The majority of dentists are aware that if they want their dental practice to thrive, then they need to engage in marketing of one kind or another. Without effective marketing, they can struggle to attract new patients and, in some cases, go out of business.
Knowing that you should be doing some form of marketing is very different from understanding how to go about it. Dental professionals know how to perform root canal treatment, but they don’t necessarily know how to sell their product to customers. It’s not a part of their training. Marketing for dentists is tricky.
If you’re struggling to think of ways to market your dental practice, then you’re in luck. In this article, we’re going to take an in-depth look at some strategies that supercharge your current marketing efforts and make your practice that go-to facility for people looking for quality services in your area. Here’s how to market a dental practice.
Begin An Adwords Campaign
Adwords is Google’s advertising platform. It allows you to display adverts for your dental practice in Google search results, skipping to the top with tailored messages for your customers.
Adwords is a powerful tool which allows you to capture two types of local customer: those who aren’t currently signed up to a dental practice, and those who have become disgruntled with the services of another provider. Your job is to craft and Adwords campaign which speaks to both of these groups. You want to attract people new to the dental market as well as those looking for a better experience than what they currently have.
Launch A Content Marketing Drive
Content marketing is the practice of creating blogs, articles, videos, infographics, and podcasts, providing valuable information to patients. Compared to most businesses, dental clinics have considerable content marketing opportunities.
You could create dental marketing content that does the following:
• Explains to patients the benefits of cleaning their teeth
• Explains gum disease and how to prevent it
• Gives tips on how to maintain exceptional oral hygiene
• Provide interview videos or blogs on corrective dental procedures
• Give details on specific dental treatments, like root canals and teeth alignment
• Provide information or FAQs on particular procedures
• Debunk myths about dentistry
The purpose of the content is to address user concerns and funnel people to your website directly. The more useful content that you can create for people in your local community, the more people will visit your website and, hopefully, sign up for your services.
Nail Your Local SEO
Most dental practices are independent enterprises, not national chains. Because of this, the vast majority want to attract local customers, not people from further afield. “Local SEO” is the process of trying to rank highly in search results when a patient types in a location-specific search.
Truro dental practices, for instance, want to optimize for keywords such as “Truro dentist” and “dental practice in Truro.” Likewise, dental practices in Boston might want to target keyword strings like “best dentist in Boston” or “top Boston dentist reviews.” There’s no point either clinic targeting people from Atlanta since people in Atlanta won’t want to travel out of state for dental services.
To boost local SEO, you’ll want to do the following:
• Target local keywords in Adwords
• Create content with local keywords in the title and paragraph text
• Get links from local directories
• Set up Google My Business to appear in search results and on Maps
• Solicit Google, Trustpilot or Yelp reviews from existing patients
• Get links from other significant local websites specific to your area
Of course, marketing isn’t just about attracting new people to your practice; it’s also about encouraging your existing patients to try new treatments or come in more frequently for checkups.
Dental practices, therefore, are increasingly using newsletters to spread the message about what they do. Newsletters are the functional equivalent to email marketing: content that you send customer inboxes. Newsletters, however, have a veneer of respectability that email marketing, frankly, does not.
The same rules of etiquette apply. You want to create newsletters which give your customers a reason to read them. It shouldn’t just be about who in your practice just earned a new qualification or new members of staff that you’ve employed. People aren’t interested in that kind of stuff. What people want are exciting headlines that encourage them to read on because they provide value.
You’ve got a couple of options. You can either offer patients “special offers” on their treatment – so for instance, offering discounts of one kind or another on costly treatment, like implants. Or you can create titles which immediately pique their interest, such as, “Why You’re Not Brushing Right” or “What It Says About Your Health If You’ve Never Had A Filling.”
You’ll then use that content to drive a particular sales goal, such as getting people to book appointments with the hygienist.
Think Outside Of The Box On Keywords
If you’re a dental practice in Truro then, as discussed, it makes a lot of sense to target the keyword “Truro dentist.” However, what customers type into the search bar when they’re looking for a dental practice may be far more eclectic than you might imagine. Continuing with the Truro example, you might have people who type things like “Cornwall dentists” or “dentists in cornwall.” Customers might also search for different treatments or qualify the kind of dental practices that they’d like Google to show them in results. So, for instance, they might type something like “best root canal treatment in Truro.”
If you want to rise above the competition in your area, you’ll want to target not only the obvious keywords but the whole range of keywords that your customers might use when they’re interested in treatments that your practice offers.
Get Involved In Your Local Community
Online marketing is important, but it’s not the final word: there’s still a role for physical involvement in your community. Engaging with real people helps to give your practice a human face: something difficult to achieve with even the most accomplished digital marketing drive.
Getting involved in the community is easy. You could set up a stall at a local festival or community event, sponsor a local league team or do a tour of schools in the local area, highlighting the importance of good oral hygiene from a young age. The more work you do in the community, the more likely it is that people will want to use you for your services in the future. Prospective patients will hear about the great work that you do and want to be a part of your practice.
Reach Out To People On Social Media
Social media marketing is something of a mystery for the majority of dental practices. It is, however, a powerful tool for building deep and meaningful relationships with customers in a way that other digital marketing methods are not.
Unlike an Adwords campaign, social media enables you to market to customers one-on-one through chat messages and responses to wall posts. And because social media is something of an open forum, you’re also able to spark conversations about particular topics in a way that you can’t through regular channels. Nothing is stopping you from hosting a question and answer session, where patients can test your knowledge and get answers to questions that they were too afraid to ask in person.
Social media is what digital marketing gurus call a “touchpoint” or a place where you come into contact with your patients. You might not think that just brushing shoulders with your patients online is particularly helpful, but every interaction is essential. The more you communicate with your patients, the more you feel like THEIR practice.
Social media can also be a tool that you use to create a good first impression. The more followers you have (and the better your reviews), the more likely new patients are to sign up to your services. If you’ve already got thousands of subscribers, then you must be doing something right – or so the reasoning goes.
Build A Compelling Website
Last, but certainly not least, dental practices need to build a compelling website: one that is not only easy for customers to navigate, but that also encourages them to take action.
If you look at the majority of dental practice websites today, you’ll see a pattern: they’re very good at talking about the people who work for them, but they’re not particularly focused on meeting their visitors’ immediate needs. When people show up on a dental website, they’re not just mindlessly browsing: they want to get something, either a phone number, more information or advice on what they should do next.
The purpose of your website, therefore, is to funnel customers to take action, either by calling your practice, booking an appointment, or arranging treatment for a specific date. You want to make the process as easy as possible, leaving any form filling until they show up at your clinic on the day of the appointment.
Great websites look professional, are well-organised, and are geared towards conversion. Your site shouldn’t be passive or generic.
You might also be interested in our Dental Business Coaching programme.