Dental Marketing just like every industry has its own unique marketing needs. What works for a machine shop might not work for a boutique. What works for a bakery could differ from what works for a pet store. Dental marketing is no exception.
Like any business, your dental practice needs customers to survive—without patients, you aren’t generating revenue. But getting those customers is a unique proposition.
So how do you go about marketing your dental practice? You can’t just copy and paste the methods used for other local businesses. You need marketing materials and strategies that are going to appeal specifically to your audience.
Let’s take a look at a few ways you might do that.
This is a big category, and can potentially cover a lot of different dental marketing tactics—but it’s also ignored by many local businesses. Digital is the go-to strategy for the modern marketer, but direct marketing, if done well, can have a big effect on your potential customers.
One of the most common methods of direct marketing for local businesses is a “welcome to the neighborhood” postcard. You can get lists of new homeowners from a variety of sources like InfoUSA, Dataman Group, and DirectMail.com (though there are probably local sources of this information that are cheaper).
Use that information to create a local mailing list, send out postcards welcoming people to your city or neighborhood, and include a coupon for a discounted initial service. Invite people in for a discounted cleaning and exam, or offer a percentage discount off of a first visit. This type of interaction not only helps you establish a personable image, but also encourages people to check out your practice.
It’s not just newcomers that you can directly market to, though—everyone in the neighborhood benefits from periodic reminders in their mailbox. Fliers, postcards, letters, and anything else you can think of delivered directly to your potential customers brings you to top of mind immediately.
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As people’s attention spans get shorter and more media competes for their attention, you need to do something special to stand out. Video is one of the most powerful tools in any marketer’s arsenal, and it’s especially well-suited for dental marketing.
Creating entertaining and educational videos that can be posted on Facebook and Twitter can help you generate buzz for your practice. If your videos are valuable enough to your followers, you’ll strengthen your connection with them—and their shares and comments could lead to new customers.
Of course, making and promoting these videos isn’t easy. You need to figure out what your followers find valuable—do they want educational videos about dental diseases and procedures? Do they want a look into the behind-the-scenes daily lives of your doctors? Would they rather watch something goofy that shows the lighter side of your practice? Experimenting with different video types will help you figure out what your followers are looking for.
Remember to make videos that people are willing to commit the time to watching—a ten-minute video isn’t going to get nearly as much traction as a two-minute one. Make it clear what your viewers are about to see, so they understand the value of your video. And share, reshare, promote, and reshare your video again.
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This is a time-tested method for marketing your business—and the fact that it’s still so common speaks highly of its effectiveness. The best part is that you don’t even have to do the marketing. Your patients will do it for you!
Just let your patients know that if they refer a friend or family member, they (or both parties) will receive a small discount on their next bill. Even 10% can be a highly motivating reward.
Include this information in your brochures, on your invoices, in your emails, and on social media to make sure people know about it. Have your hygienists and techs remind people as they leave. Make sure your front desk staff knows to encourage patients to refer their friends.
It seems too simple to work—but that’s exactly why it’s so effective.
Staying in regular contact with your patients is crucial for ensuring that they stay engaged with and loyal to your practice. If you’re only getting one touch every six months to remind them of their upcoming cleaning, you’re missing out on valuable time. One of the ways that some practices have found to be effective in staying in touch is through a regular newsletter.
A dental newsletter could contain all sorts of information—recent happenings at your practice, upcoming promotions, reminders about specific risks, information about procedures, commonly asked questions… The list goes on.
This could be a digital newsletter or a printed one, and it could be delivered to a wide variety of lists. Your current patients are an obvious choice—but why not aim higher? Deliver your printed newsletter to homes in your area. Or run an opt-in campaign on your social media accounts to get more email addresses and increase the size of your list.
If your newsletters contain information that people find valuable, they’ll be a hit. Just make sure that it’s not all marketing speak: provide useful information that people are looking for, and you won’t need to sell yourself in the newsletter. It’ll already be done for you.
While this can be an extremely effective marketing tactic, I hesitate to recommend it to many businesses. Content marketing can help you gain huge amounts of web traffic and completely eclipse many of your local competitors—but it also requires a huge investment of time and effort.
Having one of your admins write a blog post once a month isn’t going to be enough. You’ll want to hire a freelance writer to produce high-quality, in-depth content on a regular basis. And that’s not easy—or cheap. Effective blogging and content marketing requires a serious commitment. And I’d recommend against it if you can’t make that commitment.
On the other hand, if you’re willing to invest in it, a great dental blog can be a huge boon to your digital marketing. You have the opportunity to answer common questions that people are asking, provide more information about dental care in general, and engage with potential customers in a way that appeals to younger audiences. Those audiences are especially valuable if you can turn them into lifelong patients.
Of course, creating a blog that stands out requires a great deal of forethought. Content planning, keyword research, writing, editing, sharing, and promoting all benefit from experience. This is where freelancers come in. You could do it by yourself. But I wouldn’t recommend it.
One of the big things we talk about in digital marketing is establishing authority. How do you establish authority for your dental practice? Having a well-researched blog that provides valuable information is one good way to do it. Another way is to have your practice—or one of your doctors—featured in the news or on another high-authority site.
There are lots of ways you can be featured in a publication. Write a press release about a new research finding and submit it to your local newspaper, along with an offer of a quote or a quick interview explaining the significance of the finding. Submit a guest blog to a high-profile site. Use Help a Reporter Out to answer questions that journalists have about dentistry.
Showing off your expertise is great for getting your name out there, generating brand awareness, and building a portfolio on your website. Once you have a few features to your name, you can create an “In the News” page on your site to showcase how your practice is making the dental world a better place.
Get creative with this one! There are lots of places where you can submit or contribute to useful content in other publications.
Getting involved in your community is great for creating brand awareness and establishing personal relationships with patients and potential patients. There are already tons of events going on that you can take part in—community gatherings, school functions, athletics events, and festivals all need sponsors and exhibitors.
Not sure what you could exhibit? Why not give out free toothbrushes or floss with your contact information on them? Or a 10%-off coupon for a first visit? You could answer dental questions at your booth and give out pamphlets on specific conditions, too. You don’t need to be peddling artisanal fare to have a successful booth at an event.
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