Many of the dental professionals we work with want to get right down to brass tacks. They want to know what’s working right now to drive traffic, improve engagement and deliver high-quality patients to call or walk through the office doors. In addition to the quality digital marketing services we offer, two methods showing promise at the moment are social media and direct mail. Both of those methods are not only working, they’re driving new business to the extreme. Let’s explore these concepts now before we delve into how to use them for maximum effect.
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Social media marketing is not a flash in the pan phenomenon as many digital marketers thought it might be. If you’ve been anti-social on Facebook, Twitter and Google+, it might be time to reconsider your actions. Let’s start with Facebook, a network that has taken the world by storm (and one that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon).
With over a billion active users, Facebook is a social network that cannot be ignored. It’s the world’s largest and most widely used network, and it’s said that 72% of online adults use it at least once a month. Of those users, 23% check their accounts nearly five times per day. Who are the most active users? It turns out they’re women over 25 years of age with children, according to Pew Research.
The takeaway here is that Facebook should be used and it should be used often by your dental practice. Now that you know how many people use the network, and how regularly, you should be posting at least once per day.
What do you post? If you know that most of the users are women with children, make your posts targeted to those exact individuals. Teach female patients how to take care of their kids’ teeth, post lots of pediatric dentistry photos and videos, and let those females with children know that they’re always welcome to your office. That’s what’s working right now to deliver high-quality patients to dentistry practices all across the country.
Google + Marketing
With 235 million active users, Google’s answer to the social network has little chance of catching up to the Facebook juggernaut anytime soon, but the network is still no slouch. In fact, if you want to rank highly in Google’s search rankings, Google+ suddenly becomes another network you can’t ignore. Google+ listings are crucial for search engine optimization, as a matter of fact, especially when it comes to local businesses. If you don’t have a Google+ page, then you’re not going to show up in the primary and map listings when people search for your service in your area.
Take a look at the graphic below. This is a Google+ page that is optimized for search and one that has plenty of five-star reviews – attention-getting elements that show up right in the search results.
According to Datadial, 35% of Google+ users are single and 42% are young adults. Therefore, when you post to Google+, it would be pertinent to speak directly to those tech-savvy youngsters, urging them to choose your dental office above all other competitors.
The Twittersphere boasts 232 million active users of which 46% look at Twitter or Tweet at least once per day. With Twitter, you only have 140 characters to speak your mind or state your case, and that includes posting a link (though link shorteners can help to make longer URLs more passable).
According to Pew Research, the fastest growing demographic on Twitter is the 55-64 year old crowd. These are baby boomers who are suddenly finding themselves suffering from gum disease and tooth loss. You’ll want to discuss dental implants, crowns, bridges and dentures to get these folks’ attention.
Armed with the above information, you may find yourself feeling torn. On one hand, you might be excited to target a few specific groups on the social networks those individuals use the most. With Facebook being checked up to five times a day, usually from a smartphone, you’ll be able to reach people whether they’re at work or play.
But on the other hand, you probably feel yourself dreading the time constraint. How are you supposed to tend to your current patients and all the new patients that social media marketing is designed to deliver, while at the same time keeping up with your social posting duties? Are you supposed to stop work on a root canal because you have to tweet or post to Facebook or Google+? Not if you’re smart about it.
In fact, the clients we typically work with worry about this a lot, and here’s what we tell them. You must make social posting part of your everyday office routine, but you can schedule it so that it doesn’t interfere with your typical patient (and patient acquisition) responsibilities.
Automatic Social Posting
Using an app called Buffer, you can program your posts to go out and pre-specified times. You can schedule a tweet a day for a week or for an entire month, for example. Consider using Buffer only if you feel that daily social posts will interfere with your schedule. It’s always better to be present when posting to one of the above mentioned networks.
How to Post
Once you’re ready to start using the above networks (or ready to start using them more effectively), you’ll want to keep your mind on the respective demographics and begin to create an identity around your strengths as a dental team. If your specialty is dental implants, for example, make the majority of your posts about that subject, while trying to fulfill the three Es.
The Three Es of Social Posting
Every message you send out should be Engaging, Entertaining and Educational. Speak directly to your demographics and engage in conversations whenever possible (that’s why it pays to be present). At the same time, do your best to entertain. Humor works great, but be careful about offending anyone. Most of all, educate your audience. Teach them about your services and the procedures required. And let them know exactly what to expect by calling or coming in. The more your patients know about you and your dentistry offerings, the easier time you’ll have getting that patient to come in (and remain on the books long-term).
Post Blogs the Moment They’re Published
If you don’t have anything to say one day, post a link to your blog. Blogs are excellent ways to engage, entertain and educate, and the search engines love regularly published content. If you can manage to keep up your blogging and social posting, you’ll be well on your way to building a following and ranking highly in Google, Bing and other search platforms.
Listen Often and Keep the Focus On Them
Before you post on the various social networks, listen in on some conversations. Use the search functions to find your specialty and find out what’s being discussed. Then join in on the conversation with relevant information. Whatever you do, ensure that the content you post has nothing to do with you. It’s always about the prospect or patient. The more you can remember that, the more of an impact you’ll have.
Paid Promotion Works
Many of the clients we work with are using social media, but they’re doing it all wrong. Put the above in place when it comes to organic social posts. But we want to let you know that, as far as what’s working right now to deliver new patients through your doors, paid promotions on social networks are delivering massive results.
It is recommended that you do advertise on the social networks you use. Facebook advertising, for example, is reaching those people who look at their profiles five times a day. Implement a small budget to start with, until you get the handle on things, and keep an eye on your provided metrics to see how well you’re engaging with your primary audience. The biggest thing is not to be afraid to use the paid models. They’re working right now for dentists all around the country, and they’ll work for you if you take the time to use them.
Direct Mail is Making a Comeback
Another method that’s working now to drive new patients to dentistry offices is direct mail – postcards, catalogs and flyers. Everyone thought that direct mail would go the way of the Dodo because of the internet. So everyone stopped using it. This is a phenomenon you can use to your advantage.
By putting direct mail into place when most other people are apprehensive to invest, you’ll immediately stand out amongst all others in town. Get a qualified designer to make your pieces look presentable and enticing, and include a strong call-to-action on every piece that goes out, such as, “Call Now to Schedule Your Next Exam At 50% Off!”
When it comes to where to mail your pieces, you should already have a list of your patients’ addresses. Those addresses are great for sending referral requests.For new patients, consider purchasing various lists, such as a list for all the new movers that just arrived in town.
As for when, according to DentistryIQ, postcards are best received by prospects on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, so take that into consideration. As long as you’re sending the pieces out, and gauging your responses, you’ll begin to get a better feel for how your local area receives to the messages you send out. You can then alter your approach accordingly.
As an added note, it’s recommended that you give each address a ‘cool-down’ period after six months of consistent targeting. Some experts recommend six months on and six months off, but experiment with various times, cool-downs and target the more affluent homes for best results.
These are only two methods that are working right now to drive patients. Of course, you need to start with an optimized web presence. That's where we come in. Call on us to do all the heavy lifting for you. With our help, you'll finally be able to let prospects and patients in your local area know that you’re always willing to help them achieve optimal oral health, a terrific smile and enhanced self-esteem.