These are just some of the things I hear when practice owners talk about getting new patients through the door. Dentistry has become a very competitive industry, and with fewer people willing to visit the dentist unless they must, it is imperative that you are the dental practice they decide to visit.
Here are a few reasons why you should be marketing and how it can help you grow your dental practice.
1 – How do dental patients know you exist?
It’s all well and good being a great dentist or having a nice, friendly dental practice – but do enough people know you exist? If you are solely relying on word of mouth and not doing much else, then you may have noticed that your patient numbers have slowly dwindled. Perhaps you are a new practice looking to grow your patient numbers or simply let the local community know that you are here.
The whole purpose of marketing is to let people know who you are, what you do, why are you different and how can they find you. Start your marketing plan by answering those questions, If you are unsure about how to begin a, then take a look at our blog about how to create a marketing plan.
2 – The world has moved online.
We increasingly live online nowadays. With access to unlimited information anytime, we are always being told to visit a website or follow a hashtag, or spending time looking something up on Google.
If you haven’t embraced the online world, then you really need to catch up! Finding a dentist goes something like this:
- The patient realises that “I have a toothache, but I don’t have a dentist.”
- They Google “Dentists near me” on their phone
- The top results come through and they look through the top 5 websites to decide what practice they would like to contact.
This is how everyone looks for information or the answers to a query: they “Google it”.
Having a strong online presence will increase your chances of attracting new patients to your dental practice.
3 – Build a website to inform your patients
Marketing isn’t just about attracting new patients, it’s also about keeping existing ones. The best way to host as much information about your business is to put it all on to your website. Your website should be tip-top, and it should stand out more than your competitors. Are you answering the questions that new and existing patients have? Doing so will put unsure patients at ease or even highlight any offers and promotions you may have. Don’t expect to simply build a website and be inundated with new patients; it takes a lot more work in order to get your website working for you.
4 – Out of sight, out of mind.
Social media has changed the way we engage with friends and family, with people posting everything about their lives across a multitude of different platforms. If you are not being seen on these social channels or at least being in front of your audience on a semi-regular basis then you; in their eyes, cease to exist.
Things move so quickly online, it is essential to maintain a regular social media presence, posting useful and exciting content. Think about what that your audience will want to share across their own social channels, it may just appear in front of someone who is looking for dental treatment.
5 – It’s not as expensive as you think.
Many people think it is expensive to market, but it really isn’t. If you are a well-established dental practice, then it doesn’t cost anything to ask your patients for a Google review or for them to write a testimonial for you to share on social media or host on your website.
Perhaps you have built up an extensive email list? Spend some time to craft a well thought out, witty and engaging email to send to your patients that will encourage them to continue their oral health journey at your practice – maybe a newsletter or promotional cosmetic offer. Just remember to make sure you are GDPR compliant and the people you are emailing have opted in.
Once again social media is free to use, yet in recent times it has become more difficult to ensure people see your posts. But spending less than £10 to boost a post could do wonders for your engagement rate.
Google My Business is another free service that can dramatically increase your local SEO results. It’s free to set up and can help drive traffic to your website and practice.
6 – Share the workload and work smarter, not harder.
Time, don’t we wish we had more of it? Well, it is easier to share the workload rather than spending more time on something yourself. Let me explain; ask your team to write a social post each, or perhaps a blog post each. Ask them to use their phone to take pictures of the practice or patients (with their permission of course) to use on social. There are plenty of free tools like Hootsuite and Buffer that are social media scheduling tools; meaning you can stockpile your social posts and then schedule them to go out when you want them to. This saves you time and stress and ensures you remain on top of your social media game.
Try putting aside an hour or two a week to plan and prep what you want to say in your marketing. Then use any remaining time to start creating content, stockpiling of this content so that it is ready to drip feed out.
These are just a few pointers, tips and pieces of advice on why you should be marketing or at least thinking of marketing your dental practice. What’s stopping you?
Written by Rob Gibbs, Marketing Executive at Software of Excellence.