Choosing the right marketing strategy for your dental practice often comes down to two factors — time and money. You probably don’t want to spend a lot of either, but prioritizing which of those you want to save can help you choose the right approach for your marketing.
You want to save money
If you and your team have time to be hands-on with your marketing, or if you are willing to wait for long-term results for your efforts, these marketing strategies can help you reach your goals and save money in the process.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is all about getting your website to the top of online search results, where new patients are looking for you. SEO can cost next to nothing if you do it yourself, but you definitely need to know what you’re doing. And you need to be patient. Gaining traction in search results and climbing to the top can take time and continual effort, but the long-term benefits are worth the wait.
Content marketing is another great long-term, low-cost marketing strategy. In case you don’t already know, content marketing focuses on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain new patients. Primarily, you would use your blog and social media to grow an audience and build trust over time so you can develop a steady stream of new patients. To be successful at content marketing, you need to be committed to producing content on a regular basis, which is usually harder than it sounds.
Using the happy patients you already have to get more new patients is a great strategy for building your business. Patients who are referred to you by friends or family are likely to stay with your practice longer and spend more than new patients generated from other types of marketing, making this approach even more effective. To get referrals, you have to be diligent about asking for recommendations, and continually encourage your patients to send more people your way. That can feel uncomfortable for some dentists, but remember that you have earned referrals by providing an outstanding level of service to your patients.
You want to save time
If you are a busy dental practice or if you need to generate results quickly, then paid advertising options will probably work better for you.
Digital advertising is the most common approach to get immediate results. Google ads and social media advertising are both effective, and which one you use will depend on your goals, budget, and target audience. Tracking results is important to make sure you are getting the best possible return on investment and not wasting your marketing dollars.
Don’t overlook traditional forms of advertising — direct mail, radio, television, print, and display ads — as effective marketing options. The cost for these may be higher than digital advertising, but the results can be worth it. Again, track results versus cost to decide if any of these are the right choice for you.
Does it have to be one or the other?
Just because you’re leaning toward saving money or saving time, that doesn’t mean you have to choose one or the other. In fact, a blended approach is usually what works best for most dental practices. Also keep in mind that some of the more time-consuming strategies can be outsourced. For example, if you like the long-term benefits of strengthening your SEO but don’t have the time to do it yourself, it is quite common for dentists to partner with a marketing agency or independent contractor to manage the process.