Dental marketing doesn't have to be confusing but it is hard to know where to start. Marketing your dental practice can be difficult, especially when you're trying to run your business and do what you're best at, being a dentist.
It's hard to find time to market your dental practice
After running you're day to day, it's hard to imagine finding the time to get new patients, care for existing patients, tackle paperwork and then work on marketing your practice.
Then, on top of that, you have to figure out what and how you'll market your business.
The problem is, whether you have the time or not to market your dental practice, it is absolutely necessary to do so. To help you start marketing your dental practice here are 28 tested dental marketing strategies you can use to benchmark your current efforts.
28 Ideas That Will Get You 157+ Calls in 4 Weeks
1. Referrals: Whether you solicit them online or in your practice. Referral marketing is often an overlooked dental marketing strategy. Asking satisfied patients to refer their friends and family can be a great way to jump start patient acquisition for your dental practice. You could even consider offering them an incentive, as an example: $25 off a cleaning when you refer a new patient, which leads us to our next item...
2. Discounted Services: Promotions and savings always attract new patients and will re-engage patients you haven't seen in a while. Maybe they've missed their last two cleanings. Sending them a promotion for 50% off can get them back in the door. By keeping a list of emails, using an email service, like Mailchimp, you can email these promotions. This benefits you multiple ways. From a cost perspective, it's more cost and time efficient to send an email. From a targeting perspective, you can select who will get what promotion. Missed two cleanings, they get X promotion. Had a whitening consultation, but never went through with it, they get Y promotion.
3. Engaging Patients on Social Media: Social media is quickly becoming a business necessity. A unique social presence for your practice has major upsides. (increased top of mind awareness, brand loyalty, customer retention, word of mouth). By posting interesting, entertaining and relevant content (and maybe a promotion or two) you gain share of mind with your audience. Creating social media posts for your dental practice can be fun too!
Dental Marketing Tip | A Website Should be Part of Your Strategy
4. Ignite Patient Growth with a Great Website: A critical component of your dental marketing strategy is having a well built website that looks great on all devices (including your phone - see idea number 13). Your practice's website is the epicenter of your marketing efforts, that everything else coalesces around. Own your online presence or you'll put your business in the hands of platforms you don't control. (like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.) The risk is, that if things change, or your account is for some reason removed; you've lost all your work. (For more on the dangers of building your business on a platform you don't own see this article)
5. Optimize Your Website For Local Search (SEO): You've probably googled for businesses in your area before. You know that some of them pop right up at the top. Location based search results are a great for boosting patient acquisition. Having a Search Engine Optimized (SEO) website as well as a Google My Business Listing (Free) is a good place to start. Ranking well in local search will have an immediate, positive, impact on your practice. (see idea 24 for more on SEO)
6. Research the Competition: Before you offer discounts and incentives make sure to check your local competition out first. Don't offer the same promotions they're offering. See how you can differentiate your practice to make your sales and promotions stand out!
7. Professional Network Cross Referrals: Teaming up with other healthcare professionals can be a great way to jump start patient growth. Making professional alliances with doctors and other healthcare professionals in your area can be a great strategy for your dental marketing. *It's imperative that these referrals are to professionals you trust and feel comfortable referring patients to. Your reputation is everything.
8. Establish Authority: Patients want to know that they're in good hands, right? Establishing your expertise and authority in dentistry creates trust, and trust creates more opportunities for patient growth. Publishing articles to websites, blogs, magazines and industry publications is an excellent way to boost your street cred.
Dental Marketing Tip | A Process Frees Up Time and Resources
9. Create a Brand Book: Creating a document (brand book/brand guidelines) that has all of your marketing information has a lot of benefits.
- For one it creates a process and information resource. This is helpful when you're delegating your marketing work to your staff. If you have staff changes you can get new staff up to speed quickly.
- Two, it saves you time by having established guidelines. (for example: like text color, link color, fonts, logo position etc.)
- Three, having a process makes staying on brand easy. When you "stay on brand", over time, people will recognize your content instantly.
Consistency across all platforms is important for fostering brand awareness and converting ads to revenue. It's the same reason Coke and McDonald's don't change their branding. As Warren Buffett would say "[they] have 'share' of mind". This is a powerful competitive advantage your dental practice can wield.
10. Leverage the Power of Email Marketing: We briefly touched on this in step two. Email marketing deserves its own spot on the list. In spite of the ever evolving changes to the online business arena, email marketing continues to remain a dominant (if not THE dominant) marketing channel. It can also help streamline your business. From scheduling appointments, to automated reminder emails to schedule a visit, email marketing can bring a level of profitability and automation to your business that you might not have expected.
11. Target New Homeowners: One of the most effective strategies I've implemented for dental practices is targeting new homeowners in the area. This simple strategy has grown many practices by ten-fold in as little as a couple of years. 1,000% growth isn't too shabby. To do this, you simply collect (monthly, quarterly) a list of recent home buyers. This information can be purchased, but is also available from city websites. You then send a mailer. The most successful mailer we've sent has been a welcome letter with an offer they simply couldn't refuse ($150 off teeth whitening), who doesn't want new teeth to go with their new house?!
12. Get a Free Google My Business Account: I've seen clients get results from this practically overnight. Google My Business allows you to create a look business listing for your website that will be added to Google's local search algorithm, Google Maps and if you're lucky (or work hard) to position zero in google search. One caveat to this, your business will get reviews, do your very best on a customer service level to make sure they are good. Managing Google My Business is fairly straightforward and you can sign up for an account here.
Dental Marketing Tip | Your Patients Do Health Research on Their Phones
13. Make Sure Your Website is Mobile Optimized: Simply, make sure your website is completely functional on all the common mobile devices. (iPad, iPhone, Android, Tablets) As you know, more and more people rely solely on their phone for everything. Making sure your website works perfectly on these devices will help you seize the advantage in your dental marketing strategy. Nowadays, approximately 57% of all web traffic is conducted on a mobile device. (src. Search Engine Land Research) Your site must be mobile friendly.
14. Make Sure Your Phone Number is There: On all of your platforms (your website, social media, guest posts etc.) make sure potential patients have the ability to "Click to Call". On your Facebook page there should be a Call to Action (CTA) on your page that prompts people to call the office, on your site your office number should be displayed (as a button, or link) that allows people to call, on your profiles add your office number. Point being, make sure people can easily contact you, they're not as excited about going to the dentist as you are to have them as patients.
15. Mobile Search is Preferred by Your Patients: The majority of health related and healthcare searches are performed on a smart phone. According to Google, one in twenty Google searches are health related. Making this a big pie that your dental marketing strategy can take a slice of.
16. Learn Copy Writing: Hire a copywriter or learn about copy writing. Creating compelling headlines and content is a cornerstone of any dental marketing strategy. Without good content and great offers, you don't have anything of value to promote. If you're going the DIY route, and following this guide, using headline formulas and templates is a good place to start.
17. Market for Emergencies: If your office, or a partners, can handle emergency cases, marketing your services for urgent dental needs is low hanging fruit. If this is not an option for your practice, continue on to the next step. Don't market for this unless you can accommodate the service.
18. Charity and Community Involvement: Giving back is an excellent way to feel great about what you're doing and gain positive exposure through local reporting and word of mouth. Being involved in your local community makes your business a fixture, not just another operation in town.
19. Retarget Your Website Vistors: Hopefully you have a great website, that's mobile optimized and getting traffic. If so, retargeting site visitors with advertisements on Facebook is an excellent way to turn cold leads into warm ones. See the infographic below for more details.
20. Go All Out on Your Content: It's better to produce one piece of great content a week than it is to produce seven mediocre ones. This probably goes without saying, but you'd be surprised at what I've seen. Make your content stand out! The digital world is noisy, your business has to have a strong signal to cut through the static, that signal is your content and offers.
Dental Marketing Tip | Your Content Has to be a Signal Through the Online Static
21. Use Marketing Tools to Streamline: You do have a dental practice to run after all! Using marketing tools to automate, curate content and grow your business is a must. Especially, if you're doing your own dental marketing. Social media automation, content research, seo tools and customer management software can halve the time you spend on your marketing.
22. Make Sure Your Website is Fast: We've discussed how important it is to have a mobile responsive website (it looks good on smartphones and tablets), part of that equation is having a fast loading site. Your pagespeed impacts your rank in search engines. It has a major impact on your rankings, especially on mobile devices where the internet connection can be spotty. To get a baseline of your page speed you can go to the Google's free PageSpeed Insights tool here and test your site.
23. Build a Better Grab Bag: We're all overly familiar with the standard toothpaste, toothbrush and dental floss "gift bag". That's a great start, because you've defeated what I call the "Human SPAM Filter". Your patients have been receiving the same gift bags, probably, for decades. They've come to expect it. Which makes it a great opportunity for you to offer them your own promotions. A "gift card", a mini-brochure with a link to your site, the possibilities are nearly endless.
24. Create Content that Search Engines Can Find: To get found online, coming up at the top of search results is important. When you optimize your content for search you're making it easier for sites like Google to add you to their results. Yoast SEO is a good tool to use to optimize your content for search. This is different than optimizing your site for search. It's similar to idea number 5, but this is specifically for the marketing content you will write going forward. Content that is good and search engine optimized will have better results overall.
25. Create an Ideal Patient Avatar: Do you have patients you love! The kind that always show up, pay their bill on time and refer their friends and family to you? In other words, do you have ideal patients, the kind you wish you had more of? Take a pen and paper and make a list of all the qualities they have in common. Are they men or women? What do they do for a living? How old are they? What is their approximate income? What kind of insurance to they have? Take all the overlapping pieces of data and put them together to create your ideal client avatar. This is important because...(see next idea).
26. Laser Target Your Ideal Patients: You've created your ideal patient avatar, now it's time to put it to good use! Facebook and Google Adwords will allow you to target potential patients based on income, employment type, geographical location, sex, household size, buying habits and more. Using your avatar you can easily start reaching out to the patients you want to work with.
27. Partner with Local Businesses: Your branded grab bag of dental goodies doesn't have to just be for patients. Take a version of this and give it to your friends and local business owners to hand out in their places of business. People love free stuff! This is powerful because it is engaging the psychology of reciprocity. You do for me and I'll do for you. If you've ever owed someone a favor, you know just how powerful this strategy can be.
28. Use Click to Call Ads: Start getting calls to your practice in under twenty-four hours. By running ads that target potential patients on their phones, within the geographical area of your practice and using your ideal patient avatar you can expect to see results almost immediately. (see idea 25).
Free! 30 Point Dental Marketing Checklist