Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2017 05 Millennials 1

Engaging millennial patients: How dental practices can market to the new generation

May 4, 2017
Millennials make up a huge percentage of the US population. By attracting this audience to their dental practices, dentists will develop a long-term patient base. Think digitally.

Millennials make up a huge percentage of the US population. By attracting this audience to their dental practices, dentists will develop a long-term patient base. Think digitally.

According to a 2015 report from the United States Census Bureau,
there are 83.1 million people in the US who were born between 1982 and 2000, commonly referred to as millennials. This group (more than one quarter of the entire US population) now number more than the baby boomers and represent a huge buying demographic—they’re expected to spend more than $200 billion as of 2017. It makes sense that engaging millennials opens up a new dental patient base with a high lifetime value. We’ll tell you where the new generation hangs out online, how to connect, and how to ensure they keep coming back to your practice.

Cultivate your online presence
According to the American Press Institute, 51% of millennials are “mostly or almost always online and connected.” Whether via desktop, laptop, or mobile device, this generation grew up on the internet and is used to getting the information they want, when they want it, online. They want up-to-date information, they expect business hours, address, and photos, and a practice that stands out in the internet’s information overload.

Millennials are used to well-designed, easy-to-use, quick sites and they won’t accept less, so ensure that your website is bright, beautiful, and easy to navigate. While it doesn’t have to look flashy, an outdated website doesn’t communicate that you’re a high-tech, modern practice, even if it is. Pay close attention to your pages on online review sites such as Yelp and Zocdoc, and respond in a reasonable manner to any negative reviews about your practice while keeping your patients’ privacy in mind.

Be mobile-friendly
While the stereotype of millennials walking around with their eyes glued to their phones is not flattering, the fact of the matter is that 97% of millennials use smartphones, and 20% of them have become mobile only! While that’s a huge reason to make sure your practice website is mobile-friendly, another is that part of Google's criteria to determine your site’s search engine ranking is based on its mobile friendliness.

Keep it simple
Millennials grew up in the age of Amazon, and they expect all online consumer interactions to be just as convenient. To earn their loyalty, offer a modern, efficient, and easy patient experience. Online booking is a must. This enables millennials to immediately request an appointment and do so at any time. Rather than having them spend as long as an hour filling out paperwork when they come to your office, provide an online portal where they can register from the comfort of their home.

Provide tablets at the office that patients can use to update their information, provide feedback, and even pay their co-pays so they can do things at their own pace. Just make sure to have systems in place that make sure that patient information remains secure.

Engage responsibly in social media
More than two-thirds of millennials (69%) are on Facebook, and SDL reports that five out of six millennials connect with businesses, including medical practices, via social media networks. Make sure that your social media pages include contact information, as well as photos of your practice and team. If current patients have good experiences, encourage them to leave positive reviews on social media and review sites.

Use social media channels to interact with millennial patients. Assign one staff member to respond to questions on your social media platforms. Having a dedicated person can help ensure that all questions are answered in a timely manner.

They’re still just regular people
When it all comes down to it, millennials aren’t that different from other patients. While it’s important to keep their preferences in mind, don’t oversell or you might seem like you’re trying too hard, which can make you look disingenuous. Determine how you want to be treated when you go into another dentist’s office, and give them the same courtesy you would want for yourself or your family.

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Aylin Cook is the senior content marketing manager at PatientPop, an all-in-one practice growth platform for health-care providers, which numbers many dentists among its customer base. Aylin has nearly a decade in content marketing for small businesses, and enjoys building and engaging an audience through compelling storytelling across multiple media channels.