As a dentist, your number one priority is obviously providing the very best in patient care. However, as an entrepreneur looking to grow your practice you also need to embrace current marketing trends to increase the exposure of your dental clinic – especially online. And it all comes down to marketing strategy. Here’s a list of things to consider when developing a marketing strategy for your dental clinic.
Define your ideal dental patients
When it comes to dental marketing, before you even begin to brainstorm your marketing strategy it’s important to develop a patient persona for your dental practice. A patient persona helps you to plan your marketing based on who you are targeting. It identifies a person’s demographics, goals, motivations, and behaviour patterns. Knowing your patient helps you understand what their needs, their priorities, success factors and perceived barriers. Here are a few simple categories to consider:
- Adults vs Kids
- Parents vs Young Professionals vs Seniors
- New Patients vs Returning Patients
- Simple Cleaning vs Major Procedure
Understand the decision-making process
Regardless of the persona you’re targeting, before any prospect becomes a patient they go through a few basic stages:
- Identify a need: nowadays, procrastination is a problem. Unless booking an appointment for a loved one, most people will avoid getting a dental treatment until they can’t stand the pain anymore.
- Gathering information: Now that there is a need, unless the person already has a relationship with a dentist, they’ll start to gather research to help them make a better decision. Can their friends recommend a dentist? What do the dentists reviews show? Are they well-recommended?
- Identify alternatives: once they have a starting point, most will naturally look for options.
- Decision time: when it’s finally time to select a dentist, the person will weigh the alternatives and select the one that seems to be the best for them, based on things such as who referred them, reputation, knowledge base, location, etc.
- Take action: The moment of truth. Did your brand story convince them that you are the best dentist for the job. If so, you can expect a call to book an appointment to discuss treatment, and if all goes well you get the ultimate conversion – issuing an invoice for payment.
- Review their decision: A critical part of the brand story – Judgement day. Did the experience with your practice live up to the hype. Recognize that in today’s social environment that you will be judged, and their opinion will become part of your brand story – effecting ongoing practice growth.
Creating Convincing Sales Arguments
To convince your prospective patient that you’re the best dentist for their needs, you need to be a good story teller. Provide sales arguments that could be key in your effort to sell a treatment. From pain free dentistry to vast experience, education videos to a 5-star rating, service in their language to longer business hours… regardless of your particular story you need to let your prospects know what you bring to the table. You may want to create a list of all possible questions that a future patient might have about the procedure, including:
- Questions about different treatments (if it’s painful, long, short, restrictions, etc.).
- Answers to all excuses that the customer usually presents for not doing the treatment.
- Warnings about the consequences of postponing dental treatment.
- Positive comparisons between the cost of the service and other daily expenses.
- Testimonials from clients that went through the same procedure.
It’s important to have all this information ready for several different purposes, such as content for your website, social media, to train your staff, etc.
It’s a matter of trust
Nowadays, most people will acknowledge that the majority of dentists are competent and can perform a good job. And most dentists have come to realize that if they don’t perform at the top of their game that there is no place to hide as patients won’t hesitate to let the world know if they had a bad experience at the hand of a dentist who was rushed, or a hygienist having a bad day.
We’ve already mentioned the importance of your brand story and how good reviews can make or break your patient acquisition efforts. So how do you go about securing positive reviews to boost your reputation?
Here are a few ideas:
- Although it should be obvious…provide great service 😉
- Ask your patients how you did (this can be done in person at the clinic, or via email or text). If the feedback is negative – take steps to address their issues and concerns. If the feedback is positive, invite them to review you online on channels such as Facebook, google+, Yelp, etc
- Consider posting photos or videos of patient’s testimonials for social media or use on your website.
- Engage, answer and manage all the reviews you receive – especially the negative reviews – addressing all issues immediately.
To grow your practice, you need more leads
In a highly competitive industry, the competition for exposure is huge. What can turn into an overall price increase in bids for specific keywords. Nonetheless, plenty online strategies work well with uninterrupted good work. Your business can stand out from the competitors and generate good quality leads.
A lot has been spoken about leads generation and how this can bring results to a company. You just need to remember that AdWords, Facebook ads, Email Marketing, SEO or even all those things together are not a magical customer-generator. It’s a continuous work that needs to start as soon as possible to generate sales conversions.
And when the leads happen, you need to be sure that your front desk employees are properly trained to turn all the phone calls and emails to new patients.
Where is the starting point?
As a small business owner, you’ve got a lot on your plate. Obviously, patient care is your top priority. And then you’ve got your hands full managing staff and making sure your equipment is up to date. However, to maintain a steady stream of revenue, building your brand and reputation also needs to be a priority.
But with technology and online marketing evolving so quick you might be confused about all the different options. Do you know which marketing channels to use, and when? Have you mastered Facebook? How about Google+? What about Twitter and Instagram? Does anyone still make money with Direct Mail or Yellow Pages? What kind of return are you getting from your Email campaigns? And how to create proper Content Marketing?
Don’t waste precious time and money on marketing trial and error. Minimize marketing waste and efficiently grow your dental practice by implementing a custom Patient Lead-to-Revenue System. Combining brand marketing expertise with dental practice experience, Mystique can help you craft the right brand message for your target audience and choose the most effective medium to deliver it at the optimal time to maximize the return on your marketing investment.
Social Media Marketing Coordinator
Mystique Brand Communications
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