Monday, July 6, 2015

Marketing Your Dental Practice in the Internet Age

In my 30 years of practicing dentistry, I’ve seen a lot of changes in the way we as dentists interact with our patients. For a time, my practice relied solely on expensive forms of outbound marketing—magazine advertisements; mass, community-wide mailers; and an endless number of calls—hoping to regenerate patients whose interactions with our office had, for lack of a better expression, expired. For a time, these methods of patient communication certainly did their job, but as the years have passed, larger and larger segments of our targeted population have become savvy to these efforts, and more often than not, they’ve become too expensive to justify their worth. Cutthroat as advertising already is in an industry like ours, we are finally, as a larger community, beginning to embrace the Internet age our industry has crawled into.

I say that we, as an industry, have crawled into the Internet age because, frankly, we are far behind the eight ball in comparison with other industries. The sales, services, and dining sectors all recognized the need to get their foot in the Internet door a long time ago, and it is truly astonishing to see that such a large portion of dental practices are just now embracing inbound and Internet-based forms of marketing. We have embraced advances in technology in how we operate our business; it is finally time we do the same when generating that business.

There is no time like the present to start taking advantage of these new avenues of marketing. At first, I myself was discouraged to reinvest in digital marketing because of the exorbitant costs of the pay-per-click era. The pay-per-click era brought many shoppers but very few buyers to my practice. This was a time when search engine optimization (SEO) was less dependent on the creation and promotion of rich content, but rather on how much money could be spent or how many keywords could be “stuffed” into a Web page. But that is no longer the case—through a comfortable blend of social media, Web design, and SEO, my practice is now able to digitally target potential patients who are looking for exactly what we provide and appreciate our unique approach to dental health and facial esthetics. My practice focuses on dental implants, cosmetic reconstructions, and facial enhancements using BOTOX® and dermal fillers. This new age of digital marketing allows us to focus our attention on these particular areas of profitability in ways that were not available years ago.

The ushering in of modern SEO techniques, responsive website design, digital live chat, and various social media outlets have provided an opportunity for my practice to grow in ways that I did not believe possible. These new tools redefine the patient experience. Prospective patients can speak with a live representative at our facility and be guided through our website, which is full of amazing and informative content. Our social media pages keep patients updated on what’s happening at our office and include photos of ongoing full-mouth restorations. We also use email as a resource for highlighting our practice, including announcements about new technology or procedures. One of the most important things that we have added to our patient emails are before-and-after cosmetic consultations, which include digital photos and key points discussed with our doctors, helping patients to see the real potential of the practice’s cosmetic treatment offerings.

We continue to look for new avenues to provide the greatest digital experience possible. If you haven’t already, I recommend exploring these new media options as they become more and more essential to growing the modern dental practice.

Nicholas Navarro, DDS 

8 comments:

Sam said...

if you've got extra dollars, i think paid ads would be the best option. Anyway, great post!

Jordan said...

Some great advice here for advertising! Technology has allowed us to market in ways we couldn't have dreamed of a few years ago, but it has to be used effectively to be worth it. Thanks for sharing your insight on this!

David Silva said...

Marketing one's brand is the most important factor in success of a service. Dental clinics are also practicing the same. There are clinics like Dentzz dental which solely believes in customer satisfaction as one of the major tool for success. Patients reviews are the best marketing tool for any service industry.Check this http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x26ipsw_dentzz-review-a-patient-from-australia-shares-his-very-pleasant-experience-at-dentzz_webcam

Nick Navarro said...

Sam- while we agree that paid ads can be an important resource in instant exposure, we've found the long term benefits of dedicated SEO work to outweigh the bouts of clicks from an ad- and better yet, it's more easily targeted to our particular market!

Jordan- thanks for reading! Glad to see you're on the same page as us!

If you're interested in seeing how we've incorporated all of it at our practice (the inspiration for this post), head over to our website! We've love further input!

Enhance Dentist said...

I say social media marketing is a must have in nowadays digital marketing trend. I think google and other search engine highly regard the activities coming from the social media.

Anyway, nice post Doc!

David Kim,
enhancedentist.com

John Mclaughlin said...

It really is interesting to think about how things have changed, Nick. I personally think that being able to have a great looking website is something that is essential when you're working on marketing any kind of business. I really like the idea of being able to use social media to ensure that you are getting the most coverage when it comes to web advertisement. Thank you for sharing. http://www.fairviewmalldental.ca/en/

Anonymous said...

Great advice here- I think another possible way to grow a dental practice is by publishing your own Dentist Newsletters, and then leveraging the content both online (website, social media) and offline (waiting rooms).

Tom Hall said...

Thank you for this excellent page. And I extend the thanks to the commenters too. I believe that a balanced approach to marketing a dental practice is required. It should include a bit of everything until you work out which works most effectively, so understanding your metrics is important. A good looking SEO website is a must as is a social media presence.

Tom Hall @ WCS Solutions

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