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Shout loud, be direct and be disruptive to make an impact and get heard, the textbooks and traditional marketing models will tell you. And it’s true – a blanket campaign will get your brand seen. The problem is that it’s expensive, it won’t necessarily resonate well with your ideal patients and measuring the return on investment (ROI) of branding is incredibly difficult. John Wanamaker was the man that coined the phrase “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”
This outbound approach to marketing has been used businesses for centuries, in a whole-host of manifestations. Billboards, radio advertising, print ads or flyers don’t encourage engagement or necessarily place your brand in front of the right kind of patients.
You can still be loud, but you also want to be effective and focus your efforts on where your potential patients are most likely to find you. Generating inbound enquiries requires a mix of quirky digital techniques – like automation, cookie tracking and SMART content to create a self-serving marketing funnel that generates high-calibre leads.
Marketing in the digital age with traditional approaches is a real challenge. You are drowned out in an ocean of noise produced by your competitors and the other 1.1bn websites, 40m Facebook company pages and 317m Twitter users online.
Consumers have disengaged with traditional forms of advertising, having taken it upon themselves to begin their ‘buying’ processes with researching (often for considerable amounts of time) online. You must focus your efforts on producing useful and informative marketing content that will be found by your prospective customers and helps satisfy their research. Informed buyers are more valuable, more trusting buyers.
Technology has enabled marketing efforts to be far more measurable. You can now monitor the way consumers are acting before they eventually engage with your dental practice and become a patient.
Automation means you can nurture and qualify prospective patients using marketing without having to lift a finger. Software, such as HubSpot, can be used to make marketing automation a breeze. Whilst the initial setup of marketing automation is fairly intensive, the output (new patient bookings) can virtually run by itself.
Cookie tracking gives you the power to vet and analyse the how your prospective patients are engaging with your marketing content. For example, HubSpot enables you to choose a prospective customer from your database and see which of your website pages they have read, for how long and how many times, etc. This kind of insight makes it much easier to make improvements to your marketing materials and also gives you the opportunity to contact a prospective patient via another channel such as email.
SMART content uses the information you’ve collected about your prospective patient via your software (such as HubSpot) and puts a personalised message in front of your prospective customers. That could be an enticing offer, a piece of content to help them through their buying process or even something as simple as ‘Hi [name]’. These little details build trust with customers without the need for you to be personally communicating with them.
These tools are all fuelled by content. Written word, designed infographics, helpful videos or even webinars. This content helps with search engine optimisation, to get you seen by the right people and gives your prospects the opportunity to have meaningful interactions with your brand from their first visit.
It’s possible to reap the benefits of inbound marketing with your already existing outbound tactics. Inbound marketing works intertwines with your other marketing methods to optimise and make them work more effectively.
An inbound approach allows you to make powerful connections with prospective customers, promotes your brand without being intrusive and nurtures and qualifies the best leads. If you’re not already mastering inbound marketing, I guarantee it will only be a matter of time before you do!
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