According to a 2003 report about the economics of dentistry, many dentists prefer to spend money on marketing only during particularly difficult economic conditions. Offline marketing is often very costly. Offline marketing also can’t target specific consumers. Most of the people who see an offline advertisement have no immediate need for a dentist, so any advertising funds spent on reaching those people is wasted. An offline advertising campaign often has a very low expected return. A referral from an existing patient, on the other hand, costs nothing.
Although a good dentist can often enjoy a steady trickle of referrals, there may be times in which your dental practice doesn’t attract new patients at quite the rate you’d like. When your practice needs to attract new patients, launching a new marketing campaign is the perfect solution. If you typically use offline channels to market your practice, it’s time to consider digital marketing. Marketing online makes it possible for you for you to target your advertisements so people will only see them if they’re highly likely to require your services in the near future. Digital marketing also makes automation possible. Use automated marketing to send pre-defined messages to potential patents based on the interests they’ve indicated or the pages they’ve viewed on your website. In your messages, you can calm your patients’ fears, discuss the features that make you different from other dentists and more.
These are some of the ways that you can market your dental practice effectively online. With these techniques, you can expect much lower costs — and much better outcomes — than you’d receive with traditional offline marketing.
Lead-Based Automated Marketing
If you have a website, it probably has forms — or displays your dental practice’s phone number — to give potential patients the ability to schedule appointments or request more information about your services. Requesting more information about your practice isn’t a conversion, though. Until that person walks through the door, he or she isn’t a patient. Do you currently count on your receptionists to convert casual callers into new patients? Your receptionists may do an excellent job of converting new patients — but a prospective new patient has to call or answer your office’s calls first. Your website can bridge the gap.
What Is Automated Marketing?
Automated marketing is a system that allows you to send pre-written messages to potential patients via email. Your marketing platform can send messages at intervals that you determine or when potential patients trigger events by performing specific actions on your website.
How Does Automated Marketing Work for Dentists?
Let’s suppose that a potential patient fills out a form on your website to indicate that he’d like to schedule an appointment. When your receptionist calls that person, though, he doesn’t answer or return the calls. If you modify the form to request the potential patient’s email address as well, you can use an automated marketing platform to reach out to that person after a period of inactivity. You can pre-write messages that:
- Address dental phobias by describing the pain-free techniques that you use
- Reduce financial worries by discussing any payment plans or financing options that you offer
- Include testimonials from your previous happy patients
You can also create an automated marketing program with messages tailored to the interests that potential patients have expressed. If a patient fills out a contact form on a page about a specific dental procedure, for example, you can send messages with before and after photos of others who have undergone the procedure. You could also discuss the level of satisfaction that previous patients have had with the procedure.
Once you’ve created an automated campaign, it’ll continue to run automatically whenever a potential patient performs the action that triggers it. Unless you want to change something about the campaign, you’ll never need to interact with it again.
How a Dental Practice Can Get More Leads
Once you’ve added forms to your dental website to begin capturing leads, you should send traffic to the pages containing those forms. If more traffic reaches those pages, more potential patients will submit the forms. Advertising is one of the best ways to increase the number of visitors who see a landing page.
When you advertise a landing page, you can generally expect that a significant percentage of the people who click your advertisement will submit the form. If you’re targeting your advertisements well, the landing page should contain exactly the information that the people who see it want.
Search engines and social media are two common venues for online advertising, and both allow you to use targeting to control who will see your advertisements. Facebook lets you target ads by demographics, for example. Search engines allow you target specific keywords.
Creating New Website Content
If you don’t have the budget to advertise your dental practice extensively, you can improve the performance of your website’s landing forms by increasing the amount of traffic that your dental practice’s website receives. Since it costs nothing to receive traffic from search engines, taking advantage of search engine traffic is a great way to market your dental practice.
To get more traffic from search engines, your website needs to have more content. The more content that your website has, the more keywords you’ll have for Google to index — and a website with many different keywords can appear on a wide variety of search results pages.
When planning the content that your website should have to generate more search traffic, start by thinking about some of the dental procedures that your practice offers. Make a list of the common questions that patients have about those procedures, and write articles answering those questions.
Suppose, for example, that your office offers dental implant services. Since the dental implant procedure is generally elective, few insurance plans cover it — so patients typically pay for the procedure themselves. Patients who pay cash are highly attractive to a dentist, so you decide that you’d like to create content targeting the search queries of people interested in receiving dental implants. Some of the articles that you could create include:
- How Long do Dental Implants Last?
- Can I Eat After Getting a Dental Implant?
- Does It Hurt to Receive Dental Implants?
- Offering Something in Return
Some of the potential patents who see your landing pages will submit forms and provide their contact information to you because your office interests them. When you begin publishing informational articles similar to the ones suggested above, though, some of the people who see those articles may not submit forms because people who search for informational content online often aren’t ready to buy anything yet. You can still capture the contact information of casual website visitors, but you’ll need to offer something in return to receive the most completed forms possible.
Offering downloadable content is one of the best ways to encourage potential customers to submit lead generation forms. On pages about the dental implant procedure, for example, you could offer en e-book explaining how the procedure works. You could also offer a downloadable case study describing a patient with a specific medical issue and explaining why receiving dental implants was an appropriate resolution for that patient’s problem.
Online marketing can have a dramatic effect on the volume of new patients that a dental practice receives. With automated marketing, you can create targeted email campaigns that keep your practice at the forefront of potential patients’ minds and alleviate some of their concerns about finances, pain and other issues. Before you can launch an automated marketing campaign, though, you need to have leads.
Gathering leads on the Internet isn’t necessarily difficult. To capture leads, you simply need at least one page on your website with a form allowing a potential patient to provide his or her contact information. Before the page can begin sending leads to you, though, it needs to receive traffic. To increase your website’s traffic, you’ll need to use online advertising or create content that attracts traffic from search engines. Once you’ve captured a lead, your automated email campaign will help convince that person to call and schedule an appointment.
Market Your Dental Practice Online Now
Are you ready to begin marketing your dental practice online and bringing new patients to your door? Contact Crystal Clear Digital Marketing for help today. Since we work only with customers in the medical industry, our ability to market a dental website online exceeds that of any other online marketing agency.