Online Marketing For Dentists
Any business ANYWHERE needs good marketing in order to grow, but the amount of business you need to keep a dental office up and running can be staggering. Patients can gasp at the amount it takes for a procedure, but they’ve no idea about the massive overhead that goes into running a dental office. You’re paying staff, you’re paying yourself, you’re paying for equipment and rent – the average annual overhead for a dentist’s office is $350,000!
That means you need a steady flow of new customers coming in. Even if you’re talking about some basic restorations that take half an hour, you need about fifty new patients coming in every month in order to meet your goals and turn a profit.
That means you need to provide good services, good prices, engage your customers – all that can be a maddening headache, especially when you’re trying to keep your finger on the pulse of your own industry.
So what should your main goals be, and what should a marketing professional be helping you with? No matter where you end up, you want to make sure they’ve got a grip on this stuff.
Put Your Head Together
The very first thing you should be doing is thinking about yourself. Think about what the image of your site is, who you’re appealing to, and what your strengths are as a practice. Have you spent time on your competitions websites? Do you know what you like about them, what they don’t like, why they’re doing what they’re doing? If you’re not doing that, you’re going to have problems knowing your identity and getting off the blocks.
Ask yourself in a couple of sentences what makes you better than the rest. When you do this you’re going to have a baseline from which you can make all of your marketing as impactful as possible, just remember that that message is going to be clarified a little by the feedback you get from your real customers.
So, once you know what you WANT your customers to think about you, how to you go about convincing them to do so? Well, your website is going to have a big part to play there. Make sure you have an easy to navigate website that loads quickly, that’s inviting, that gives people an idea of what to expect from your business and has a clear call to action.
What’s great about having your own website for your business is that you have total control over its design. Most business owners want their own website since they can tailor-fit its overall look with their brand image.
Let’s take McDonalds, for example. Notice how the McDonalds brand logo has a color combination of yellow and red. If you go to their website, you’ll see the same color combination implemented in every page of the website, including its various sub-pages. Why is it so important to have your brand image associated with your website? It is mainly because your brand image is what most people relate to. Your brand image is what sticks to the minds of your customers and is what distinguishes you from the competition. Without a proper brand image, you will just be another fish in the sea.
Now, every customer isn’t going to just automatically call you out of the gate. Sometimes you need to build engagement gradually. And we can do that! Think of some promotional ideas, whether that’s something like a free whitening for patients, an Amazon card, a coupon, or even just a guide on common dental treatments in exchange for an email address – anything that you can share as having value.
Now you want to get people inbounds and inside your site. You can make the nicest website with the best promotional offer in the world, but if nobody checks it out, you’re in trouble. So you need to get some inbound links to your site. This is actually easier than you’d think.
- Start by claiming your local presence. That means Google Local listings, Yelp, Healthgrades, the AJC and other local papers, and even the Yellow Pages website. You can even pay for listings at the top for some of these places.
- Participate in local business and community events. Odds are decent you’re already doing this, but if you’re not making time, well.. make the time. Even getting a friend to go on your behalf can be invaluable.
- Videos – In a lot of ways your actual location is a big source of professionalism and production. Just whip out a basic camera and make a handful of videos answering basic questions about what you do. Someone can add some nice music and a title in post – and it’s a lot more than your competitors are doing.
- Press Releases – Press releases are a huge source of inbound links and credibility, and it’s another situation where your credentials can make something boring into news. You can offer your opinion about new ideas or services (good or bad), dangers facing the public, staff changes – the more real world value it has, the better.
In many ways, your practice is (and it might feel embarrassing to admit this) a retail outlet. And a lot of the same rules that apply in retail are going to apply to you, because customers find you in similar ways. You need to make sure you’re getting good reviews and all the other stuff that comes with a digital business.
- Getting appointments and consultations
- Getting followers and comments on Twitter, Facebook, et cetera.
- Participating in community events (this costs WAY less than you think)
Every dentist knows you need to defray the costs of actually getting customers in the door with followup and repeat customers. But knowing and doing can be two different things. Optimizing stuff like mailers can be very, very hard – going back for redesigns and trying to make each one better…
A lot of the time you don’t even know what’s being opened and what isn’t unless you get cards marked return to sender.
SMS messaging can help here. All you need is the phone number and you can send those messages to their cellphones when it’s time for a checkup – voila!
You basically have global access at your fingertips when you go online. You can reach people all over the world anytime.
Let’s say you use Facebook as your main social media platform. On Facebook, all you need to do is create a business page for your dental services business, enter the necessary information such as the business’ address and the dental services that you offer, then upload a nice photograph of the business itself.
Once you’re done, you can share the business page you just created via your main personal Facebook account. Sharing it on Facebook allows not only your friends to see it, but also anyone who is just following your Facebook profile. In addition, people who are in the same area as your business location can see your business since Facebook implements what they call geo-location tagging. Geo-location tagging allows you to place your business on a virtual map for everybody in the immediate vicinity to see.
But in social media marketing, it’s not enough to create a profile, put up pictures, then stand up and leave. You have to take your time to interact with your potential customers – have a conversation with them to make them feel that your business is not just some randomly created page run by a machine. People want to ask questions and get a legitimate reply. They want to give feedback and once in a while, have that feedback acknowledged by the owner.
For a dentist offering dental services outside of the hospital, it’s important to market your business in the most effective way possible. Hopefully, the ideas that we just presented to you will help you to do just that!