When you opened your dental practice, you thought you could get your number in a bunch of insurance directories and set up a website, and patients would just find you. Outside of that, what else could you do?
Marketing for dentists can be tricky. Let’s face it, the flare and excitement that other industries such as restaurants, clubs, and online companies have isn’t typically associated with dentistry.
Because of this, some dentists find it hard to stand out and take advantage of the marketing techniques used by other businesses. The result is failed marketing attempts plagued with common issues and shortcomings, or worse, a complete lack of any type of marketing. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Make sure your dental office avoids these five dental marketing pitfalls to get the most out of your marketing and advertising efforts, both online and offline.
Trying to be everywhere
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to have a profile on every social media site available. In fact, having too many social media accounts can be inefficient and counterproductive, particularly for dentists. The key to choosing the best social media sites for your practice is to be where your patients are. Facebook and Twitter have become standards for pretty much every business because of their number of active users. Beyond that, you should be more selective about what accounts you create and spend your time and resources on.
Dentists have a unique position regarding social media marketing. Unlike many other industries where Facebook is the main social media traffic source, dentists actually get more patients through LinkedIn. That piece of information alone can help you avoid wasting your time and resources on the wrong marketing channels.
It’s a good idea to narrow down your top three to four social media sites to make a priority for your practice. Here’s a short guide to help steer you in the right direction of which sites your practice should be on.
Skip content marketing
Traditional dental marketing tends to rely on a lot of old techniques that don’t use the new tools and media that are available online. As a result, a lot of dentists are failing to use one of the most popular and effective online marketing techniques of the past few years – content marketing. Content marketing has become somewhat of a buzz word in the marketing world, but that doesn’t take away from its importance.
Content marketing is creating and distributing different types of content across the web. It could be everyday patient success stories, guest posts on blogs, infographics, videos, e-books, white papers, or anything that offers value to potential patients and keeps your practice in their mind. Content marketing has several benefits:
● Establishes you and your office as an expert/authority in your community
● Gets backlinks from relevant sites, which helps your website rank higher in search engines
● Spreads your reach online as your content gets shared
● Is a great way to get positive PR
The problem that dentists run into with content marketing is figuring out where to start. What type of content should you create? How should you create it? How should you distribute it once it’s created? How should you turn that content into new patients?
Content marketing requires a lot of time and effort to pull off, which is why a lot of dentists outsource it. One of the best ways to get started is to set up a blog for your office and create posts that are helpful to potential patients. This can be dental tips, information on events near your office, or anything else that’s of interest. Over time, you could integrate graphics, videos, and social media into your content marketing strategy. The possibilities are endless. With some creativity and know-how, content marketing can take your practice to the next level.
Setting and forgetting
Did you set up your office’s Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn profiles? That’s a big step in the right direction, but most dentists fall short by stopping there. In order to get the most out of social media and your online marketing, you have to continuously use all of your marketing channels. The gift and the curse of how new media has changed marketing is that you can push out new content as frequently as you’d like.
In the past, you could get your phone number listed in directories, create an ad for a newspaper or magazine, and just wait. That’s no longer the case. The Internet has led people to expect updates from companies on a fairly regular basis, dentists included. Marketing has become a much more dynamic process. You should post to social media regularly, your ads should be constantly rotated, your website should be updated with new content at least monthly, and you should update your print marketing materials occasionally as well.
No Call To Action (CTA)
If you aren’t getting patients into you roffice through your website, there’s a good chance you’re making the mistake of not including a Call To Action. Our attention spans have dropped considerably over the years. When potential patients come across your website, it should be crystal clear what you want them to do once they get there. In many cases, you only have a few seconds to capture a website visitor’s eye and get the person to complete an action. That’s why you need a strong Call To Action (CTA) on every page of your website.
For dentists, the action you want website visitors to complete is to schedule an appointment. You can do this by integrating a form on your landing page for people to make an appointment, or by including a button they can click to take them to a contact form. Ensuring that your phone number is easy to find on your site can also help. Here are some more tips on how to integrate a CTA on your site.
Along with your CTA, you want to create a sense of urgency. As a dental professional, you’re well aware that people will find any excuse not to visit the dentist. They will put it off for as long as possible. Through great web design and clever copywriting, you can compel more patients to make an appointment instead of leaving your site to check out the dentist down the street.
Here’s a good way to determine whether your website or other marketing material has a sense of urgency. Ask yourself, “Does this compel someone to make an appointment right now?”
Not getting patient reviews
A seemingly small change that can have a huge impact on your number of patients is getting more of your patients to give you reviews. Customer reviews increase the amount of trust that new patients will have in your office, and they can also help improve your local search visibility. Your online reputation is just as important as your offline one. In some cases, customer reviews can make or break your office. Ninety percent of consumers say that online reviews influence where they do business. So it’s extremely important that most of the information your patients leave about you is positive.
Patients who have negative experiences will have no problem leaving bad reviews. It’s the patients who have been coming to your office for years and have great visits every time that you need to encourage to leave reviews. The reason for this is that people generally expect to have a good experience when they visit a business. So when the receptionist treats them well and their appointment goes great, they go on with their day. However, when they have an awful time, they aren’t expecting that and they want tell everyone about it. So how do you get more patient reviews? Just ask. Those who have had good experiences will be happy to accommodate you.
There are many other steps you can take, including handing out feedback cards with a link to your website for reviews, having a link to your Google+ page on your site, and other creative solutions. The goal is to make it extremely easy for patients to leave you a review online. The harder it is for them to do, the less likely they are to take the time to do it.
I won’t lie and tell you that marketing is easy for dentists. It takes a lot of time, experience, and creativity. But when it’s done right, and doesn’t include the five major pitfalls I’ve mentioned here, it can produce some amazing results.
Dominique Jackson is a SEO Manager at NOVA MedMarket, a company that specializes in providing online marketing solutions for dentists and medical professionals. For more tips on how to market your dental office, download their Modern Dental Marketing Guide for free.