Marketing was, is, and always will be an important factor for dental practices, just like any other business. But it’s very hard to keep on top of. The marketing landscape has changed drastically in the last ten-to-twelve years alone. Smartphones, digital marketing, the importance of Search Engine Optimisation, etc.
Everyone reading this is probably also painfully aware of the popularity of social media. But so few of you are using it as part of your marketing to drive patients to your practices. Those of you that are using it are maybe struggling to see any real results from it.
It’s not surprising. Most people, dentists or not, just don’t know where to start with social media. Those that try might try a tactic or two and give up.
Social media can yield excellent returns for your dental practice. It’s been proven. But you need to set reasonable expectations on ROI and know the right strategies to turn tactics into dollars.
So, in the interest of getting you started, we have three such strategies, along with five social media trends, to set you off on the right path.
Generating quality sales leads is critical for dental practices that want to stay highly profitable. Running Facebook contests is an easy, inexpensive way to do that. By offering a prize (Our own 360PRO Toothbrush will be a great giveaway), you can attract potential buyers and clients.
As long as it is something desirable to your audience, the chances of getting a strong return on your investment is high.
Posting on social media? What a novel idea.
But so many businesses forget the keyword of social media: social! Use the platforms to create a social presence. Put yourself, your team, and the environment of your practice out there for the world to see.
Post things that make your practice unique. Do you give back to your community? Do you serve an underserved market? Do you provide an exceptional experience to everyone that walks through the door? Do you have the latest technology that makes patient experiences better?
Post pictures of your staff using new technology with a note about the benefit to your patients, like “We’re excited to make your next dental experience painless with this!” Don’t just post offers or deals or events. It’s social media. Be social.
This is a continuation of the above, but a point that needs to be made alone. Post things that evoke emotion. Don’t just be another company posting bland messages trying to get people to click through to your site. Spend some time making posts that just engender feelings of goodwill towards your company. They’ll be more likely to click through to you later.
No matter what tactic you use, the secret to explosive growth on Social Media for dentists is to make sure the content you post is shareable. With shareable content, you put your practice in a position to benefit from your Social Media fans liking, commenting, and sharing your content.
Again. It’s social media. The point is to interact with people.
A simple image of a smiling patient enjoying a gourmet cup of coffee in your office with a note that you love your patients as much as they love your coffee and a request for people to tag someone who loves coffee tells your practice’s story and encourages your fans to interact with and share your post!
And when we say “whichever strategy you use”, keep in mind — you really should be using all three strategies together to create a solid social media marketing strategy. Just posting lead generation posts won’t get you far — and just posting updates about your practice isn’t going to draw people to make appointments. At least, not quickly.
Combine these three together to really drive patients to you. Post updates and emotional posts for the most part and leave the lead-generation posts to once every few weeks. Don’t spam people with CTAs, they’ll block you.
What about trends?
Trends come and go, and this list may not be relevant this time next year. But for now, these are the six trends we’ve identified for 2019.
Digital marketing for dentists isn’t that the whole point of this article?
There were some big changes made in 2017 to how social media platforms worked with businesses. Basically, it resulted in being harder for businesses to get Social Media returns.
With 2018 behind us and looking ahead, many businesses, including dentists, are still trying to interpret those changes. With Facebook, for example, focusing on family and friends instead of advertising and news, your business may not get the traffic it once did through social channels.
The biggest change that continues to persist for dental professionals is that you’ll probably have to spend more money to get the same engagement on your content than you did in 2017, or even the beginning of 2018.
Partially this is due to Facebook admitting — after many years of accusation — that their reported results for paid ads weren’t entirely accurate. It’s now much more accurate, so realistically you’re not paying more for the same reach; you’re just now aware of how much you actually needed to pay to get the reach you thought you were getting.
To maximize Facebook reach, analyze the performance of your past posts and understand who your true target market really is and which of your products is best for that target market. Choosing the right content to boost and invest in, and the right days and times to boost it, can help you make the most of your Facebook marketing budget going forward.
In a truly digital world, patients are going to leave reviews about their experiences with you, online. And whether you feel comfortable with this type of promotion or not, it’s in your best interests to encourage patients to leave these reviews – especially if they are long term clients, or people who have a wide social network, or had wonderful experiences with you.
Online reviews are already heavily prioritised by search engines. It’s often the first thing people look for when searching online for a new health professional. Studies show that people trust online reviews nearly as much as a recommendation from a friend.
While you cannot control the content of reviews, if you give good service, the majority of your reviews should be positive.
…And many will retreat as fast as they came in.
Programmatic buying is the use of machines or algorithms to buy online advertising. Programmatic buying makes it much easier to buy advertising that targets the right people with the right message at the right time. Tactics like geofencing, retargeting, search ads, social media advertising, and highly-targeted campaigns come together to ensure messages are uniquely targeted to a prospective patient’s needs at a given time.
As more organizations attempt programmatic buying in 2019, some will succeed. Will these people be your competitors? But many will see poor results due to a lack of cohesion throughout campaigns or poorly defined patient personas—emphasizing the importance of engaging the help of marketing experts, rather than trying to do it yourself.
Healthcare, in general, is far behind other industries when it comes to marketing automation, missing out on opportunities for patient engagement and for becoming proactive partners in health.
Today, many digital marketing and advertising processes can now be automated. Marketing software allows customer touchpoints like follow-up emails, digital ads, and social media posts to be programmed ahead of time, saving valuable time and effort.
At the most basic level, you can use automation to send automated emails with appointment reminders or health protocols. In the coming year, we’ll see more sophisticated usage in healthcare. Select hospitals and practices will use the technology to nurture prospective patient leads, reminding them of additional service lines and providing valuable content that keeps the business top of mind.
Many hospitals, health systems, and even smaller groups and practices have found landing pages a highly successful avenue for patient conversions. What is a landing page? When patients search for a specific service, it’s often better to send prospects to a specific page that discusses their point-of-interest—rather than the home page of your website.
While your website is still vital for search engine rankings and branding purposes, these individual landing pages work as a primary driver for new patients in combination with paid search advertisements and digital ads. Well-designed landing pages encourage patients to call or fill out a form with clear calls-to-action, targeted messaging, and few on-site distractions.
Take a second and consider your personal life. Today alone, what have you done more regularly: call people in your contacts list or send text messages?
Text messages took it outright, didn’t they?
There was a time when texting seemed an impersonal alternative to phone calls. That belief has passed, as text messaging is the most popular form of communication among kiwis.
This is why 2019 will be the year of texting in dental marketing.
It’s easy for practices. It’s convenient for patients. And most of all, it’s a new touchpoint for practices to be relevant.
Texting is an effective way to stay in touch and upsell (once you have gained client consent to contact them via text message). Don’t ignore the power of text – if you do you are creating a barrier to entry for patients wanting to schedule an appointment or a consultation. In 2019, messenger systems will become a common part of every successful practice’s marketing efforts.
These are the strategies and trends you need to employ and respond to in order to drive profitable results through social media marketing in 2019. If you play your cards right, you’ll develop a new, steady stream of leads and patients to keep your practice healthy and active for years to come.
Ready to take your dental practice to the next level?
Do you need help keeping your website and other dental marketing materials current to reflect and capitalize on industry trends?
If you want to know more ways to create shareable content and grow your dental practice on Social Media, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
If we can ever be of assistance to you as you go about building your social media presence, or if you want to chat about online marketing, please don’t hesitate to reach out.