MARKETING: WHY YOU NEED IT TO GROW YOUR DENTAL PRACTICE
You can’t operate a dental practice without patients, you would have to close your doors. Marketing is about connecting a business or product with the right client.
According to Google, 88% of local business searches on a mobile phone result in an in-person visit within a week of the search.2 Local or “near me” searches have increased by 136%.
As a dentist, a marketing plan helps you and your patients find one another. It requires thinking outside the box to convey your products and treatments in a patient-centered manner.
MARKETING IS MISUNDERSTOOD
Marketing has changed over the last few years and is not all about cold calling, billboards, radio ads, and direct mailers. To grow and thrive in the competitive dental marketplace, dentists need to capitalize on the full potential marketing offers.
MARKETING IS MORE THAN ADVERTISING
Marketing practices have been downgraded to simply advertising and acquiring or retaining patients. However, marketing is not simply advertising your dental practice and teeth whitening products.
Marketing is less about promoting a given service after the procedure or innovative technology is ready. Instead, marketing is about developing and getting that product ready–creating the market, determining how the service aligns with patients’ needs, and building the customer experience.
Successful marketing must meet your patients’ pain points. You cannot market to your patients until you understand their needs and behaviors. Think of pain points as the reason your business exists – to meet a need.
For dentistry, patients have oral health needs. However, perhaps they wait to see a dentist until a problem occurs due to finances or anxiety. Maybe they come in first to fix a problem, and you want to convert them to regular dental patients.
“A dental marketing plan determines how to meet patients in your location based on their behaviors and needs–oral hygiene, budget (i.e. dental savings plan), emergency dental care, or even cosmetic dentistry.”
MARKETING IS MEETING YOUR BUSINESS GOALS
Before considering your marketing needs, take a look at your business goals. What do you want to accomplish within the next year or five years? Do you want to see a growth in revenue or an increase in new patients? Do you want to expand your practice or hire a dental associate? How does your goal affect your need for sales?
Marketing plans help you determine your target audience, demographic, competition, message you need to send, and how to create an awareness of your service. Advertising is one way to deliver your message.
Take a look at Facebook. Facebook is the largest social media platform with users from preteens to baby boomers. There is very little chance your patients are not on Facebook. Facebook ads are targeted to show ads to certain users based on location, age, interests, and demographics.
Think about it, have you ever searched for something on Google and suddenly had a similar ad pop up on your Facebook feed? Going further, Facebook ads can retarget those who are familiar with your brand or who have interacted with your website or social media page. Facebook ads give you a chance to remarket to potential patients.
DIGITAL MARKETING: MEETING AND FINDING YOUR PATIENTS ON THEIR LEVEL
ONLINE MARKETING IS NECESSARY FOR THE DIGITAL AGE
In today’s world, the majority of people are online. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, 77% of American adults own a smartphone.3 This is a huge increase from 35% in 2011.
People use their smartphones to access news, websites, social media, and more. Patients search for dentists and recommendations online. They view ads, read emails, and listen to podcasts. To meet your patients and target audience, you must be online to engage with them.
DIGITAL MARKETING IS FLEXIBLE AND ACCESSIBLE
A good marketing plan puts your message in front of the right audience in multiple ways. Digital marketing has many channels to share your services and maximize your exposure. Websites, social media, email marketing, digital ads, podcasts, and YouTube channels, just to name a few, give your brand optimal visibility.
DIGITAL MARKETING IS MEASURABLE
Digital marketing is considerably more affordable than traditional print, radio, or television marketing. The cost of creating a commercial marketing campaign requires a higher budget, particularly during seasonal or sporting events. Newspapers and magazines use print and digital methods, which raise the price of advertising, plus you pay for the notoriety of the magazine name.
Digital marketing plans require a smaller investment and provide the opportunity to reach more people through various platforms, thus improving your return on investment (ROI). The exact cost may vary depending on the methods you choose, but plans are flexible.
For example, digital marketing may include a single or combination of local SEO, email marketing, website content, social media, Google or Facebook ads, video marketing, and more. The flexibility of digital marketing plans based on budget ensures affordability.
With online marketing, your ads, click-through rate, and even website scrolling are measurable. For example, heat maps and A/B testing allow web developers and digital marketing agencies to monitor user interactions. With these tools, you can make changes and track potential patients’ interactions with your content. You can see where users click, read, or stop scrolling on your website to understand what does or does not capture a user’s attention.
You know which marketing methods are effective and produce the best ROI for your dental practice. You can refine your marketing plan as needed to improve your results.
DIGITAL MARKETING IS LOCATION-BASED
With the availability of localized digital marketing, you can market directly to patients within your area. Marketing plans, including local search engine optimization (SEO), understand your target location and your competitors. Then, it focuses on ads, website content, and keywords that target the same area.
Think of it this way, a television ad for an event in Charlotte, North Carolina would only be aired in the greater Charlotte area and not in Philadelphia or Los Angeles. Localized digital marketing ads and content work the same way. They target a specific location, age, or gender to focus on your market for dental patients. The image above shows an example of the local marketing landscape in Google when a location is included in the search phrase by a user.
GROW YOUR DENTAL PRACTICE WITH COST-EFFECTIVE, MEASURABLE MARKETING
Dentists need to embrace the new world of digital marketing to stay on top of this competitive market. Marketing plans help you grow, expand, hire new associates, or even get new state-of-the-art technology for your dental practice.
Want to learn more? Reach out to Med Rank Interactive for the latest in digital marketing for dentists. Find out how to take your dental practice to the next level with a custom, local marketing plan.
Lamar Hull is the Founder of Med Rank Interactive, a full-service digital marketing agency in Charlotte that specializes in local SEO exclusively for dentists, orthodontists, pharmacists, independent physicians, and multi- location medical practices. Lamar has an MBA in Internet Marketing and uses a lot of his time learning new strategies in the field of online marketing and healthcare. Lamar attended Davidson College where he played basketball for Bob McKillop. Lamar enjoys spending time with his family, watching movies, playing basketball, reading, and leading an amazing team of digital marketing ninjas.
1. Lashbrook, J. (2020, August 3). Data Hub: Coronavirus and Marketing [Updated]. Marketing Charts. https://www.market- ingcharts.com/featured-112414
2. ThinkwithGoogle. (2020, September 3). Local search store to visit statistics. Think with Google. https://www. thinkwithgoogle.com/consumer-insights/consumer-trends/ local-search-to-store-visit-statistics/
3. Perrin, A. (2017, June 28). 10 facts about smartphones as the iPhone turns 10. Pew Research Center. https://www.pewresearch.org/ fact-tank/2017/06/28/10-facts-about-smartphones/