When it comes to marketing your dental practice, it can be difficult to know what initiatives can help grow your patient count. Adding to the marketing challenge is that of budget and how you can afford to spend money in a way that is going to provide you with a return on your investment.
Here we outline a series of easy and effective marketing strategies to help grow your business, but also do so without breaking your dental practice’s budget.
Five Cost Effective Marketing Strategies for Local Dental Practices
Get Found on Google. There are a number of ways in which you can ensure your dental practice is discoverable on search engines like Google. First, setting up and fully optimizing your Google My Business profile is a fast, free and easy way to do this. This free profile helps you stand out in local searches, and is an opportunity for smaller, local practices to appear in searches ahead of large, dental industry websites.
In addition, be sure all of the existing web pages on your dental practice’s website include basic meta data on the back end for visibility on search engines as well. At a very high level, this includes the title tags and meta descriptions.
The title tags should serve as a high level “name” for each page with 30 – 60 characters and the meta description should include a short snippet that acts as a mini “sales pitch for each corresponding page, no more than 165 characters in length.
Promote Your Expertise. The more well-known you and your dental practice are in the community the better and there are ways your practice can be more prominent. Establishing a niche, or specialization, such as cosmetic dentistry or pediatric dentistry will help you stand out from general dental practices. Additionally, by providing thought leadership content on your website through blogs and other articles, securing press in your local newspapers, and offering to speak and or lead educational talks will solidify you as the specialized expert in your area.
Email Marketing. This could take the form of a regular email newsletter distributed to your patient contacts with news and updates from your dental practice, or a one-off announcement with a single message such as a referral program (see below) or other promotional announcement.
Whatever email marketing option is best for your practice, there are a number of low-cost mass email providers with easy-to-build emails that look professional. Regularly, or semi-regularly communicating with your audience via email is a fast and effective means of staying top-of-mind and helps reinforce your dental practice, and any niche you may specialize in, as the first, and maybe only, care provider.
Establish a Referral Program. The simple act of asking your existing patients to spread good word about your dental practice in the community can be a valuable marketing tool. Consider setting up a reward system for your existing patients to help incentivise them to do so. Examples of rewards can be a chance to be entered into a monthly or weekly drawing for a gift card to a local store or a complimentary dental hygiene kit of your practice’s recommended products.
Promoting a referral program also costs your practice to no money as well. Consider sharing news and occasional reminders through email and social media for those patients you may not be seeing as often. Pair these marketing messages with on-site signs in your waiting room and at reception areas to help drive your referral engine.
Set Up Local Citations. In addition to your Google My Business profile, be sure and set up or claim your other online profiles and citation listings. Examples of these online directories include Yelp, Bing Places for Business, Healthgrades and ZocDoc. Each and every one of these listings are additional mentions of your business online, which increases your presence and therefore likelihood a prospective patient will discover your business. Plus, in addition to these listings being free, this is one marketing initiative which can also be done in-house, without the need for expensive agencies if you have staff available to help.