Top 10 Trends in Dental Marketing for 2015

Are you looking to shake things up this year? Are you ready to start the year off fresh? You might want to start by following the experts. Lucky for you, we travel around the country, visiting with dentists and advising them on their digital marketing strategies, and so we get to learn first-hand what works and what doesn’t. To give you an edge this year, and to show you what we’ve learned, here are ten dental marketing trends that are sure to earn you a following (and a healthy patient acquisition rate to boot).


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1. Forget the Short Term Strategies (And Easy Ways Out)
As a busy dentist, it’s easy to see why you’d want to take the quick and easy way out. A good example of a short term strategy that sure seemed quick and easy was Groupon. This service offered great deals to people in the area and assured business owners that lowering their rates (quite drastically in some cases) would deliver steady business from all the new customers earned. The problem came when those one-time customers never visited participating businesses again, and all those lowered prices ended up crippling quite a few of those businesses (including dentist’s offices). In this instance, what seemed like a good short term strategy ended up hurting rather than helping. 

The dentists who are succeeding today are thinking more long-term. They’re building their digital presences with attention and care, which leads to a stronger foundation that can then be built off of. The old adage ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ fits well here. Don’t think you have to do it all in one go. Just doing a little bit each day is enough, and will likely lead to longer and more substantial results. 

2. Don’t Just Concentrate On New Patients
Many dental practitioners find themselves focusing on new patients only. “I need 30 patients a month,” one dentist might say. But then what happens? The dentist is so focused on outside marketing and gathering referrals that he stops paying (as much) attention to his current patients. People who pay for your services like to know that you’re focused on them, and – according to Bain & Company, it costs 6 to 7 times as much to acquire new patients than it does to retain the ones you’ve got. So while gathering new patients is a must, at least equal time should be dedicated to patient retention if you want your practice to grow.

3. Efficient Office Procedures
There are two parts to this point. The first refers to digital marketing, which takes time to cultivate and maintain. We’ve already established that successful dentists are using short, daily processes to create and maintain their marketing campaigns. If you want to be successful, these very processes should be part of your staff’s regular day. 

The second part to this refers to patient acquisition and retention. Your staff should be sending thank you cards, making reminder calls and they should be nurturing callers or walk-ins that weren’t ready to commit when they first made contact. 

The dentists who are doing well today have trained their staff members to take initiative and to follow certain protocols daily. These responsibilities are then reinforced and rewarded (when the job is well done) during daily or weekly meetings. Make sure your staff understands that a whole team is needed to succeed in dental marketing and in dentistry in general. Get the team involved all the way around and you’ll have much better results. 

4. Dental Presence Must Be Mobile Compatible
This is a major trend that’s sweeping digital marketing across all industries. More people today are using mobile devices than they are computers and laptops. In fact, according to the Mobile Marketing Association, there are 1.095 billion mobile subscribers worldwide, and mobile outranks all other computers (desktops and laptops) by 3:1. What does this mean? It means that much of your website visitors are likely going to be viewing your content with their iPhones, Galaxies, and iPads. 

If you don’t have your website, blog and other content you control optimized for mobile, you’re going to lose the attention of most of your web visitors. 

To optimize for mobile, you should have a responsive design that uses cookies to determine what type of device the user is employing, and provides the proper UI as a result. A person viewing on an iPhone will get an iPhone tailored experience, for example. 

Other considerations to keep up with the dental marketing trends for 2015 is to make buttons spaced far apart (for those of us who may be fat fingered) and to limit images to just a few. The less scrolling mobile viewers have to engage in, the better. 

Your dental marketing presence should then be tested on various mobile devices to ensure that all users, regardless of device, receive the best experience possible. 

5. Modernize Your Website
Just having a mobile experience isn’t enough for today’s online users. They expect HD images and videos, high-quality content that informs, educates and entertains, and most of all they want to know that you’re the authority in your field. Having a website that looks ten years old, employing a mere ‘online brochure’ or not having a website at all is going to leave you behind nearly every time. 

Dentists who are doing well have ultra-modern websites that employ many of the traits above. They have visual appeal, they contain crisp images of dentists, hygienists and even satisfied (and smiling) patients. 

The websites pushing the latest dental trends of 2015 also load quickly. If your site takes longer than two seconds to load, something’s wrong, and patients may not stick around, instead opting for a competitor whose site does load quickly. 

6. Give Online Visitors All The Information They Need
The biggest question we get is, “What do I put on my website?” The answer we always give is this, and it’s one of the biggest dental marketing trends of 2015: Give your online visitors all the information they could ever want. Succeed in doing that and they’ll never look anywhere else. The best way to accomplish this is to spy on your competitors. 

Visit the websites of other dental professionals in your area, and those in other big cities. Find out what they have on their websites and put it in your own words (or film your own versions of the videos you come across, for example). Today’s most successful dentists have a well-stocked Frequently Asked Questions page that explains much of what people want to know when they walk-in or call. Start comprising a list of content you find online, and along the way take notes regarding how you can best make that content more personalized to fit your dental practice. 

7. PPC is Definitely In
Paid online marketing has been ramping up for several years and in 2015 it’s about to hit its highest peak ever. More businesses are learning that PPC (pay-per-click) marketing is akin to yesterday’s yellow pages ads. If you want to get to the top of Google quickly and stay there, then PPC is a great way to do it (and it’s money well-spent). 

Today’s top dental marketers are realizing the promise that PPC holds, and they’re keeping regular budgets stocked within Google’s paid model Adwords, and they’re seeing near instant and constant results. Study the ads currently online for several keyword terms, and use those to your advantage to drive traffic to your website (and ultimately to your practice door). 

8. Start a Blog and Keep It Going
Many of the dentists we encounter have a blog, but not all of them keep it up with regular blog posts. Not having a blog is bad. Having a blog where the most recent post was from three years ago is worse. To keep up with today’s top dental marketing trends for 2015, you should start a blog if you don’t already have one, and you should keep the posts coming indefinitely. Here’s how it’s done. 

Remember those small procedures scheduled throughout the day we just mentioned? Blog writing and posting could be one of them. If your staff is too busy or you don’t have any writers on board, consider hiring a freelance writer to craft the new blogs for you. 

The best blogs educate, inform and entertain. They contain case-studies, reviews, and testimonials from real-life patients, and they keep people up-to-date on procedures, the latest dentistry news and the goings on within the practice. Even if it’s once a week, a regular blog will help you become known in your area, it’ll establish you as the authority in your field and regularly published content can get you ranked more prominently in the search engines. With all these benefits, you should definitely make blogging one of your primary dental marketing goals in 2015. 

9. Improve Your Online Reputation
Today’s online users want to know that others have liked your services before they commit. Sites like Yelp and Angie’s List help in this regard by showcasing ranking systems and reviews left by real-life customers. If you don’t have any reviews at all or you have negative reviews marring your online reputation, you’re not very likely to succeed in today’s digital age. Here’s why: 

According to Local Consumer Review 2014, 52% of online users say that online reviews make them more likely to use a business. And 72% of users trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation from a family member or friend. This makes improving your online reputation a hot ticket 2015 marketing trend if there ever was one. 

You should be asking your current patients to leave reviews on Yelp, FourSquare, HealthGrades, Google+ and anywhere else they’re allowed to leave their thoughts. Hand out business cards to each patient as they leave that includes a URL to one of these sites, and consider giving out a free gift for every patient who leaves one. Even something cheap like a toothbrush and tube of paste could work. 

If you get a negative review, it’s not the end of the world. Use the review to improve, and enlist the help of your most loyal patients to help you bury that negative review under a slew of positive ones. 

10. Get Help
Many dentists are realizing that they just don’t have time to follow through with dental marketing, or they don’t trust their staff to do a good job. Whatever the reason, we recommend that you get some help, preferably from the experts. 

Dental marketing experts have been in the trenches. They know what’s working and what’s not. They’re paid to stay on top of today’s best-performing dental marketing trends, and they have the case studies to prove their stellar track records. 

The experts, like us, will help your practice succeed from behind the scenes, allowing you to work on patient acquisition, retention and continued education of your chosen specialization – all the ingredients that make a dental practice successful.

Now that you’re armed with the top 2015 dental marketing trends, start putting it all together and make this the year you knock it out of the park digitally and professionally.

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