How to Market Your Dental Practice
You need to market your dental practice. We all know that.
But if you’re reading this article, you’re probably like most folks: You understand what marketing is, but you have no idea where to start.
Or maybe you already have some marketing plans in place, but you’re looking to improve.
We’ll make it easy for you.
Keep reading, and we’ll walk you through the basics of how you can market your practice, find new patients, and connect to your existing clients.
We won’t get into too many fine details here, but we’ve linked to extra resources throughout this piece for when you’re ready to take the next step.
Identify your ideal patient and market to them
Let’s get this out of the way:
You do not want “just any” patient to walk in the door.
“Wait,” you’re probably saying, “but I do! We’ll take anyone and everyone.”
Sure, you might accept all sorts of patients, but that’s not how you should approach marketing.
Instead, you should identify your ideal patient and cater your marketing efforts to them.
When we say “ideal patient,” we’re talking about the patients you love to have in your practice. These are the people who are easy to deal with and keep coming back time and time again.
Think from their perspective, and design your marketing to match. Above all else, what do they actually want?
With this in mind, the following marketing strategies work well for most audiences:
- Use simple messaging. Your patient probably isn’t a dental expert.
- Make scheduling quick and easy. How much time do they really want to spend thinking about this?
- Focus on benefits, not features. They don’t care about what material a veneer is made of, but they do care about how it’ll look and whether it’ll cause issues.
- Be authentic. Your patient is a real person, and they want to be treated as such. Salesy language and excessive pitches are a complete turnoff.
For more information on identifying and marketing to your ideal patient, read this blog post on creating customer avatars.
Capture your brand identity through a stellar dental website
In the eyes of prospective patients, your website represents your entire practice. If your site is lazy, boring, and generic, then that’s the impression you’re giving of your dental services and staff.
You care about what you do, so prove it through your website.
Good dental websites should include:
- Authentic, relatable language (no sales reads)
- Easy ways to quickly get in touch & schedule an appointment
- Real photos of you and your team (no stock images!)
- Clean, attractive colors and designs
- Mobile-responsive layouts (does it look good on a phone?)
- Highlights of how you’re different from the competition
- Content your patients actually want (answers to common questions about procedures, hours, costs, etc.)
Not sure what to fill your website with? Our 6-step guide to creating incredible dental website content has you covered.
Nail your search engine optimization (SEO)
SEO refers to various strategies that help boost your dental website’s ranking on search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. The better your SEO, the more people will see your site while looking for things like “affordable dentist in my area.”
SEO can be as simple or extensive as you want it to be, depending on your needs and budget.
As a brief introduction, here’s an overview of a few good dental SEO tactics to implement:
- Integrate keywords (common search terms and phrases related to your practice) into your content and web pages. Examples of good keywords include “dentist in Wichita” and “are veneers worth it.”
- Configure metadata to describe pages, images, and other content on your website. “Metadata” is the invisible data on your site that tells search engines what your content is, and includes things like image alt tags, page titles, and page descriptions.
- Work to optimize your site to display appropriately on all devices and browsers.
- Make sure your practice is listed on local business directories with the right contact information.
This is a complex subject, so you can find our in-depth guide on SEO for dental practices on our blog for more information.
Remember, SEO never ends. Search engines are constantly updating their algorithms, so you need to keep up with ongoing SEO.
Use social media to connect organically
Almost everyone’s on social media (if not multiple platforms at once), so you’re missing out if you’re not marketing your practice here.
Yet you may feel apprehensive about the cost and time investment associated with social media.
Sure, paid social media advertising works, but here’s the thing:
Marketing organically through social media takes minutes and is basically free.
The trick is knowing what to post and how often.
Let’s start with the latter question: How often should you post on social media for your dental practice?
Optimal post frequency varies based on the social media platform you’re targeting:
You can consult this infographic for more info on when and how often to post to social media.
Ok, but what should you actually be posting?
Well, it varies, but here are a few ideas:
- Answer burning questions about treatments and costs.
- Talk about how you’re engaging with and giving back to your community.
- Share the joke that had your team rolling on the floor this morning.
- Let people know about birthdays and team events.
- Tell your patients about a new blog post you wrote.
- Share a link to an interesting article you found.
- Record a video, such as a testimonial, an event, an office tour, or anything else that makes sense.
Above all else, make sure to share content your patients will actually care about, even if it means you have to post less frequently.
Wanna really knock it out of the park? Roadside’s 365-day social media roadmap sets you up with consistent, high-quality social media posts all year long. Never run out of ideas again!
Nurture patient relationships through consistent communication
Studies show that most customers (your patients included) need 5-12 “nudges” to commit to a purchase.
So why are you only following up with your patients once or twice?
Ok, fine, that was a rhetorical question. We know why. You don’t want to be annoying.
Here’s the thing:
Nine times out of 10, patients will forget to follow up with your office.
They have a life to worry about, so dentistry isn’t going to be at the forefront of their mind unless you put it there.
You can touch base more frequently without coming off as salesy, pushy, or spammy as long as you tell them what they want to hear. Here’s how to do that:
- Be authentic and polite in your communication. Act like you’re talking to your client in person at your practice.
- Provide valuable content that they’ll care about. This could be a discount, more information about a treatment they’re considering, a Q&A about financing, etc.
So, now you’re ready to contact your patients again and again.
Do not call every patient every time you need to follow up.
Please. Your time is valuable.
Instead, use two-way text messaging as your first line of communication. Text messages have a 98% open rate compared to emails, which hover at a mere 18%.
Emails and calls are still valuable for marketing your dental practice, but they aren’t as efficient as texting.
Use two-way texts to make it easy for patients to schedule appointments, ask questions, and pay outstanding balances. They’ll thank you for it.
Monitor your reviews and digital reputation
Reviews work hand-in-hand with your website to build trust.
You can say whatever you want about your practice, but savvy researchers are going to check if other people are saying the same thing.
Many practices feel that reviews are tangential at best, but that’s just not true. We really can’t overemphasize how important your digital reputation is.
Case in point:
It’s better to have bad reviews than no reviews at all.
Negative reviews suck, but you can respond to them and fix your mistakes – plus, they’ll still contribute to SEO.
However, if nobody’s talking about you at all, that’s a huge red flag for your marketing (and for search engine rankings).
To remedy this, make sure your practice is properly listed on Google My Business and local business directories. Ask your patients to leave reviews to tell you how you’re doing.
When you get a noteworthy review or comment, respond! If it’s a good review, you can thank them for their feedback and time – and if it’s negative, you can apologize and try to make things right.
- Note that you need to respond to reviews in a HIPAA-compliant way to avoid breaking federal law. Not sure how to do that? We cover all that and more in our blog post about responding to reviews HIPPA-compliantly.
Either way, you’re showing the world that you actually care about your clients’ opinions.
Build word-of-mouth buzz through internal marketing
Digital marketing is something like a wide-range net for your clients. Word-of-mouth marketing, on the other hand, is far more powerful and precise.
After all, who’s a potential patient going to trust more? A random Google review, or the opinion of a friend or family member?
Hint: It’s the latter.
Nothing gets patients in the door faster than a good referral from someone they trust.
So, here’s how you can get your existing patients to market on your behalf without even realizing it.
Optimize your patient experience
It all starts with a memorable patient experience – and that means going above and beyond “good enough.”
Every practice is different, but here are a few questions you can ask yourself:
- Do your patients see a smiling face when they open the door?
- Does your staff greet them by name right away?
- Do you show genuine care and interest in their lives and who they are as a person?
- Do you answer patient questions in a clear, informative, and compassionate way?
- Is your practice interesting and memorable to visit?
- Does your practice engage in charitable work or community events?
- When a patient calls you, does a friendly voice pick up in under a minute?
- Is it easy to schedule an appointment, check-in, and pay bills?
As mentioned previously, make sure to frequently look through reviews and comments about your practice as well.
Get involved and do good
Charitable work can be incredibly profitable, provided that you market around it and work with the right people.
To be clear, we’re not talking about giving a monetary donation to a charity and calling it a day.
Focus on causes that:
- Benefit your community
- Mean something to your clients
- Ask your team to contribute time and services more so than money
You can get involved with dental charities (such as the Smiles for Life… Opens in a new window to smilesforlife website… Foundation) or organize broader charity events in your area. For ideas, you can consult this article on ways to get involved with your community.
The trick here is to get your community involved and market your charitable work constantly.
Talk about it on social media. Mention it during appointments. Make sure people know how you’re giving back and have a chance to contribute.
When people understand that your practice supports a good cause, they’re more likely to talk about and choose you over your competitors.
How to not get overwhelmed by marketing
Odds are, you’re pretty busy. You don’t have time to do all this marketing yourself.
Here’s the key:
Don’t tackle everything yourself. Bring in extra help from internal and external sources.
Get your team involved
Ask your team about their experiences and comfort levels with different aspects of marketing:
- Do you have a confident writer who could create blogs and newsletters?
- Is someone comfortable getting in front of a camera and taking selfies and videos of your practice?
- Does anyone have ideas for monthly themes and activities?
- What about research? Can someone dedicate some time to finding new marketing ideas?
- Does someone have enough time to make sure that everything stays on track / to give frequent reminders?
Use the strengths of your team.
As a bonus, many team members feel more motivated and satisfied when they can get involved.
Get help from a professional
Dental marketing agencies like Roadside Dental Marketing exist for a reason:
We have time to work on your marketing while your plate is full. Plus, we’re good at what we do (it’s our job, after all).
Roadside can help with every part of your dental marketing plan. We do it all, from website creation and SEO to patient communication and social media.
We know there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, so we tailor everything to your practice’s specific needs and strengths.
Better yet, many of our team members come from the dental field, so we already know exactly what you’re dealing with. We’ve been there, and we’re here to help you grow.
If you’re interested in getting some help (or just want to ask a few questions about marketing your dental practice), schedule a chat with Angela… Opens in a new window to hubspot website… today.