Your dental practice has a website, a Facebook page, and solid online reviews. You have invested in local advertising to attract and retain the patients you desire. You’ve done everything you’re supposed to do, but you know you could be doing more. So, how do you take your marketing to the next level?
Effective marketing requires you to connect and engage with your patients, finding the channels with the best possible results and return on your investment. Here are some commonly asked questions about marketing your practice, and some tips to help you achieve your goals.
How Do I Connect With Prospective Patients?
At its heart, marketing is about establishing a dialogue between you and your patients – both current and prospective. When building, maintaining, or expanding a relationship-based business like a dental practice… you first need to determine the demographics and habits of your desired clientele. Those insights will guide decisions about how to get their attention and where to focus your energy.
A diversified, integrated strategy can help you make effective connections with your patients. Obtaining the desired result requires a multi-path plan involving a combination of advertising, your website, and social media.
When those choices have been made, strategic use of web search engines will drive traffic to your content. You can utilize paid searches or local search engine optimization (SEO), which helps your business be more visible in Google search results in your area. And speaking of Google, if you haven’t claimed your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) listing… you should do so immediately.
How Can I Engage Online With My Patients?
Engaging and building trust with patients is especially important in dentistry, due to the public’s often fraught attitudes toward dentists and dental procedures. Not only do you need to build relationships with patients, but you also need to help them overcome their hesitation to make appointments in the first place.
One way to put people at ease and to show you’re a trustworthy expert is to create and share informative content about your practice, the procedures you do, and dentistry in general. When looking for information on medical or dental conditions and procedures, most people will search online before talking to a professional. You want to be that source of information in your local market and adding an authoritative blog to your website can help achieve that goal.
Once you build your website and social media presence, engage consistently and often. An abandoned Facebook page, an outdated website, or an Instagram account with only a few posts can give the impression that your practice isn’t thriving, and potential patients may look elsewhere.
Respond promptly to user outreach, answering any questions and acknowledging comments immediately. This makes patients feel validated and valued, further building the dentist-patient relationship.
How Do I Create A Positive Image Online?
Once you decide which social media channels to use, populate them with constructive content that encourages user engagement. On the flip side, it is equally important to avoid negative content that may be inappropriate or off-putting.
Your content doesn’t have to be anodyne, but it’s wise to steer clear of topics like politics or religion… unless you plan to make that an integral part of your branding. Controversial, inaccurate, or negative content can destroy trust and damage your brand quickly. And it’s often hard to bounce back – especially if a problematic post goes viral. Instead, focus on interesting and informative posts that give a positive sense of you and your practice.
Another way to create a positive image online is to include testimonials on your website and in social media posts, as well as to encourage positive feedback on Google Reviews, Yelp, and similar services. In the unlikely event you receive a negative review or comment, address it immediately, whether by responding on the site in question, or by contacting the patient to find out if the situation can be rectified and the review amended.
Before-and-after photos can also be a major boost and help create trust with your prospective patients. You will need to follow HIPPA guidelines so close-ups of their smiling teeth, avoiding anything that could identify the patient are best. Never caption the photos with the patient’s name unless they are providing a photo testimonial and have signed off on using their name, photo, and details.
Efferent Media’s Experts Want To Help Grow Your Practice
Marketing your practice is an ongoing process that requires a long-term investment, and medical marketing has special concerns. It’s crucial to know which parts of your marketing are the most effective, so you can adapt your strategy accordingly and maximize your ROI.
As a busy professional, you may not have the time or staff to develop a marketing strategy, manage social media, examine analytics, and track your results. Efferent Media can create and manage strategies across a wide variety of platforms. Let our team do the work for you. Call Efferent Media’s marketing experts at (631) 867-0900 to find out how we can help you brand and grow your practice.