celebrity chef’s involvement
  • The quality of service

All these factors make the meal worth more.

You’re not paying for lobster. You’re paying for the experience.

Now, how can you enhance perceived value in your dental practice?

It goes back to surprise, delight, and wow. Make the patient experience exceptional.

Could you include a welcome basket for new patients?

What about adding essential oils to the goodie bags or giving out gift cards to local cafes?

I know a dental office that bakes fresh cookies for their patients every day.

Small gestures like these can make a patient’s visit memorable, making the service feel more valuable.

Another way to demonstrate value is by creating short-form videos that address common pain points for patients:

  • Time
  • Money
  • Pain

A 30-second video explaining your pain-free procedures or the affordability of your treatments can help break down barriers and set proper expectations.

Send new patients a welcome video before their first visit to give them a warm introduction to your practice.

Finally, list out everything they’re getting with treatment. This will increase the value significantly.

For instance, with Invisalign, don’t say it’s just $5000.

Explain what they get:

  • Teeth whitening trays
  • Mouthguards
  • Access to cutting-edge digital technology that speeds up the process
  • Personalized time with an experienced doctor
  • A guaranteed straight smile
  • Total satisfaction

Here’s a bonus:

Add small bonuses to your services.

These could be follow-up care tips, free post-treatment check-ups, or even just a thank-you card after procedures.

By focusing on enhancing the perceived value of every service you offer, you ensure patients feel they’re making a smart investment.

Let’s get into marketing psychology trigger 4…

#4. Scarcity

Scarcity is a powerful and straightforward tactic for marketing and psychology.

It suggests that services available in limited quantities are perceived as more valuable.

The harder something is to obtain, the more people want it.

Scarcity creates a sense of urgency, pushing people to take action quickly.

You see scarcity all the time when you shop online.

When you shop on Amazon, every notice this little text…

Only 1 left in stock – order soon

You see this all the time because it works.

Here’s a story to prove it…

In Richard Chataway’s book The Behaviour Business, he shares an effective use of scarcity in a marketing campaign by KFC Australia.

KFC was offering chips for $1.

They ran a Facebook Ads campaign to promote the offer.

Despite having a team of talented copywriters producing 70 creative headlines, this headline got the most sales:

Chips for $1. Limited to 4 per customer.

That’s how powerful scarcity is.

Here are a few ways you can implement scarcity into your practice.

Do limited-time offers.

This could include discounted teeth whitening for a certain time period (like Mother’s Day in May)

VIP Packages.

Create special treatment packages that combine services like a spa day and teeth whitening.

Use scarcity to only have a limited amount, such as “Only for the first 5 patients who sign up.”

Do seasonal offerings.

Generate excitement and anticipation by teasing upcoming seasonal services.

For example, promote a ‘Date Night Spa Package’ available only during Valentine’s season.

Everyone loves feeling like they’re part of an exclusive group.

Alright, now we’re in the home stretch.

#5. The Pygmalion Effect

This trigger shows that the higher our expectations for someone, whether students, employees, or team members, the better they perform.

It’s about how positive expectations influence people’s behavior.

Setting and continuously stating high expectations enhances your team’s performance and patient outcomes.

You might think, ‘I already expect the best from my team,’ and that’s great!

But you need to systematize these expectations, just like any other aspect of running a business.

Here’s how you can do that:

Start with your practice’s mission statement and core values. Share them with your team regularly and make them a living part of your culture.

For example, at Roadside Dental Marketing

We have daily stand-up meetings, and we spin this wheel.

The name it lands on has to recite our mission statement.

This constant reinforcement helps everyone live up to our core values.

Next, use your team huddles to celebrate wins and give shoutouts.

This not only sets a positive tone but also shows your team that their efforts are recognized and valued. I

It reinforces your high expectations in a supportive, energetic way.

We do this every day at Roadside — celebrating our wins, and giving shoutouts to team members.

And we looooovvvvveeee it!

It energizes our team to go kick butt.

That positive energy becomes contagious and when we meet with clients, it rubs off on them.

And it will do the same for your practice.

This high energy not only motivates your team but also impresses your patients.

They feel the vibrancy and care, which boosts their overall experience and satisfaction.

And happy patients are far more likely to refer others to your practice.

That’s how the Pygmalion Effect works. You loving the high vibes?

There you have it—five powerful ways to build a loyal patient base, all through the clever use of marketing psychology.

Imagine what your practice will look like when you have not just patients but loyal advocates.

Pick a marketing psychology tactic

Now… here’ what I want you to do.

Try one of these psychology tactics this month.

  • Social Proof: Ask every patient for a Google review and text them the link.
  • Reciprocity: Pick up some gift cards from your favorite local coffee shop and surprise your patients when they come for their appointments.
  • Customer Perceived Value: Grab your phone and create quick 30-second videos addressing common patient barriers. Share these videos online.
  • Scarcity: Plan a special package and limit its availability to enhance its appeal.
  • Pygmalion Effect: Start celebrating wins in your team huddles every day.

Small and consistent actions will snowball into big results.

Share with us how these tactics worked. Drop a comment below.

If you’d like more personalized advice or need help implementing these strategies, visit our website and book a free strategy session.

Let’s work together to make your dental practice stand out.

See you next time!

One thought on “5 Powerful Ways to Build a Loyal Patient Base (Dentist Edition)
  1. Avatar for Melissa Bosshardt

    LOVE!!! Thank you for your amazing tips!!

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