I’m curious to hear your thoughts on this topic.
What are your thoughts regarding traditional word of mouth versus digital marketing (including social media) to build your practice?
So, if you’ve read previous posts or if you follow me (@Social Media DDS), you already know that I think that digital marketing (including social media) is a powerful tool. When I speak to dentists, I am surprised by how many are still holding fast to the traditional word of mouth strategy. They are relying almost entirely on their patients for recommendations to build their business, without any hat tip to digital marketing at all. What confuses me is that many of these dentists have seen their new-patient numbers dramatically drop, yet they continue to hold onto that traditional word of mouth marketing raft, hoping it will save them in a sea of speeding social media marketing watercraft. Despite compelling statistics and a plethora of helpful information available to them, they still think that digital marketing is a fad and that it will go away.
Digital marketing and social media are not going away. So, why fight it? Why not work with it?
One of the ways that I hit home most effectively in my presentations to dental professionals is to demonstrate to them how social media actually IS the new word of mouth, just on a much larger scale. And, truth be told, having a much larger audience receiving our message is what it is all about!
By incorporating a digital marketing strategy, your office can run promotions that will reach far beyond your patient base. That said, tapping into the loyalty of your existing patient base is absolutely another way of extending your reach. Incentivizing your patients to recommend your office to their family and friends will increase your visibility and is the very best word of mouth out there. Taking that in-office promotion to the next tier, Facebook for example, will increase that visibility even further. It’s hard to say no to controlled exposure.
Here’s the thing. Let’s say you are perfectly content with your current patient base. Let’s say that if another new patient never walks into your front door, you will be fine. What about Dr. Prospective-Buyer in your future? Who is going to be more attractive to Dr. Prospective-Buyer: a dental business that has no marketing infrastructure and growth potential or your stagnant but satisfactory dental business with no digital infrastructure? My money is on the business with a digital marketing infrastructure.
Does it take work? Of course it does. But, then, anything worth having requires effort. And isn’t your business worth that effort? Aren’t the long term rewards worth putting in the sweat equity now?
What are your thoughts?
Claudia Anderson, DDS