Unless you live in a small community and are the town’s sole dentist, chances are you have worked hard to gain the patients you have. Whether you like it or not, certain markets are very competitive for dentists and dental specialists. To stand out from the crowd, there are certain things that have become marketing imperatives and if you avoid or ignore them, your practice growth can (and most likely will) suffer. In this case, ignorance is not bliss.
We understand that hearing this can frustrating. Most dentists enter the field to do one thing and one thing only – build a great practice by giving your patients the best dental care you can. It’s what you do. For most dentists, it seems to be an after thought that you’d have to “compete” for patients and worry about building and sustaining a working marketing plan to do so.
Today, most of your marketing focus should be directed to online endeavors – it’s where your patients and potential patients go when they want to find anything, including dental services. To stand out from the crowd and win more than your fair share of dental patients, here is what you should focus on:
Connect with them via Social Media
Connecting with your patients via social media is so much more than “friend-ing” them via your personal Facebook account. Your practice should have it’s own branded Facebook account that does the following:
- Posts dental-related content once a day at least 5 days a week
- Documents your practice’s “happy” days – including office birthdays, holiday fun and patient successes (with their written permission, of course.)
- Has more than a handful of “likes” and reviews
We certainly don’t recommend you put all of your marketing “eggs” in the Facebook basket, particularly since Facebook has decided to alter it’s algorithm and show less business or brand posts in user’s feeds these days. But, it is very important that when a potential patient looks you up on Facebook, that you are there and you are dynamic. Facebook has become so pervasive in almost every demographic group, that if just about any age patient searches for you and can’t find you there, they will find it odd or possibly even off-putting.
Be Mobile Accessible
The next time you visit a place like Starbucks, look around you and take note of how many people are looking at their mobile devices. Whether they are waiting for their latte or standing in line to order, it’s certainly possible that 3 out of 5 people are looking at their phones. While yes, they are checking email, mindlessly scrolling social media feeds or answering a text message – they are also using this down time to finish daily tasks like scheduling a dental appointment.
If your website isn’t easily accessible, visibly beautiful and perfectly functioning from a mobile device like an iPhone or Android device, your patients will get frustrated and return to Google to find another dentist. Yes, as disconcerting as it is, sometimes you really only have as long as it takes to receive a coffee order to impress and win a potential dental patient.
NOTE: Google has announced that starting April 21st, 2015, they will consider “mobile friendliness” as a ranking factor in deciding which sites to display in search engine results pages. Simply put, if your site isn’t designed to be mobile friendly (and many aren’t), Google will penalize you and may not bring up your site when potential patients search on their mobile devices for dental services in your area.
Show them why you are the best Dental Choice
Show them, don’t tell them. You can show potential patients impeccable paragraphs dictating why your office is the best choice for them, agonizing over every word that’s displayed on your site. But, it won’t be half as convincing as uploading a simple video of you, the dentist, explaining who you are and why your patients love your practice. Better yet, show them videos of your current patients happily relaying why they love their smiles and why they can’t recommend your practice enough. Video testimonials are powerful, plain and simple.
To stand out among your competitors, make sure your site has a handful of videos of you, your practice and patient testimonial videos. Not sure where to start? Check out this blog post with some simple ideas. TIP: Make sure your patient gives explicit, written permission for you to use the testimonial on your site for marketing purposes.
Build an Impeccable Rep
Your reputation is everything and it always will be. You can spend a large chunk of your budget on online marketing efforts and none of it makes a darn bit of difference if there are negative patient reviews negating it. We get that a negative review will happen every now and then and you can’t control that, but what you can control is your response to it. We recommend you respond quickly and calmly if a patient posts a negative review of your practice on Yelp, Facebook, Google or any other online review site. In some cases, you may even be able to turn a critic into a raving fan if you handle the situation correctly.
Winning your share of dental patients doesn’t have to be a daunting task. To learn how we can help, contact our experienced dental marketing team today.