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Everything in the world is going digital – at present, there are over 3 billion internet users in the world, a number that is only set to increase with technological advancements and easier access to digital gadgets. The internet is growing at an even faster rate; with over half the world’s population active on the World Wide Web this year.
With this in mind, the internet is a goldmine for businesses looking to improve their marketing strategies – if you know how to use it!
It’s a challenging process – trying to build up patient growth at a dental practice. In order to succeed and grow, dentists need to use their digital presence to their advantage. There are many ways to do this:
There are 1.98 million SMEs in the UK that don’t have a website. This costs them a total of over £343 billion each year. Having a website can help with branding, design and communication with potential patients. A website can work as an ideal central point, where dentists can answer frequently asked questions, update with news on the practice, and allow for ease with booking appointments. Online presence is vital – with the right SEO and content, you can ensure your dental practice is getting the recognition it deserves.
Social media is incredibly important for companies looking to bridge the gap with the public. Online marketing can take many forms; as direct emails, organic posts to Twitter and Facebook, blogging on LinkedIn pages and blogging on your website. Social media strategy can be time-consuming but the amount of coverage your practice receives is monumental, and can make all the difference towards your target customer reach. Alongside options for different social media channels, which are free and relatively quick to set up, companies also pay for advertising options – which is a super effective approach on some social media channels, allowing you the option to tailor your practice towards your audience.
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. It’s important to analyse your business and work on the aspects where you struggle. Sometimes sitting down and analysing your dental practice can be the first step to improving it. How can you retain patients and increase referral patients to your practice?
One of the best ways to increase a patient circle is through referrals from patients who have had the treatment already. They are a walking, talking advertisement for your dental work. Routinely ask for feedback at the end of all treatments and say that “we are looking to expand so if you are happy with your treatment from us please be sure to let people know who may be considering the treatment too and provide us with a review or testimonial”. Get their consent to use some of this along with clinical before and after images in your marketing campaigns. You can use things like Reputation Manager in EXACT Practice Management Software (others probably have similar solutions too) to help you to gather and use these. Google reviews should be an important aspect of your Marketing Plan. Ensure you use every end of treatment review to ask if they will provide a review. After all, according to a recent survey by Podum, 93% of consumers said online reviews have an impact on their purchase decision and 60% look at reviews on a weekly basis.
Marketing strategies are great but your biggest asset is your network of supporters. Make sure you reach out to them and use their influence to grow your own. People are 90% more likely to trust a brand recommended by a friend, and it’s important to use this knowledge to your advantage. Use word of mouth marketing – make sure your network shares your content, and gets the word out on your behalf.
Sounds old-fashioned, but there’s something very effective about using text messages to your advantage. Keeping a personalised line of communication with your patients can emphasise care and dedication towards your patient’s well being. Additionally, a list of recipients can be useful when it comes to promotion and brand awareness, especially leading up to certain occasions or major changes in the dental practice. It’s a challenging balance, however, between overwhelming recipients and maintaining brand awareness but always get their opt in to receive information this way (and postal or emails too).
Here’s a few tactics dental practices can use to grow their business – it’s important to keep up with current trends and work to use the greatest tool out there to your advantage – the internet. Effective marketing can be a challenge but once mastered it can make a huge difference to any dental practice.
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