More new dental practices are entering the scene each year, while patients are actually going to the dentist less and less. In a 2016 survey, the percentage of adults who visited a dentist or dental clinic within the last 12 months ranged from lows of 56% in Mississippi and Louisiana, to a high of 77% in Connecticut. Even if you are confident in your loyal patient base, you still need to be thinking about how to bring in new patients to your practice each year.
More competition for less patients makes acquiring new patients particularly difficult, especially with the very different way that people consume their advertising these days. Traditional advertising methods such as print and radio are falling second to digital and social media marketing. The rise of mobile device usage means that much of the population is going to their phone to seek information. If a business is not present or easy to find online, to a potential customer – it may not exist or be trustworthy.
By now, it’s clear a dental practice needs a website and social media presence. We’ve mentioned before the importance of constantly updating those platforms like your website to ensure their success.
We know—your practice is dentistry, not marketing, so here are a few quick tips to jump start your di
gital strategy and open your doors to new clients this new year.
Focus on local search engine optimization
To allow new patients to find you, you want to be seen in digital directory listings. Google uses a priority order when displaying search engine results such as “Houston dentist.”
The best way to optimize your content, and get to the top of a local list is to:
1. Be there. Ensure you have an account on, and operate the account, so it can be easily found on platforms such as Google My Business, Yelp!, HealthGrades, Angie’s List and any others you can think of.
2. Be consistent. Your business name, address, and phone number must be exactly the same on every listing. Sounds simple, but worth the time to ensure you are not listed as Happy Tooth Dentist on one listing, and Dr. John Smith, D.D.S. in another.
Share positive reviews with your target audience
What is consistent in marketing from past to present is the importance of referrals and customer testimonials. Word of mouth, and the recommendation of a friend has always been one of the best ways to get new patients. The good news about marketing in the digital age is that it is easier than ever for you to share those glowing reviews with your target audience.
The capabilities of marketing through social platforms offers big opportunity for consumer and service based businesses. Rather than just posting a review to be lost in cyberspace, imagine that testimonial showing up in the feed of thousands of e.g. women, mothers, age 24-45, within a 10 mile radius of your pediatric practice. Tim Witter, President of Freedom Finders, says it’s not enough to just post on social media anymore.
“The good news is that you no longer have to hope and pray people see your social media posts anymore,” Witter said. “With current digital marketing strategies, you can ensure your post shows up in the newsfeed of your target audience by putting a little money behind it.”
What Witter is referring to is social media advertising, which allows the user to target those who see the ad by location, age, gender, and more. This extra step makes sure that those who you want to see your post are exposed to it.
Where do you start? Witter notes that with a little help it’s not that hard and most are, “typically shocked when they realize how extremely affordable and easy it is to establish a brand identity within their local community.”
Getting a social media consultant or hiring a social media agency can alleviate the burden of learning a new software, but tools like Facebook Business Manager, Facebook’s ad software, can be easy to navigate with a little practice.
Stand out from the crowd
Social media is not all, strategic direct marketing is still a successful technique to encourage patient referrals or get your practice exposure within your community–especially when you can get your hygiene department involved.
Personalized promotional items can let your community know where you are and how to find you, all while sharing the freebees people love. Items like this promotional bag from Best New Patients, a CWA affiliate, could be shared at the next community or school event. A perfect way to let those in your neighborhood know who you are.
Like social media advertising, direct marketing doesn’t have tobe expensive either. Best New Patients (BNP) is like the buyers’ club of direct and digital marketing, a membership with them unlocks significant discounts on many name brands and could save you money on products you already order.
In additional to discounts on promotional items, printing, patient referral programs and social media marketing, their discounts also apply to many hygiene supplies like Crest, Oral B, Philips and Plaque HD to save your business money and give your patients supplies they love.
With savings on the hygiene supplies you use anyway, the hygiene department just got more profitable. Sounds like you just found some extra money for marketing.