You know the procedures you enjoy doing. Are they simple or complex? Do you prefer to do implants, smile makeovers, or Invisalign? Do you like working with kids or adults?
Identifying these bits of information will help you determine the best type of marketing to attract your target cases.
Target Case refers to the cases you enjoy and profit most from.
Defining your target case will help us create a dental marketing plan strategically situated to bring in the most enjoyable and profitable patients.
Getting Personal, but Staying Professional
The next step in planning effective marketing requires that you consider the person who will book your target case. For most dentists, this is the wife/mom or the adult patient him- or herself.
- Where they spend their time
- What’s most important to them
- What appeals to them on a personal level
- What is worth them spending money
The goal is to create marketing that will interest the decision maker for your target patient and prompt them to schedule an initial consultation. The more specific you can be, the better.
What’s most important to them: Emotion plays a big role in what’s most important to mothers. Moms who invest in braces prioritize their teens and want them to be safe, healthy, and happy, because they adore their children. Moms are also very busy these days, so time is another think they find important. Your marketing, then, should focus on how your service makes teenagers happy and healthy, while saving time for mom. For instance, with Invisalign, moms won’t have to take kids to painful tightening visits, causing them to miss school and complain about aching jaws. With Invisalign Teen, moms won’t have to buy new aligners when one is inadvertently lost at soccer practice, because Invisalign Teen offers six free replacement aligners. You see, you need to play up the benefits that will appeal to the decision maker.
Where they spend their time: If the target patient is teens who want Invisalign, your marketing will need to target the moms who will book the appointments, approve the treatment plan, and write the checks. We know that today, moms are online, more than they are in front of the television. Pinterest’s main audience is women ages 25-50, and the most popular Pins are recipes. This is marketing gold for a dentist. Pinterest is one of many onlione places you could use as a marketing channel.
What appeals to them on a personal level: Emotion is a factor here, as well. Moms want to feel confident that they’re making wise decisions for their family, finances, and future. Your marketing should pump up the ego of the decision maker, the mom in this case. Another appealing factor is having the kids’ buy-in. Moms want to be please to their kids, without sacrificing the health or safety of their children. If a mother can feel wise and cool, you’ve got a double-shot of perfect marketing.
What is worth them spending money: Mom may make the decision, but she has to sell Dad on the investment, as well. Your marketing must show an extremely high perceived value, so that when you present cost of treatment, it seems extraordinarily reasonable, considering the lifelong benefits to the patient. Of course, offering easy payment plans helps, as well.
In the above examples, I used the mom of a teen as the target audience. You can do the same exercise for any target audience, whether you want patients who are successful professionals in need of a more attractive smile or seniors in need of dental implants.
Statistics show, nearly 70% of web users factor in online reviews (testimonials) when making large purchases5. Another report found that 88% of web users believe online reviews6. So, logic dictates that you need to leverage patient reviews in your marketing, both in print and online.
Note: In some states, like Texas, patient testimonials on marketing pieces are against the State Board’s marketing guidelines. So, you need to check with your State Board to make certain that patient testimonials can be used in your marketing, before you purchase thousands of direct mailers.
Regardless of whether you practice in a state that allows patient testimonials in marketing, you probably have a few entries on one of the top review sites. These include Yelp, HealthGrades®, Google+, and Facebook. Your town may have a regional or local review online review website, as well. Kudzu, for instance, is a popular review site that originally catered only to Atlanta, GA.
If you want to collect patient reviews, you have many options. You can simply ask for them, while your patient is in the office. Or, you can opt to employ one of the popular patient communication software products that will send out patient surveys after appointments. Some software allows the patient to select which social media channels they want their review posted to. Whichever method of acquisition you prefer, once you collect the reviews, you must do the work to ferret out the best reviews, then publish them on your website, emails, and print marketing.
Making Marketing Personal
For dentists who have full or part ownership of their practice, marketing is a necessary and valuable part of success. You’re busy with patients, managing the staff and office, and continuing your education; however, without internal and external marketing, your practice will suffer. Internal marketing focuses on your current patients, so you don’t suffer attrition in patient numbers. External marketing includes all marketing efforts to attract new patients.
One of the wisest decisions an owning dentist can make is partnering with a reputable, proven marketing agency that understands the market. Even so, your feedback and involvement are imperative. Most dentists claim to “make it personal” with patients, knowing their names and preferences. This same personalization is required for successful marketing. If you use generic marketing, such as templated mailers, websites, and newsletters, potential patients will not see the personal approach that your office provides. The About Us page is the second most visited page on a dentist’s website. Potential patients want to know you, their dentist.
Some simple, yet effective ways to make marketing more personal are:
- Include your photo and a quote in all print marketing.
- Include a note or letter “from the doctor” to patients on the homepage of your website.
- Make your bio personal, on your website and other online venues.
- Make a point of posting updates to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn weekly, at a minimum.
- In social media, let patients know you! Post about your favorite local restaurant, or the excellent service you received at a local auto body shop.
We’ve covered why online marketing is important. In short, it has great ROI, so it works. There are many channels you can pursue for marketing online. Digital marketing includes anything communicated via the internet, including:
- Your website
- Your blog
- Emails to potential and current patients
- Social media posts
- Videos (YouTube)
- Downloads, like e-books and brushing charts for kids
The Best Way: Get Professional Help
At Identiwrite Creative, our copywriters create well optimized, high-quality content for dental websites, blogs, articles, and print projects. In addition, I, Shauna Duty, offer personalized consulting in the area of online marketing. Working with other agencies, I can help you manage your marketing efforts so that your campaigns yield high ROI, and you attract the cases you enjoy most. Give me a call today at 940-395-5115 to discuss your online dental marketing strategy, or email me to request an phone conference.