Increased competition is one of the many reasons dentists feel like they need to amp up their dental marketing strategies. You might have started as the only practice serving an area, but chances are more and more dental practices are popping up. Add to that the increase in corporately owned dental practices and it might feel like you’re fighting an uphill battle.
As a dentist, your goal is to market your practice, serve existing patients while cultivating new ones, and set yourself apart from the competition. In today’s increasingly saturated market, this is becoming more and more difficult. Instead of simply erecting a practice you now have to dive deep into marketing for dentists and create a strategy that is ahead of the competition.
What is causing increased competition?
There are several factors that lead to the increase in competition. First and foremost, older dentists are postponing retirement and working longer. As a result, moving in as a younger dentist is more difficult.
An increase in the number of dental schools opening has also resulted in more dentists graduating. This, in turn, means more practices are being opened or expanded. Additionally, there are fewer and fewer insurance options for patients, which means they’re much more selective about who they visit and procedures that are performed.
How can medical marketing help?
Medical marketing can play an enormous role in helping you get leads, nurture them, and convert them. A solid strategy will help you understand your demographics – things like age, race, gender, and income level. All of these details will make pricing services and the development of marketing materials much easier.
Additionally, starting with an understanding of your demographics will help you determine how to message various marketing campaigns, the best images to use, and the ideal offers to provide to your audience.
To off-set the competition you’ll want to develop a solid plan from both the offline and online perspective.
Become a Well-Oiled Machine
Before starting any marketing campaign you’ll want to become a well-oiled machine. This means your practice should run and smooth as butter. You should have scheduling set, staff trained on how you expect them to treat patients, and a plan to follow up with every patient. Your goal is to make sure your business can be run whether you’re there or not. By ensuring this you’re providing your patients with the most efficient and enjoyable process ever. They won’t have to wait an hour in the waiting room; they won’t have billing issues, and they most certainly wouldn’t run into problems with your staff should they have a question.
Create an Internal Marketing Plan
Before you begin any online or inbound marketing problems, start by marketing to clients who are already a member of your practice. Start a referral program, where patients can earn points for each referral they send in. Offer unique incentives like free teeth whitening to patients who come in for two visits a year. Provide free dental exams to those in the community who might not be able to otherwise visit the dentist.
The goal of these medical marketing ideas for dental care providers is to show that you care about the community and your patients and that you’re doing what you can to serve them.
Never Skimp on Customer Service
With five other dental offices competing with you, chances are those dentists are skilled at what they do. But you can set yourself, your business, and your staff apart by simply perfecting your customer service model.
Start by regularly training staff and talking with them about customer service. If you keep it at the top of everyone’s mind, then everyone will remember the standards that are set for your practice.
Once you have your team on board with customer service you’ll want to focus on creating an environment that fosters comfort for patients. Decorate your office in an attractive manner, offer entertainment, and ensure that the entire experience from the waiting room to examination room is consistently enjoyable.
Embark on SEO
Search engine optimization is one of those things that scares most people. It’s time-consuming and requires a lot of thought and planning. The good news is, however, an SEO strategy can make a big, long-term impact on how you acquire and keep patients.
Search engine optimization is the process of optimizing your website and its content in such a way that people looking for the services you offer find it in search results. So, for example, a person might search for a “dentist in Lansing, MI”. The website that best matches this inquiry will show up first, followed by subsequent results.
Those whose website consistently ranks on the first page – and mostly the top 5 – of Google will get the most clicks. The individuals performing these searches are highly likely to become leads and even patients because they are already searching for your services.
Reviews Are Important
Consumers are more empowered than ever. Because of this, they turn to websites like Yelp and Google to get reviews on businesses they’re interested in using. One bad review could turn away countless customers.
By creating a plan to get positive reviews you can bolster your online reputation and increase search engine rankings. There are several ways you can get reviews.
Start by asking happy patients to post a review on Google or Facebook. Don’t ask for too many reviews, as the more you ask for the less likely they are to do it. Speaking of which, patients are doing you a favor when they post a review. If someone posts a review – both positive and negative – respond in an honest, transparent manner.
Another way to get reviews is to follow up via email with patients who have visited in the last month. Ask for them to provide a review and be sure to include links to the sites you want them on.
Never offer any compensation in exchange for a review. This violates nearly every review website’s terms of service and if found out could cause them to delete your entire online listing, along with all reviews – paid and unpaid.