If you’re wondering why patients still aren’t streaming in months after you opened up your clinic, you’ll be glad to know that you’re not alone. Dentists all over the world suffer from this apparent lag phase where appointments are few and far between, and business just doesn’t seem to be picking up. The culprit? A lack of knowledge on marketing strategies that are crucial especially in today’s cutthroat digital world.
Digital marketing has made a world of difference for some practices but has left others reeling in confusion as they try to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Luckily, the truth is in the findings, and the research has shown that these six digital marketing mistakes often have the worst impact on the growth of new dental practices.
So before you decide to call it quits, read on to find out why your dental practice isn’t reaching its full potential and how you can remedy the situation.
1. Your Website Isn’t Mobile Responsive
Having a mobile-responsive website and a digital marketing strategy that is geared towards mobile users is arguably the most important thing you as a website owner can and should do. The reason is simple: mobile devices gained precedence over desktops years ago, the fact that Google relayed in 2016 when they announced their new “mobile-first” indexing model.
In a nutshell, Google determined that more people access the internet using their mobile devices as opposed to desktop
computers and this meant that mobile-friendly websites would be ranked higher than websites with interfaces that would primarily benefit desktop users.
What did this mean for your dental practice? It meant that you were more likely to be found by patients if your website was mobile-friendly. Think about it. A patient is more likely to contact your clinic if your website is easy to navigate and full of relevant information such as procedures you specialize
in, your working hours, and how they can contact you at the office.
A mobile-responsive website is a vital digital marketing tool that will certainly bring you more appointments because the majority of people use their phones to access the internet these days. By the end of 2017, 50.3 % of all internet use came from mobile devices. In contrast, only 0.7 % of internet use came from mobile devices in 2009, barely two decades before.
It is unwise to underestimate the value of making websites that can be accessed by mobile users. And with web developers globally pushing towards the mobile front, it’s not hard to get a well-optimized mobile site without spending too much.
2. You’re Spending Too Much (Or Too Little) On Digital Marketing
How much spending is too much when it comes to digital marketing? Where is the line between extravagance and sensible investing drawn? The truth is that there’s no one-size-fits-all response to any of these questions especially since dental practices vary wildly depending on factors such as location, online and offline visibility, and scale of operations.
Spending on digital marketing should be done cautiously, and by cautiously we mean wisely. Only spend on the marketing strategies that have the greatest positive impact on your business. How do you know which strategies work for you? It’s simple: just observe which marketing tactics work consistently or bring in more patients then find ways to fine-tune these strategies.
Cheap is expensive–this is a message that rings true in the world of digital marketing. Basically, you get what you pay for, so if you skimp on useful digital marketing strategies, you’ll end up deploying half-cooked strategies that either won’t work at all or will slow down your progress drastically (see the paragraph on Limiting Your Reach).
Inversely, overspending on specific strategies doesn’t necessarily mean that they will work better. If you’re still a small time dentist, spending your money on billboards and TV ads is overkill, pure and simple. Instead, make use of the magic of social media and let useful features such as Facebook Ads do the work for you at a fraction of the cost.
All the while, you should not ignore the power of organic marketing. Despite being free, it can sometimes be even more effective than paid digital marketing strategies. Relying on organic marketing needs you to be aware of what products or services your patients need the most and promoting the said product or services. This way, you are more likely to get more patients with similar dental problems through word of mouth or when they search for and find your website.
3. You Don’t Have a Clear-Cut Marketing Strategy
Going in and expecting to succeed without a clear marketing strategy is like going to war without even knowing where the battle lines are drawn. In other words, you’re setting yourself up for failure if you don’t have a solid digital marketing strategy going in.
Arguably the most important part of forming a digital marketing strategy is knowing your target market. You should know which
people your dental procedures will benefit the most and learn about how they’re concentrated in different areas, their spending abilities, how often they seek dental care, how they find dentists when they need them, and whether or not they are likely to tell others about your business.
Knowing your patients in and out not only helps you learn what products and services are in higher demand, it also gives you insight into market trends, such as how dental visits spike after certain holidays (like Halloween and Thanksgiving) and how often the people in your area will visit a dentist just for a routine checkup.
All this information is clearly useful, but many ignore the legwork and go straight to the marketing part. No matter how big the market is, advertising your products and services to people who don’t need it (i.e., the wrong audience) will not do any favours for your business. A clear marketing strategy acts like a compass that points you to where you’re supposed to focus your marketing campaign to get the most conversions.
4. You’re Not Using Email Marketing Correctly
Don’t let anyone fool you–email marketing is not archaic nor irrelevant in a world dominated by social media platforms. If anything, it’s important now more than ever to learn how to use this powerful marketing strategy to your clinic’s advantage.
In fact, statistics show that email marketing still has a greater effect on digital marketing than Twitter and Facebook combined. What’s more, the majority of adults in the US still prefer to communicate with the businesses that serve them via email, according to a 2015 report by MarketingSherpa. So why shun a marketing strategy that is clearly more effective than ever?
Many small businesses love this old yet tried and tested technique because it provides immediate results. It is easy to track how each and every email is received by your email list so tweaks and adjustments can be made to get better results.
Emails, especially well-composed ones, also build credibility and foster strong relationships between patients and dentists especially if the email contains information the readers find useful. Being an authority figure in your niche means that more people come to you when they need products or services like yours.
Last but certainly not least, over two-thirds of emails sent these days are opened on mobile devices. Emails have enough ambiguity to reach both desktop and mobile users without needing much further optimization. Therefore, your email list is more important than your desktop-only website simply because it is not limited to only a fraction of internet users.
So if you think email marketing is on its way out, think again. It is by far still one of the best ways to get new leads, reach patients that need your services, and keep in touch with your patients throughout the year.
5. You’re targeting The Wrong Audiences
No matter how rich your Facebook ad campaigns, email newsletters, and website content is, your dental practice will be running in place if you don’t target the right audiences. Knowing where to focus your marketing strategies is the key to utilizing them to their full extent.
Targeting the wrong audience might be a result of misinformation or just a lack of knowledge on how to maximize the effectiveness of your ad campaigns. Both can be remedied, fortunately, but the most important thing is to realize where your clinic can perform better in terms of reaching the patients that need you and your dental products.
Luckily, almost everyone can benefit from many of the dental care services offered by professionals these days, so it shouldn’t be too hard to target your ads. Once you’ve learned everything you need to know about your customers (refer to the topic on having a clear marketing strategy), you need to figure out where the best places to network or market your business are.
Dental trade shows and conferences such as the annual American Association of Orthodontists sessions offer a great opportunity for dentists that are new to the industry to learn how to maximize their reach to the right audiences. As a bonus, dentists who attend this often get lucky enough to brush shoulders and gain useful tips from industry leaders and experts. Here you can learn how to find patients that actually need your services and how to expand your customer base exponentially.
6. You’re limiting Your Reach by Buying Fake Followers
Many small business owners who create business pages on social media accounts have fallen into this trap without even knowing it. Buying followers is surprisingly hard to resist especially when you’re just starting out and could use the numbers even if it’s just for credibility purposes. The problem is, many of these “follow-bots” are just that–bots. They are not real people, and they certainly will not increase your conversion rates whatsoever. Furthermore, by filling up with fake followers, you make it even harder to connect with real, genuine patients who may need your dental services.
Tempting as it may be to give yourself this (frankly unfair) head start, remember that everyone starts at zero. The follows you attain over time may take forever to appear respectable but they will be genuine and will allow you to connect to a much larger audience of people who may be interested in your dental products and services.
Furthermore, your social media posts will reach a much larger audience of real people if you stick to the old-fashioned way of gaining followers. Keep in mind that people love businesses that appear legitimate. No one is going to believe that you got sixty thousand followers overnight.
So don’t automatically opt for what seems to be an easy route. Build your social media following slowly through great content, good feedback, and good business. The leads you generate over time will continue rewarding you long after you’ve relinquished the reigns of your dental practice to someone else.
Digital marketing for dentists shouldn’t be so scary. As a matter of fact, there’s nothing to be scared of and everything to be excited about. Yes, there are considerably more avenues to take when marketing your clinic via the internet, and yes, it can be quite confusing. But that doesn’t mean it has to be.
Different strategies work for different businesses, so don’t give up just because the strategy your competitors are using doesn’t work for you. Instead, focus on creating marketing techniques that are tailored to benefit your business to the maximum regardless of how big your clinic is or how long you have been in the game. Furthermore, you can always outsource the task of marketing your business online to a reputable digital marketing agency where you’ll get the job done way more effectively and at a fraction of the cost.
Marketing is dynamic, especially on the digital front. To keep up with the ever-changing digital marketing landscape, first, you have to be willing to admit that some of the old techniques which may have worked for you are no longer valid strategies. Online presence is a necessity these days since computers and mobile phones have far greater reach than posters, flyers, and even mainstream ads. Don’t be shy about making your website more accessible to mobile users–in fact, go for it!
Knowing what is needed when it comes to digital marketing, specifically for your business, is being half-prepared. And when you’re already prepared to succeed, failing rarely becomes an option.
P.S. when you’re ready, here are 4 ways I can help you grow your dental practice:
1.Register for our next pitch free webinar
Join us for a pitch free private training and learn how to attract and retain high-value repeat patients, increase annual revenue and live a freer, happier life than ever before. Click Here
2. Join The Dental Collective and connect with dentists trying to grow too
it’s our new Facebook community where smart dentists can connect and share on the way to getting more patients, income and independence. Click Here
3. Grab a free copy of our latest practice case study
It’s the exact strategies we used to help a local dentist get more patients and grow from 1 to 3 dental chairs in under 6 months. Click Here
4. Have me and my team work with you privately
If you would like to work with our team to devise and implement your growth strategy and go from struggling to booking, just reply to this message, put “Private” in the subject line, and tell a little about your business and what you’d like to work on, and I’ll get you the details.