Great marketing is the key to sustaining a successful business – and dental practices are no exemption to this rule. In order for a dental practice to thrive, a dentist needs to see, ideally, up to 50 patients on a monthly basis. However, in order to acquire new patients and retain current ones, every dental practice should have marketing strategies that combine all their goals into one solid plan. When it comes down to it, a dental practice marketing strategy that uses both traditional and online methods can help dentists, such as you, drive more traffic to your practice.
In order to market your dental practice, you need to determine your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats using a SWOT analysis. First and foremost, identify your strengths. Your strengths are what set your dental practice apart from other practices within your area. Consider listing a few items, such as the latest tools, which may help you stand out from the competition and give you that competitive edge. Secondly, identify your weaknesses. Your weaknesses are the obstacles that you have to deal with. Be honest and ask yourself what you and your practice can improve and what things you can avoid. Thirdly, identify your opportunities. Your opportunities are aspects which help your practice to grow. Useful opportunities can come from changes in technology, social patterns, lifestyle changes, and more. Look at your list of strengths and determine if they can help open up any opportunities. At the same time, look at your list of weaknesses and ask yourself if eliminating them can help open up possible opportunities. Last by not least, identify your threats. List any threats that your practice may have to prepare for or guard against – financial aspects, competition, changes in technology, and more. Once you have established a SWOT analysis, you can start identifying dental marketing strategies that are fit for your practice. Below is a list of 10 dental practice marketing strategies that you should consider implementing to help secure a successful future.
- Being found online
Make sure that your dental practice pops up in local search engine results. Nowadays, more and more patients are using the internet to answer health-related questions and find top doctors / dentists within their area. If you want them to find you, you should build citations for your dental practice and make sure that it is listed correctly on several online directories.
- Identifying your target audience
A great dental marketing strategy involves carefully reviewing your whole marketing image and identifying who your target audience is. Statistics show that women make more than 90% of all decisions based on dentistry. Since women make informed decisions for their families, consider creating a marketing approach that will inform them of the quality services that they can expect to receive. After all, they want a service, not a product. When you are targeting different demographics, get to the depth of understanding how to market to different individuals – especially women (mothers).
- Creating the ideal dental practice website
Nowadays, with the rise of social media and search engine optimization, it is imperative to be engaged with patients online. Your dental practice website needs to be more than just an online brochure. It needs to be easy to navigate through and it needs to include photos, videos, patient stories, blog topics, and more – all relating to the quality services that you and your practice have to offer. Furthermore, add patient testimonial videos to your website to show the personal side of patient experiences. The more user-friendly your website and image is, the more success you will have for years to come.
- Generating positive patient reviews & establishing an online presence
Although 70% of new patients come from patient referrals, individuals are likely to look you up online. So what do you want them to see? Encourage your patients to give you positive reviews online so that you can build your online presence and stay top-rated on search engine results. A good way to do this is by providing how-to instructions for your patients in your patient newsletter. Not only will this increase your search engine rankings, it will also show your patients that you are an authority in your field.
- Using email marketing to stay in touch with patients
Email marketing as a way to promote your dental practice can be extremely valuable. You can include several aspects of your services, including the latest office news, appointment reminders, test results, general health information, blog topics, and more. If you want to maintain a connection with your patients in between appointments, consider sending them a follow-up email where you discuss current or important medical news. This will show your patients your thoughtful nature and they will appreciate that you took the time to consider them.
- Establishing a patient referral bonus system
More than 70% of new patient inflow comes from patient referrals within your internal network. However, current patients cannot always see when a dental practice is in need of more patients. So how can you get them to recommend your services to friends or family members? Motivate them by offering a bonus. For instance, if they recommend your dental practice to a friend, reward them with a bonus, such as a dental product or discount. Moreover, hand out referral cards that they can pass on to other individuals. It is a win-win situation.
- Participating within your community
Getting out and participating within your community presents a positive image upon your dental practice. The most effective way in which you can show your caring nature is by demonstrating community engagement through events such as local celebrations, charity runs, and volunteer activities.
- Handing out “goody bags”
Unlike other specialists, dental patients require regular check-ups and products to stay healthy, such as toothbrushes. Consider handing out “goody bags” to patients with new marketing materials, such as a type of toothpaste which you highly recommend. Every patient loves getting free samples which can benefit their health so use “goody bags” as a way to promote your quality products and services.
- Being present on social media platforms
In today’s world of technological advancements, being present on social media platforms is of great significance. Use these platforms to their full potential - schedule your posts and post attention-grabbing content throughout all of your profiles on a consistent basis. By keeping your presence on social media active, you can engage with current patients and attract new patients by showing them what you and your practice have to offer.
- Taking a look within your dental practice
You and your staff members are the faces of your dental practice. Remember that patients’ enthusiasm is determined by your behavior, the behavior of your staff members, and the services that you offer. Is your staff friendly when patients call in? Are patients always greeted with a smile? Is your staff knowledgeable about your services? Educate your team on the benefits of establishing positive relationships with current and prospective patients. Make sure that they all understand how important each patient’s visit is to your practice’s credibility. The more engaged you all are, the more likely that new patients will walk through your door.
So there you have it. The 10 top strategies that you should consider in order to effectively market your dental practice and keep it thriving for years to come - getting found online, identifying your target audience, creating the ultimate dental practice website, generating positive reviews & establishing an online presence, using email marketing to stay in touch with patients, establishing a patient referral bonus system, participating within your community, handing out “goody bags”, being present on social media platforms, and taking a look within your dental practice. Currently, there are over 210,000 practicing dentists in the United States and every year, 800 new dentists surface. Patients have plenty of options to choose from, so give them a reason to come see you.