What I’ve Learned About Dental Web Marketing
I attended an event in Las Vegas called Blogworld & New Media Expo. It was the second time this event was held, and social media’s popularity was just beginning to emerge. That really dates me and how long I’ve been doing this.
I remember truly sensing a marketing revolution in the making, but little did I know what a paradigm shift it would bring to dental digital marketing.
Some of the people around me were tweeting. I had no idea what that was… and when I checked into it, frankly, I thought it was the dumbest thing I’d ever seen. “How on Earth could this be useful,” I thought.
I opened an account anyway (because I didn’t want to feel left out) and became approximately the 16 millionth registered user with this first tweet:
From that day I would be inspired, fueled, and consumed by this new media revolution — and in particular, its application to marketing for dentists — for nearly the next decade.
In preparation for a recent speaking opportunity, I asked myself, “If a dentist asked you to list the three most important things you’ve learned about dental marketing, how would you reply?” As I worked to answer that question I distilled and distilled. Here’s what I came up with…
1. Today, ALL Dental Web Marketing Is Digital Marketing
Dental marketing has changed forever. In the old days, consumers had limited choices, limited places to buy goods and services, and limited messages to pay attention to, and they believed in advertising. Not today.
People don’t pay attention to traditional advertising anymore. They “opt-in” to the messages they want to receive. And according to a recent Nielsen study, 84% of smartphone and tablet owners use their devices as second screens while watching TV. I’m one of them. I can’t remember the last time I watched TV without a second screen in my hands… Whether that was my laptop, iPad, or smartphone. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I watched live TV and sat through the commercials. Maybe you’re the same way.
Your patients and prospective patients constantly move between the online and offline worlds. And social media has become DEEPLY embedded in this very fluid space.
Regardless of how someone first hears about your practice, marketing your dental practice almost immediately becomes digital and social. If someone recommends your practice over lunch or receives your direct mail postcard, the first thing that happens is the smartphone comes out of the purse and your practice is checked out online.
Even when you make a treatment recommendation inside your practice, patients will use social media to ask their trusted friends about those recommendations—and about you.
A pediatric dentist and client of ours, Dr. Mitzi Hines, recently wrote us a note about this very thing. “We get new patients from social media, but that’s not the best part. There are lots of people out there who are looking at our Facebook page to find out what we’re ‘really like’ before they bring their son or daughter in for their first visit. Whether they hear about us from a referring dentist or from other advertising, we know almost everyone is ‘checking us out on Facebook.”
2. Dental Web Marketing Favors Small, Local Businesses — Like Your Dental Practice
Nike has 30 million Likes on their Facebook page. But typically when they post content the amount of interaction they get is proportionally low. When they recently posted about a half marathon, 684 people Liked the post and 70 people commented… Which at first glance seems pretty good, until you do the math. As a percentage of their fan base, very few people Liked the post and an even smaller percentage commented.
Contrast that with a dental practice example where the practice asked their fans to guess the date when their hygienist would deliver her baby. 21 people Liked the post and 68 people commented. Again, when you do the math, you begin to see the significant difference between the proportional level of interaction on big corporate pages vs. small business pages.
Small businesses — like your dental practice — are relationship based. Big corporations aren’t. And this brings me to the third thing I’ve learned:
3. Effective Dental Web Marketing Is About People, Not Media
Whoever started using the word “media” to describe social media really messed it all up for everyone and made it all very confusing. I understand what it means to be in business, and the importance of measuring the effectiveness of your marketing spend.
While big businesses earmark tens of millions of dollars crunching numbers in an effort to attribute some arbitrary dollar value to a fan, savvy small business owners seem to already “get it.” They intuitively understand the monetary value of having strengthened relationships with their customers… Especially given the tiny amount of monetary expenditure necessary to maintain and strengthen those relationships.
When you use dental marketing strategies and social media as a stage for communicating your own unique practice story, through people, and through valued relationships, profound and unexplainable changes start to happen.
For small businesses — like your dental practice — social media dental marketing provides a simple, systematic way to reinforce to your patients, members of your team, your community, and YOU, that what you do each day matters. Dentistry isn’t just a commodity. And, the way you practice dentistry each day makes a difference… Which in turn strengthens relationships, trust, loyalty, referrals, case acceptance, and patient retention.
Effective dental marketing, especially with social media, now belongs to those dentists who care about other people, who are awake to the opportunity dental social media marketing provides, and who believe in their gut that better relationships matter. Embrace what this revolution can do for your practice. Embrace what this revolution can do for you personally and you’ll find many ways to increase your new patient flow.
About the Author: Adrian Lefler is a dental marketing expert and a key member of the dental marketing team at My Social Practice. My Social Practice is located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Adrian is passionate about helping dental practices grow through transparent and effective dental marketing services. If you have any dental marketing questions, give us a call at 877-316-7516. And, don’t forget to read our Google My Business reviews.