If your practice is situated in a city or town with a university, chances are you will have seen an influx of new students moving to the area during September. This blog takes a look at how these students are actually a host of potential patients that your practice could be targeting, as well as ways to overcome some of the hurdles you may face.
For most students, the prospect of university and independent living (in some cases, escaping the wrath of interfering parents!) is an exciting one. However, when it comes to dental care, parents are often the key players that keep the mouths of their children healthy. Without constant reminders, students can tend to let regular dental appointments slide with that classic excuse; ‘Mum or Dad used to do it for me’.
As changes to diet and drinking habits can have significant effects, university is a pivotal time for students to think about their oral health and future wellbeing. It is up to parents and dental professionals to educate and encourage students to get off to a good start in their brand new home.
Making your presence known locally and on campus can increase awareness of your practice. Freshers’ fairs are the perfect chance to showcase your services; try booking a stand and giving away dental freebies for every new patient that books an appointment. Flyers in the university café, adverts in student magazines or door drops to halls of residence are also effective ways of encouraging sign ups.
You could offer a time-limited discount to new patients via university welcome packs, encouraging students to join and save whilst they are still settling in to the area. In some cases you may not receive an instant response, but building your brand awareness and letting prospective patients know you are there in the event of an emergency could lead to their custom at a later date.
Young adult patients are highly likely to research online before choosing a new dentist. Making sure that practice information is easily accessible, including on mobile, can encourage enquiries or bookings. Positive reviews, mentioning the friendly staff and top quality care at your practice, can also help to ease the minds of nervous patients beforehand as well as a warm and welcoming practice setting on arrival.
For many students, the cost of university can be daunting. After rent, bills and books, the average student has £330 to spare per month*. Although it depends on the individual and where they would prefer to spend their money, it is often necessary to come to a compromise on additional expenses such as food, travel, shopping and socialising.
By offering Denplan in your practice, you can not only enable your student patients to budget for their dental care, but also facilitate the ongoing monitoring of their oral health. As part of your Denplan membership, our Practice Marketing team are also on hand to help you design marketing materials that appeal to this audience. To find out more, please speak to your dedicated Denplan Consultant or the Practice Support team on 0800 328 3223.
*Source: Savethestudent.org ‘Student Money Survey 2016 – Results’ http://www.savethestudent.org/money/student-money-survey-2016.html