Marketing is essential for any business to grow and become self-sufficient, especially in dentistry. Most dental practices don’t focus on marketing as much as they should.
Instead, they focus on contracting with too many PPO providers, which is essential in a “revenue share marketing agency” that forces dentists to cut away profits from their practices. If you do the math, PPOs cost way more than a Facebook ad or a Google search ad, and they can both offer the same result—new patients.
I believe that dentists need to understand how to properly market their practices and become self-sufficient so as not to have to rely too heavily on PPOs. As practice owners, dentists are entrepreneurs and all entrepreneurs are marketers. Let’s dive in and talk about how to fix your website and make it do a better job of marketing your practice.
The purpose of a website
Most practices develop simple brochure websites and forget about what the website truly should be doing for the practice. I’ve seen many poorly designed websites, and I sometimes wonder how some practices are attracting patients. Over 75% of website visitors leave a website because of poor design. Quality design is extremely important and can make or break a practice’s ability to generate new patients and leads. A website should focus on the following items.
Use videos, images, and written content to educate patients about your procedures, answer common questions, and explain the benefits of your services.
Have you been featured on the news, been recognized for your clinical skills, or helped your community in some way? Credibility helps build trust and when patients trust you and your team, they will accept more treatment. Your website should showcase your accomplishments and build an appropriate level of credibility for your practice.
Develop lead generators
Leads are critical for the success of your practice. With leads, your practice thrives and without them it dies. What is a lead? It is someone who is a fit for your services, and no, this will not be everyone in your community. A lead is someone who is in need of or interested in your services, and who will receive a lot of value from your services. Leads are usually segmented, meaning broken up into groups of people who need different services. For example, denture patients, hygiene patients, perio patients, etc.
Allow patients to get to know you and your team
I see many dental websites that are not personal and do not allow leads or visitors to connect with you online. The benefit of a website for a practice is that it allows your visitors to get to know you without you being present 24/7. It’s critical to use videos, images, and written content to introduce yourself to potential patients and allow them to get to know you before they visit your office.
Allow patients to find and contact you
This is obvious but often overlooked. Make it easy for patients to find your phone number, email address, and location when they’re on your website. Make sure they can easily access this information on their smartphones and other screens. Some practices have even set up live chat options on their websites to give patients a better experience and to help generate leads. Many people prefer not to speak on the phone.
Develop a lead magnet
What is a lead magnet? According to Entrepreneur magazine, “A lead magnet is content given away to someone in exchange for their email address. Instead of purchasing an e-book, for example, they simply sign up for your email list and receive a link to download the free e-book.” This can be used for coupons and promotions. I have also seen practices offer free whitening kits to attract new-patient emails.
The problem is that most dental websites don’t have this critical component as part of their online marketing. It is very critical to collect names, emails, and other contact information from visitors who are not your patients. The money is in those email addresses. Most practices set up a website and hope that patients will just come in or call the office. This doesn’t usually happen. You need an incentive to help patients share their information. You can use a special offer or coupon that costs little or nothing to the practice but is valuable to visitors.
For example, one of the businesses I work with gives offices a free e-book about how to grow dental membership programs and cut out dental insurance. In exchange for the value they share, they’re able to collect patient contact info. Another business gives free social media designs to help generate awareness and drive traffic from social media to a dental website. A true lead magnet is an interesting and valuable tool to our visitors. If you have a weak lead magnet you will not have the benefit of consistent leads.
Driving targeted traffic through content
Now that you understand the purpose of a website, it’s time to drive traffic to your site. Here’s a list of ways to drive traffic: radio ads, radio interviews, geo-targeted social media ads, search engine ads, TV features, TV ads, direct mail, SEO/content marketing, referral cards, billboards, and email blasts from local businesses.
The number of marketing channels are great. This is a combination of online and offline channels to drive traffic. This because 85% of people will visit a website for service providers before they call, visit the practice, or email the practice. This is why your website is so important and needs to be set up correctly and look professional enough to excite patients to visit your practice.