As a dental practice you’re going to have to rely on unique marketing tools to garner more foot traffic into the clinic. In such a competitive market, you need to be equipped with all of the right tools for success and avoid as many marketing mistakes as possible. As well as avoiding mistakes, it is imperative to avoid taking advantage of tools and opportunities to grow your clinic and attract valuable patients.
Before you start utilizing your marketing strategy, assess it with a fine-toothed comb to ensure you’re not making any of these 5 crucial marketing mistakes.
Adding to that, if you want our team to look at your Dental practice, we offer a free clinic analysis, which shows your current status in more detail, with an easy to follow action plan.
1 – Not Being Visible in Local Searches
Potential patients are going to flock to Google and the other available search engines to find dental practices in their area (approximately 77.43% of all internet searches are conducted on Google).
If they type in “Dental practice in Dublin, Ireland” or “Dental practice near me” it is crucial that your listing is one of the top results. Think of the Google results as a street full of dental clinics, a potential patient will start at the start of the street, looking at all the dental clinic’s available. They will more than likely pick from the top 4 that they see! If your clinic is nowhere to be found, you will loose this patient, along with many more.
You’ll also need to make sure you’re visible in as many areas as possible. Take this image for example, which shows the result set of a Google Search for the term “Dentist near me””:
- Google Ads: This is marked in Yellow in the adjoining image. In most cases, ads are placed above search engine results on result pages. This is because other Dental Clinics pay to be placed at the top of a page whenever someone is searching for something related to what their business has to offer. About 6% of searchers will click on an ad when they’re looking for information or products on Google. When a visitor clicks the ad, they are brought to the Dental Clinic’s website, and the dental clinic is charged for that click by Google, hence the term Pay Per Click (PPC).
- Google Maps: This is marked in Green in the adjoining image. This is by far the most powerful region of the Google results. With Google Maps you’ll be able to show your address, contact information, opening times, the review rating of your practice, and more. Approximately 71% of people using Google Maps are looking for the address of a business. Google shows the top 3 Dental Clinics in the proximity of the person searching. These people are local, close to your clinic, looking for your service, if you appear here, you will have a high chance of obtaining a new patient.
- Organic Search Engine Listings: This is marked in Red in the adjoining image. These listings are curated based on the SEO practices you have employed on your website. 64% of all online traffic is garnered through organic search, which is 64% of the total market you may be missing out on. Google Shows 10 results on every page. To rank here takes time, but with a well structured website with good content, you will rank well over time.
By not being visible on local searches you’re going to miss out on an abundance of sales revenue and opportunities. According to Search Engine Land, 50% of consumers who conduct a local search on their devices visit the company within 1 day. Also, Hang Ten SEO found 18% of these local searches will lead to a sale and 78% of all mobile searches lead to physical purchases offline.
18% of these local searches will lead to a sale and 78% of all mobile searches lead to physical purchases offline.
2 – Taking Patients for Granted
Another huge marketing mistake that a lot of Dental Clinic’s make is taking their patients/customers for granted. It can be easy to get swept away in the idea of taking care of the back-end issues with your company, but remember, your patients are what keep your practice afloat.
- Asking Questions: The first thing to do is ask your patients questions about how they found your clinic. Not only will this make them feel like you have a personally vested interest in their activities, but it can also help you understand where you’re the most visible. For example, if all of your patients find your practice through your Facebook page you can focus your efforts elsewhere to diversify your visibility. As well as asking them where they found you, ask them if they would improve anything in the clinic, you would be surprised that this will give you a golden insight into possible issues with your clinic.
- Giving Gifts to Regulars: As long as you’re good at what you do, you’re undoubtedly going to have regular patients that come in several times throughout the year. There’s nothing better than being able to give them a gift for their continued support and it can help to establish a stronger level of trust. According to Virtual Incentives, approximately 56% of consumers said receiving incentives would improve their consideration of a brand. These can be small dental related gifts such as toothpaste or dental floss which you may get as free samples from your suppliers.
- Personalised Promotions: Along with giving gifts, it can also help your brand to offer personalised promotions to your patients. For example, a patient who regularly comes in for teeth whitening can receive a free whitening treatment after their 3rd appointment. 52% of Millennials find that personalised incentives would help them to establish loyalty to a brand with 48% in Generation X and 40% in Baby Boomers, according to Rare.
3 – Not having a Professional email account
A professional email account is one that matches your dental clinic’s domain. These are relatively easy to set up, and ensure that your dental clinic looks professional and more importantly is contactable!
72% of surveyed adults prefer email as their method of contact. This is probably due to the fact that it is easy to contact multiple clinics quickly, and discretely and it is less arduous as a phone call.
70 % of surveyed adults think that a free email service such as gmail, yahoo etc looks unprofessional. This is one of the first aspects or points of contact you give a potential patient, and if they think the email account looks unprofessional, they will think that similar decisions may have been made to mark the clinic as unprofessional.
From our National Dental Report 2017/18, 28.3% of Dental Clinics in Ireland do not have a working email account for their Clinic. This is incredible when you think how easy it is to set a dental clinic email account. Its comparable to not having a door to your clinic, making it quite difficult for potential patients to contact you!
4 – Having an Outdated Dental Website or None at all
The worst mistake you could make is to have an outdated website or no website at all. First, your rankings on Google will plummet as ranking algorithms take relevance and updated content into account when establishing search engine rankings. Also, you’re going to lose trust with your patients. According to Orange, 75% of website visitors will draw conclusions about the credibility of a company from their website design.
From our experience, as we analysed every dental clinic in Ireland, its sometimes better to have no website than to have a really old or buggy one. Patients are looking for signals to entice them to try your services and trust your expertise. If the website looks like its from the 1980’s they will think that this Dental clinic takes no pride in their clinic, and that the devices used could also be from the 1980’s.
A website is a promotional and sales asset for your Clinic, which is available 24/7 and able to take enquiries, educate and answer questions. Its one of the most valuable and under-rated investments for a Dental Clinic.
Hang Ten SEO found that approximately 50% of all mobile searches are from people looking for a business name, phone number, address, or service information. An outdated website or no website is clearly not going to give this large chunk of the market the information they need. Therefore, you’re losing out on a substantial source of revenue, customer trust, and visibility. Not to mention you’ll be making it impossible for patients to easily contact your clinic.
5 – Relying Only on Foot Traffic and Word of Mouth
Foot traffic and word of mouth are two reputable ways to get information about your business out to the general public, but it’s not the only thing you should be focusing on. It’s too often that small business owners assume their customers will talk about their products and that’s the only marketing avenue they should consider.
From our experience, word of mouth is the best marketing tool that a clinic can have, but relying on this alone, or passers by will stunt your Clinic’s growth. If your clinic is doing well from these two forms of marketing that is great news, this signifies that you offer a great service which is sought after, because if you add a well planned out online marketing plan to this, your growth will be exponential!
Word of mouth is extremely powerful, as 92% of consumers trust referrals from people they know. This sphere of influence is somewhat limited, and will not work as a constant stream of new patients for you, its normally limited to a number of people in similar demographics.
With word of mouth referrals give you 5x more outreach than a single paid ad, its important that you look after your current clients, but if you want to grow your clinic, you can run an affordable marketing plan while still looking after the current and new clients.
6 – Not Encouraging Patient Reviews and Referrals
Reviews can be a double-edged sword but at the end of the day it’s all information that you need to make your dental practice better. First, you need to encourage your patients to give you feedback about what you could do to help make their visits more comfortable, more efficient, and more pleasant. To get reviews, consider:
- Checking your Facebook and other social media pages for customer input
- Review local search directories (such as Google Local) for customer reviews
- Offer incentives, such as free cleanings, for a customer reviews
Equally as important as getting feedback about your services, you need to entice your customers to bring their friends, family members, and co-workers into your practice. Patients will be 4x as likely to consider your dental office if they’re referred by a friend. To encourage more patient referrals, consider:
- Offering personalised incentives for each referral
- Recognise and thank people for their referrals, this may lead to additional referrals from a single person
- Educate your patients on all of the products and services you have and how you can help
- Create an online referral submission form
Without the help of reviews and referrals your practice could be doing a fantastic job in the eyes of your patients, but you wouldn’t have any idea unless you asked for their input. By making sure that you reach out to your clients for regular feedback, you can also adjust growing issues before you begin losing patients.
By ensuring you avoid these 6 crucial marketing slip-ups, you’ll be on your way to establishing a successful dental practice.