You might be quietly thinking that social media isn’t right for your dental practice.
It is easy to assume that talking about teeth whitening, braces and fillings on Facebook is boring – and you might not be sure about what you would post in order to engage your audience.
Well, you are wrong.
In fact, if you think dentistry and oral hygiene falls into the ‘boring’ category you’re in a GREAT position to really stand out online simply because others haven’t even bothered to try or they haven’t worked out how to do it well.
No more procrastinating. There is such a lot you can do to grow and improve your online presence.
Here are SIX essentials to kick off your tool box of digital marketing for dentists.
1. Get yourself a great website
Did you know that these days people under 40 get their information from 2 sources:
- Social media
People over 40 aren’t shy of the internet either when it comes to researching products and services. In fact 70% of seniors get health information online.
That means if your dental practice isn’t on the internet (and I don’t mean ‘True Local’ or Yellow Pages online), your business is essentially INVISIBLE.
An attractive, easy to navigate, up-to-date website is CRITICAL.
Most people these days conduct a ‘digital interview’ before they decide to engage the services of a potential business service. Whether you know it or not, people are jumping online and searching on Google to see whether YOUR DENTIST is the one that they want to see for an appointment.
Firstly, they will check your website, then (most likely) they will check out your Facebook page.
The world of online marketing is constantly changing and fast. The shelf life of a website these days is just 3-5 years. That’s not very long. If your website has crossed that threshold, I’m sorry to say that your clients are most likely passing you by.
Why? Because a dated website design reflects poorly on your clinical skills. Subconsciously or not, when a prospective new dental patient stumbles across a dated website they immediately think that your clinical skills may also be ‘out-dated.’
User behaviours are always changing. Attention spans are shorter and increased online competition means that you need a very persuasive strategy to hook a new client. If your website doesn’t cater to the modern user, the time and money you devote to other marketing will also likely be wasted.
Remember to review your website regularly. Even outdated staff profiles, addresses and phone numbers reflect on how people perceive your practice.
So, whatever you do, DO NOT leave your website to rot. It’s way too important.
2. Harness the power of positive reviews
Keeping tabs on your online reputation is also more important now than ever.
Consider this: A huge 88% of consumers trust online feedback as much as personal recommendations. Feedback compiled from dozens of digital strangers often trumps the recommendation from a personal acquaintance. True.
Afterall, what is the first action a prospective patient takes when they’re referred to you? They search your name on Google.
People do business with those they know, like or trust, and a trail of positive reviews provides social proof that you must be worthy of their patronage. As human beings we are easily swayed by the popular vote.
Don’t forget to also watch out for negative reviews and take action to mitigate the damage, even if it means a phone call and an offer of some kind to smooth things over.
3. Start blogging
Google loves websites with informative, unique, high quality content.
Blogging is the best way to consistently publish new content to your website. Not only can it improve your SEO (search engine optimisation) rankings in Google, it shows your patients that you are an authority in your field and care about providing them with useful information on oral hygiene and dental health.
This puts you a step ahead when people are making a decision about who to do business with. A good blog gives you credibility.
Google wants to see that your website effectively answers questions and that you provide new content on a regular basis. Six months between blogs is not considered regular.
Blogging and great content also offers you another way to distinguish yourself from your competition.
4. Speaking of competition, keep a keen eye on them
What marketing channels are your competitors using? What social networks do they have large followings on? What are their best-ranking search terms? Do they send a client newsletter?
If you don’t know, it’s time to start paying attention. By looking at your competitors, you can get great ideas for what to do, and great ideas for what NOT to do, as well as find marketing opportunities that you otherwise might have overlooked. (If you were really savvy you could even generate leads from your competitor’s unhappy customers.)
Checking out your competition regularly may actually help you to formulate your own killer online marketing strategy.
5. Communicate with your existing patients
Don’t neglect your existing patients. Remember – they are the ones who will recommend you to their friends and family. Nurture those relationships.
It’s so much easier (and cheaper) to retain an existing client then it is to find a new one.
Email marketing is a great way to keep in touch with existing patients and keep your practice top-of-mind, as well as promoting other services that you offer.
A monthly newsletter providing oral health tips is a great start for a monthly newsletter– and you can repurpose that same content for your blog, and a Facebook post!
Remember, it can take between six to eleven times for patients to see or hear a message before they act on it. They may see a Facebook post, an email newsletter, a blog, a Facebook ad, another newsletter, another blog, and several more Facebook posts BEFORE they feel ready to book you for an appointment.
6. When in doubt, consult a professional (that means don’t try to do it ALL yourself)
Thanks essentially to the internet, patients are savvier than ever before.
The public is exposed to a huge amount of marketing and their expectations of what is, and what is not, professional are getting higher and higher. This means that your dental marketing must be great quality.
Homemade brochures and inconsistent marketing collateral will damage your brand. Marketing in short bursts in a haphazard way will also likely show negative results.
Dental marketing doesn’t work if you try one approach for a month or two in an inconsistent manner. Social media, in particular, requires consistency and it can be a long haul to build your reach.
Two things to remember. Success does not happen overnight. And the scattergun approach to digital marketing does not work.
My final, and important dental marketing tip, is DON’T feel you have to do it all by YOURSELF.
When in doubt, consult a professional.
It may seem economical to write blog posts yourself, task your receptionist to learn WordPress via You-tube, and have the hygienist manage your social media. BUT the result is likely to be a weak marketing campaign and unprofessional appearance unless these people genuinely have the time and expertise needed for the job.
A good quality marketing campaign is one of the best investments you will ever make.
If you have any questions or you would like some help getting your dental marketing strategy or your website off the ground, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m very happy to help you implement a terrific engaging dental marketing strategy.
P.S. when you’re ready, here are 4 ways I can help you grow your dental practice:
1. 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
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. Register for our next live webinar
Learn how to attract and retain high-value repeat patients, increase annual revenue and live a freer, happier life than ever before. 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 t work on, and I’ll get you the details.