If you’re looking to attract new patients, or perhaps retain the ones you currently serve, a comprehensive marketing plan is not only helpful — but also in many ways necessary to help grow your dental practice. While a long term marketing strategy will help you sustain your progress, there are actually many things that you can get started on right away. These ten marketing ideas are easy for any practice to adopt and can help provide the results you’re looking for when it comes to bringing in new patients, as well as keeping the ones you already have.
Optimise Your Website
You’ve got to remember that the main purpose of your website is to attract new customers — that said, it must be the focus of every page on your website. If you only have your contact details on the homepage, you may be missing out on those potential patients who do not know where to find the contact information. Each portion of the website should be maintained at a professional level and should provide the office phone number several times while offering many appointment scheduling links. Other ways to help optimise your dental website is to:
- Make sure you have quality, original content that speaks to your clients. It should tell them what your practice is about and what it can do to fix their possible problem. Ensure you have a services pages telling visitors about the issues that you help fix. All content should be original and pass a plagiarism tool such as Copyscape.com. Duplicate content can jeopardise your website ranking and doesn’t give your visitors a new perspective on content to what they’re already seeing on other websites.
- As suggested above, make sure there’s a call to action and phone number on each web page to help push people to contact you to make an appointment.
- Make sure images are of the highest quality and match that with what your content is about. Low grade image quality can leaving an unprofessional appearance. This is why it’s important to add only the highest quality images that are free to use. Places such as Shutterstock.com are great places to buy images for your website.
- Update your website design and layout. If you have categories they should be neat and well placed on the website so they’re easy to find. When clicking through your categories you should have a maximum of 3 to 4 tiers deep, otherwise the visitor will lose interest. Eg: main category, sub category, page they’re looking to read.
- Add positive reviews and testimonials to your website to help promote your practice and its good points.
There’s a lot that goes into website optimisation, however if you take the time to really improve your website and its overall SEO, you’ll gain more interest and keep visitors on your pages for longer.
Manage Your Reviews
When looking for a new dental practice, reviews are generally one of the first places people turn. Be sure to keep abreast of reviews, both good and bad, by responding to them in a timely and professional manner. Encourage patients to write reviews on websites like Yelp, and be sure to stay up-to-date on reviews on your Facebook page. Never be negative to negative feedback. If you show professionalism and politeness to negative reviews, your other potential customers will see that you’re not only professional but you care about your clients. This in turn may bringin more customers to your practice.
Set Up Social Media Pages
When you think about your potential customers, there are most likely very few who don’t use at least one form of social media. While it may not seem relevant, promoting your dental practice on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest can be a unique and effect way to connect with patients. Posts on social media should be informative and fun — something that keeps readers entertained and motivates them to share. When setting up and using your social media pages some things to remember are:
- Make sure you use quality imagery for any post that you share with your followers.
- Make sure your practice’s phone number, website link, and any other contact details are fully filled out and correct. These should also be in clear view when clicking your social media profile.
- Don’t post negative comments or posts as this generally deters followers. Try to maintain an overall happy voice on your social media channels.
- If people get in touch through social media channels, try your best to answer their questions as this helps to build better customer relations.
Incorporate Visuals Into Your Marketing Plan
In this day and age, there’s enough reading to keep anyone occupied forever. A modern and unique approach to marketing is by using engaging visual content mediums instead of plain text. Anything from patient testimonials to office tours will provide potential customers with the information that they need — in an effective and appealing way. Some things you can work with include:
- Infographics – Infographics are very popular these days with more and more businesses using them. Infographics provide factual information in a colourful and fun way that’s easy to read. Depending on the channels you use to market your content, infographics may be a great option for your dental practice.
- Videos – Videos are great options for dental practices who want to show potential clients what goes on with certain procedures or who want to provide a more interactive way to get your message across. Videos can be used alone or be added into blog posts and other content to help deliver your message better.
- Webinars – For dental practices that may have time and the right resources, webinars are suitable for those who want to conduct seminars or group chats for their followers. This can help to build credibility and can also improve trust with your clients.
Focus On The Community
A little effort can go a long way when it comes to attracting new local patients. By becoming involved with community events, you’re putting your practice out there and allowing for an influx in patients who like to feel connected to a dentist and dental practice that does more than just provide dental care.
It can be as simple as just sending out a welcoming greeting card to new local homeowners — letting neighbors know that you’re located nearby and happy to welcome new residents. If you have the time and the resources, sponsoring community events, whether athletics or charity functions, can get your brand out there and boost your reputation.
Begin, or Boost, Your Blogging Efforts
Having a blog on your website can not only draw in new patients, but can also provide current ones with up-to-date information. Websites that boast unique and informative content receive more traffic and become a place for people to turn to when they’re looking for tips, advice or answers to a problem. By updating your blog regularly, you’re not only increasing the array of information available on your website, but you’re also conveying your expertise and level of care to potential patients. Some tips when creating articles for your blog include:
- Make sure all content written solves a problem that your client is having. It should be informative, well researched and to the point. You can check for ideas by writing a dental question into Google and seeing what people have been searching for. You can also use Google Keyword Planner as well to help see what keywords people have been searching for. This can help you to create an idea for your post.
- It should be original and pass plagiarism tools such as Copyscape.com. Duplicate content can hurt your website rankings greatly which can make you harder to find on Google.
- When writing, break up the text into subheadings and use paragraphing and bullet points to help improve white-space balance. In doing this it will be easier to read for your readers without becoming overwhelmed with long, bulky and exhausting text.
- Use high quality imagery to help compliment your piece. They should be free to use from sites such as ShutterStock.com, Pixabay.com, or iStock.com. Quality content with quality images help to sell your words better.
Writing content is easy, but writing content that people want is a lot harder, following these tips above can help you improve your work greatly.
Regularly Communicate With Existing Patients
Sometimes practices place all their focus on new patients, while overlooking the satisfaction of current and past patients. Try to avoid neglecting those individuals who do regularly come to your practice by maintaining regular communication with them.
Emailing updates that provide oral health advice or birthday emails that remind your patients that you care, take very little time and effort to implement, yet can ensure that the patient keeps coming back. Text messages also work well to remind patients of upcoming appointments, or if the time has come for their annual check-up.
Provide Customer Incentives
Using one, or even all, of your online or marketing platforms to provide benefits to new and existing patients is a good way to boost the flow of people coming into your practice. Whether through email or a text message, or even as a post on Twitter or Facebook, there’s a few incentives that you can offer depending on your current situation. These could include:
- Appointment discounts
- Monetary or gift incentives for referrals
- Free dental appointment or products upon a set visit
Incentives work well on bringing back customers for the long term and shouldn’t be ignored.
Target Appropriate Clientele
It is important realise that you will not be able to attract all types of patients. That said, in the beginning stages of your marketing scheme, try to determine what types of patients you are seeking — and the best ways to attract them. In order to do this you can use audience segmentation. This refers to the process of narrowing down your target patient, so you have a clear idea of how to market to them better.
To start with you’ll need to split up your client’s traits into 4 categories:
- Geographic Locations
This can be done in a table like the below version. When this is decided you can then begin to narrow down your audience further.
Change In Stages
Upon determining the traits you can then work on who your target audience is as seen below.
|Wants the perfect smile
Wants to have whiter teeth
Willing to spend money on teeth whiteners
|Loves to socialise with friends
Avoid anything that will ruin their teeth
As seen above, if you offer teeth whitening services you can work on targeting this client more effectively with your marketing efforts. This type of audience segmentation is great for dental practices who want to narrow down their different target audience for better marketing purposes than fitting everyone into the same box.
Consider The Day-To-Day Operations In Your Practice
Are you constantly behind schedule, getting patients in much later than their appointment time? Do you have sub-par customer service that leaves people feeling upset or dissatisfied? Take a look at what goes on within the office and do all you can to make sure that things are running smoothly. Some things to consider to help improve your operations include:
- Greeting patients by their name
- Listening carefully to your clients concerns
- Getting them in and out of the office promptly without too much delay
- Answer phone calls politely
- Ensure your staff is always polite, friendly, patient, and stays calm when dealing with hostile clients.
In house customer services in your day to day operations help to improve word of mouth advertising. The better your customer service is, the more referrals you’ll gain.
These ten marketing ideas are just a few to get you started. Consider what each one suggests, and which of them you can start implementing right away. With each effort on your part, you will not only improve your practice but will also expand your patient base. Are you ready to make some changes to your marketing plan?