Like almost every industry, dentists found 2020 to be a year that changed the way they operate, potentially forever. Practices were forced to adapt not only how they treat patients but also how they communicate with them.
Having a strong digital marketing strategy in place has never been more important, and for dental practices of all shapes and sizes mastering marketing has the potential to bring in new patients whilst nurturing relationships and trust with existing ones too.
Whether you’ve already got a marketing plan in place or you’re starting from scratch, these tips will ensure your dental practice marketing gets results.
Build a Social Media community
It might seem like everyone is on social media in some way nowadays – and that’s probably because they are. Facebook alone has 1.79 billion daily users and more and more people are using social media as a way to find brands and services and make informed purchasing decisions.
There are various ways you can use your social media channels to help build an engaged community of existing and potential patients:
- Share tips and advice about dental hygiene and best practice. Position your practice and dentists as experts who are on hand to offer practical advice and help.
- Create before and after photos of patients (with their permission of course!). Seeing real-life examples and proof of the quality of your work will help patients to trust your service.
- Encourage patients to leave reviews on your social media channels about their experience at your practice. If potential customers can hear from other patients it will give them confidence in your work.
Target local audiences
When implementing a digital marketing strategy for your dental practice, it’s important to think about who you are targeting with your content. Who is your ideal target audience? The great thing about social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram is that you’re able to target your paid adverts to an incredibly niche audience.
When breaking down your audience one of the key things to consider is location. After all, if you’re a dental practice based in Manchester, you want to target and attract patients who are also based in Manchester. There would be no point targeting your content to an audience who isn’t local to you and therefore highly unlikely to ever use your services.
Optimise your website
Your website is likely to be the first point of interaction for many of your patients, so it’s important that it is optimised and user friendly. If your website doesn’t look professional or is hard to navigate then potential patients will view this as a direct reflection of the service you offer. So, what should you be implementing on your website?
- Ensure the load speed is fast and reliable. If your website takes too long to load users will exit and find an alternative.
- Make it easy to navigate with clear menu options. The target audience for your website is likely to span all age groups and technical capabilities so it’s important to ensure it is accessible for all.
- Create a consistent design, theme and colour scheme.
- Leave out jargon and complicated language from your website content and instead make it clear, simple and easy to understand.
Publishing regular content on your website such as blog posts or videos is also a great way to both present your expertise and knowledge whilst also helping to boost your website’s search engine rankings.
A key way that potential new patients will find your website and practice will be down to your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). Having a website that functions well and is optimised with your target keywords will help towards improving your search rankings.
Much like your social media strategy, it’s important to make your SEO as localised as possible. When thinking about the keywords you would ideally like to start ranking for, consider options that are based on location. For example, rather than optimising your website for the term “children’s dentist”, instead opt for “children’s dentist Manchester”. Not only will the search volume be considerably lower, helping you to rank higher, but you’ll also be reaching the search terms that are most likely to convert into new patients.
Newsletters and email marketing are a cornerstone of digital marketing strategies and can be used by dental practices to keep in touch with current patients as well as having the potential to reach new ones. Encourage patients to sign up to your newsletter when they book an appointment or make an enquiry and keep in regular contact with them.
You don’t need to spam customers’ inboxes with emails every day or even every week. A quality newsletter distributed once a month can have just as much impact as more regular communications. Include insight from some of your dentists, tips for your patients to implement into their own dental routines, updates from your practice (new dentist appointments, new treatment offers etc) as well as reminders to book – e.g. 6 month check up appointments.
Optimise your Google My Business page
Setting up and optimising your Google My Business page is a crucial part of your digital marketing strategy. Your GMB page is a place to combine all of the essential information about your practice such as contact details, opening hours and patient reviews. Google will include your business page in search results for your practice, helping to both verify your status as a dental practice and easily provide users with all the information they need.
Patient Referral System
Introducing a patient referral system is a great way of encouraging new patients to sign up whilst also rewarding existing patients too. Often digital marketing strategies will focus on how to gain new customers but forget all about existing ones. If someone is choosing to put their faith and money in your business then it is important to show your appreciation.
A patient referral system can be promoted across your various marketing platforms; you can post about it on your website and social media and remind patients about the scheme in newsletters. Offering patients an incentive to refer new patients to your practice is a common strategy, but if you do decide to implement this system, you need to make sure you’re communicating it to your patients. It’s no good having a referral system in place if nobody knows about it.
Encourage online reviews
One of the best things you can implement as part of your digital marketing strategy for your dental practice is online reviews. Reviews allow potential patients to get a better understanding of the quality of service you offer. If faced with a decision between a dental practice who had reviews from real patients and one with none, which would you be more likely to choose? The one with glowing reviews we bet.
There are various ways you can encourage your patients to leave a review either on Google, your website or on your social media channels:
- Face to face – make it part of your dentists’ or receptionist’s routine to ask patients to leave a review online when they visit the practice.
- Follow up texts/emails – if you send out appointment reminder texts or emails you can also start sending a follow up message 24 hours after the appointment asking patients to review their experience.
- Social media – remind your social media followers that they can leave a review at any point, it doesn’t have to be straight after treatment.
When asking for online reviews make sure you don’t come across as too forceful. Politely ask patients to leave a review and explain that you will use their feedback to make sure you’re offering the very best service possible. You can also personalise communications with their name: a simple step that will likely prove effective.
How we can help you at Social Chameleon
Here at Social Chameleon, we have been trusted by businesses of all shapes and sizes to help create and implement a digital marketing strategy that works.
Our team are experienced in every step of the process – from creating initial KPIs and targets to delivering the highest quality digital marketing plans, including social media support, SEO audits and keyword optimisation.
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