Gamify Your Referral Program and Win New Patients!
The dental industry is competitive. You’re competing with several practices in your city, maybe even on your street, for the attention, business and loyalty of existing and prospective patients. The success of your practice depends on your ability to engage new patients and retain interest in your practice, and then use that enthusiasm to drive patient retention and referrals. In other words: to gamify your overall marketing strategy.
Like the dental industry, people are inherently competitive. We all have the desire to be the best at something and to then be rewarded for our skills. In fact, as of March 2015, the most popular app category was games, and just in America more than 150 million people currently play games on their gaming systems, computers, tablets and smartphones.
Gamifying takes our competitive instincts and harnesses them to make everyday things―or even the mundane―engaging and exciting. As an example, look at the way fitness bands have recently exploded in popularity. Everyone knows they should exercise regularly, but many have a hard time feeling motivated. Yet fitness bands are all the rage because they’ve revolutionized exercise through rewards and competition.
Businesses using gamification, in market sectors as varied as entertainment to media and health/wellness to retail, have profited from client engagement and loyalty metrics, seeing an increase in referrals by as much as 250%. Gamifying your referral program can be just as valuable and profitable to your practice when done the right way.
So you’re interested, but how do you start?
It’s easier than it may sound. You apply common game-playing elements, such as competition and points, to motivate and reward your current patients to refer friends to your practice. When something is fun, and your patients know a reward will be given, they will become highly motivated to refer others.
Gamifying referrals helps you keep patients ─which ultimately gains you more new patients.
Adding gaming elements of fun and rewards to your referral program keeps patients’ interest and loyalty while encouraging continual engagement with your practice. As they have fun getting referrals and are rewarded for it, patients will feel good―and like any serious gamer, the more rewards they receive, the more they want to play.
Some gaming elements you could add to your referral program are:
- Points—Give when a referral is made. This measures your patients’ achievements.
- Badges—Reward when a certain number of referrals or points is reached.
- Challenges—Set a challenge or goal to achieve in a certain period, encouraging more patient engagement.
- Leaderboard—Display how your patients are competing with one another. This could be placed physically in the office or on your website.
Gamifying your practice’s referral program provides the engagement you want your patients to have with your practice. It also makes your practice more personable and helps you stand out from other practices in your area. Each of these leads to increased patient interest and loyalty, and you’ll have a more personal connection with your patients and enjoy valuable patient referrals and revenue.
Gamification is a win for your practice and your patients—and as we all know, everyone loves winning!