Dental marketing is tough – new players enter the market every year increasing competition. This article will be useful to dental clinics owners and marketers. You will figure out how to: systematically promote your clinic; conduct comprehensive internet marketing; track and maintain your reputation; increase customer flow; make a good dentistry site; increase customers loyalty. Strategy …
Dental marketing is tough – new players enter the market every year increasing competition. This article will be useful to dental clinics owners and marketers.
You will figure out how to:
- systematically promote your clinic;
- conduct comprehensive internet marketing;
- track and maintain your reputation;
- increase customer flow;
- make a good dentistry site;
- increase customers loyalty.
- Define overall campaign goals (I’d say ROI and sale volume are most vital)
- Segment target audience
- Analyse competitors’ offer and marketing channels in use
- Analyse the current website (if any)
- Design\define your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
- Figure out promotional channels based on defined audiences & services and prioritise them based on costs\expected returns ratio
This list can be expanded, as well as narrowed down. It all depends on your goals and capabilities. We understand that developing a full-fledged strategy takes a lot of time, so adjust it based on how fierce your competition is.
The work plan (6 – 12 months)
In most cases, business owners want an immediate effect, a magic button that increases sales. A website developed within a month with an ad budget of $180 that attracts thousands of customers is a myth. At least these days. There are some fields where it is still possible, but they’re extremely difficult to locate. Only constant systematic work allows you to achieve results.
The average preparation period includes: research, strategy, website, setting up analytics and designing advertising campaigns. High-quality preparation brings you closer to the pay-off point, so sometimes 1-2 months of advertising and promotion are enough to reach an acceptable level of sales. Also, because of it I think working with a digital marketing agency for less than 6 months makes no sense.
Ideally, the work plan should be in the form of estimates, which reflect the list of works, the number of work hours required for each specialist, the costs of each type of work and hourly rates of each specialist. Usually the plan is split on a monthly basis
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Development (or redesign) of the website
One of the most important stages is the development of a high-quality website of the dental clinic. The website should answer the basic questions of potential and existing customers, be convenient, modern, and work well on all devices. It is necessary to analyse competitors, know your target audience well, describe services competently, present them in a visual way and provide pricing information in order to make a good website. Don’t forget about special offers, prompt customers to action (allow customers to send a request through the website or make an online quick call).
What sections should a good dental clinic website contain?
- Description of services (individual page for each service)
- Doctors (qualifications, photos, certificates, video messages, photo of works, customer reviews)
- Clear and convenient price list
- Description of the clinic
- Description of the interior
- Description of the equipment
- Vacancies and working conditions
- A foreword by the owner of the clinic or the head physician
- Before and after (photos of our customers’ smiles)
- Special offers
- Reviews (reviews of famous people, as well as video reviews are especially appreciated)
- Payment methods
- Insurance treatment (does the clinic cooperate with insurance companies?)
- Contacts (driving directions from all nearby traffic interchanges (on foot/by car). Be sure to use an interactive map)
- Online consultation
- Make an appointment online
- Press center (news and articles)
- Blog (doctors’ articles)
- Qualification (how and where doctors of the clinic improve their qualifications)
- Benefits (why you should choose this particular clinic)
- Frequently asked questions and answers
- Legal information
- Direct call city phone number and a country-wide charge-free number
- Links to social networks
- Callback module
- Share buttons for primary social networks at the end of interesting articles
- Details of a legal entity in the “About our clinic” section
- Only unique content, you cannot copy information from other resources!
- Do not forget to adapt the website for mobile devices
What are dental marketing nuances?
Attract a patient is not enough. It is important to turn one into a permanent patient. Ensure that the people recommend you to friends and acquaintances.
What are the main features of medical marketing? There are three of them.
- Most patients order a medical service because they have no other choice. This is a necessary measure. Your dentistry can be excellent in all respects, but it will not be of interest to a client who is doing well with health.
- Because of it the demand for services in the medical industry is not elastic. Meaning the market will not notice a decrease or increase in the cost of services by 10-15%.
- The demand in the medical service industry is either primary, or secondary.
- Primary demand: services, specificity of which the patient understands on an intuitive level. Patients understand them and may turn to these services on their own (emergency medical service, dental surgery, etc).
- Secondary demand – services that the patient is unlikely to order on their own, without the recommendation of a specialist. Secondary demand services are not an emergency (like installation of implants and orthodontics).
It is important to understand the characteristics of demand in the medical industry, since it depends on how effective any marketing activity will be. Marketing here involves the study of parameters that directly affect the promotion of dental services. Here I listed some of them:
- Competition (the presence of other clinics or offices in the area and well they are doing with marketing).
- The intensity of the pedestrians flow near the dentistry.
- The proximity of the clinic to public transport stops.
- The convenience of parking.
- The presence of a developed highway of public transport next to the dental organization.
- The presence of residential complexes, large shopping centers and industrial enterprises in close proximity to the institution.
- A wide range of services in the field of dentistry, corresponding to the income of clients.
- Use of new materials and technologies.
- Preservation of traditional methods of treatment, which the population has a demand for.
- Cost of services.
- Favourable tariffs (pricing strategy).
- The general policy of setting prices in relation to the average cost of services in the dental market.
- The level of solvency of people.
- Promotion of dental services.
- Business hours.
- Public image of the office or clinic: presence of a business sign, interior and exterior design.
- The organisation of the services provided.
Dental marketing best practices
Today a large number of people turn to medical institutions. Intensive demand creates increased supply. More and more specialists are offering their services, new websites and clinics are emerging.
Here are two common pitfalls of dental marketing:
- Lower the cost of services. Choosing between clinics with a standard set of services and approximately the same qualifications of the dentists working in them, the patient turns to an institution with lower prices. Trying to lure as many customers as possible, you make lower rates. But constant price cuts lead to lower profits, right?
- “Fighting” your rivals. We recommend not to mess with competing organizations (just a waste of time), but to make your business as protected from their intervention as possible instead.
What are some possible solutions?
Development of a unique selling proposition (USP) is a win-win technique used to promote dental services. This means that you should have a service that would make the patient with a serious problem choose your clinic.
What are the some possible USPs for dentistry?
- Instalment without prepayment and without interest. This attracts a sufficient number of patients in need of complex treatment. This is a good promotion of dental services.
- The possibility of treatment under general anaesthesia. Patients who are in panic, or afraid to treat their teeth will come to your clinic.
- Availability of discounts and promotions. Pensioners, students and regular customers will be interested.
- Free warranty. You will be trusted unconditionally. Clients will understand that the clinic is responsible for any mistakes.
The main page of the website is best suited for placing profitable and unique offers, since not all customers go beyond.
Packing offers for a dentistry website
The number of subject requests, according to statistics, is constantly increasing. The most popular requests still are:
- pediatric dentistry;
- cost of services;
- 24/7 services;
- treatment of diseases such as caries, periodontitis, periodontal disease and others;
- provision of services such as teeth whitening, restoration, implantation.
The website visitors must see the information they want to see. Make it easy. Most patients who are in search of “their” dental clinic, do not search for a wide range of services in a medical institution, but rather seek to solve their particular problem.
In this regard, people create a narrowly focused request like “implant installation” or “laser caries treatment + place of residence”. The choice of such requests for the semantic core of the website allows you to create a good target audience.
Promotion of the website of dentistry should be carried out in accordance with the interests of users. You need to:
- tell which specialist is engaged in certain treatment, what equipment is used. Be convincing and provide details;
- correctly distribute information across a page. Form lists and blocks. The long and difficult search for information undoubtedly annoys the “sick” patient – minimize the time and negative emotions in a person;
- it is also an important to work on the visual appeal of the site. Clients should remember your website. Let them have a positive impression. This guarantees they will visit you again, and again, and bring friends;
- indicate the cost of services (if there is no exact price, report the lower limit). The patient sees the price, even if it is approximate, and knows what budget to focus on. If the treatment fee suits your clients they are likely to pay you a visit. If the cost is not indicated, the person will look for specifics on other resources and probably will not return. Do not let your customers leave!
All of the above information can be specified in the service block on the landing-page.
People trust those organisations that answer questions clearly and promptly. But more than anyone people believe ordinary citizens like themselves. And therefore you should post:
- Customer reviews. Patient recommendations can contribute to the promotion of dental services, enhance the reputation of the medical institution, as well as adversely affect it. Patients read reviews from other people and only then decide whether they can trust your doctors. To increase the attendance, put positive recommendations in the patient review section. It is advisable for reviews to reflect the date, patient’s name, general impressions of the treatment, reception and service. If you see that you have done an excellent job, contact the client with a request to leave a review.
- Frequently asked questions (FAQ): when choosing a clinic, patients take into account not just reviews.
Call to action! Online sales of dental services
Templates like “Make an appointment and receive free consultation” work. But there is something that may interest the client to a greater extent. Report that there is an opportunity to get an appointment with the chief doctor and consult with one for free. The opportunity to communicate with a high-class specialist will encourage customers to sign up as soon as possible.
Dental marketing advertising channels
Analyse the results of work and advertising campaigns regularly (or have someone do it for you ;). This will allow you to have relevant information about what is happening, adjust the strategy in time, make the right decisions, control the effectiveness of an advertising channel or Internet marketing tool, adjust the budget and distribute other resources correctly.
It is very important to track key performance indicators such as
- Cost per website visitor
- Cost per appointment
- Cost per call
- Cost per order (patient)
- Number of sessions (sales) from each advertising channel
- Also, it is wise to track Lifetime Value of customers, especially in saturated markets, i.e. if you have negative ROI on patient’s first visit – he or she might come back over and over again and boost ROI. To track such parameters you’d need a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. I suggest either going for a dental specific CRM or build a custom CRM tailored for your business. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need help to make a choice.
For a small clinic, it is going to be enough to measure the quantity and quality of calls, mail applications, website attendance, page depth users go to, the time they spend on the website, conversion rate and each advertising channel individually.
End-to-end analytics (also e2e analytics) is a bundle of customised tools (PBX + CRM + call tracking + website & Google Analytics) to measure the effectiveness of each advertising channel. Thanks to this system, you can almost exactly know where the patient came from (for example, Adwords or outdoor advertising) and how much money the patient brought over the entire period of visits. This valuable information allows you to make the right decisions on budget allocation for a particular type of advertising.
In addition, each tool in itself carries value:
- CRM – streamlines work with patients; provides more in depth analytics and (!) marketing automation.
- Call-tracking – shows where the calls are coming from and allows you to listen to the recordings of administrators’ conversations with patients;
- Google Analytics shows the big picture, all the data you need to make a decision.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
Search engine optimisation implies a website can be easily found online through search engines.
Here few examples of keywords and phrases for dentistry SEO (and PPC ads) promotion:
- Names of all services (example “caries treatment”)
- Geo location (“dentistry + metro / city / district”)
- Services + geo (“Santa Monica dental implantation”)
- Synonyms (“dental clinic, dentist”, etc.)
- By type of services (“dentistry for children”)
- Information requests (“ask a dentist a question”, “how to choose dentistry”) are suitable for promoting a blog. These materials are better be announced through social networks.
It is important to constantly monitor the ranking of the website and take timely action if it drops below TOP-10.
At the same time, you should not count on requests like “dentistry”, because your clients are looking for “dentistry in Brooklyn” and “the best dentistry in New York”.
Contextual advertising aka Pay Per Click (PPC)
Contextual advertising is a great way to attract patients to dentistry at short time.
Use the same phrases as in previous paragraph (SEO). Even when the search phrases are already in the TOP10, we still recommend using contextual advertising on top of that. All for the following reasons:
- Such ads are located above the search results, which gives you a higher conversion.
- Better coverage.
- Ads can pop up even on remotely relevant phrases, as well as on the affiliate websites.
Registration on review portals
There are many websites where you can post reviews about the company. Ideally, keep track of those where your customer’s reviews have already been posted. Register there as a company representative and respond to testimonials on behalf of the company. Negative reviews are not always bad. What’s bad is when such reviews remain unanswered by the company. Watch your reputation, it is important! Many choose dentistries by reviews.
Google Alerts is free tool you can setup to monitor the Internet for your brand mentions.
Work on the reputation
I’ve conducted a survey among friends. The question was simple: “What do you do to choose a dentistry?” All people answered they already have a permanent doctor and their favourite dentistry. Nevertheless, I asked them to imagine a situation if they had to move to another city or their favourite dentistry was closed. The answer changed:
- Google “Dentistry + Area”,
- Check several websites, choose the one that corresponds the request more (price, doctors, equipment, locations, payment method, general impression, etc.)
- Then read the reviews on the dentistry on various websites. Sometimes check reviews about a particular doctor. It was enough for most respondents to make a decision.
In this regard, the conclusion is obvious: watch the reputation of both your clinic and your doctors. This directly affects the number of patients.
How to track reputation? It is important to highlight brand queries (for example, the name of dentistry) and to keep track of their mention in various sources: on other websites, in the media, on social networks, etc. Google Alerts is enough for a start.
Content marketing is one of the most important tools of internet marketing today. The bottom line is to create high-quality content for the right audience, place this content on your own platforms (website, social networks), as well as on third-party resources where this may be appropriate.
It is important (specifically for dentistry) to constantly create high-quality content and convey it to the target audience. What content can dentistry create? Almost anything that may be interesting to potential and existing clients, partners or doctors.
- articles about various methods of treatment
- articles about modern technologies in the world or those used in the clinic
- information on the prevention of caries and other diseases
- types of dental diseases
- articles regarding each area of dentistry
- clients reviews (also content!). Ideally, make video reviews, but you can also get handwritten ones, scan them and post on the website
- answer questions from website visitors or social networks. Thus, the site will be found on search phrases that were used in questions and answers. These answers will show the level of overall competence of the dental clinic, which is very important for people choosing a clinic
- it is recommended that doctors register on third-party resources and answer questions there, “boosting” their reputation.
It is important to systematically fill your website and social networks with high-quality content; if you do this once a month or once a quarter, you should not expect any positive effect. There should be a content plan of publications and it is important to constantly improve in this direction.
Publishing articles on external resources will also help to be on top of the SERP for local requests like “dentistry in Brooklyn” and “the best dentistry in New York”.
Social Media Marketing (SMM)
It is important to register, arrange and fill accounts in Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The main content will be pictures of the clinic, basic services, business hours and any additional information. It is important to continue to constantly update social networks with new content and info. The details are usually described in SMM strategy.
A full-fledged business promotion (especially dental clinic) is difficult to imagine without social networks. Finding a good dentist is always quite complicated. As a rule, most people already have their own doctor, who they visit for years, but there are situations when they have to look for a new dentist and a new dental clinic. Reasons may vary: they either moved home, or their doctor left, or anything else.
Usually the first thing people do is ask friends on social networks. Therefore, it is important to have your social networks accounts and monitor posts, communities and users. After all, if people subscribe to your business page on Facebook, all their friends are going to know about it. Imagine what kind of coverage there is!
This mechanism directs ads to those users who have already been on the advertiser’s website. Retargeting is a repeated display of your online ads on third-party Internet resources (including social networks) to users who have once been on your website. This allows you to stimulate the visitor, or remind them of their unfinished action.
More in depth article here – Cascade retargeting strategy (4 deadly sins checklist included)
Do not underestimate this type of advertising. Indeed, it will be expensive to place several 3 by 6 shields in the district. However, advertising on a billboard is quite possible to place not far from the clinic itself and the costs usually pay off well.
Crowd marketing is a guerrilla marketing technology used for online promotion through recommendations to interested parties. Such recommendations and links look natural and present a response to a problem or a consumer question that your brand, product or website solves.
For example, if there’s a topic on a forum, where people discuss what electric shavers, and you sell Braun electric shavers, then at the moment this target audience is yours, and it is logical to join the discussion and recommend your product. Not just recommend, but give a detailed answer with links to Wikipedia, educational materials, workshops, video instructions on YouTube, leave a link to Braun website.
The same works for dentistry promotion. But try to be subtle.
Cross-promotion is a promotion technology, when two or more companies implement joint programs aimed to increase sales or raise awareness.
Say a fitness club is located opposite your dentistry. Their clients can afford high-quality dental treatment, so these are your potential customers.
Negotiate a mutual promotion with the fitness club: clients of the fitness club receive dentistry services on special terms and patients of your dentistry get to visit this fitness club on special terms. Believe me, it works.
Video marketing can be a part of content marketing, or a part of website development process. The reason it presented in a separate section is today’s loyalty to video content. It is very high.
Create your own channel on Youtube, it’s free. Record everything that might be interesting to your audience. It can be:
- video reviews from your clients,
- doctors’ introduction videos (greeting, a few words about themselves, regalia, motto, etc.)
- the treatment process (a small clip with music)
- basic videos about the clinic where entrance, interior, equipment and doctors are shown
- you can make videos where you or your employees answer users’ questions. Video answers are interesting to people!
- video messages from the head doctor or the owner of the clinic
- Holiday and corporate parties videos (show how cohesive the team is, this is important for many clients)
A word on client service
I would like to emphasise the importance of the client-oriented approach. Take care of each client, make sure that doctors perform their work courteously. If you are a head of the clinic, provide the opportunity to contact you directly. Of course, there are inadequate clients, but verbal fights are useless. It is important to promptly, competently and substantively respond to their feedback online so that others will understand who’s right.
Be sure to listen to calls coming to the clinic, track the number of missed calls. Very often there are situations when up to 30% of customer calls are lost due to the fault of administrators or PBX malfunctions.
Dental marketing common pitfalls
Standard promotional materials
Today, the market has a large number of ready-made promotional materials. Many entrepreneurs use standard posters, postcards, leaflets, putting contact info on them and hope to attract new customers.
You can use this type of product, but you should not bet on it. If this is your only advertising tool, it will be quite difficult to achieve your goals. Such promotion of dental services in itself is very simple, but is unlikely to play in your favour.
In addition, such advertising can hardly highlight the uniqueness of the services provided in your clinic. At the same time, you should not completely excluded it. Just use it in certain situations, as one of the components in a large-scale marketing plan. By itself such advertising almost never pays off.
Advice: use various possibilities of promotion and do not drive yourself into the limitations of one method.
Attempts to cover the whole range of services in one advertisement
Most medical institutions about everything they offer in just one ad. It’s makes it difficult for your potential patients to understand who you are and what you do. Are you a family dentist? A dental surgeon? A cosmetic restoration specialist?
There is a basic rule of marketing messages: “Say one thing at a time and do it with dignity.”
Perhaps you provide a wide range of dental services for a specific target audience. But listing all your merits in one advertising message, makes it unlikely that all people who learn about them will go to you. Most likely, advertising effectiveness will be reduced, and such promotion of dental services will not be justified. To increase the number of patients in your dentistry, provide customers with their own choices and provide them with a solid reason to give preference to you.
Tip: highlight the main positions in the marketing campaign and start to implement them step-by-step. Create advertisements in the media, TV, organize posting ads and mailing list.
Promoting standard services
If in your advertising message you talk about the same set of standard services like in other clinics, the question arises: how will the potential client distinguish your institution from other organizations if list of services is identical to others? Why would they choose you? The point is that each clinic has its own individual style and approach to patients. Your goal is to distinguish yourself and show how you stand out among competitors. Do not look for new methods of promotion of standard dental services. Better think about how to deliver the specifics of your institution. The consumer chooses you first, and only then the services you offer.
Tip: do not spare money and energy to development the brand. This can be your advantageous difference from competitors. At the same time, cut the budget for standard dental services advertising, which the client can order in any other clinic.
Offering free services to attract new patients
At first glance, the provision of good discounts or free services seems to be a competent marketing ploy, which increases the customer flow. But according to research data, this method, usually, has the opposite effect. There are two reasons for this.
- First: the opportunity to undergo treatment for free attracts those who hunt for discounts (that is, people moving from one doctor to another, looking for cheaper treatment). Initially, such promotion of dental services will work, but you will not create a permanent database of patients who are motivated to use your services.
- Second of all, such proposals may adversely affect the reputation of your dentistry. Discounts and promotions are good, but they are usually irrelevant in the medical services market.
Advice: when developing an advertising campaign, provide any information free of charge (tips, catalogues, reports). However, providing free services is not the best option.
To sum it up on dental marketing
I believe that all digital marketing tools out there solve one specific thing in dental marketing – build awareness and cultivate a final decision to visit the place. Further on a patient either love your services and turns to your regularly as some issues arise or just move on.
So, how to get things rolling? Either get in touch for custom quote, or here is a DIY option: