With Halloween behind us, lets talk about ten ways to market your dental practice during the holidays. I hope you have a list of your current patient names and addresses readily available. If you do not have a mailing list for your current patients, now is a good time to begin making one as you prepare to market your practice in 2016.

1. Prepare a Christmas or Holiday card and distribute it soon after Thanksgiving. The card should photograph you and your staff, while also highlighting your involvement in your community. Don’t offer a discount or promote your services. This is one piece of marketing, I’d even say is okay to throw ROI out the window and just remind everyone that you’re human.

2. Mail a “benefits reminder letter”. Remind your insurance based patients that the end of 2015 is approaching and that they may want to schedule a dental appointment before their benefits expire.

3. Volunteer at a food drive or a local shelter; take photographs and write write about it on your blog. Don’t have a blog?

4. It’s 2015, and it’s time to start a blog. I can’t stress enough how beneficial a blog can be for you practice. Engage your community and rarely write about dentistry or healthcare. Dedicate some of your downtime to writing and force yourself to write one post per month and delegate the other 3 to your staff if you don’t have time to publish 1 short post per week.

5. Decorate your office. Decorate your waiting room so well that it wows your patients. Take pictures and publish them on Yelp, Google, and Facebook. Then, encourage your patients to take photos and share them with their social networks.

6. Remember a few of your long time patients who couldn’t afford that crown or scaling and root planing? Call a few of them, say hello, and offer to provide the service for free. Try and do this before Thanksgiving. They’ll likely tell the rest of their family about your generosity over the Holiday and you may find a few new patients who have benefits to burn at the end of the year.

7. Sponsor a local family’s Thanksgiving Dinner; take photos and write about it on your blog. Don’t have a blog? See #4. It doesn’t cost a lot to buy a Turkey and other dishes for another family. You and your staff will feel good about it, and people in your community will acknowledge your generosity.

8. Identify a local business where many customers frequent each day – hair salons are a great example. Talk to the owner, ask if you can provide coffee and pastries to their clients one morning and place a professionally designed brochure about your dental practice next to the food.

9. Take photos of everything you have done during the months of October, November, and December. Assemble these photos into a newsletter about your dental practice and how grateful you are to be working or living in this wonderful community. Use this newsletter as a direct mail campaign after January 1st, wishing everyone a happy New Year.

10. Look at your accounts receivable, and forgive the balances of the patients who are overdue 90 days (I stole this idea from Howard Farran’s 30 Day MBA). If the patient hasn’t paid in 90 days, it’s unlikely they’ll pay at all and what are you going to get out of sending them to collections? Little to nothing besides a bad Yelp review. Just look at this list, write a letter to each patient thanking them for initially choosing your office, explain that you have had a great year and that you understand that their year may have been difficult. Forgive their balance and politely dismiss them from your practice.