The one thing that virtually all dentists have in common, is the need for sound dental marketing ideas that will attract a steady stream of new patients to the practice. There’s just one problem… You are a dentist, not a marketing expert, so dental practice marketing is probably not a major strength. Unfortunately, too many dentists learn this the hard way with hit-or-miss strategies and tactics that may or may not work. That’s why the best strategy for success in attracting patients, is to partner with a dental marketing agency, preferably one with a good track record of success in dental practice marketing.
By partnering with a proven dental marketing company, your success in attracting the patients that you want is assured. Here are the top ten dental marketing ideas for growing practices and increasing revenues:
1. Increase Your Yelp Reviews
Yelp is a great platform for reaching millennials, between 25 to 40 years old. Yelp is the first place where millennials will go to find a good dentist. According to a 2014 study, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations. So, it’s important to claim your business listing on Yelp and stimulate more positive patient reviews. It is likely that patients are already writing reviews of your practice, so your goal is to encourage and facilitate positive reviews. Since even the best dental practices occasionally receive negative reviews, your goal is to have eight or nine positive reviews to mitigate the effects of each negative review. The best dental marketing company will offer online reputation management solutions that provide an automated process for generating and publishing those positive reviews.
2. Use Appointment Reminders
Appointment reminders help ensure that your current patients show up for scheduled treatments, including cleanings and annual checkups. Whether you send the reminder on a postcard, an email, or a phone call, appointment reminders are an effective tool for patient compliance. You can even streamline this process by using Google calendar alerts and sending appointment confirmations and reminders via email. These tactics make it easier to remind your patients to make appointments for annual dental exams, X-rays and teeth cleanings.
3. Grow Your Email Marketing
Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to gain new leads for dentists. For every dollar you invest in email, you gain about $45 return on your investment. Your patients should be able to email your practice when they want to make an appointment. Your office staff can respond with two or three date/time options to ensure that an appointment is made and added to your calendar. Your practice should routinely collect email addresses from your current patients as well. You can then use emails to send them bills, appointment reminders, along with follow up or touch base reminders. Your dental marketing agency can help.
4. Use Referral Bonuses
Don’t overlook the importance of asking for referrals. According to the Pride Institute, 93% of people trust healthcare recommendations from their friends. In order to encourage those recommendations, use referral bonuses to help retain your current patients and expand your practice. Many successful dentists express their gratitude by giving $10 off a dental visit for every referred patient who makes an appointment. You can easily facilitate this by handing out business referral cards when your patients check-out. You can also add them to every email you send to current patients.
5. Create Local Market Facebook Ads
If you are like most dental professionals, you are looking to reach potential new patients who live within a 50-mile radius of your practice location. You want to get the word out about your dental practice, so it’s important to be specific about who you market to. Facebook’s local awareness ads can help you reach a local audience and share locally relevant details about your dental practice including your address, distance to your practice, hours of operation, and “Get Directions” links. Your call to action should include a call button, which easily prompts a potential new patient to make an appointment. Your dental marketing agency can help you create effective ads that will get the attention of your target audience.
6. Use Click-to-Call Ads
The main goal for dental practice marketing or advertising is to encourage patients and prospective patients to book appointments. They typically do this by calling your office. Click-to-call ads are currently available through Facebook and Google Ads for use on mobile, desktop and tablet platforms. You can also add a click-to-call extension to your existing Facebook local market ads, or you can create a simple call-only messaging campaign.
7. Create Mobile Call-Only Google Ads
According to Google, 53% of healthcare-related searches are performed on a smartphone, 40% are performed on a PC (desktop or laptop) and just 7% are performed on tablets. Google also claims that one out of every 20 Google searches is for health-related information. Mobile call-only ads are one of the best ways to reach patients. These ads are created exclusively for mobile (smart phone) devices using call-only campaigns through Google ads.
8. Take Advantage of Facebook Demographic Targeting
Facebook offers a ton of demographic targeting information, which you can use to your advantage. Facebook lets you target potential new patients according to languages spoken, relationship status, employment, income and personal interests. According to several research studies, women typically make 90% of all dental service buying decisions. Make sure you’re targeting your ads to women who, for example, recently purchased children’s clothes or school supplies and who also live in your geographic area.
9. Direct Mail Marketing
Rumors about the death of direct mail marketing have been greatly exaggerated. Direct mail is one of those dental marketing ideas that still works, especially for older potential patients from the baby boomer generation. And because fewer companies are using direct mail marketing, your messaging will likely have less competition and less clutter in those baby boomer mailboxes. With direct mail, there is success in numbers. If, for example, you send 5,000 postcards and your practice receives 35 to 40 phone calls and 10 new patients, you’re getting a great return on your direct mail investment. Your dental marketing company can create an effective direct mail postcard that helps you achieve your goals.
10. Use Local Events & School Sports Teams to Your Advantage
Many potential new patients have children who play in recreational sports leagues or organized teams that can be sponsored by local businesses. Some dental practices pay for team jerseys that are emblazoned with the practice’s logo, promotional banners that hang on sports fields or listings in sports program brochures. This is a great way to put your practice in front of parents with children who play sports. You can also give out free toothbrushes or postcards that provide information about children’s dental health. In one case, a practice that did this reported that over 70% of the parents in attendance at these events switched to their practice. Other local events that may work well include community health fairs with screenings for gum disease and orthodontic problems.