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The dental industry may feel the need to write off 2020-21 from a profit powerhouse point of view; however, this earth-shaking time has made room for an opportunity for growth within the industry.
With potential patients “Zooming”, “Skyping”, and “Google Meeting”, many have been looking in the mirror – or webcam – most days and have been noticing their “gnashers”. So naturally, this has broadened the market, and we will likely see more spending over the coming years in the smile aesthetics department.
According to statista.com, in 2019, it was estimated that consumer spending on dental services was over 3 billion pounds – that’s an average of £3270 per household. So, with the face of dentistry changing at warp speed, we’ve put together our “31 Top Dental Marketing Ideas” to ensure that your business is getting its fair share of that (sugar-free) pie.
1. Have a strategy
A dental marketing strategy doesn’t need to be complicated. But, without one, you may not be futureproofing your business.
The fundamental beginning of any marketing strategy is taking the time to understand where your current patients are, where your future patients are, and how to put your practice in front of their eyes as many times as possible. Sounds simple enough? The tips below will help you underpin which tools will be helpful to your business and allow you to build a strategy and timeline for these marketing opportunities. So don’t forget to write it down. Make it real. Follow it.
2. Understand yourself and your ideal patient audience
Business and marketing guru Seth Godin says:
Everyone is not your customer.
We couldn’t agree more. Understanding who you are, where you want to be, and which patients you are truly catering for is crucial as a starting point to any marketing plan. Your practice location, treatment list and patient base are a good indication of market position, and your marketing should reflect this. There are precious few extra hours to be had in dentistry and putting resources into the wrong audience sector is potentially wasteful. So, take a look at your business plan, find out where you are and where you’re going, then design a business that grabs the attention of your ideal patient persona/s.
3. Build your brand
A great brand goes far beyond having a good logo and a great website. Exceptional branding meets your patients on an emotional level at every touchpoint.
Long gone are the days when potential patients would wander into town and simply register with the nearest dentist. The general population are now demanding far more value for their spending, and your brand will help nurture them in the right direction.
89% of shoppers stay loyal to brands that share their values. (Fundera)
An exceptional brand consists of – not just – your logo and website, but showing your patients your core values as a practice, your personality as a dental team, and ensuring that these values are cohesive with your messaging and advertising and are demonstrated at all points of the patient journey.
4. Search Engine Optimisation
Any marketing strategy must include dental SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). Just ask any young professional when they last used any other method to find a business.
We are living in an immersive digital age. Without an SEO strategy, you may have the best practice in the world, but you won’t appear in the major search engines for the key phrases that are most important to your brand. The vast majority of the UK population has access to the web and will use Google to find what they’re looking for – instantly. 92% of searchers do not scroll past page one and therefore keeping an eye on your Google ranking and keeping up a good relationship with your web developers is vital. Learn more about Dental SEO here.
5. High Intent PPC (Pay Per Click)
Understanding the buyers funnel and investing in PPC can help guide people to your landing pages (and it may give your organic ranking a little boost too).
When you look at a search results page, you’ll see the first few results are ads. These are sites that are using a PPC strategy to appear at the top of the search. Anything below this is organic ranking, whereby the search engine has deemed the website to be the most appropriate according to their algorithm.
Why high intent? Understanding the buyers funnel is essential for knowing the best keywords to pay for. As a potential buyer makes a choice, their search queries will become more specific. For example, rather than searching simply for a local dentist, they may search for the best reviews, practices specialising in certain types of dentistry or perhaps comparing and contrasting.
Bidding for these high intent keywords -through Google AdWords – will bring your site to the top at a time that your searcher is ready to make a decision. Targeting longer keywords is also less competitive, so not as expensive and better for conversions -not only that but, the more visitors that come through your website, the higher your organic ranking possibilities.
6. Emergency Keywords
It’s not ideal; however, many of your new patients visit due to a dental emergency.
Whether you use emergency keywords as part of your Dental SEO campaign, or your PPC strategy, it is important to recognise that many unregistered patients will search for a dental practice when they need an emergency appointment. Whilst this is not your dental utopian dream, it’s essential to be optimistic and think about the future potential over the lifespan of these patients. Using keywords such as “broken filling” or “emergency dentist” may make you look more welcoming to these searchers.
7. Google My Business
Ever wondered why a generic search will give you answers relevant to your location? They’ve used “Google My Business”.
Google My Business allows you to boost your local online presence by registering your business address, hours of operation, and all of your essential contact details. As a search engine may be the first touchpoint for your prospective patients, you must consider location-based search as part of your marketing strategy. In addition, GMB has some powerful tools under their belt, such as adding photographs so that your branding is immediately prevalent, as well as call buttons, maps, reviews, and more. Click here to get started.
8. The Market for Mobile Search
According to Google, 53% of medical searches are completed using a mobile device.
Using Google Ads, you can specifically target mobile users through call-only advertising. For the geeks among us, we know that Google is more heavily featuring mobile-friendliness in their search algorithms. So whatever Google is looking for among websites is a good indicator of what your searchers are doing.
Not only can you feature for mobile, but you can include a “Call” CTA (Call To Action), which will direct a call through to your practice. Including this powerful CTA provides the least route of resistance for anyone wanting to get in touch.
9. Google Answer Box
Winning the Google answer game means attracting the attention of even the most impatient searchers whilst positioning your online profile as a “topic expert”.
Although it is not the most obvious place to focus your marketing efforts, we live in a society that expects immediate answers, and many look to Google answers for this. If interested, this will lead them to your website landing page.
Getting onto the answer box seems like a mysterious affair; however, when working with Google, you need to remember that their job is to seek and find the most relevant answer to any query. Therefore, Google Answer Box uses the format of short, concise answers, a list, or a table.
You can use free tools such as Keyword Tracker or UberSuggest chrome extensions to look for related keywords. Also, ensure that H1 and H2 tags in your website content provides short, concise answers and that any list items are clearly defined in your website content as an answer to a potential patient question.
10. Optimising for Voice Searches
Ensure that your dental marketing strategy and content strategy is future proof. Though we’re not quite yet talking into our gadgets like the cast of a sci-fi movie, we are moving in that direction.
More and more people are dabbling in voice search. It is a slow grower -and somewhat “un-British” behaviour trend – but we’re getting there. You can enhance your voice search presence by understanding how voice queries are different from typed queries. For example, voice queries from dental patients will ask very specific questions featuring “Who?”, “Where?” and “How?”. Ensuring that your site content answers these questions will make it more likely that you appear in voice searches.
11. Google Analytics
Understanding the inner workings of Google Analytics will give you a deeper insight into what your patients are looking for.
Analytics isn’t just helpful in checking your website is working for you. Looking at your most popular pages (and least popular pages) will show you where your patient’s interests lie. Not only can you check frequently visited pages, but how long your audience spends on that page as well as page bounce rates. If your patients are spending longer on a particular page, this might be a good indicator of purchasing intent and point you in the direction of a winning marketing campaign. Get started with Google Analytics by clicking here.
12. Email marketing
Take advantage of the data available to you. With most dental practices using fully digitalised systems, your email list could be a hidden gem.
You will be familiar with sending out appointment reminders by email. A surprisingly small number of dental practices send out newsletters to their patient base. You should be sending at least 4 email newsletters a year to stay memorable.
If you are looking for a sophisticated automated email marketing strategy, look at ActiveCampaign and Dengro. These platforms can send out emails to your enquiries based on intent. For example, if you receive an Invisalign enquiry – these systems can trigger automatic follow up emails in a sequence to help ‘warm’ your leads up. This saves your staff time and increases the reliability of follow up. The automated emails should be short, educational and ideally contain video.
13. Content Marketing
Increase your ranking and send more traffic to your dental website with on-site content marketing.
If you’re reading this article, you’re looking at content. Writing a regular blog post, list article, or FAQ is an excellent way to attract new visitors to your site. It allows you to be a little more flexible over your writing style and enable you to pick and choose what keywords you’re competing against. When writing a blog or article, always remember to backlink relevant information to your website for better SEO.
Need inspiration? – Try our “killer blog title generator” and find a creative spark to get you started.
14. Authority Content – Blog Posts
Increase your credibility and awareness by guest writing an “expert” article.
By sharing your expertise on other websites and publications, you can establish yourself as an authority figure within your field. In recent times we have become increasingly sceptical as a population, so any (ethical) way of standing out from the crowd – in a positive light – is helpful.
Another great advantage of writing is the opportunity to backlink to your site – great for SEO. Be careful though, the GDC doesn’t like the use of the word ‘expert’ so please be careful to steer clear of any terminology used to describe you that shows superiority over other dental professionals.
15. Invite A Guest Writer
If writing guest writing for others is great for your reputation and back-linking, having a guest writer is great for the last third – people that love a minor celeb!
If you have the contacts to invite a “well known” or “celebrity” guest writer, please do. Featuring a guest post on your site or in your newsletter may help audience attention and keep readers engaged.
16. Social Media Marketing
Understand which social media platforms your patient’s are likely to use to generate qualified leads.
Social media platforms have made advertising as easy and as predictable as possible. Although many of us occasionally worry about just how much data these media giants are gathering, that same data is what makes them one of the best ways of advertising to a specifically qualified target audience. With just a few clicks, you can target the correct geographic locations as well as affinity audiences for the treatments you’re looking to boost. Our founder Shaz Memon’s book Instagram for Dentists is a must-read!
17. Social Media Posts
A significant rule of thumb when utilising your social media profiles is to be consistent with time and message.
Post regularly and with the same personality. If you’re using social media to promote your practice or personal brand go “all in”. Posting regularly is essential for building and engaging your audience. Social media is a brilliant tool for showing off the personalities behind the team. Let your patients behind the scenes safely – they absolutely love it!
18. Facebook Messenger Ads – A Clever Conversation Starter
Facebook messenger ads are relatively new but are a minor stroke of genius, showing targeted adverts with direct message CTA’s (Call To Actions) and sponsored ad’s within the messenger app itself.
73% of customers prefer talking to companies via live chat rather than email. – edigitalresesarch.com
56% of people would rather message you than call you for customer service. – Facebook.
Whilst front-of-house isn’t quite all online, more and more people expect to book online or get queries answered without picking up the phone. We’re not sure dentistry is quite ready now in time, but be prepared and know that IS coming and that the best place to advertise is precisely where your patients are – and they’re probably messaging someone.
If you’re looking to boost your presence for “Gen Y” or “Gen Z” (people born 1980-2012), Instagram is your platform.
We are visual creatures, and Instagram is your stage to show off what you have to offer as a practice, clinician, and team whilst maintaining professional standards. Make yourself familiar with the various tools available and ensure that whilst maintaining a definitive “tone of voice”, you are mixing up your content to showcase yourself to current patients and prospective patients alike.
Stay focused on your “Power of 9” on your Instagram account, and your ideal clients will want to follow and engage with your account. – Shaz Memon.
Company founder, Shaz Memon, writes a fantastic and insightful point about the Instagram power of 9 featured in Forbes. You have 9 picture posts and under 0.2 seconds to make an impression. Is your ideal audience seeing everything they need to? Read the article here to find out.
20. Website Journey Optimisation
As dental professionals, it is common to think about the patient journey from practice entry to treatment plan completion. However, your website is a journey of its own.
It’s easy to think of a website as a directory of information and relevant content; however, more often than not, this is the beginning of your patient’s journey. Ensure that your website flows naturally from one page to another without dead ends, leading your patient from general interest to more detailed content for informed decision making. Remember that the aim is to entice your audience to book an appointment, so ensure you’re pointing them in the right direction. Learn, ‘What can a Dental Website learn from Amazon’ here.
21. Always Include a CTA (Call To Action)
You’ve advertised, posted, written articles. There’s information everywhere, but… what do you want people to do?
It may seem self-explanatory, but if you want people to call you, you’ll need a “call now” button with a telephone call link so that they don’t need to dial a number. Likewise, if you want them to fill out a contact form, you’ll need a button with a direct link to your contact form page. Your users HATE hunting for contact information. Read our ‘A five-step dental website design guide (that anyone can follow)’
Remember that all marketing should have an intention and outcome, and you need to shepherd your followers to the result you want, whether it is to visit your website or make an appointment.
22. Video advertising
Tiktok, Youtube, Vimeo… The future.
When it comes to marketing, there are two subjects that everyone is talking about behind the scenes… AI and VIDEO!
Video media is now a standard, and not only are the advertising platforms getting easier to navigate, but video editing tools are getting more powerful. In fact, personalised video marketing is booming; don’t be scared to communicate. A few formats you might like to try are:
- Demo Videos – Try demonstrating the workings of clear aligner therapy etc.
- Brand Videos – Share your high-level vision, mission, and core beliefs for your business.
- Educational – Do a flossing demonstration!
- Testimonials – Try filming some concise videos with your patient’s smile reveal!
Check out our Smartphone DIY Production video workshops here
23. Patient Referrals
Your greatest marketing tool is the one in your chair!
There is nothing quite like a bit of word-of-mouth. When your patients are saying good things, it’s worth double the credit. Not only is someone spreading the news and bringing your business to the attention of others, but it’s verified! There’s no need to desperately try to convince others how great you are if your patients are doing it for you!
Learn more about creating raving patient fans here
24. Patient Referral Incentives
Now that you know how great your patients are at marketing, incentives are a natural encourager.
Take a look around. Is there anything you can offer to sweeten a referral? Spa Vouchers? Family days out? Restaurant Vouchers? Complimentary photoshoots… the options are endless.
It may feel unnatural to speak about your net income over the lifetime of a regularly attending patient, but step back and think about the value if just 10% of your patients referred a friend!
25. Online Reviews and Testimonials
Review Marketing provides the “social proof” you need for effective marketing content.
This requires a little work and encouragement. On average, only 28% of people will write a positive review after a good experience. However, if you do proactively pursue reviews, you will get results over time. There are a few things to consider optimising your chances of getting your patients on-side with this:
- Make the process as quick and straightforward as possible
- Show them off! Post them on social media, make videos saying thank you.
- Encourage placement on notable websites – potential patients will most likely google your business before stepping through the doors or calling.
26. Competitor Comparison
SWOT analysis, PEST analysis, or simply taking a look at your rivals.
A great dental marketing campaign should always consider doing a comprehensive competitor analysis. A PEST (political, economic, social and technological) analysis can give you the upper hand over competitors by assessing changeable external factors and helping you to build a sustainable long-term plan…
…and at the other end of the spectrum, you can keep an eye on your rival’s social media accounts and dental blog to identify your opportunities!
27. Leaflet Drop – Make an Introduction
Good old-fashioned methods still work if you are consistent.
Wherever you are in the UK, there is property development. So, for potential patients moving to a new area, information and introduction to key medical professionals are helpful. Yes, they will take that leaflet and check your Google and social profiles, so some of the tips previously mentioned are still vital, but as far as marketing methods go, a well-timed helpful piece of paper can go down well.
28. Patient Data Gathering
Every new patient is a hive of opportunity to learn.
This sounds like another 21st Century pet peeve; however, if you’re looking to grow your business and seek new patients, the best source of information is your new and current patients. New patients can tell you how they found you to see first-hand which marketing methods are working for you. Current patients can tell you what they love about you and your dental team so that you can hone in on your strengths.
Always remember that you are dealing with actual patients and people. Analytics are great but recognise that your in-person interactions are better for building a lasting working relationship than any computer screen. Don’t be uncomfortable asking how you could have improved their visit.
At our customer service workshops, we teach you how to elevate your customer service using this very approach.
29. Community Events – Get Involved.
Sponsoring small community events can shine a positive light on your practice whilst helping others.
Showcasing your caring side and be a pillar of the community. Sponsoring local charity events, donating branded items, or setting up your booth are ways of aiding in building connections outside of the practice.
Smile, make your presence known, and talk to people you’ve never met. Patient experience starts long before making their first appointment, so smile, be authentic, and get networking!
30. Market Results – Not Services
A picture tells a thousand words. Showcase your best work!
A list of available dental or cosmetic procedures is not a great marketing tool. Instead, good marketing always aims to pull on an emotional string to provide a decision-making path that points in your direction.
Grab yourself a good clinic camera and become comfortable with your clinical photography. Then, show your potential patients the real difference you can make in their lives.
Bonus Tip – We’ve saved the best ‘til last!
31. Jaw-dropping Dental Web Design
You have less than 5 seconds in which a patient decides to stay on and invest their time on your website, or leave – don’t be part of the huge bounce rate problem!
As mentioned previously, your potential patients have little or almost no patience! As founder of Digimax Dental, Shaz Memon says ‘When website visitors lose patience, dentists end up losing patients.’ Ensure that your website is designed to help you succeed with a proven track record. Digimax specialises in bespoke UX (User Experience) and UI (User Interface) for the absolute best “WOW” factor in those vital moments. Every single website that won at the prestigious Private Dentistry Awards and Dentistry Awards were a Digimax.
It’s always best to use a dental website design company that knows the intricate details of your market and can help you with multiple aspects of your business such as dental marketing, dental SEO, and dental video animation for a complete package.
Whatever your marketing strategy, be kind to yourself.
When looking at the results from your chosen marketing campaigns, do not expect perfection. As a dental professional, seeking perfection comes naturally, but in marketing, we seek improvement.
With a good “all-around” online presence and thinking of every single interaction as a touchpoint with your patient that can convert them into being an advocate, you won’t go far wrong.
Don’t forget to set aside diary time to get this done. Happy Marketing!