Can Gamification Bring More Patients to Your Orthodontic Practice?

When looking to grow your practice, there are always new strategies you can use to increase traffic to your orthodontic office. One emerging trend many medical practices are finding success in is gamification. This idea is fairly broad and can be applied in a variety of ways to both improve how your practice runs and how you gain new patients.

What Is Gamification?

No, it has nothing to do with gamma rays for scanning patients’ teeth. Put simply, gamification is the process of applying game principles to things unrelated to actual gaming. So when you apply gamification to orthodontics, you’re adding new ways to incentivize patients to take desired actions.

Lots of marketers find success using this principle since people are inherently geared towards positive reinforcement and earning new achievements. This psychological truth about people extends far beyond playing games, but it also explains why people enjoy playing games and being competitive. You can leverage these instincts in your favor by applying gamification to your marketing strategy.

Examples of Gamification in Marketing

When it comes to marketing your orthodontic practice, there are some promising ways you can use gamification to gain new patients. One of the simplest ways is to create a referral program. Many orthodontic offices offer referral programs that reward patients for bringing new patients to the office. If your office already has something like this, you can rework your program to function more like a game by adding more achievements for patients to earn.

For instance, rather than getting the same reward (such as a gift card or discount on another kid’s braces), you can increase the rewards as patients refer more people. Perhaps offer a gift card for the first referral and work your way up to a more substantial reward for referring five people or more, such as a free teeth-whitening kit.

You can also add gamification to family treatments, like providing discounted braces for having multiple kids in braces, increasing the discount for each kid. Perhaps you could reserve your most exclusive offer for the family who has every member get orthodontic treatment at your office.

How to Apply Gamification

When using gamification to revamp your marketing strategy, be sure to make the goals clear and tangible when offering rewards. Use visuals and easily measurable point systems to reinforce their achievements and motivate further progress towards a goal. Whether it’s through a mailed note or email, be sure to keep the visuals and point system standardized and consistent.

Even if you don’t have a reward for a desired action, such as completing treatment at your office, you can still use gamification to motivate your patients. Consider using a point system or a “progress bar” to give patients a visual on their treatment progressing reward them for coming to appointments, keeping their teeth clean, or wearing their elastics as prescribed.

The principle of gamification isn’t limited to patients. You can also think of ways to add game-like achievements and rewards to boost staff performance and create positive morale in your office.

As more and more marketers find success using gamification strategies, it’s a strategy you and your team should discuss in your future aims of growth.