Attracting new patients is crucial to sustaining and building a strong practice. However, patients today have an infinite number of options when it comes to selecting a dentist. Every other practice out there is investing in digital promotion and is serious about building their reputation. So how do you get potential patients to notice you and get them interested enough to connect with your practice?
Most businesses and marketers talk about lead generation as a driving force for revenue expansion. But simply attracting leads will not bring you the results you desire. You need to focus on attracting quality leads who are ready to call your practice.
For most practices, this is the big challenge—how to get patients who not only are eager to engage with your practice but also can be convinced to become your patient. And if they can be convinced to become repeat patients on a regular basis, that is just icing on the cake!
Did you know that close to 96% of visitors who come to your website are not ready to call you unless you can provide them with something of value? If you can understand what kind of value your patients expect, you will know how to build interest for your practice and ultimately win new patients.
Take the Right Approach
The biggest challenge that marketers face in regards to lead generation is the generation of high-quality leads. The Internet is full of sources and links that promise patients exactly what they want. Very few practices, though, actually deliver on patient expectations.
This is why search engines such as Google give high priority to high-quality content and to brand credibility and reputation built through genuine search engine optimization and digital marketing strategies. This in turn has led to a dramatic shift in how brands optimize their consumer engagement.
Marketing is no longer about only products and services. Instead, it is about the consumer. It is about customizing brand marketing with the specific aim of addressing the needs and expectations of consumers. Personalization is the key to generating quality leads.
Brand engagement can take place anywhere. Patients might decide to engage with your practice over your website, through your social profiles, via emails or newsletters, or through other marketing channels such as offers and contests. Your big goal should be to optimize all of your brand touchpoints to deliver personalized experiences. Only then can you expect to boost engagement and attract more quality leads to your practice.
The days of static one-sided marketing are long gone. Today’s sophisticated patients will only be swayed and convinced if they see actual value. They are either completely in or they are just out! Multiple channels of communication, multiple layers of services and products that are customized for different patient demographics, and highly customized brand interaction are the keys to true personalization.
But does customized interaction simply mean addressing your patients by their first name in your newsletters? The answer is obviously no. True personalization will only happen when you gain a deeper understanding of your audience.
Also keep in mind that most of your practice revenue can be realized by focusing on existing or one-time patients. If they bought from you once, the connection already exists. Build on that connection and draw them to your practice.
The best way to do this is by indentifying why your patients came to you in the first place. Take a look at your database and go over past interactions and purchases, reconnect with your patients, and ask them if they would like to buy from you again. A discounted service or special offers on premium services can prove to be irresistible.
If patients came to you for root canals, you could entice them by offering them preventive care service at a discounted rate on a regular basis or even offer discounted service for aging parents. If you have patients who came in earlier for a cosmetic treatment, you could offer them a new service or product in a more attractive package.
Make a note of all your top revenue items and see how best you can give them a makeover. A more attractive price change or coupling low-price items with high-price items can bring good results. You could even change the images and descriptive text of your products and services and remarket them, or improve or change your calls-to-action and offers.
Each of these actions needs to be done keeping in mind the needs and preferences of different patient demographics, the place they are in the sales chain, and/or the level of interest they have in your practice.
Optimize Website Conversions
When it comes to website conversions, the focus should be on building a website that is optimized for search and mobile access. It also should be fully functional instead of overwhelmingly graphic and complicated. To attract quality leads from your website:
- Make sure each page has a unique title tag and includes important keywords.
- Make sure it supports a clear navigational structure so patients find it easy to scroll and discover various items of interest.
- Make sure your website is populated with high-quality content that is both unique and useful.
- Run a diagnostics check to identify problem areas and to fix any other technical issues.
- Make sure you optimize your inquiry forms for easy completion and prominently feature inquiry form links on all pages to make it easy for patients to connect with you regardless of where they are on your website.
- Prominently display all your contact information including your address, phone numbers, and hours of operation.
Content marketing not only costs 62% less than traditional outbound marketing, but it can also deliver 3 times as much as traditional outbound marketing. There is no denying that the Internet is flooded with content that gets shared every day. And this figure runs in the billions of pages!
However, a substantial percentage of the content available on the net either does not come with a strong stamp of credibility or is lacking in quality. There are also instances where the content might be of high quality but it does not get its due in search engine results pages because the website either did not take content marketing seriously or because it didn’t do it correctly!
All of these flaws can lead to missed opportunities for generating quality leads. While content creation is necessary, the destination of the content also matters. To improve content marketing for lead generation:
- Identify the kind of content that your target audience can readily consume.
- Work on creating high-quality content that shows your expertise and includes links to credible sources, which helps to build more search engine validity.
- Instead of creating generic content, create content that serves or addresses the needs of different audience demographics.
- Use your content to show how your products and services can help solve problems for your patients.
- Write your content for easy and quick consumption. Complicated or difficult to understand language, terms, and phrases can dilute reader interest, and they might just hit the back button and go to your competitor’s website.
Social Media and Lead Generation
Social media is a digital marketing darling for a wide number of reasons. By itself, it is a remarkable digital marketing platform simply based on the kind of reach it provides. In fact, when done correctly, social media can prove to be a powerful lead generation tool since it can be used to positively influence audience thinking and perceptions.
The most important strategy for succeeding on social media is to understand your audience. Ask the right questions, actively interact with your followers and fans, and encourage them to engage with you. Remember, social media is a place for building trusted relationships and not for hardcore selling. Tactics to consider include:
- Use multiple social channels such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest among others and carefully plan and implement a marketing strategy keeping in mind the kind of advantage that each platform provides.
- Periodically research your patients to identify their likes, dislikes, and expectations from your practice.
- Plan and create social content that highlights the different ways your services and products can meet and satisfy your patients’ expectations and needs.
- Be active about cross-promoting your social media channels with one another.
- Consistently monitor your social media results to identify what is working and what needs to be further promoted or scrapped.
- Align with a community cause or event, as it shows you care about social issues. This is especially important if you want to connect with millennials.
Lead generation has changed over the years. But the basic principle of lead generation, which is to create demand for your practice’s services, hasn’t changed. What has changed is the manner and place in which the demand is created.
Today, each digital asset such as social platforms, websites, blogs, and emails and newsletters among others can be optimized for generating leads. This makes it necessary for practices to take a strategic approach to generating quality leads if they want to dominate their market space and expand revenue.
Naren Arulrajah is president and CEO of Ekwa Marketing, a complete Internet marketing company that focuses on SEO, social media, marketing education, and the online reputations of dentists. With a team of more than 130 full time marketers, Ekwa Marketing helps doctors who know where they want to go to get there by dominating their market and growing their business significantly year after year. If you have questions about marketing your practice online, call Naren directly at 877-249-9666.