arketing is key to the success of any business and dental practices are no exception. For a dental practice to grow, a single dentist should be seeing 24-50 new patients per month. And in order to attract new dental patients, a practice must offer a competitive product at competitive pricing, along with convenient quality services – all backed by a solid dental marketing plan.
Whether you have recently started your dental clinic or are an established one, if you want to make the most out of digital marketing, then you have landed at the right place. In this article, we will briefly explain about different types of online marketing, and how you can expect significant results by applying these tips in your online marketing strategy. When trying to figure out how to market your dental practice, the first step is always a SWOT session. In case you’re not familiar with this term, it’s simply a structured way to determine your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Strength: What sets your dental practice apart from other dentists in your area? List every possible item that you can identify and leverage to make your practice stand out from the competition.
Weakness: What are the biggest patient beefs? Be honest with this list so you can recognize and deal with any obstacles.
Opportunities: Where will practice growth come from? Evaluate each item to determine what you can take advantage of.
Threats: Are there any issues your practice may have to anticipate, prepare for, and defend against?
Once you have established where your dental practice is positioned, you’ll be able to determine which dental marketing ideas will help secure a successful future.
For an established dental practice, more than 70% of new patient growth should come from internal patient referrals. Yet existing patients don’t often view your dental practice as a growing business in search of more patients. So how do you keep your name at the top of their minds and encourage them to tell others about your services?
By offering a broad referral bonus program. The motivation for patients is simple: If a person recommends your practice to a friend, and that friend ends up visiting your practice, then the original referrer is rewarded with a bonus, such as a discount or a dental product. This program has the double benefit of engaging with patients, both old and new, and appealing them to your practice. What’s more, all you need to do is hand out simple referral cards at the office or tuck them into your practice marketing collateral.
To make this idea even more effective, consider incentivizing employees to motivate them to help improve and grow your practice, not just through referrals, but in all facets of your operation.
Women make more than 90% of all dental buying decisions. They are powerhouse consumers who want to make informed decisions for their families. They want a service, not just a product, and in today’s market, they have plenty of dental practices to choose from.
A great dental marketing idea that will entice more female household heads to contact your practice is to carefully review your overall marketing image, including your dental practice logo and your existing collateral. According to Marti Barletta, the world’s foremost expert on marketing to women, “Women make purchasing decisions differently than men in that they take a meandering approach.”
Women want information before they purchase to ensure they are finding the “perfect answer,” so when creating marketing collateral for your dental practice, be sure to work with a designer that offers a ton of dental practice marketing ideas, can provide in-depth demographic targeting and who understands how to market to women.
When it comes to strategic dental marketing, it’s important to watch your market and know your competition. Don’t advertise a $99 new patient special if 3 dental competitors offer essentially the same package for $49. And remember that patients want convenience, such as one-visit treatments, before-and-after-school appointments, and weekend availability. In other words, differentiate your practice from that of your competitors by being there when they want you and giving them what they want.
To get an even bigger edge on your competition, Entrepreneur.com suggests “you need to kick butt at hiring.” Think about it. When you have an attentive waiter in a restaurant who is engaged and who attends to your every need, you feel great about that restaurant. The same goes for your dental practice. If your front desk team doesn’t lift their heads when a patient approaches, or if you have a hygienist who’s a little too rough, it reflects poorly on the dentist and your patients may not return.
Stellar new-patient call handling is imperative. After scoring over 120,000 inbound dental-patient telephone calls, we can confirm that your dental office, like many others, is losing new patients due to poor phone handling. That doesn't mean your team isn't cheerful and helpful, it just means that calls are missed due to front desk responsibilities, there's an assumption that voicemail will cover off, and often there isn't a request by the practice for the patient to book an appointment. Overall, less than 70% of inbound calls are answered live and only 50% of those answered book an appointment. Make sure your team has the new patient telephone training they need by working with an expert dental marketing partner.
Even though more than 50% of your new dental patients should be referrals, those folks, along with people who receive your other dental marketing campaigns, will likely look you up online. What will they see?
A great dental marketing idea is to consistently clear your cache and Google “dentist in *insert your town here*.” Do you have 5-star Google reviews? Do you have any reviews at all? Whether you do or you don’t, it’s wise to encourage patients to give you positive reviews online, and a great way to do that is in your patient newsletter. Provide step-by-step “how to” instructions to help patients help you.
The friendlier you can make your image, the more success you will have.
Another good marketing idea for the entire dental office team is to regularly look over your website. Is the content up to date? Will your website appeal to the female head-of-household? Is it easy to navigate and does it reflect the quality of your services? Is there a friendly picture of the dentist with their family and/or the team? Fifty percent of consumers fear the dentist on some level, so the friendlier you can make your image, the more success you will have.
The most effective primary target audience consists of the neighborhoods and consumers that lie within close proximity of your business. That said, it’s essential that your dental practice have a positive community image.
Many of our clients find that sending out a neighborhood dental newsletter furthers their credibility and leads to additional community engagement. You can also get your practice's name out through participation in community events, such as volunteer activities or neighborhood celebrations. You may even decide to sponsor a local little league team. This can serve as a brilliant opportunity for networking with actual potential new dental patients while establishing your practice as a firm fixture in the community.
Really the number-one dental marketing idea is to consistently focus on new-patient generation. Every practice loses 15-20% of their patient base annually due to naturally occurring attrition. And direct mail is proven to drive higher results than any other type of marketing for dentists – but not all direct mail is the same. Dental marketing newsletters are proven to drive 70% higher call volume than dental marketing postcards, plus they're twice as effective at engaging the brain.
Host fun themed events at your office to let the community know you're not only "all business," but that you can provide an enjoyable experience as well. These events can range from an information seminar with free snacks and beverages to an elaborate photo shoot for patients with cosmetic treatments. Or you can organize a BBQ or refreshment pitstop for local events like charity runs or parades.
The key to this dental marketing idea is to be visible, real, and friendly, and to support your patient community. After all, a patient who has a good time with your practice is sure to reward you for it with their loyalty and referrals.
An inexpensive extension of this dental marketing idea is to setup social media profiles for your practice. These social media sites offer you a great way to show the culture of your practice and a place for prospective employees to see what it's like to work with your team.
The biggest dental marketing idea of all is team training. As a dentist, you are probably committed to continuing education for yourself and your team. But are you educating your team on the consumer benefits of choosing your dental practice?
Does your team believe you need more new patients, or do they view that as more work?
Does your team understand the value of each prospective new-patient call and do they believe in your services?
Is your team able to clearly and knowledgably explain how great your practice is to a new caller?
Remember, the person who answers the phone at your practice is the practice to a new-patient caller. Their enthusiasm about you, your practice, and the services you offer will make or break your dental marketing plans.
Enhance your dental marketing strategy with this gem of a dental marketing idea and get your team involved. At your weekly huddles, have your team read every marketing campaign you launch. Ensure that everyone understands the messaging you are putting out into your market area and can answer patient questions about offers and treatments. Have everyone on your dental team bring in all the flyers, emails, and other promotional dental marketing pieces they receive and review them in your huddles.
Make sure everyone on your team understands why patients should choose your practice and how important every patient visit is to your practice reputation. The more engaged your team is, the more likely they are to provide you with their unique dental marketing ideas.
Keep the Name & URL Simple
Starting with the URL and domain name of your dental clinic’s website, you need to have a domain name that describes your dental practice, any specialization, or your dental clinic’s name. You need to have an URL that can be easily read by both users and search engines. For the homepage, you can choose your dental clinic’s name, and that will be the best URL. For other web pages, you can use the keyword of the page content after the forward slash in the URL. You can also use the page title instead of the keyword. For instance, if your web page is about the root canal treatment, you can craft your web page URL as “www.xyzclinic.com/root-canal-treatment” Such URLs are not only easy to memorize but also tell your online users what the web pages. Talking about the length, shorter URLs are generally preferred. The URLs should be limited to 50-60 characters only. Shorter URLs are easier to memorize, to copy and paste, to share on social media, and to embed.
Keep It Simple
The website design and structure should be simple and easy-to-navigate for your audience. Inaccurate and unnecessary information and a complex dental website structure will only overwhelm your online users. Some may even leave your website if it is difficult to navigate. If a site has too much information, it overloads the mind, making it unable to retain the new information. Make a balance of text and graphics that present a clean page so that your online users can use your website. Place only the necessary content on your website. Think what content will be the most useful for your online users and keep the content limited to it. Talking about the website architecture, it is best to limit the top-level navigation menu to five clearly labelled tabs with related pages organized under them. For instance, if you provide different cosmetic and restorative dentistry services, you can have two main pages for Cosmetic Dentistry and Restorative Dentistry. Describe all the services under each of these pages to make your dental website look uncluttered. Also, have a clear and simple way to get back to the home page no matter where your audience is on your website. A search button on the website is also a good option to make things and web pages easily available for your online users.
Make Contact Details Visible
Several businesses miss out on putting their contact details easily accessible on their website. Therefore, their audiences have to search through the entire website in order to get in touch with the business owners. Your phone number, address and email address should be displayed prominently on the website and, if possible, at the top and bottom of every page. And doing so becomes even more essential for you as people looking for dentists need instant assistance. You can also have a ‘Book Your Appointment’ button on the top of your website. By clicking on this tab, your existing and potential customers will be taken to a booking form. If you use social media to connect with customers, then be sure to put links in the header or footer, where they are easily found. Apart from this, you can also have a separate Contact page which includes not just the contact numbers but email address, the physical address of the company, and a map, along with directions to your clinic and hours of operation as well.
Reduce the Page Load Time
Having a fast loading website is another important aspect in order to make your website more useful and also SEO-friendly. If your dental website takes too long to load on any device, ideally more than 10 seconds, your potential patients may leave it immediately, and this can increase your bounce-back rate. According to the surveys done by Akamai.com and Gomez.com, about 30% of mobile users expect a web page to load within 6-10 seconds. The easiest way to reduce your web page load time is by compressing the multimedia content you use on your website, or avoiding them completely. Heavy videos, images, animation, and graphics slow down your website’s loading speed, even on desktops and laptops. The next way to reduce load time is by minimizing the server response time. The mobile web page loading speed is determined by your web coding and the tech tool known as your server. The longer your server waits to respond to a request from a browser, the slower your page load time. You can either improve your web server software or configuration or enhance the scope of your web hosting service to regulate the speed.
Make Your Website Mobile-friendly
Your potential patients will be accessing your website via desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. And if your website looks great on a desktop or laptop, but not on mobile devices, it can be a huge loss for your dental practice. It is essential for your dental website to be as easy-to-navigate and visibly appealing as possible to give your audiences the same experience as they get on desktops and laptops. Thus, focus on optimizing your website for mobile users. First thing first, create a website design with responsive web design so that all the elements (graphics, images, videos, text, white spaces, etc.) of your website can be fluid and adapt to any screen size and orientation. Secondly, create mobile-friendly content and larger call-to-action buttons that people can read and skim through effortlessly, even while they are on the go. Next, limit the welcome forms and pop-ups as these sudden pop-ups can prevent your audiences from surfing your dental website and taking the desired action.
Our proven dental marketing solutions are designed to grow your business and help you stand out in the crowd. We’ve been helping dentists like you since almost a decade and offer a full suite of products and services to help you effectively market your dental practice.