According to the 2014 Gallup Well-Being survey, one-third of Americans haven’t made a visit to the dentist within the past year. This is a huge untapped market of individuals in need of routine dental care. To encourage your current patients to remain loyal, as well as motivate prospective patients to contact you, you need a comprehensive marketing plan.
Here are the top 12 dental marketing strategies to ensure that you’re maintaining a good relationship with your patients, while reaching out to new prospects.
- Provide specials and coupons on your homepage. Improve your value proposition with coupons and specials. To encourage prospective patients to follow through with a visit, craft offers that create a sense of urgency. For instance, “For the month of June, receive a $50 credit toward any dental treatment or procedure.”
- Improve copy on your primary website pages. For most dental practices, this will be the Homepage, About Us, Office Tour, Contact, and About The Doctor pages. Your copy should set you apart from other dentists, encourage visitors to remain on your site longer, and build trust and credibility.
- Include testimonials throughout your website. Testimonials help to build trust and credibility for your practice, since prospects will feel more confident about contacting you if they hear good things from your current patients.
- Emphasize patient comfort. Many people are nervous about dental visits, so you should mention the options you offer to reduce their anxiety or pain. If you provide laser drills, sedation, or music/video, be sure to let prospective patients know about it.
- Don’t forget to list any awards or honors you have received on your homepage.
- Build an office tour page. Your site should have a tour page featuring images of your staff and office. Allowing prospective patients to see what your facilities are like will increase their confidence when setting that first appointment. Since many people are nervous about dental procedures, familiarity with you can reduce their anxiety and lead to a more pleasant and productive visit.
- Create an email newsletter. A newsletter is an effective way to share specials, coupons, and promotions. If you provide valuable content that helps patients maintain their oral health, they will be more likely to read it and respond to your offers. A newsletter is also a great way to share some personal tidbits about yourself and your staff, which humanizes your business and endears patients to you. You should publish your newsletter on a consistent schedule so that patients will become accustomed to hearing from you.
- Improve the look of your homepage. Avoid having walls of text – consider using one or more large images to break up paragraphs for improved legibility. Large bold text, overlaid over full screen high-impact imagery, improves readability and adds visual impact. The human mind processes images 60,000 times faster than text, so they are a great way to communicate a concept quickly and effectively. Notice how our homepage includes plenty of images and video.
- Create a follow-up system for patients. Use an automated patient communications system to keep track of your patients. This allows you to easily send personalized check-up reminders, holiday greetings, and birthday cards – it’s a great way to improve patient loyalty. The best way to ensure the devotion of your patients is to demonstrate that you value and appreciate them.
- Encourage patients to review your business. When patients have a positive experience, ask them to leave comments on Yelp or Google Places. Make it convenient for them by leaving a desktop computer or tablet in the waiting room. When you receive a high number of positive reviews, your clinic will start showing up in Google’s local search results. This will boost the traffic to your website, and bring more prospects to your business.
- Include a video testimonial. People are very visual, so many will find a video of a satisfied patient talking about their experience with your practice very compelling. Testimonials improve your reputation, boost credibility, and allow for a more personal connection with your target audience. Seeing a current patient talk about your practice creates an emotional connection and builds trust. Not only should you share testimonial videos on your website, but on social media, as well.
- Create a social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Give patients the opportunity to connect with you via social media, and turn patients into fans. Interacting with patients lets them know that you care about them and helps to build trust. Time spent online can be as important as face-to-face interaction, and can be a great way to foster new referrals. Updated: Facebook advertising for dentists is hot.
- Implement a referral program and offer incentives. Give your current patients an incentive to promote your business, such as a $50 credit on their account per referral. Not only can this be a very effective way to generate new business, it also encourages loyalty in your current client base. Similarly, you can offer incentives to patients who keep appointments, letting them know about the incentive during reminder calls.
- Get Your Business On Google Maps. This may well be the most important marketing strategy for your dental business. Google map listings show up on the first page of Google both on desktop and mobile devices for keyword searches like “San Diego dentist” or “dentist Phoenix”. In order to show up at the top of Google maps, you need to setup a “Google my Business” profile, verify your address with a Google postcard, and build several hundred directory listings (known in SEO as citations). You will also need proper onsite SEO, usage of keywords on your website, and a properly formatted address on your website for Google to give you a 1st page ranking in your city on Google maps.
- Make Sure Your Website is Mobile Friendly. On April 21st, 2015, Google rolled out one of it’s biggest algorithm updates ever, Mobilegeddon. This update penalizes websites that are not mobile friendly (only during mobile searches). Which means, if your dental website is not responsive or if it does not have a mobile friendly version; you will lose keyword rankings in Google & many potential new patients. Considering 50% of all web traffic comes from mobile devices now, it is an absolute necessity to have a mobile friendly website with features such as “click to call” so that customers can easily give your business a ring.
In order to maintain your relationship with current patients – and reach out to new ones – you need an effective marketing strategy. Your marketing needs to establish credibility, build trust, and communicate that you care. Careful attention to your digital marketing strategy can mean the difference between a stagnant practice, and one that is growing stronger every day.