Introductory offers are not uncommon. Cable companies like Dish Network and Direct TV always have a deal where, for example, the first 6 months are cheaper than the rest of the contract. 

While this strategy may work in industries where there is limited competition (think telecommunications, Internet, and cable television), it’s a terrible way to treat loyal customers. 

Groupon and other daily deal services notoriously offer steep discounts that exclude new customers in the fine print…”not valid for existing customers”.  

Dentists use daily deals and introductory offers to bring in new patients (the life-blood of the practice), however giving away exams and X-rays or otherwise offering steep discounts exclusively to new patients is a terrible way to treat your loyal fans. In fact, loyal customers are the people who should receive the discount – not a handful of bargain-shopping strangers. 

For dentists, giving a coupon to a stranger undermines the relationships you’ve spent years building with your existing patients. As an alternative, surprise your most loyal patients with completely free treatment when they least expect it. That’s right, not 10%, 20%, or even 50% off – “today’s treatment is on the house”. Being treated like a celebrity is delightful – it’s worth talking about.

Hint: for added impact try this around November or December when everyone has to tighten their budget because they overspent at the mall. Your customers also already have plans to see family and friends over the holidays; giving them a great opportunity to tell others about your generosity.