Growth Hacking Dental Practices

Are your dental marketing messages coming up short? Consider growth hacking

Sept. 10, 2014
You don't have to spend a lot of money to have success in marketing. The secret is finding new methods through growth hacking.

Have you ever felt that no matter where you go or what you do, you just can’t escape digital marketing? Have you ever noticed that when you open an email, app, social media account, or even some of your software tools, someone has sent you an ad or message you just can’t turn off?

Understand that this is also happening to the prospective patients you’re trying to reach with your online marketing, and they’re just as irritated by this interference as we are. Advertisers and marketers are vying for their attention with every click of the mouse, and advertisers, including your competition, are getting sneakier all the time.

Marketing methods are becoming more personal, more unique, and more compelling. Corporate dental practices and dentists who have a huge marketing budget love this because they’re willing to spend whatever it takes to achieve market dominance. But this makes it harder for the single doctor and small practices to compete.

It’s also teaching your prospective patients to ignore every promotional message that they come across.

We’ve known about “banner blindness” – where we naturally learn to “tune out” banner ads — for a long time now. Display ads on websites are ignored. We skip pre-roll ads in YouTube videos (click the “x”) as soon as possible. Research is clear that even once highly effective mobile app ads (no matter where they are or how they are presented) are all but ignored.

For the average dentist, pay-per-click adds the click-through rates, which are usually terrible, but they’re probably better than they’ll ever be because they unintentionally teach people how to ignore them. I don’t have any stats to prove this, but I point toward the innate ability (your reticular activating system) of humans to easily adapt and ignore stuff they don’t want.

(This is why most default magazine ads feature scantily clad women, because the physiological response is practically built into men to desire beauty. Of course, it is our choice whether we fall prey to this type of advertising, but it works because it leverages a behavioral response that is reinforced chemically and psychologically.)

Escape from digital sameness
So, if your online ads and promotional pieces are being ignored more and more, and the amount you pay “per-click” is climbing steadily, how can you compete when your competitors are spending thousands of dollars per month on digital advertising? The answer, for now anyway, can be found in Growth Hacking Your Dental Marketing Program.

In today’s hyper competitive market, you have to strongly consider deviating from everything you’ve been using (with less and less success) to generate quality new patient traffic for your dental practice. To do otherwise is bordering on the insane.

Dental marketing used to be much more effective, but dentists have become accustomed to lackluster performance and an ROI to match. It’s especially interesting to me that so many dentists continue paying for strategies that are clearly not delivering as they once did, while watching and praying their results will somehow improve. Dental marketers and practice management gurus have all but taken the innovation and creativity out of marketing your practice.

Is growth hacking the solution to your marketing woes?
What makes growth hacking the answer to your dental marketing nightmares? Part of what we do breaks the mold (the pattern) of what your prospective patients are used to seeing, and (pay attention her) are ignoring. Growth hacking breaks into your patients’ minds in unique ways that they’re not used to seeing. Their minds are not predisposed to block what they’re experiencing.

Growth hacking isn’t a tactic; it’s a strategy. There are no “Top 10 Points to Better Growth Hacking” because it will always be unique to the goals you want to achieve. Growth hacking gives you a system that has not been used before, and as a result, you’ll change how people perceive your brand by doing something that’s unusual. It sneaks past the reticular activating system filters your prospects have put in place, and it gets their attention.

By doing something that your target audience hasn’t experienced, you’re able to get into their heads much more easily. You’re bypassing the barriers that they’ve automatically set up to filter out marketing pitches. Basically, the idea is to try new growth hacks until they no longer work, then you move on to the next hack. Remember though, that the effectiveness of any campaign and how people engage it must be measured so that you can learn from each experience.

Do growth hacking strategies work every time?
Anyone who tells you that every growth hacking strategy is going to work is lying. The most important aspect of incorporating growth hacking into your dental marketing program is to understand that while some of the strategies will not be effective, the overall program will be effective.

Just like any new product release, individual growth hacking strategies can be awesome, or they can fall flat. But you’re spending small amounts of money to find the perfect strategy, so you’ll achieve success much faster and for pennies on the dollar compared to what you’ve been spending.

That’s the beauty of growth hacking … rapid implementation, rapid results, rapid adjustments, and rapid success. When you find the perfect strategy for your practice, that’s when you increase marketing spend and scale the program.

Growth hacking eliminates the need for you to drop huge sums of cash on the front end of a marketing program by testing and finding the sweet spot before you invest large sums. Additionally, and even more importantly, are the methods used to attract quality new patients. The old methods are based on interruption and disruption. Growth hacking magnetically attracts so that your new patient prospects come after you vs. ignoring you or running away.

My favorite analogy for this is simple. Assuming that you’re married, go back five, 10, 20 years to your first date with your spouse. Imagine that he or she is sitting across the table from you, and within 15 minutes of your very first date says, “After we have dinner I want to take you over to my parent’s house so my dad can talk to you, and from there I want to drive you by the house we’re going to live in after we get married! It’s a beautiful four-bedroom house in a private neighborhood, but we’ll get a larger house after that to accommodate the six children we’re going to have.”

I felt you cringe as you read that. Please understand that your prospective and existing patients feel that same sick feeling when they encounter the outdated dental marketing messages that you’re still using today.

If you want to know more about how growth hacking your dental practice can inject life and an increased level of new patient traffic back into your practice, I encourage you to visit our website and check out the Definitive Guide to Growth Hacking Your Dental Practice.

Ken Newhouse, DDS, is the Founder of Growth Hacker Central, the fastest-growing provider of dentist SEO and dental web marketing strategies, systems, and tools with 2,800+ dentists worldwide. Ken also serves as CEO of Practice Doctor Management, an organization that provides a variety of offline dental marketing systems and coaching. Ken is a certified LinkedIn expert, reaching his first 1,000 connections in less-than 30 days. You can connect with Ken on LinkedIn here.