Let’s face it – who wants to see the dentist? For most people, dental visits conjure up both physical and financial pain. Early childhood memories stick. My earliest recollections of our family dentist were of a tall, austere looking man in a white dental coat, who had little to no personality and could never pronounce my name even after 15 years of visits. I lived in a small town with a total of two dentists, and he was the more personable. His receptionist, however, was a sweetheart, she always remembered our conversations and took a genuine interest in me.
If people like and connect with their dentist/the dental staff, there is a much stronger likelihood they’ll book an appointment. But the challenge is how do you get your future customers to know and like you even before they’ve met you? Although there are many ways to connect, let’s focus on three;
- Tell your story
- Focus on solving your patient’s problems – from their perspective
- Build a community on social media
Tell your story
Gone are the days where you could list the same services as every other dentist, and patients would beat a path to your door. Competition is stiff and patients’ expectations have changed. Patients want a dentist they can relate to. By telling your story, your audience will connect with you emotionally. This is also what makes you and your practice unique. Telling your story gives your audience an opportunity to get to know, like and trust you through your interests, passions and hobbies.
Is your passion working with dentists without borders? Talk about it on your “about me” section of your website, write blog articles about your experiences, post on your Facebook page/group, or post pictures on Instagram. Do you love dogs and volunteer at your local pet shelter? Let people know. Do you support children’s hockey, baseball teams or the Lions Club Halloween party for sick kids? Write about it.
Demonstrating your contribution to the greater good of the community not only helps you build relationships; it also boosts team spirit. According to the 2018 Global Talent Trends study by Mercer, Working with a sense of purpose boosts employee motivation, productivity, morale, and overall job satisfaction. According to Mercer, thriving employees are three times more likely to work for a company with a strong sense of purpose.
If you don’t have time to volunteer but are a gourmet chef, rock climber or long distance runner – make sure you include that in your website, Facebook page/group or Instagram account so that you give people a chance to get to know you and yes…like you.
Focus on solving your patient’s problems – from their perspective
You and your staff deal with your patients every day – what are the common themes? Ask your front desk staff to listen for frequent complaints to see what the obstacles are in making an appointment and following through.
What are your patient’s biggest challenges? Is dental not covered under their medical plan? Are they afraid of pain? Do your office hours conflict with their work hours? Are your client’s seniors on a limited budget? Find out what their challenges are, address them, then show them how you can solve their problem.
Better yet, show before/after pictures/videos of your patient’s personal stores, or have them write you a Yelp or Google review. Create a Facebook live office tour or display pictures/videos of your staff using new equipment designed to create a faster, more efficient, pain free patient experience.
Talking about their problems and your solutions on the first page of your website or addressing them in more detail in the FAQ section gets their attention and eases their fears. By doing this you are showing them you are listening, care and that you are their best choice.
Build a community on social media
Although Facebook ads have global reach, you want to ensure your ads are only targeting your local market and your niche demographic. Since women typically make the majority of household buying decisions, you can get ahead of the crowd by focusing your ads on women, and can specify your search based on income, employment and even relationship status.
Facebook’s Local Awareness ads were created to help you reach your local audience with the new map card, which displays your address, distance to the business, hours of operation and a “get directions” link. You can even include a “click to call” button as an appointment prompt.
Google for mobile
According to Google, daily health-related searches amount to approximately 70,000 each minute – mostly on mobile devices. Google Ads has targeted this niche with their call-only campaigns created exclusively for mobile. Like Facebook, Google Ads also allow targeting based on income levels or specific demographics.
Owned by Google, Waze ads allow you to connect with customers through your location, which is made known to drivers with a branded pin on the map. Waze targets customers in close proximity to your business and customers can either find their way to your business or save your location for later.
Don’t let your email list go to waste! You can upload your email addresses through Customer Match on both Facebook and Google Ads and remarket to your existing customers. It’s easy to create an ad inviting your clients back for a whitening or cleaning.
ZocDoc is a medical app that makes finding a doctor super easy. With this app, patients can; search doctors in their network, access patient reviews and book appointments with a tap.
Never underestimate the power of reviews! According to the 2018 Online Reviews Survey by ReviewTrackers, approximately 45 percent of consumers say they are likely to check reviews on Yelp before visiting a business and many consumers trust reviews as much as recommendations from friends/family.
There are many different methods to market your dental practice effectively, and it's easy to become overwhelmed even before you start. By implementing just three; telling your story, focusing on solving your patient’s problems from their perspective and building a community on social media (one step at a time) you’ll have a starting point from which to expand your dental practice.
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