How is your dental practice attracting new patients? Do you typically rely on old traditional methods such as advertising in the yellow pages, affiliation with insurance companies, sending EDDM, or the costly radio ad? Do you ever wonder which method or working or which one is not? If you haven’t tried digital marketing yet, the future growth of your dental practice — perhaps even its performance — may suffer.
Has your practice stopped attracting new patients? That’s because the old methods of advertising aren’t as effective as they used to be. Today, at least 85 percent of consumers use the Internet to find local businesses. Those people aren’t seeing your advertisements in the phone book because they’re looking for dentists on their phones. They aren’t hearing your radio advertisements because they’re streaming music from their smartphones using Spotify and Pandora to their cars’ stereo systems. Aren’t those applications you also use?
Digital marketing for dentists isn’t just about reaching a larger audience — it’s also about delivering the right message for each person. No other method of marketing gives you the ability to target specific clients and client segments; and if you know whom you’re reaching, you can deliver a more effective message.
Digital Marketing Brings Quicker Returns Than Traditional Marketing
If your dental practice has a good marketing budget, it’s wise to reach prospective patients over as many channels as possible. Traditional advertising channels such as radio, television, and local newspapers increase awareness of your practice among people in your community. The problem with offline advertising, though, is that it may not have an immediate positive effect on the revenue of your dental practice. You’ll pay to reach thousands of people, but only a few of those people are actually searching for a dentist right now. Your investment goes primarily toward increasing brand awareness rather than getting new patients.
In the most common form of digital marketing — search engine advertising — you pay to reach just one person at a time. You bid on specific search phrases — “dentist in Chicago,” for example — that you know a person looking for a practice like yours would use. Not only are you targeting people highly likely to become new patients, but you only pay when someone clicks your advertisement. Compared to traditional offline advertising, digital marketing has a much more immediate effect on your practice’s revenue generation.
Digital Marketing Reaches Patients When It Matters
Offline Advertising: No Targeting, Little Relevance
A significant drawback of traditional advertising is that you can’t customize the message for the audience. When you advertise on the radio, for example, you’ll reach all of the following:
- People who aren’t patients and aren’t currently looking for dentists
- People who aren’t patients yet but are looking for dentists
- People who are already regular patients of yours
- People who are regular patients of other dentists
- Former patients who haven’t visited your practice in a while
Different types of clients have different needs, but offline advertising doesn’t give you the ability to alter your message based on the person hearing or seeing it. With offline advertising, every member of the audience receives the same message; and for some, the message won’t be relevant.
Digital Marketing: Pinpoint Targeting, Maximum Relevance
A well orchestrated digital marketing campaign allows you to target a potential, current or former patient with the perfect message, at the perfect time and over the ideal channel. These are just a few examples of what you can do over the most common digital marketing channels:
- You can use pay-per-click advertising on search engines and business directories to reach prospective patients actively searching for dentists in your area
- You can use display advertising to increase awareness of your practice among people who visit local news websites
- You can use social media marketing to share useful tips about dental health and stay at the forefront of patients’ minds
- You can use social media and email marketing to tell patients about your new services and remind them to come in for regular checkups
- You can use marketing automation to generate reminder messages for patients who haven’t visited your practice in a long time
Since digital marketing gives you the ability to target different messages to different people, your messages will usually be relevant to the people who see them — and relevance helps to ensure the best possible response rate.
Digital Marketing Helps You Capture and Nurture Leads
Returning to our hypothetical radio advertisement above, there’s another audience segment that we haven’t discussed: people who are interested in receiving dental services but haven’t started looking for dentists yet.
Right now, there are people in your local area who are thinking about having their teeth whitened or straightened. There are people who wear dentures but might like to receive permanent implants. There are people who want to know if they should be concerned about their occasional toothaches. Many of those people are searching online for the answers to their questions, but they’re only researching right now. They aren’t ready to schedule appointments yet.
You can use targeted website content to reach people searching online for general information about dentistry. A guide that explains how your practice’s tooth whitening service works, for example, could receive traffic from people looking for information about how tooth whitening works or how much it costs. You could also reach those people with search engine advertising. The problem, though, is that it makes little sense to pay for a website visitor who is very unlikely to schedule an appointment immediately — unless you can capture that person’s contact information and use it in your future marketing efforts.
How Online Lead Generation Works
Suppose that you publish an article about tooth whitening on your website. A person searches online for information about what tooth whitening services typically cost in your city and ends up on your website. Your article answers the visitor’s question, so he is happy about his visit and has a positive first impression of your practice — but he isn’t ready to schedule an appointment yet.
Now, suppose that your article has a form offering a significant discount on the first tooth whitening session for a new patient. Alternatively, you might offer a 25-page e-book that outlines the benefits and drawbacks of the most popular types of tooth whitening treatments. Since your article answered the visitor’s questions, he’d probably like to receive additional information or a discount. Your form can deliver the reward instantly in exchange for the visitor’s email address — and when you capture an email address, you generate a new lead.
Ready to Get Started?
Digital marketing for dentists can lead to rapid business growth at a surprisingly affordable cost. You are very busy, however, and building an omnichannel marketing funnel requires time that you probably don’t have. We can help. Crystal Clear Digital Marketing is the leading digital services provider for dentists. Contact us now to learn more about what we can do to help your practice grow.