Everyone has a strong feeling about the idea of going to a dentist. While some people value their smile above all else, others do it for health-related reasons. A lot of children fear the dentist, while there are those who fail to overcome this fear even as adults. As you grow older, factors like the cost, the physical distance of the dentist, working hours, and reviews become a much bigger factor. This can either cause a great deal of stress or provide you with a sigh of relief.
Do all these intense emotions make creating a great marketing strategy in the dental industry easier or harder?
The answer is – it’s not that simple. To make a great dental marketing strategy work, you need to understand two industries – dental and digital marketing.
Here are a couple of must-know facts about the dental industry marketing and a couple of ideas of how you can turn this to your advantage.
1. Understand Your Industry
The main reason why you’re reading this article is that you understand that there’s no such thing as universal marketing advice. What works in one industry might not be as cost-effective in another field. For this reason, you’re currently looking up marketing ideas that are well-suited for “dental” marketing.
Now, in order to get the ball rolling, it is vital that you understand the current state of the dental practice industry. The industry itself is worth $15.57 billion, and it’s expected that this figure might double by the year 2027. While this growth is impressive, not all of the industry is growing at the same rate. Some of the trends with the biggest growth are:
- Cosmetic surgery
- Dental implants
- 3D printing
- Subscription-based coverage
- Laser dentistry
The dental implants market is growing the fastest, with an incredible growth of 11% annually.
By understanding the fastest-growing factors, it will be a lot easier to make your business marketable. In other words, it would help immensely with your USP (unique selling proposition).
The dental industry in the pandemic
We must also address the elephant in the room – the effects of the pandemic on the dental industry.
Initially, things were looking quite grim (during the first few months of the pandemic). People canceled and postponed their appointments and generally avoided all non-urgent procedures. Due to the very nature of the dental industry, people employed here were seen as professionals with a higher risk factor. Therefore, the control within the industry has been tighter, as well.
As for the current figures, after the initial drop, there’s been a sizable rebound in revenue for the majority of dental practices.
2. Make a Persona
While the dental practice has both adult and young clients, the truth is that your primary audience is the adults. Whether or not a child makes an appointment is not really up to them. Moreover, whether they feel comfortable (so that their parents will bring them again) depends on the service you provide, not your marketing campaign.
Needless to say, in the 21st century, the majority of your marketing efforts are online. So, what you need is a decent dental digital marketing strategy, and the only way to make it is to survey your target audience. One question you need to answer is – why are adults reluctant to go to the dentist? There’s a number of reasons for this:
- The cost of dental intervention in question
- The belief that they don’t need dental care
- No time to go to the dentist
- The dentist is too far away/difficult to travel to
- Dentists don’t accept their insurance
Once again, understanding what causes this reluctance is the first step towards making them change their mind. Addressing these issues directly will make your USP irresistible. In fact, if you do your job right, your USP will create the FOMO phenomenon on its own. Your audience will see the offer as something that they’ve been looking for all this time (even if they didn’t actively search for it). Therefore, missing out on the offer will seem irresponsible or even outright reckless.
3. Put More Focus on the SEO
The top 5 searches get 68% of all clicks. If your dental practice fails to qualify for one of these five spots, things won’t look very optimistic for your business. Therefore, ranking well with search engines should become one of your top priorities.
The starting point should be your keyword research and learning how to make long-tail keywords. These keywords have a lower search volume but a much higher conversion and lead generation. Adequate ones (for the dental industry) are the ones, including the location. Since we’ve already mentioned the inability to travel to the dental practice as one of the key obstacles, stating your location will be a sensible move.
For the same reason we’ve just mentioned, you want to optimize for local searches. Aside from using the location in your long-tail keyword, you want to place yourself on Google Maps and list yourself in local directories (like Google My Business).
Fortunately for you, the dental industry is filled with knowledge that is common to dentists but completely obscure to your audience. This creates an excellent scenario for your subsequent content marketing strategy, as well as a way for you to get links. As a person of authority (an actual dentist or a dental manager), you will be welcomed as a guest blogger virtually anywhere. This will make it a lot easier to earn links. Through your own blog, you can generate traffic for your website and establish yourself as a person of authority within the industry.
4. Focus on Online Reviews
The duality of the dental industry lies in the fact that it’s both in the healthcare and service industries. People going to the dentist are often scared, uneasy, or in pain. Therefore, the attitude of the professional in question might be a huge determining factor in their overall experience.
Seeing as how we’re still on the topic of digital marketing in the dental industry, this experience will easily transition into reviews. You need to develop a strategy of encouraging, monitoring, and responding to these reviews.
First of all, the majority of your audience will read online reviews before they decide whether to visit you. In some other industries, the cost would be the determining factor, but for the majority of people, the idea of going to the cheapest dentist is not as appealing. This is one more difference of just how different (unique) this field actually is. In contrast, almost 90% of your potential patients will read online reviews before making an appointment.
There are a couple of things you need to do to get the most value out of these reviews. For instance, after leaving a negative review, about half of all users/patients expect a response. Responding may change their view on the business in a positive way.
Second, you can actively learn from these reviews and implement necessary changes. Users want their feedback heard and their opinion respected.
For all of this to work, you need to monitor online reviews and keep a record of this. During the subsequent analysis, if there’s any kind of worrisome trend, you need to prepare an adequate response.
5. Emphasize Convenience
Once again, you need to think about what your clients really want and find a way to tailor your USP based on it. Previously, we’ve mentioned distance from the dentist, not accepting their insurance, lack of time, etc., as some of the main reasons why people avoid dentists. What if you found a way to save their time or make their visits more convenient?
First of all, you want to offer an online scheduling service. Adding a link directly to the place where they can book the visit will make a world of difference. Investing in great scheduling software will make the process a lot easier.
When it comes to payment, you want to allow them to use online payment methods and mobile devices. Now, if you’re already making this commitment, what you want is to promote this feature as much as you can.
One of the ways to make your practice more available to those who have no time to go to the dentist is to expand your working hours. This is really the simplest way to become more competitive since other practices may close before they get home from work.
6. Combine Methods
The majority of people coming up with a dental marketing strategy are in a dilemma of whether they should focus on organic search results or paid ads. This dilemma is quite nonsensical from the very start, seeing as how there’s no reason why you shouldn’t use both. In fact, this is the best way to unlock the full potential of your dental marketing strategy.
It goes without saying that organic search results are more effective for several reasons. For instance, people are cautious of ad formats, seeing as how they notice its hard-sell approach from a mile away. Then, about one-quarter of all people online use ad blockers, which would make paid ads completely ineffective in their case. Lastly, people want personalized ad content (for a lot of them, this was the main incentive to install an ad blocker, to begin with).
To oversimplify this, paid ads help you get to the top quickly, while organic search results provide you with long-term value. So, develop your strategy with this in mind and use each of these methods for its own strengths.
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Start from your USP, and try to make it from the perspective of a customer, rather than digital marketer.
Second, invest more heavily in your SEO. Third, don’t be reluctant to combine paid ads with organic digital marketing. A combination of methods will give you the best results and cover the biggest area.
Lastly, the better you understand your industry, the easier you’ll be able to customize your overall marketing strategy.
Coordinating a small dental practice or building its online presence from the ground up is not really any simpler than running a prestigious dental practice.
The key thing to have in mind is that, like any other service industry (which the dental industry partially is), you need to have a client-centric approach.
However, in your digital marketing, you give a part of your attention to the actual patients and the other part to the algorithm.
With this mindset and approach, you simply cannot fail!
Written by our guest writer Stacey Shannon, a freelance writer based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
She is passionate about writing and considers herself a creative person and someone who can implement a lot of different subjects in innovative projects. Find her on Twitter: @StaceyShann0n