Developing an Effective Media Strategy for your Dental Practice
Spending years in school and honing your craft through extensive training is just the start of owning a dental practice. To accelerate and sustain the growth of your dental practice effective dental marketing strategies should be brainstormed, developed, and implemented.
It’s easy to think that once you have a lot of patients that you can let off the gas and coast for a bit. But coasting is a deadly decision that could cost you your business. Never rely on comfort. As soon as you start to get comfortable you can rest confident that your marketing likely isn’t doing its job.
An online presence is a crucial part of marketing for dentists. Without an online presence, it’s guaranteed that you’re falling behind your competition. After all, the majority of today’s consumers rely heavily on online reviews, a practice’s website, and their social media following to understand what a practice offers and gauge whether it is right for them.
Social media includes Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. It is almost like the new word of mouth. When a person likes or retweets your dental practice they’re essentially endorsing you. This endorsement earns you immediate points for trustworthiness when a person sees that you have earned their friend’s endorsement.
In addition to earning you an endorsement, social media is one of the most popular dental marketing ideas out because it helps immensely with search engine optimization rankings. Every post on social media is considered content and individual posts on Facebook are indexed in Google. So let’s say you post about dental implants. Google can tell where you’re located and may deliver that individual post to searchers in the general vicinity of the area.
Social media is built on several important principles. The first is a connection. It helps to connect you with patients and make them feel as if you’re easy to get a hold of and operate your business transparently.
It also drives the conversation. Patients feel as if they’re able to honestly and authentically engage in conversation with you, then they feel as if they’re being heard. Because social is used as a conversation tool it’s important that you use it as a listening tool as well. Read comments and how people engage with content. This will tell you a lot about your audience, what they like, and how to best interact with them.
Whether you like it or not your patients are talking about you. The important thing to understand is whether they’re saying good or bad things. Good medical marketing for dental practices should include a solid plan to attain positive reviews and respond to any negative reviews that might be out there.
To start you’ll want to design a way to attract positive reviews. This might look something like following up with patients with links to Google or Facebook. Ask for a short review if they’re had a positive experience. The key is to not ask for too much. Remember that patients are doing you a favor by posting reviews. You can also call patients to ask for feedback, remind them when they’re checking out after an appointment, and create posts on social media that ask for feedback.
You also need to have a standard operating procedure to handle a negative review. Even the best dental office will get a negative review every once in a while. The key is to respond promptly, with empathy, and openly.
Referrals are affordable leads that come to you through recommendations of other patients. The best way to get referrals is by creating a referral program. In today’s digital age this looks more like creating social ambassadors.
You can set up a program where excited, happy patients can help spread the word about you through their social networks. Through unique tracking, you can see how many referrals each ambassador is attracting and reward them according to a points system. Each level of points gets them something cool. It might be free teeth whitening or tickets to your local movie theater. They key is to make the prizes appealing enough that people would work for them.
When marketing for dentists it’s important that you have a website that is well laid out, attractively designed, and responsive. Each of these factors plays a huge role in how people experience your website, what they think about it, and whether they stay on it long enough to actually become leads or patients.
Responsive websites are websites designed to look good and be user-friendly on any device. More and more people are visiting websites from their mobile phones. And with mobile phones having a wide variety of display sizes it’s even more important that your website looks good regardless of how a person is viewing it.
Additionally, it’s crucial that your website reflects the overall brand of your business. Make sure the tone of the website is designed to reflect the tone of your office. Don’t try to go for a wacky, over the top design if you practice is pragmatic. Similarly, when choosing colors for your logo avoid bright, unprofessional colors.
Your website’s layout is also an important part of marketing your dental practice. A poorly laid out website will instantly create a negative image of your practice in a visitor’s mind. Imagine trying to contact an office only to have difficulty finding where they’re located. Instead of searching through pages of a website a user will instead return to search results and choose another dentist whose website is laid out much better.
The key to laying out a website is to put yourself in the shoes of the user. Be empathetic to their needs. Avoid trying to be overly creative. People read left to right, which means your most important information should be towards the top of the page and beginning at the left. Additionally, people love high-quality images. Be sure to use high-quality photos throughout your website, as they tell visitors that you take pride in your website and the work you do.