Attract New Patients: 6 Marketing Essentials for Dentists
The world of online dental marketing is constantly changing – every single year brings new updates, standards, best practices, trends, and recommendations. It can be hard to continually attract new patients. It can be overwhelming!
As 2021 draws to a close, many dental professionals we speak with are asking:
What does effective, ROI-driven dental marketing look like for 2022 and beyond?
Believe it or not, online marketing looks a little like a cocktail party. Really!
Let’s see how.
Picture a cocktail party or networking event where you KNOW you’ll meet some influential individuals who could become new patients, help you build your practice, or help you gain recognition in the industry.
Now that we’ve set the scene, here are six marketing essentials for 2022.
6 foundational elements of dental marketing
The path to gaining more new patients includes six main components, all of which combine to help you ATTRACT new patients, NURTURE real relationships, and create loyal customers.
First comes “Attract,” then comes “Nurture.”
Attract new patients
The first thing we need to do is attract attention to our brand online. The three main steps to take in achieving this are to BUILD, then SHARE, and get LINKS.
If you were invited to a posh cocktail party, would you throw on some sweats, head to the party, and hang out in the corner?
Of course not – you’d dress to impress! A unique, stylish, and polished presence at a cocktail party would make a great first impression.
Your online presence is no different. You must create (and maintain) a polished online presence that attracts. But beyond that, it’s very important for your website to reflect the same messaging, culture, and atmosphere you’ve worked so hard to build within the practice.
How can you build a memorable first impression that stands out over the competition?
- Ensure your dental website (the foundation of your online marketing) is optimized, fast, and up to date with what users expect: great user experience on any device, useful content, real photos and videos of your team, a fresh, current design, etc.
- Claim and optimize your local directory listings and ensure they’re consistent, accurate, and up to date.
Have you ever been stuck at a party with that one guy who prattles on endlessly about himself?
Nobody likes that guy. Don’t be that guy.
You MUST share content that your audience actually needs and wants. Yes, sometimes that content might be about your services.
But to deliver value, you have to listen and take note of what your audience needs and wants – and then devise ways to share THAT.
What types of content do real patients want to see?
- Real photos of your team, office, and culture
- Content that answers patients’ most common questions
- Community support and involvement
- Videos that educate and engage
Ensure all of the content on your website is benefits-focused rather than clinical. We also like to call this “patient-first” content. Your website’s copy should communicate the benefits and value of services in clear, easy-to-understand language.
Hanging out in the corner at the party and refusing to make eye contact with others isn’t exactly going to help you get to know those influential party guests.
You have to converse, make connections, and keep in touch.
Gaining links to your website from quality, relevant websites is a genius way to rank higher on search engines and to make connections with others in your community, both online and offline.
Interested in learning more about acquiring links for your dental website? You’ll love this blog post!
Nurture relationships over time
Once we’ve attracted visibility to our online brand, we must nurture real relationships and connections.
Let’s see how it’s done:
Remember that guy no one likes, the one who only talks about himself? One-way conversation is never a good way to make a lasting connection. The same is true online.
Regularly promote online conversation in a variety of forms, and deliver content your audience finds useful. Also, be sure to listen and respond in a genuine and meaningful way.
- Be active on social media and share content your audience cares about.
- Follow and engage with local organizations and businesses within your community.
- Respond to comments.
Just as a sincere, genuine demeanor can attract others to you at a party, the roots of your marketing must be real, honest, and trustworthy.
The content you share must instill confidence and build trust.
Keep that connection growing over time by connecting with existing patients in a variety of ways, both online and offline.
One of the best ways to engage and connect with your audience is by means of social media. The entire point of “social” media is to, well, socialize!
Use your social platforms to interact, provide valuable content, share what you love, and show off your practice’s authentic personality.
- Join Facebook groups for your neighborhood, industry, or interests, and be a part of the conversation whenever possible. Ask and answer questions, give and share, and create relationships!
You might make a connection at the party but that doesn’t mean you’re automatically BFFs – you must build and cultivate a relationship over time.
Similarly, conversion and retention of new patients may include several points of online (and offline) contact. Lead generation and loyalty-building requires systematically nurturing and delivering value at different stages and in a variety of ways.
Make it ridiculously easy for patients to start or continue the conversation:
- Landing pages and lead and revenue generation campaigns – attract new patients with valuable offers at every stage of the buyer’s journey.
- Lead nurturing emails and text messages – keep relationships alive and continue to provide value with non-spammy communication, aimed at convenience.
- Webchat and two-way text messaging – make it easy for patients (and potential new patients!) to ask questions, book appointments, even pay their bills.
- Virtual consultations – patients LOVE the convenience of virtual consultations!
Building your marketing foundation to attract new patients
Now that we’ve broken down the foundational pieces for an effective dental marketing strategy, you might be wondering:
“Ok, so where’s the best place to start?”
Every practice is different, so there’s not a one-size-fits-all answer to that question. That’s where we can help! Here’s a free resource to help you get started:
Request a free website analysis: This comprehensive (no-obligation) analysis will cover what’s working with your website, areas that might need improvement, and the health of your overall online presence.
Editor’s note: This blog post was originally published in 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.