Let’s face it, Dental Marketing isn’t easy. In an increasingly competitive consumer’s market in Australia, it’s difficult to be sure that your practice’s marketing will resonate with prospective patients. Not only is there an oversupply of graduates entering the market, but with so many ‘channels’ and ‘platforms’ how do you know if you’re doing all you can to fill your appointment books?
With Dentistry changing dramatically over the last 10 years, it can often be hard for Dentists and Practice Managers to know what direction to take with their practice marketing.
To help you get started, here are 4 simple pieces of advice you can apply to your marketing strategy to make sure you put your practice in the best position for success:
1. Get all your ducks in a row
If you’re a new practice, or you’re reassessing your strategy, you may find it helpful to read another blog of ours: The HealthEngine Guide to Opening Your Own Practice before you begin. Offering everything from tips on getting started, to a complete business plan checklist, you’ll get these tools designed to help you succeed in every way as you begin your journey to becoming a top medical practice owner or manager.
“Plan for what is difficult while it is easy, do what is great while it is small.” – Sun Tzu
We’ve all heard the saying, ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’ and it certainly applies to your marketing. The fact is, if your overall business strategy isn’t defined, you’ll find it hard to generate sustainable business.
With close to 8,000 dental practices in Australia, the secret lies in finding your competitive differentiators.
As Kaine Harling, Founder of dental marketing agency, Perception Agency, told us in our recent article, “To engage with patients you really need to have a much different approach. Every practice needs to have their own point of difference and will often compete in different areas both demographically and geographically. What sets the best apart is how they align themselves to the personas of their prospective patients – to really connect with them.”
2. Lockdown your dental marketing goals
To find your route, you must first know your destination, that’s why it’s important that you lock-down your marketing goals. To do this, ask yourself exactly what you want to achieve.
And, don’t feel like you have to follow what every other practice is doing, remember that every practice’s goals are different – and for good reason, no two practices are identical.
Ask yourself the following questions:
What have I tried in the past?
What has worked?
What has not worked?
How many new appointments do I need per week/month/year to be profitable?
How many new patients do I need?
What kind of patients will help me grow the practice quickly/sustainably?
If I don’t invest in marketing, will my practice survive/thrive?
Also, ask yourself what success looks like for you.
If you don’t start working towards that goal, it’s near impossible to figure out the best way to get there.
Above: Marketing is a means to an end. Define your end (in detail!)
3. Build a website you want prospective patients to see.
With up to 77% of internet users searching online before booking an appointment with a healthcare provider, promoting your practice online is becoming key to attracting and retaining the right patients. But with patients’ ever-growing expectations, simply have a website isn’t enough, you need a website that offers patients a good experience when they visit it.
Think about the websites you interact with yourself: the shopping sites, hobby pages, forums and various social media platforms.
Which ones do you like using? Which do you choose to go back to?
With so much competition, a bad website can repel patients before they even contact you!
If budgeting is tight and you can’t fork out for a web development agency right now, check out our DIY Guide to Creating a Website for Your Practice, in the meantime.
It will take you through everything from domain to design, to ensure your website isn’t working against you!
Regardless of what you choose, rest assured your HealthEngine online booking widget will work seamlessly with whichever platform you use to build your website!
4. Make sure patients CAN see that website.
It’s all well and good investing in building a wonderful, user-friendly website but if there are no patients visiting it, you’ve essentially wasted your money. Even if you create a solid business plan, define your strategic and dental marketing goals and build a website you’re proud of, you still need to reach potential patients.
You may have heard the terms Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) across your research. These terms describe the various free vs paid processes of increasing your practice visibility online when patients are searching for dentists and is an important element of your online marketing.
Your IT contractor, web developer, marketing, or branding contractors may be able to assist you with implementing an effective SEM and SEO strategy. Keep in mind, the majority of new patients will search online for a new dentist before looking to any other resource, so it’s important to work on this approach.
Alternatively, you can partner with HealthEngine who can completely manage your SEM for you – and do it cost-effectively. Learn more about how HealthEngine can help with your Google search activity.
And, that’s not the only way HealthEngine can help drive more patients to your practice. With HealthEngine’s Patient Connect, you can promote your practice to Australia’s largest network of patients. We’re talking upwards of 7 million Australians who’ve made more than 30 million bookings online via HealthEngine.
To learn more about how HealthEngine can help drive growth in your dental practice, get in touch with us below!
There’s no obligation, simply fill out the form or call 1300 297 709 and we’ll be in touch shortly.