Before the internet was a fixture in nearly every person’s home, workplace, and pocket, marketing was different. In the days before Google, Yelp, and Facebook, many dentists weren’t concerned with marketing at all. If you’re here reading this blog post, you know times have changed.
For all their faults and all the frustration they cause, sites like Google and Yelp have done one good thing– they’ve given everyone a voice. Every dentist in your area, regardless of skill level or marketing expertise, has the potential to create an online presence.
In essence, you’re competing for space with every other dentist in your area. You all basically have the same set of tools. How you use those tools is what makes all the difference in the world.
How can you set yourself apart from your competitors and effectively market your dental practice? My suggestion: inbound marketing for dentists
What Inbound Marketing for Dentists is NOT:
Imagine cold calling patients and asking them to come to your practice for a visit. Ridiculous, right? Well, inbound marketing is the antithesis of cold calling.
It’s also the antithesis of:
- Radio spots
- TV ads
- Print ads
- Direct Mail
You get the idea. These traditional forms of marketing stop producing leads when you stop paying for them. Many consumers are increasingly sick and tired of traditional ads, as well. 84% of snake people don’t trust traditional advertising. Fewer than 25% of U.S. online consumers trust ads in print publications. People are bombarded by ads and marketing everywhere and all the time. It’s intrusive, much like a cold call.
Your potential patients usually aren’t waiting for your TV commercial to air during their nightly local news segment.
Instead, when they search for a new dentist, they do extensive online research. They also take word of mouth into account. Typically, a TV spot or a print ad doesn’t give them the information they need.
Your ad might pique their curiosity, but then they’re going to head over to your website. Or your Yelp page. They’re going to research you at their own pace, and they’re going to want your website and your off site reviews (on Yelp, Google, and Facebook) to prove your expertise.
To your potential patients, your online presence, and your marketing efforts, are what sets you apart from other dentists in your area.
Not to say “outbound” marketing is useless. I fully believe these outbound marketing tactics still work if done right. And, implementing them in conjunction with the following inbound marketing tactics will give you exponential results.
The days of bombarding patients with your name are over. You have to let them explore at their own pace.
What Inbound Marketing for Dentists IS:
Now that we’ve discussed what inbound marketing for dentists isn’t, we can discuss what it IS.
Inbound marketing is:
- Website and Blog Content
- Online Reviews
- Social Media
- Search Engine Optimization
- Lead Magnets with Opt-In Forms
- Email Newsletters and Email Marketing
Inbound marketing lets your potential patients research you at their own pace. They don’t feel forced into anything or “sold to.” It’s particularly powerful if it’s coupled with strong word-of-mouth recommendations in the “real world” and targeted search engine advertising, and thought outbound marketing, such as direct mail.
Your website content, blog posts, newsletters, and social media posts show potential patients your expertise. If your content is useful, and if it resonates with them personally, they’ll think more highly of you than they do your competition. Any dentist can put together a website and a Facebook page– but only a savvy dentist can use inbound marketing tactics to make their online presence turn web visitors into patients.
If you do inbound marketing correctly, there are three huge benefits:
- 2-Way Communication – Your patient can’t have a conversation with you from your billboard – but they can converse with you on your website, social media and review sites.
- Long Lasting – As soon as you stop paying for traditional advertising, the leads stop coming in. However, if you make a targeted post on your blog, it can generate inbound traffic for as long as you have a website.
- Patients Come to You – Inbound marketing naturally attracts patients instead of requiring you to purchase or “beg” for their attention.
Ultimately, with inbound marketing you are positioned as the expert dentist of choice. This makes it easier on you when it comes time to present the treatment.
Your potential patients are already researching your practice online, where you’re at the same level as your competitors. Isn’t it time you stepped up your marketing game and stood out from the pack?
To your marketing success!