Every single business in the US had to adjust to a new reality in 2020 and dental practices were no exception. In addition to implementing additional sterilization and safety protocols, dental practitioners also had to learn how to leverage these safety measures in their marketing strategies.
Today, dental practice marketing looks very different than it did a couple of years ago. Dentists and other oral care experts now need to make adjustments and implement techniques that help them make their advertising more effective.
In this article, we’ll share 10 ways to improve your dental office marketing tactics and get better results from your efforts.
10 Ways to Make Dental Practice Marketing More Effective
When most dentists think about marketing for dental clinics, they automatically think about getting more phone calls, booking more appointments, and growing their collective patient base.
The reality is that patients expect more from their care providers than ever before, and dental practitioners are no exception. Because of this, your advertising efforts can’t be treatment-centric. In other words, you can’t simply build campaigns to promote your products.
To be successful, you need to understand your target audience, develop interactive content that addresses their pain points, and garner positive reviews. All of this will help you build a stronger bond with your local community, fuel traditional and digital word-of-mouth, and help you get more patients.
With the above in mind, here are 12 ways to make your dental patient marketing more effective. Note that all practices are different, so you may need to adjust these advertising tips based on the dental patients you want to attract and your other goals.
1. Take a Proactive Approach
One of the biggest setbacks dental practitioners face when developing a marketing campaign is a reactive approach. In other words, these marketing campaigns are designed to start working once potential patients have reached out.
While this was the standard for the dental industry, it’s no longer the recommended practice. Instead, you should focus on creating proactive content and distributing it through different channels, including at local events and through your Facebook page.
2. Create a Balanced Marketing Mix
It’s impossible to learn how to market dental practice without understanding your advertising mix. Also known as your marketing mix, this describes the tools and assets you use to manage and create advertising campaigns. Every dentist has a unique dental marketing mix. But these potential tools can be categorized as either traditional or digital.
Traditional advertising consists of print ads, television adverts, and other kinds of non-digital, conventional dental marketing forms. Some of the traditional advertising tools in your marketing mix may include partnerships with print media specialists, community events coordinators, and similar providers.
There is no doubt that traditional marketing still has its place and time. With that said, sweeping lockdown mandates implemented in 2020 encouraged existing and new dental patients to choose dentists using digital means like online reviews and similar web presence indicators.
Digital marketing is an umbrella term encompassing all forms of advertising that take place over digital, internet-capable devices. This includes smartphones, desktop computers, and other devices that dental patients may use to find a new dentist.
The digital advertising umbrella includes, but it’s not limited to, email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), social media promotion, business listing management, content marketing, inbound advertising, and paid ads.
Let’s look at SEO, paid ads, and social media marketing, which are the three most common forms of online promotion today.
SEO is a form of organic dental marketing. In other words, you don’t have to pay for the individual patients you attract to your practice. Now, you still need to invest resources into developing content that helps you attract new patients. But, unlike paid advertising, you won’t have to issue a payment for the clients you generate.
As the name suggests, paid ads allow you to purchase spots throughout the web. Unlike traditional advertising, paid dental marketing campaigns usually work on a performance-based model, like pay-per-click or PPC. When running a PPC ad campaign, you only have to pay when users click on your ads and, presumably, access your site.
Social Media Marketing
While search engines remain the top resource that potential patients use to search for a new dental office, social media platforms allow clients to reach out to the providers they have available.
Social media pages open up new communication channels and boost your credibility because they allow for additional patient reviews. So, with the right strategy, you can use your social media profile to find more new patients, send appointment reminders, and ask for reviews from existing patients.
3. Set a Realistic Budget
Digital channels tend to be on the more affordable end of the scale. However, you’ll still need to invest resources into developing quality content that gets you a better position in relevant search results.
There is no doubt that attracting new patients is among every dentist’s goals, but setting a huge budget may actually be counterproductive. Instead of setting a massive budget, you’ll likely reduce, later on, try to be realistic and design a financial plan that won’t disrupt your practice.
If anything, this will give you wiggle room to invest additional funds once your marketing campaigns start producing stable results.
4. Understand the Potential Value of Each Patient
Many offices miss one thing when developing dental marketing strategies: calculating and understanding the actual monetary value (also known as lifetime value or LTV) of every patient.
The key here is to find the average monetary value of every client, which varies from one dental practice to the next. You can follow this formula to calculate your patient’s LTV:
- LTV = Customer Value x Average Customer Lifespan
In this formula, the customer value equals the average purchase value multiplied by the average number of purchases each customer makes. The average customer lifespan is the amount of time that passes from the first to the last purchase.
Once you have this data, you can use it to figure out how many patients you need to attract through every campaign to achieve your dental marketing goals.
5. Update Local Directories
Local directories are one of the most important elements for dental marketing campaigns. Local directories play a crucial role because they help patients make purchasing decisions. Patients use local directories to find dental services in their areas, read reviews, and see if any provider is currently offering a patient special.
6. Track Your Results and Optimize Accordingly
If you’ve opted for digital marketing dental clinic promotion strategies, you’ll need to keep a close eye on the performance of your campaigns. The only way to do this is to learn how to track your results, interpret the right KPIs, and optimize your content accordingly.
Learning how to optimize your content involves a learning curve, so develop a standardized process and a set schedule. The optimization frequency will vary from one dentist to the next. So, your best bet is to monitor your results closely during the first month, collect statistically-significant data, and identify patterns before making any adjustments.
7. Join a Dental Care Program
Dental care programs are subscription services designed to provide patients with access to quality oral care services at discounted rates. By joining a dental care program, your practice can establish a predictable revenue stream, increase foot traffic, and allow you to collect a review after converting each potential patient.
8. Target a Local Audience
It’s true that many dental practitioners successfully established online consultation services. However, local patients that want to purchase in-person are still the most important audience for your dental care practice.
You should keep this in mind throughout the entire marketing campaign creation process and ensure that all of the content you create is tailored for local audience members.
9. Develop a Referral Program
Digital word-of-mouth is more than an adaptation of an old concept. It’s estimated that 4 out of 5 consumers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations. But, in addition to checking Google My Business (GMB) listings, many clients also ask their inner circle for recommendations.
If you have a referral program, you’ll encourage patients to share their positive experiences and recommend you to potential clients who may also need dental care.
10. Make Marketing a Central Element Within Your Practice
Modern marketing is all about creating a great user experience, which means that it’s an ongoing process. Every team member is a direct representative of your brand, so you need to establish an internal culture that revolves around quality, excellence, and your customers.
Ensure that all of your team members understand how essential your brand is and that they take this into account whenever they interact with a new or existing patient.
There is no doubt that marketing is one of the most important elements for the success of your practice. We hope that the tips above would allow you to boost the performance of your marketing machine and get better results from your efforts.