No dentist would dare probe a patient’s gums without the proper analysis, preparation, and tools for the job. So why do many dental offices continue to brute-force their marketing efforts?
When I talk to dentists about how many new patients they get, most are happy with their numbers yet have the capacity for more. But when I ask them what kinds of patients they want, they often don’t know. “Any new patient?” is the popular, confused response.
Today’s targeted marketing techniques make it easy for dentists to home in on their preferred demographics. Some patients want dental implants, while others need teeth whitening. Plus, not all patients are looking for the same type of dentist. Some may want kid-friendly practices, while others may be looking for dentists who are comfortable working with dental phobias. By selecting a demographic and catering to that group, dentists can bring in more profitable patients who leave happier with their dental experience.
Many of the dental practices I work with are still spending the bulk of their marketing effort on dated mediums, despite a low return on investment (ROI). Legacy media outlets like TV commercials no longer produce enough ROI to be viable marketing options. Dentists should familiarize themselves with modern social media tools to bring in new, more targeted patients. The good news is that it’s easier than it sounds.
Facebook’s Tools for Dental Marketing
Radio commercials, billboards, and ads on television worked before people could Google the phrase “teeth-whitening dentist near me.” Today, investments in those traditional channels take away dollars that would be better spent on more targeted marketing campaigns.
Most dentists recognize the importance of being on Facebook, but there are numerous targeting elements of Facebook ads that they have yet to master. Dentists can start by searching for people in a local area and then drill down into income ranges, ages, family size, and much more. Facebook can also help dentists target people who work for employers with good dental insurance, boosting marketing campaigns by choosing targets who are more likely to buy above-baseline services.
Other tools help analyze campaign effectiveness. Facebook pixel tracks visitor actions on practice websites, providing dentists insight into where their prospects go and what they want to see. The pixel can track a wide variety of information through customization that can then be used to deliver targeted ads back on Facebook, keeping users interested in dental services.
When potential customers are ready to submit their information, Facebook makes that easy, too. Rather than force customers to type out information on their phone, risking incomplete or abandoned submissions, Facebook now fills in that personal information on behalf of prospects. All they have to do is submit the form, and the office receives a lead.
The Time to Adopt New Tools Is Now
Social media marketing fits every budget, unlike the high, flat costs of billboards and commercials. Any dental business can customize a social media strategy, from a small-town practice of one to a mega-practice with a dozen dentists on staff.
However, Facebook and other social platforms don’t lend themselves to half-baked efforts. A meager investment of $100 might lead to one or two new clients. But with such a small sample size, it’s almost impossible to tell whether a strategy works. Dentists should choose a month or quarter to go all-in on social media marketing rather than just dip a toe in the water. Then, they can compare the results.
Well-executed social media strategies can lead to an increase in new patients. In bigger cities where competition is fiercer, most practices still don’t use the Facebook pixel. Even in small towns, where dentists might not think their prospects are on Facebook, nearly everyone uses social media. Dentists in all areas can attract more of the customers they want and stand out from the competition online by taking advantage of the pixel and other targeting tools.
Where to Go From Here
Social media campaigns produce great results, but Facebook is only the beginning for dentists who want a sustainable customer influx. It’s important to maintain an effective presence on the biggest social media platform available, but there are countless other actions that practices can take—creating inciting content, adding customer relationship management systems to manage leads, and designing interactive calendars so patients can schedule their own appointments—to attract new audiences.
Video content, in particular, helps bring in new prospects. Patients are more likely to trust a dentist to care for their dental needs when they can see the dentist talking about potential treatments. These videos don’t need to be professional investments. Even something shot on an iPhone can scratch that video itch. Marketing tools like blogs and Facebook Messenger bots put the finishing touch on a comprehensive dental marketing strategy.
To attract the best prospects (and more of them), dentists should educate themselves about their available tools and put their marketing budgets to work on social media.
Mr. Torcom is the CEO and cofounder of Mazama Media, a digital marketing agency that offers high-quality social media solutions for businesses. Mazama Media focuses on the individual needs and personalities of clients to create unique and engaging social media content, and the company is part of the prestigious Facebook Small Business Council. Bud is also a member of the Forbes Agency Council. Connect with Bud on LinkedIn.