We see this question all the time. What can I do to help my dental office market its great service? What marketing plan can I use? Truth is, there is no magic bullet – simply taking the time and effort to build a good marketing base of activities can help tremendously down the road.
The goal here is to cover all the bases on your patients path to your office. Do they search on Google? Do they hangout on Facebook or Instagram? Do they love pinning on Pinterest or snapping on SnapChat? You have to be where they are looking for you and stay top of mind throughout their journey to your office.
Google My Business
The first stop when patients are looking for a dentist is usually Google. So the first thing to do is to check your business info card on Google Search. Does it have a link to a third party site (e.g. SinglePlatform)? If this is not intentional, then you really want to own this space and point all links to your website or appropriate location. Have whoever is managing your Google My Business account login and change the info. Do you have unanswered questions? If so, answer them. Do you have recent posts and solid reviews? It doesn’t take many reviews, just some recent, good reviews is usually sufficient. You might also want to enable messaging if it’s not already enabled – basically it allows people to text (aka SMS) you/your office. You can start by providing the mobile number of yourself or a team member who is sure to reply. If it gets to be too much, just get a service, like TextRequest, that sends it right to your team and can be managed by anyone.
Building a Solid Base
Something that often gets overlooked when offices try to gain new patients, is that they may not be doing enough to create a good base and keep the existing patients they have. A leaky bucket can never be filled. Having a good base affords you the opportunity to experiment with more advanced marketing initiatives. For example, if you have a lot of inactive patients, you can try getting them back into the schedule by reaching out to them (or you can use a call service like CallForce to do this for you) – those type of activities can bring back patients at a very low expense (the cost of a phone call!) and the yield can be phenomenal. Patients get the care they need and you get to help them.
Increasing Patient Engagement
Maintaining engagement with current active patients is usually a good idea, because if you’re not top of mind these days, then you risk losing their interest, making your task to fill the bucket even more difficult.
First, if you don’t have an in-house savings plan, then in many cases, it’s a smart move to create one. There’s a number of companies that can help you do this (e.g. DentalStores is one of them, but you can refer to our Ultimate Guide to DSP solutions for more options). You’re essentially allowing patients to subscribe to your services, which is important because of the incredible value it offers them. Patients are sure to respond when you offer them a great value.
Second, patient engagement is huge right now because everyone is online 24/7, super busy and inundated with offers and distractions all the time. Making it worse, it seems everyone is telling patients what products to use at home so they can avoid going to the dentist. You should really try your best to be part of this conversation, and a service like DentalStores will help tremendously here. If you’re not engaging patients on Facebook or via email or another service like DentalStores, ultimately you risk losing them to distraction, which makes the leaky bucket expensive to fill.
Facebook can be difficult for small businesses, but with a small ad budget, you can re-engage people who’ve visited your site, read your emails, or run ads to your current Facebook page fans. This is called re-targeting. Let’s face it: everyone needs a reminder these days! Again, this gives you a base, so you can build out your marketing funnel from there – try new ads, etc. For the DIY type and those interested in learning more, there is a course from DeliveringWow.com that will help you get started. Alternatively, you can have an advertising agency do this for you.
Third, and finally, what would an explanation be without Google Ads to help new patients find your awesome practice? You can do this right from Google My Business – just click on Create an Ad in the left nav and it will walk you through the steps to create a Google Ad Express account (plus they sometimes give you $50 to spend!). The Express version of Google Ads makes it super easy (almost too easy) – they even suggest ad text for you to use. It’s a start and sometimes Google can have higher ROI than Facebook, or vice versa, so between them both, you cover all your bases. If you were going to do more than just some simple Express ads, it’s highly recommended you hire an agency, because it can get really complex really fast. When you do this, you can also retarget with Google meaning even more people in your funnel. Imagine the possibilities!
Summary of Action Items
- Make sure your Google My Business listing is up to date
- Reach out to inactive patients to re-engage them and help them schedule an appointment
- Use services like DentalStores to build a store and/or offer a Dental Savings Plan to offer value to new and existing patients
- Use Facebook and Google to re-engage current patients and help new patients find you
Note: We’d like to offer a special thank you to D-Tech for their valuable feedback on this article! If you need office systems support, you need D-Tech.