A Guide for Medical and Dental Marketing
Think about the important relationships in your life. Take marriage, for example. When you wake up every day, do you seek out your own agenda and act without consideration for your spouse?
Hey honey! I planned our summer vacation. I’m thinking Italy. I went ahead and booked our flights, created our itinerary and reserved all our lodging. We’ll be gone for two weeks and travel all over the country! It’s going to be a great time. You’ll love it!
While Italy may be on your spouse’s bucket list, you went ahead and planned an elaborate and expensive trip without their input. What if they were hoping for an inexpensive and relaxing Southern California beach getaway instead? Your plans might leave them thinking, It’s like they don’t even know me or care about what’s important to me.
In this case, you missed the mark and the money you spent on all those reservations might best have been spent on marriage counseling. Operating based solely on your own agenda without considering your partner isn’t a recipe for a healthy long-term relationship.
A healthy relationship involves knowing and valuing what’s important to the other person and responding to that.
It’s the same with your medical or dental practice. Whether you’re in dentistry, orthodontics or pediatrics, your practice, if it’s successful, revolves around your patients and knowing what’s important to them. What kind of care are they looking for?
Let’s take a look at a few important things to consider when marketing your practice in a caring, relevant and effective way:
Start by determining who you want to attract
If you want to grow a successful practice, you have to define your target market. You might be thinking, I want to serve everyone and address every dental need. While that may be true, a targeted approach will drive your business much more effectively than a general approach.
If you’re a dentist, maybe you want to focus primarily on children and helping them keep their teeth healthy for life. You’ll emphasize the importance of biannual recare visits, fill a lot of cavities and prepare a lot of mouths for braces.
Contrast this with a dental practice that focuses on serving baby boomers in a higher income bracket who can afford veneers and other high-end dental procedures. You may even want to be zip code-specific, targeting boomers in a large retirement community near your office.
As you’re fleshing out your ideal client, begin to think about these important questions:
- What are my ideal client’s primary needs?
- What do they value?
- What do they base their decisions on?
I don’t get it. Why can’t I just target everyone with dental needs? This whole “ideal client” business seems unnecessary and I think it might hamper my ability to grow my practice.
Think about it this way. What kind of fish do you want to catch?
If you prefer to catch crappie, you’ll probably put a worm on your line. If you want to catch smallmouth bass, you’ll fish with leeches. Once you define your ideal client, you can craft a successful targeted marketing strategy that speaks precisely to your audience. This will help you reel in the right business and at the same time, build your brand and stand out from your competitors.
Speaking of standing out in a crowd….
Convey your unique value proposition
The medical and dental industries are highly saturated which makes differentiating your practice that much more critical to your success.
With your clearly defined target market in hand, it’s time to brainstorm your marketing strategy. Once again, keep your patient at the center of the process.
If children are your ideal client for your dental practice, for example, you will target your marketing towards their parents. Now put yourself in their shoes and consider their ideal dental practice:
- Busy parents with young children value easy, flexible scheduling. They seek out a dentist who can see their child Monday-Friday after 5 p.m. or on Saturday mornings so they don’t have to leave work to bring their child to an appointment.
- They want to get in quickly when their child develops a toothache and they suspect a cavity.
- They want a dentist who understands children and offers special comforts to put their child’s mind at ease during their appointment.
In this scenario, your ideal client’s values could be summed up as flexibility, responsiveness and caring.
An important component of any successful marketing strategy involves telling your story and highlighting your values. Knowing that flexibility, responsiveness and caring are important to your ideal client, you can weave these into your messaging on your About Us page, letting website visitors know that these are some of your core values—ones that you’ve built your practice on. You can create blog posts around these values. You can highlight them above the fold on the homepage of your website. You may even incorporate them into your company’s one-liner.
Using these core values as a launching point, you can speak to parents’ needs and offer your solutions.
Are their children nervous about going to the dentist because of a negative past experience? Empathize with these parents and tell them about all the comfort measures you offer that can help! Cable TV with kids programming, essential oils, warm neck wraps, comfy blankets….
Our amazing client, Eggert Family Dentistry, lists 17 comforts on their website that they offer to their patients to make dentistry as easy and pleasant as possible. Way to go, you guys!
Busy parents who come across your messaging will quickly identify with you. Many will respond by making their child’s first dental appointment or switching to your practice because you address their concerns better than their current provider. As you continue to grow your marketing strategy and attract your ideal clients, you’ll develop a reputation in your community as a parent and child-friendly dental office, you’ll experience the snowball effect of referral traffic and you’ll grow your business.
You know what they’re looking for. Now go get ‘em, tiger!
Ok, so you’ve established who your ideal client is and you’re working on developing messaging that connects with them. This begs the question: How do you get your messaging in front of your ideal clients?
Here are a few proven strategies:
Optimize your website. You have a ton of information you want to get in front of your visitors. Don’t worry—your website can accommodate all of it. Just make sure that, first and foremost, your website is always patient-centric. Again, put yourself in your prospect’s shoes, this time as you create content and design the layout for each page.
If you’re searching for a dermatologist, for example, and you’re looking at provider websites, which would be the most compelling to you? A homepage with a big block of text that talks all about the history of the clinic and the doctors that practice there or a headline that reads, “We take skin seriously,” followed by a few bullet points about their state-of-the-art technology and a list of their services?
Also, create and post regular blog entries that convey your expertise and address your ideal client’s common questions and concerns. Once again, kudos to our friends at Eggert Family Dentistry who do an excellent job of providing consistent value through their blog! Make sure you post your blog entries on your social channels and link them back to your website! And while we’re on the subject of social media…
Leverage social media. First of all, which social channels do your ideal clients use? Let’s say you’re a dental practice marketing to the 55+ age group. You can have the best social media marketing campaign in the world but if you put it on Instagram, you’ll be sorely disappointed. Most of your ideal clients are over on Facebook connecting with their friends and keeping up with their grandkids’ sports and shenanigans. It pays to do your research!
Once you get your marketing campaign up and running on your prospects’ desired channels, use each channel’s built-in analytics tools to test and measure your results. What are the demographics of the people who are interacting with your posts? Are you actually attracting your ideal clients? Which posts get the most traffic—the ones in the morning, afternoon or evening? At the beginning, middle or end of the workweek? Are many people engaging with your content on the weekends? Tweak and test your marketing until you hone it in.
A few social media content tips:
- Always provide value
- Post regularly
- Design posts that are interactive and engaging
- Be consistent in your branding
- Drive visitors to your website to learn more!
When effectively utilized, social media can be an outstanding lead generation tool that will help you target your perfect audience.
Gather patient reviews. The medical and dental industries are largely driven by reputation. Keep in mind that being a patient is a vulnerable position to be in. Patients don’t trust their health to just anyone. They want some basis of familiarity or reason to trust you. While personal recommendations take the cake for driving traffic across nearly every industry, don’t underestimate the power of patient reviews.
Did you know that, after as few as five reviews, 68% of prospects form an opinion about your practice?
The moral of the story? Never quit gathering and posting reviews. Create a Google My Business link and post it on your webpage. Encourage current patients to write reviews, and for patients that do, add their names to a monthly drawing.
Additional ideas include developing and implementing an SEO strategy, utilizing email marketing and recording videos of your providers discussing what they do and addressing common patient questions and concerns. Because, at the end of the day, your practice must revolve around your patients.
Ready to take some of these ideas and run with them? Sweet. We believe crafting a patient-centric strategy will help you stand out and will drive the success of your practice. Feeling a bit overwhelmed? Sign up here for a complimentary 30-minute strategy session and learn how we can help you stand out and take your practice to the next level.