Dental Marketing Guide

The Complete Dental Marketing Guide: How To Attract New Patients In 2022

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The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.

Linus Pauling

This inspiring quote by Linus Pauling is relevant even today, given the growing competition among all industries, including dentistry. 

With economies slowing due to the pandemic and people having access to limited resources, dental patients are becoming more selective in choosing the best dentist for their dental needs. 

Factors such as branding, pricing, proximity to their home or workplace, and the dentist’s reputation are now playing a significant role in their decision to choose you.

In such a scenario, it’s essential to up your dental marketing strategy and portray a positive, impressive image of your dental practice while also making your business easier to access and for people to contact.

This comprehensive dental market guide will give you proven tactics to get more patients and increase production in 2022. written by experts, we aim to give you insight into what we’ve found after spending over $600,000 and thousands of hours doing dental marketing in 2021. Cheers!

What is dental marketing?

Simply put, dental marketing refers to the digital marketing strategy of highlighting your dental practice to potential patients. It entails using diverse digital mediums such as social media, emails, websites, etc., so that they feel inclined to engage with your brand, i.e., clinic, on a professional basis. 

A well-planned dental marketing strategy can also help turn the people you engage with through your communication into your brand advocates, though they may not be using your services. 

The signs of an effective dental marketing strategy are maintaining a high ROI, having sufficient leads in the pipeline, and generating substantial positive reviews, which helps build high brand recall among potential patients.

Dental marketing can help you

  • Rank your website higher than your competitors in Google and other search engines
  • Generate more patient reviews on social media
  • Use content such as blogs, e-books, videos to increase website traffic and patient engagement with your practice
  • Create content that is informative and useful to your patients
  • Use the power of social media to reach out to more patients
  • Advertise your brand using Facebook, Instagram, Google Ads, etc.
  • Connect with potential patients in your neighborhood
  • Use Google My Business effectively to be found when patients are looking for you
  • Create brand advocates from existing patients and get more referrals
  • Grow your brand awareness 

In short dental marketing can help you grow your practice substantially and reach customers that wouldn’t otherwise consider your business. due to factors such as proximity or not ranking well on search engines.

Why do dentists need dental marketing? / Why is dental marketing essential!

Given the dynamics with which businesses and patient needs evolve, it’s crucial to align your practice and marketing efforts to better resonate with potential patients. In addition, the growing number of dental clinics adds to the hurdles of standing out in a crowded field.

With the internet being a great leveler and information reviews about dental practices being a part of the public domain, there is a growing need to ensure that patients receive factual, positive information about your business directly from you. 

Dental marketing can help you achieve this and a lot more;

  • Dental marketing helps differentiate your brand from others! It sets you apart from the competition.
  • It helps build a bond between you and potential patients in the present or future.
  • More importantly, a well-conceived dental marketing plan will help you set the objectives you want to achieve for your practice in the coming years. 
  • It helps you define your target market and the means to reach out to them with a cost-effective, high-returns strategy.
  • A good dental marketing plan acts as a road map for ensuring that all your marketing activities are aligned with your overall objectives and ensures that there is enough flexibility to adapt the marketing strategies as required. 

What are the factors you need to consider while preparing a dental marketing campaign?

A dental practice is no different compared to other businesses and needs a well-conceived, designed plan that considers all your strengths and weaknesses. A SWOT (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, Threats) analysis would not be out of place while preparing your dental marketing plan. 

While it is better that you focus on your practice and leave the intricacies of dental marketing to experts, you need to be aware of the basics of dental marketing that impact your practice as a business owner. 

Factors that you should consider while preparing a dental marketing plan are;

  • The budget you are willing to spend on generating every lead / converting them into a patient
  • The ROI you are expecting
  • The time frame for your marketing activities
  • The KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) you would like to achieve, such as;
    • Creating & distributing six blog posts a month
    • Posting twice a week on social media
    • Increasing your Instagram followers by 20% month-on-month
  • The social media channels you would like to use
  • The content marketing strategy
  • Who does what in the marketing plan

To create an effective plan, you must share the following information with your digital marketing agency

  • Important milestones for the business
  • Patient/Employee anecdotes
  • Facts regarding your dental practice
  • New clinics and dental procedures you are planning to launch
  • Future plans 

To ace your dental marketing efforts, you need to be consistent and regular with everything you do. So give it your best and let the results flow.

How do you attract high-value patients?

While your clinic may have a regular flow of patients, for standard dental procedures such as check-ups, cleaning, etc., attracting high-value patients is often a challenge.

Getting patients to visit you for procedures such as implants, Invisalign, cosmetic changes, etc., requires much more effort and focus on your part.

It needs a well-designed sales funnel, with multiple touchpoints such as emails, blogs, paid advertising, local business marketing, and telephonic calls. These steps will help your team engage with the high-value patients and guide them further on your expertise so that they may consider the same.

Tips to attract high-value patients

  • The entire customer service experience, right from the first message or email you send to the patient to their query for more information and their visit to your clinic, must be handled by a well-trained team that has experience in managing a premium audience and knows how to cater to their demands.
  • The clinic should be designed to delight the patient right from when they step into the clinic. Ensuring priority appointments, minimum waiting time, consultation by experts, etc., can go a long way in making them feel special.
  • Using Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software can make the entire patient contact and follow-up process smooth and efficient while ensuring that you don’t miss out on any leads captured through your marketing activities.
  • One of the ways you can specifically target high-value patients is by identifying the ideal patient persona. Knowing more details about the patients you want to attract to your clinic is half the battle won, as that will help you create a marketing campaign specifically aimed at them.
  • Questions such as 1) Are they car lovers, 2) Do they visit a mall regularly, 3) Are they brand conscious, 4) What is their job profile, and 5) Which clubs they belong to will help you create the ideal patient persona you should be targeting. Make sure that you specify the demographics while preparing the profile to finetune your marketing campaign accordingly.
  • Use re-targeting ads based on prospective patients’ visits to websites that offer premium brands and products. For example, you could create ads on Facebook which can be shown to patients who love premium cars or watches. That will help you reach out to high-value patients easily without incurring high ad budgets.

SMART

One of the first things you need to consider while preparing a dental marketing strategy is deciding your objectives. You can either prepare them on your own or trust a digital marketing agency such as Cobia Marketing to do it for you!

Setting up SMART goals is an effective strategy for creating more specific and attainable results. More importantly, they provide benchmarks against which you can measure your progress. They can also help break up your objectives into smaller steps to help you remain motivated. 

SMART is an acronym that stands for;

Specific: 

  • It would be best to be very specific when setting your dental marketing objectives. For example, saying I need to grow the business won’t do, as you will have no numbers to measure the results.
  • Instead, be specific and use numbers to define them.
  • Setting specific objectives such as increasing the number of walk-ins by 2x, generating 10x leads using social media, or expanding the business volumes by 30% is an excellent way to start. 
  • Some of the questions you can ask yourself while goal setting are Who, What, When, Where, Why & Which.

Measurable:

  • Once you’ve decided on your objectives, it’s essential to be able to measure them and track your progress. That will help you check whether you are successful or do you need to realign your marketing strategies.
  • Doing a monthly and quarterly review with your digital marketing agency is the best way to ensure that all your marketing efforts are in the right direction.

Achievable:

  • While setting your dental marketing goals, the expectations must be achievable and in line with business trends. You also need to consider the tools/skill sets you have and whether you would need to upgrade them to achieve your goal. 
  • If you are currently achieving $75,000 this year and want to scale up to $4 million next year, you need to ensure that you have the systems and human resources in place, or you may end up demotivating your team.

Relevant:

  • The goal needs to be relevant to your existing practice. It should add value to your overall objectives.
  • For example, if you set up a goal to create and share more informative blogs, it can align with your overall goal of increasing patient traffic to your website.

Time-Bound:

  • One can only measure results when you can compare them against a specific period. For e.g., the number of walk-ins in the last three months compared to the previous year’s same period.
  • Similarly, tracking numbers and results over a specific period can help motivate your team. 
  • Setting a start and end time for your objectives also ensures that your team is aware of the timelines and works towards them. In addition, it helps create a sense of urgency. 

Image Source: Pixabay

The Dental Marketing Guide

Be consistent with your Google My Business Listing.

One of the best free marketing tools available online to boost your practice, Google My Business, helps your business be found just when patients are looking for it. 

When people do a Google search for a local dentist, a map location is generated with all the dentists in the area. The map listing has the contact numbers, addresses, specialties, and patient reviews helping patients make a better and more informed choice. 

Suppose you don’t have a GMB optimized listing or are not regular with your postings. In that case, your dental practice listing may rank several pages deep, making it difficult for potential patients to find your business. 

Research conducted by our team has shown that being consistent and regular on GMB will help your business easily list among the top 3, which helps your business get almost double the patient calls it usually does. 

Image Source: Pixabay

Maintain an active social media presence

With people spending an average of 2 hours and 27 minutes on social media channels daily, it’s time you dedicate more resources to your online presence. 

As people scroll through updates from their network, they also watch out for anything that catches their attention and creates an impression on them. With an active social media profile, you can do just that!

Use your social media accounts to share details about your accreditations, specialties, online reviews, and success stories behind many a patient’s smiles that you helped achieve.

Sharing your blog post regularly on social media channels is also an excellent practice to increase the engagement rates on your social media profiles.

Invest in paid advertising on social media

You can also use paid advertising on platforms such as Facebook & Instagram to generate leads about patients looking for dental or oral health solutions almost immediately!

The best part about using paid social media advertising is that you can customize your campaigns to reach specific audiences and localities, making your campaigns more effective and economical.

With detailed analytics on your advertising spending and the ability to track every lead generated through paid social media advertising, you retain total control and flexibility on your advertising campaigns and have the ability to modify them as required.

With many dental clinics increasing their social media presence, the need to use paid advertising to boost your awareness and lead generation is right now!

While considering paid advertising, it is also worth looking at Google Ads, which help you target new patients based on specific keywords and demographics.

Image Source: Pixabay

Don’t underestimate the power of good SEO

While much is written about the importance of SEO and how it helps businesses improve their search rankings, not many dental clinics are able to implement it successfully.

The reason for the same is not a lack of awareness about SEO but more to do with the implementation techniques required to create an SEO-optimized website. 

While SEO is a technical field and needs experts trained in SEO for effective results, it is not enough to just leave your website’s SEO to them. You, too, need to take an active part in ensuring it’s being implemented correctly and that you rank consistently on the top in search results.

Here are a few tips while selecting an SEO agency.

  1. Understand the basics of SEO yourself. That will help you ask the right questions to the agency you plan to hire. 
  2. It’s not about rates. Just because the agency is expensive does not mean it is good. Instead, please take a closer look at their credentials and references.
  3. Don’t get impressed by claims about increasing your web traffic by 10x or 20x instantly. SEO does not work that way. Instead, it’s a time-consuming, gradual process with long-term results and requires plenty of hard work and patience.

Image Source: Pixabay

Use your website more strategically. 

A website is not just for showcasing your gallery or hosting a Contact Us form. 

It’s much more than that!

Well-designed and interactive websites can act as lead magnets and help generate good quality leads for your dental practice to grow exponentially. 

They are second to none as a medium to showcase your specialties. In addition, they can be an excellent patient education platform to help patients understand more about your practice and how your clinic can assist them.

Your patients can also use websites to schedule and reschedule their appointments at their convenience.

It is advisable to entrust your website design to an agency with considerable experience designing websites for the dental community. They have the know-how and knowledge to create a dental practice website with all the essential features to grow your practice and ensure a smooth communication flow between the patient and you. 

Another critical factor, while considering an agency to design your website, is to ensure that the websites they create are mobile-optimized since most people now use their smartphones to access websites and know more about the business. 

Ensure that the contact information on your website about your dental offices is constantly updated so that patients can contact you when they need you.

Content Marketing 

One of the most influential and best dental marketing strategies that you can use to connect with your potential patients and grow your practice is content marketing. 

Experts define content marketing as a part of inbound marketing, which includes planning, creating, distributing, sharing, and publishing content relevant to your patients via channels such as social media, blogs, websites, podcasts, apps, press releases, print publications, and more. 

But we think it’s much more!

Good content is like storytelling. It needs to resonate with your audience and strike an emotional chord with them. Well-designed content should feel natural and be tailored for your audiences. 

The ultimate goal of good content is to reach your target audience and increase brand awareness, sales, engagement, and loyalty.

At Cobia Marketing, we consider content marketing an essential part of your dental marketing plan. It aims to create and distribute valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience with the objective of driving profitable patient action.

Why do you need a content strategy?

There are tons of content out there, vying for the audience’s attention. Some of it could be from your competitors, while some could be from supplementary brands or even irrelevant industries.

How does then your content stand out from the clutter and break-through to your audience?

That’s where a good content strategy plays an important role.

Crafting a good content strategy requires you to;

  • Identify your audiences pain points or lack of awareness
  • Use the correct content format (blog, video, infographics, etc.) to address the pain points or fill the unawareness gap
  • Creating the content in a manner that is easy to understand
  • Ensure the relevant content reaches the right audience

The three stages of content marketing

Like the sales funnel, content marketing has three different stages that can help convert a visitor to your website to a paying patient. 

It’s a strategy that considers first educating/informing a potential patient about your presence and expertise, moves on to address specific queries/needs for information, and then helps the patient make a well-informed and guided decision.

Let’s take a look at these three stages more in-depth;

Awareness:

The first stage in any buyer’s journey, irrespective of the industry, is being aware of your brand. At this stage, they may just be curious about you and want to know more about you before they consider your services or even subscribe to your newsletter.

We don’t want to hard sell a patient at this stage, but just make him aware of your practice. The content needs to be more informative and should be engaging enough that they keep coming back to your website for more.

Consideration:

Once people regularly visit your website and have even opted to receive your newsletters, you can start working towards building the trust factor with them. But, again, this is a stage wherein they have a specific need and are evaluating their available options.

It is advisable to be consistent and regular with your content to build up your trust levels gradually. You can even consider offering a free e-book on specific procedures or how to better manage their oral health at this stage. 

This is also the stage wherein they are becoming more aware of your brand and want to know more, so having plenty of positive ratings on your website could be beneficial.

Creating a clear and concise newsletter and sharing the same with your subscribers could also help build a positive image around you.

Decision:

While it is true that you cannot expect results overnight through content marketing, you can definitely be prepared for the moment when the patient is ready to make a decision.

Email marketing can play a significant role in this, especially if you include clear Call-To-Actions within the mail. For example, inviting people for a free consultation with your experts or mailing any queries they may have regarding your procedures is an excellent way to start, pushing patients from the consideration stage to a decision stage. 

Social media paid advertising can also play a significant role in this, mainly if you use retargeted ads for people who have visited your website recently, say in the past six weeks. That is because any patients who have visited your website more than six weeks ago are more likely to have made a decision. 

The #1 secret of content marketing

The #secret to converting more patients through content marketing is not producing sleek, expensive forms of content. Neither can videos be considered to be better than blogs or vice versa.

Each content format has a specific role to play in the patient retention cycle and is indispensable without each other.

However, what works is the amount of value and emotional appeal you add to your content. The narrative and information within the video or blog are what patients will connect to, inclining them to know more about you and work with you. 

Make sure that your content is valuable from a prospective reader’s perspective, and you are good to go. 

To get you on the right path of creating content with high engagement rates, you must create a well-researched buyer persona and create content specifically aimed at them. 

Trust the experts only when it comes to growing your dental practice

Focus on your practice, and leave the rest to the experts 

An experienced dental marketing agency will ensure that it covers all aspects of digital marketing to grow your business. They will prepare a detailed marketing strategy with timelines so that you know the exact results you can expect in the next few months.

Remember, dental marketing is no silver bullet and needs time to show effective results, so don’t trust anyone who promises overnight results.

Make sure that you ask them to include growing patient referrals as a part of the plan since that too can contribute substantially to your business. Given the increasing competition in the dental field and the scarcity of time many dentists have, it makes immense sense to trust your marketing efforts to a digital marketing agency.

We wish you the best in growing your dental practice. Do share your comments on this guide with us. Feel free to share it with others who may benefit from the tips highlighted here.

If you have any queries or would like to know more about growing your dental practice, please drop us a mail at info@cobiamarketing.com!