Looking to grow your dental practice in 2018 and beyond? Here are 7 dental marketing ideas, tips, and strategies that will help you connect with and win over new patients, from search to social media.
Dental Marketing Idea #1: Design a Top-Notch Dental Website
Your website is the focal point of almost all your marketing, so having a professional design is really worth it.
That’s not to say you need to spend tens of thousands on an over-the-top, custom design. In fact, it’s usually simpler, clear layouts that convert more leads.
UXI® templates are affordable and really effective at getting people to schedule appointments. They also have a clean, modern look that makes the right impression on potential patients. Here’s an example mockup:
It’s essential that your website have clear contact information, easy to fill out forms, and a strong call to action. Make the navigation intuitive so it’s always easy to find information. Include links to your social media pages.
Design matters, particularly when it comes to first impressions. Before you ever get the chance to speak to a potential patient, they’ll check your website. Make sure it’s helping you win them over.
Learn more in this dental marketing case study.
Dental Marketing Idea #2: Develop a Clear Value Proposition
There is one step you can be assured every potential patient will take in the digital age. They’ll search for dentists in the area, ask around for recommendations, and compare the offices they’re most interested in.
What they’re looking for is a reason they should choose one dentist over another. Few dental marketing campaigns give them one. Rather, a run through dental practices in most places will reveal one after the next that is – for all intents and purposes – the same.
You can gain a competitive advantage by distinguishing yourself from the competition with a clear value proposition. This is content that makes clear an aspect of dentistry you are the best at. If someone is looking for this procedure or type of service, you’re the dentist for them.
For example, you can make it clear that you’re the most experienced orthodontist in the area. Or that you offer the best value for Invisalign clear braces.
This dentist notes that they’re a family practice that specializes in cosmetic dentistry:
The point to remember is that if you don’t give people a clear reason to choose your practice, they won’t figure it out for themselves. Be clear about why you’re the best choice.
Dental Practice Marketing Idea #3: Market and Advertise on Facebook
Facebook now rivals Google with its use and influence online. Your dental practice marketing plan can’t ignore it.
The first step is to set up and optimize your Facebook business page. This is your main asset on Facebook. It serves as a mini-website that includes your contact info, reviews, images, and can even include a form to schedule an appointment.
Consider that Facebook users will often go straight to your Facebook business page to check out your services. An increasing number are likely to convert there without visiting your website.
As they visit your page and as you get more traffic and new patients on your website, you can create retargeting lists to run relevant ads to people on Facebook. This is the best tactic for reaching potential patients with posts on their news feeds.
Facebook is also the place to show the lighter side of your practice with posts about your staff and the culture at your practice. Use the community feature to connect with more businesses and people around you.
Facebook works best as a channel for connecting locally, which is why dentists need to use it effectively. It’s kind of a combination of website marketing, networking, and direct-advertising.
Dental Marketing Idea #4: Create a Video
Video is one of the most effective ways to get your message across, and can be marketed on your website, Youtube, and social media.
In this example, the practice states their unique value proposition (oral sedation), uses patient testimonials, and has a strong call to action.
You can add this video to your Facebook page and it also works well on mobile devices. An initial investment in a professional video can pay off for years.
Dental Practice Marketing Idea #5: Dominate Search Marketing
To drive traffic to your website, you’ll want to show up for dental related searches in your area. There are three ways to dominate the search results.
The first is pay-per-click advertising. These ads are run through auction-based systems like Google Adwords and Bing Ads. The main advantage here is that you show in the top positions (reserved for paid ads) and that you can control the ad copy and landing page. For example, you might want to run an advertisement for Invisalign specials. Your ad and the page it goes to on your website can match that offer.
Next, you need to set-up and rank for Google My Business. This is the maps listing and review platform Google uses for geo-targeted searches. It’s a free listing you can optimize with your descriptions and by getting customer reviews.
Then you have the organic website listings. These are also free clicks, with ranking gained by optimizing your website for keywords, gaining links, getting social media traffic, and adding content to your blog.
If you do each of these tactics effectively, you can show up in three places on page one:
Dental Practice Marketing Idea #6: Reputation Management
Some of the most influential content leads will see about you online is content you don’t even create. Instead, it’s created by your patients in the form of online reviews.
Online reviews on Google, Top Rated Local, Facebook, Yelp, and health specific sites like Healthgrades now have a major influence on how people select a new dentist. To win more patients, you need to influence your online reputation.
This starts with your own service levels. Be mindful of how everything you do – both good and bad – will influence your marketing. Going above and beyond for patients is not just the right thing to do; it pays off with a better online reputation later.
More people leave reviews today, so it’s easier than it used to be to get positive comments. Ask your best clients to leave you reviews. If you need to build up your reviews on a particular platform, use email, post-appointment follow ups.
If you get negative reviews, reply professionally and remedy the situation as possible. Remember that few businesses have perfect review profiles, so some honest criticism is nothing to get in a stir over.
As you gather more positive statements, use them as testimonials on your website. Today’s digital consumers want to know what other people have to say about a service, so the more positive comments you get in front of them, the better.
Learn more in this dental marketing case study.
Dental Marketing Idea #7: Use Marketing Software
Digital marketing today is a complex, multi-channel effort. We are way past the days of the yellow pages and an occasional radio ad.
The only way you can manage all your marketing tactics is to use software with an interface that brings search, paid ads, social media, and your website marketing together. Throw in email marketing and a free CRM software and you have the tools you need to manage your online marketing.
Marketing 360® goes beyond just tools. With our solution, you work with a dedicated marketing executive who will help you focus on the right channels and develop an effective lead-generation strategy.
Contact us today to get a free demo of our software and a consultation that will detail how you can best market your dental practice.
Additional Dental Marketing Tips and Strategies
First, an overview with dental marketing executive Terry Crowley:
Dental Marketing Tip #1: It’s a User-Centered World
The first concept you need to understand is that in the digital world, control is in the hand of the consumer.
Internet technology gives consumers power they simply didn’t have in the past. There was a time when you could buy a TV, radio or newspaper ad and pretty much stick it in front of potential patients. But today’s technology lets people effectively block solicitation.
This is the basis for the term inbound marketing. Instead of blanketing a target segment with dental advertisements in the hope of finding a few people who are looking for a dentist, you position your marketing so people can find you on their own terms. Timing is under control of the consumer.
The technology platforms used for online marketing both understand and re-enforce the user-center. For example, Google’s organic search algorithms favor content that is helpful, relevant, and engaging for online searchers. In other words, they are not looking to match-up your advertisements with the new patients you’d like to contact. They are looking to match the patient with information and services that fit the intent of their search.
This means the more your content is built around empathy, helpfulness, accuracy, and ease-of-use, the better exposure it will get on Google, Facebook, Bing, or most other major algorithm-based platforms.
Today, marketing your dental practice must center on understanding your prospective patients and building content around their needs.
Dental Marketing Tip #2: Marketing vs Advertising
If you think about efforts to promote your dental practice, you probably don’t have a defined sense of the difference between marketing and advertising.
However, today, there is a distinct difference between advertising and marketing you must recognize, defined mainly by timing in the buying cycle.
For example, take a prospective patient who has a toothache. Incessant pain is driving him nuts, and he realizes the decade long hiatus he’s had from a dental check-up is coming back to haunt him.
This guy needs a dentist now. You advertise with a strong promotional offer and direct-response copy that gets him to set an appointment. Both your advertisement and its associated landing page key in on this offer and the one goal of getting the appointment. If you don’t get him now, it means you lost him to another dentist.
On the other hand, take a mom who just moved into the area and is searching for a dentist for her family. She’s in no hurry. It’s months before she needs to schedule appointments.
She will take the time to research, compare, and review before she chooses to contact a dentist. She wants a clear understanding of why you’re right for her family, what other patients think of you, and why you’re a better choice than your competition.
You need content that educates and nurtures this lead. This is marketing content. It’s far less promotional in nature than your advertising, far more informational. It’s not direct-response, trying to get the appointment right away.
Instead, you provide useful tips and expert advice that helps build trust. At the same time, this lead knows your practice’s name. She may follow you on Facebook, get on your email list or subscribe to your blog. You can now remarket to her, so your content stays in front of her as she moves through her research process.
Connecting to these different dental leads requires separate strategies, with content specific to each.
Ready to get more dental marketing ideas, strategies, and learn about plans and pricing? Get a free consultation and demo from our dental marketing consultants:
Dental Marketing Tip #3: The Trust Factor
According to Google, 70% of the average consumer decision making process is done before the moment of truth when they actually call/contact you. This means they basically decided if they want you to be their dentist based completely on your online presence.
It boils down to one critical factor: trust. Trust is the pivotal state of mind you must create with your dental website and marketing content. If they feel they can trust you, you’ve all but won the business. If not, you’ve all but lost it.
Many things, some fundamental, some nuanced, come into play here. Major considerations include:
- The professional, updated feel of your website and marketing material. You must create a professional impression that says you are experienced, reliable, and modern.
- Your online reputation. You can expect most dental leads to look for testimonials, ratings and reviews. You need to offer statements from your best patients and monitor the reviews posted about you online. A positive review profile will go a long way to earning trust.
- The relevance and tone of your content. This goes back to having both advertising and marketing campaigns. If you try to sell to someone just looking for information, you’ll lose their trust. Urgency rarely leads to trust. Show that you’re willing to be helpful first, that you’ll earn trust before you ask for business.
- Your credentials and associations. Make sure you display experience, credentials, and associations with professional groups and brands in the oral care vertical.
When it comes to reviews of your dental practice, be sure to claim your Yelp page. Many prospects will check their to see what previous patients said about you. Check reviews for accuracy and field responses when needed.
Build your marketing assets around the idea of evoking trust. It’s make or break with online marketing.
Dental Marketing Tip #4: Respond to Data
Consider that when you first set-up a marketing campaign for your dental practice, it won’t work the way you expect. It just won’t.
The unforeseen will happen. Your copy won’t have the right wording. An image ends-up distracting from your call to action. A competitor edges you out. You seem too expensive. You seem too cheap.
Marketing is not an exact science. It’s often trial and error. Hypothesis and test.
This is where data comes in. Digital marketing has the advantage of providing a lot of trackable info. On properly set-up campaigns, this data tells you how users respond to your campaigns.
Use this data to determine a more successful course for your marketing. Rather than guess and hope, you can factually determine what type of content gets a better response.
Then, you simply do more of what works and less of what doesn’t. It’s an advantage to digital marketing you must exploit.
Dental Marketing Tip #5: Adapt With the Times
The last consideration is the broadest. Internet technology evolves – often at a remarkable pace. The tools, platforms, and connections we make with our digital lives determine how a marketing strategy develops.
Also, platforms like Facebook and Google now have huge amounts of demographic data on online users. They continue to create advertising tools that let you take advantage of that data.
For example, Facebook, with its demographic targeting, is becoming powerful advertising tool. You target ads based on language, relationship status, income, interests, employment. Local ads now show your contact info and a call-to-action to schedule an appointment. A year ago none of this existed.
And on Google Adwords you can now target people based on household income. So more expensive or cosmetic procedures can be targeted to more affluent audiences.
You have no choice but adapt to these changes. It will be tempting, when you get a marketing channel dialed in, to stick with the status quo an hope things will stay the same forever.
They won’t. Digital marketing is not a project, it’s a process that continues. Not only will technology change, but so will the competitive landscape, people’s personal oral health habits, and even dentistry itself.
These are exciting times, but they don’t wait for the overly-cautious. Keep-up with your marketing and do what you can to stay ahead of the curve with digital trends. Expect change and adapt to it.
If it sounds like a lot to deal while running a busy dental practice, well, it is. That’s a good reason to work with Marketing 360®. Our job it is to keep dental practices like yours on pace with effective, cutting-edge marketing materials.
Learn what we can do for you with a free consultation and demo of our platform. You can position yourself for years of success marketing your dental practice online.
Target women and mothers. Data shows 90 of family healthcare decisions are made by women. Use demographic targeting to your advantage.
Email and snail mail. Build lists of prospects and patients and go directly to their inboxes (including the metal ones). Email special offerings and updates. Mail appointment reminders. Both of these tactics work when you target the right demographics.
Use infographics and visuals to explain ideas. Visuals are powerful with online users, and offer easy explanations of procedures. They also can be used as social media material.