The world is very different right now than it was six months ago. The events of this year have caused a lot of change in the way people live and do business. Businesses that rely on face-to-face interaction, such as dental practices, have been hit particularly hard. Even now, as the market is starting to open up again, there will be lasting changes. It makes sense, then, that your dental marketing strategy changes accordingly.
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Social strategy is now king in dental marketing
One of the most important lessons learned from the lockdown period is that dental practices who interact with their customers on a real, human level do best. That means social media should be at the core of your dental marketing strategy, because it allows direct contact for reviews, criticism, and complements. This lets your patients feel like they’re really talking to a person and that their comments and concerns are being heard.
Posting on social media falls into two categories: ads and organics.
Ads are exactly what you think: images or short videos that grab attention and hopefully draw people to your social profile or website. Social media advertising is incredibly powerful. Platforms such as Facebook collect lots of data about their users which allows them to build detailed profiles about those people’s personalities, likes, and dislikes. Also, you are able to target your ads, rather than just scattering them out and hoping that potential leads see them, as you might with traditional media such as newspaper or radio ads.
Because of all the data social media companies collect, you can be really specific about the people you want to target. This type of advertising is called “targeted advertising” and it is almost the sole source of revenue for Facebook, Google, and other large tech companies that offer free services.
Organic posts are posted directly to your account feed, and while there is no cost attached to these, people won’t see them unless they visit your account or follow you. The advantage of organic posting is that it has a way more personal feel. People who see these posts are more likely to feel like they are seeing something personal.
This is where our next point comes in.
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Dental marketing needs constant communication
Because so many people have been exposed to reduced, and often uncomfortably low, levels of social interaction over the last few months, it is more important than ever to show a friendly, welcoming face in your dental marketing plan. Social media provides an amazing way to do this by allowing you to communicate directly with potential new patients. However, just posting once or twice won’t be enough to maintain this image.
The more you communicate with your followers, and the friends they share your posts with, the more this impression of personability comes through. If you’re able to post daily, both existing and potential patients will feel as if they’ve got to know you. Not only does this give them cause to trust you when they are looking to return to the dentist, but also keeps you in the back of their minds, so that they think of you when they do decide it’s time for their next appointment. This is key to your dental marketing success.
Applying the methods you use for your organic posts to your ads is another great way to give the impression of interacting with a real person. When people see a clean-cut, professional ad, with all the perfect imagery and color, it may feel just a little distant and corporate. To someone who hasn’t seen their family for four months, or who hasn’t left their apartment in a week, a simple video of your staff warmly expressing how much they’re looking forward to welcoming patients back to your practice can go a long way.
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Video is perfect for dental marketing right now
Speaking of video… video is one of the best tools in your dental marketing toolbox when it comes to making things personal. Someone who really understands the power of this strategy is Gary Vaynerchuk. He has mastered the use of his smartphone camera to give the impression that he is talking directly to the viewer, almost like a personal video call. This works especially well on social media because of how scalable it is. He can have a “1-to-1” conversation with millions of people at once. (We’ve discussed Gary and how he creates such successful content before – if you want to learn more about video production, check out this blog). This style may not suit you or your dental marketing plan, but using video of your staff, and even customers if they are happy to help, gives a sense of honesty when you make claims about how great your business is. A short text post saying that you’re offering a discount for new clients is nowhere near as impactful as a short video of a patient who had a great experience.
The sense of personal service that you can give with visual media is complemented by the brain’s ability to digest imagery better than text, and to remember it for longer. In fact, this article from 2012 found that users are more than 27 times as likely to click on a video ad than a standard banner ad! From presenting information faster than text, to allowing people to take in non-verbal communication, there’s a reason why the most popular social media platforms are those that include a large amount of video, including Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.
Read more: Managing online reviews in dental marketing
Dental marketing needs reassurance first
As people start heading back to the dentist after lockdown, many may be concerned about the continuing risk of infection. Your marketing is an excellent way to reassure your existing and potential new patients that you are exercising the highest standards of safety and infection control. This is something that won’t disappear just because the lockdown ends either. It’s highly likely that the impact of this period will be felt for at least the next year and that people’s awareness of infectious disease will remain at a heightened level for a long time.
Again, video will prove an important tool in showing how seriously you’re taking the safety of your dental patients. Showing the preparations you’ve made and precautions you’ve taken, while also reassuring people that they can still expect a warm, personal service behind the mask, will make sure that people feel confident to pay you a visit.
Need some help? Ask our dental marketing experts today.