When applied to dental marketing, Lead Generation is a buzz word that specifically means just one thing—filling dental seats with kids. But accomplishing that can be a little more complicated than simply uttering a two-word phrase. If attracting new patients was that easy, everyone would be successful, and you’d have no reason to read this article. Yet here we are.
Your first instinct when attempting to get the word out about your practice is likely to recruit a top-notch marketing agency to design a beautiful, kid-friendly logo and build a responsive website chock-full of original, keyword-rich content. Maybe you’ll look into pay-per-click campaigns. Perhaps you’ll also encourage your team to post on social media platforms three times a week. Your efforts wouldn’t be wrong.
Marketing tactics aside, there’s a simple, effective method doctors can adopt that will make the right impression on parents and get more kiddos through the doors of their offices. What is this technique? Be your authentic self.
I don’t mean this in a cheesy, Pinterest affirmation sort of way. I mean that the best way to market your business—to influence moms and dads to choose you out of all other dentists—is to market yourself. As the practice owner, you are the business. If there’s anything my husband Michael and I have learned over the last seven years, it’s the importance of authenticity.
So how do you showcase who you really are while making your best first impression? Here are a few things I’ve learned while being a business owner myself.
If your face fits, put it out there.
I can’t stress enough the value of using video. My team can attest to this. When Michael is giving feedback on a website and he’s out of the office, he records a video and sends it to the team. If our team can do a client call via video, you can bet we take it. Almost all our sales calls are conducted via a video chat. And there is one critical reason why this is so imperative to our team. It humanizes us.
During sales calls specifically, we show potential clients our office, our team, and how we work. We want them to see how the sausage is made because we want our relationships to be built on trust. We want to attract clients who will trust our recommendations, who will trust that we have their best interests at heart, and who will trust us enough to work with us for the long haul. When you are able to see the people, who are actually working so hard to help you achieve your dreams, sticking with them becomes a rather natural choice.
The same thing holds true for parents when they are choosing a doctor for their child. The main thing a parent looks for is someone they can trust.
Similar logic can be applied to your choice of photographic images to include on your website. When a parent is browsing the Web in search of a new dentist for their kid, which of the two doctors described below do you think they’ll choose?
1. The doctor with a fresh, responsive website filled with beautiful photos of their fun office and friendly team
2. The doctor whose website displays a bunch of stock photos
Capturing people’s interest is not that complicated. Parents and their kids want to see you and your team and get a sense of the experience they’ll have when they come to your practice. High-resolution head shots of people and action photos of your practice go a long way in garnering trust and making you the obvious choice in a sea of otherwise run-of-the-mill options.
The amazing thing about using photos and video nowadays is that technology is making it easier than ever to take these shots yourself. Of course, we always prefer that clients take advantage of the services of professional photographers and videographers who can edit, cut, adjust for lighting, and provide all the digital files you’ll ever need, not to mention give creative direction that will help make your team shine. Despite the sticker shock you might experience when hiring these professionals, their expertise will be well worth the cost.
In the meantime, with the launch of the iPhone 11 Pro (I know you pre-ordered!) with its advanced camera capabilities, there’s no reason you can’t tackle taking photos on your own. Get a friend with a well-curated Instagram feed to help you out and start snapping your own photos. Speaking of Instagram …
Make social your new best friend.
Most people see social media as a collection of fun platforms to browse through while we’re waiting in line for coffee, enduring a boring meeting, or watching our significant other’s favorite TV show.
But it’s so much more than that. Social media goes far beyond collecting followers by making an occasional post. Using social media allows you to accomplish two things:
- Create a sense of community
- Take control of your message
Let’s consider first the idea of creating community. Imagine if a place existed where half your patients were just hanging out every day looking for content and information to absorb. Well, that place already exists!
With over 169 million users in the United States, more than half the population of our country is on Facebook. Instagram, at 107 million users nationwide, is steadily increasing their user base year after year. And it’s not just parents using these platforms anymore. Minors as young as 13 years old are found on both of these platforms, and they are just as active as their parents, if not more so.
Social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram are so commonplace now that it only makes sense to make use of them in promoting your business. But using them effectively doesn’t mean simply pushing treatment options or promoting your own agenda.
Creating a sense of community means putting yourself out there, showing the world what you’re all about, and letting people get onboard—on their own terms. Social media communities are places where authenticity is honored with loyalty and where people quickly stop following sites that appear fake or phony.
The second point noted above, taking control of your message, goes beyond using traditional platforms. Have you ever googled yourself? How about checking out a date online? Have you ever researched an establishment on the Internet before you committed to it? Of course, you have. That’s the whole point of the Internet. Parents do the same thing with doctors. They want to know what they and their child are getting themselves into before they commit.
As a doctor and as a practice owner, you have the right and responsibility to take control of your online presence and the message you are sending to moms and dads.
Keep in mind that you are a brand. You own a dental practice; you are the face of that business and you are what parents are buying into. Your brand is who you are, so let that one-of-a-kind personality shine. It’s way too exhausting trying to portray yourself as someone else.
Get out of the office.
Nothing beats boots-on-the-ground marketing. Whether you sign up for a booth at your neighborhood farmer’s market, drop off brochures at other local businesses, offer your service as a guest speaker at the grade school down the street, or partner with other dentists—the more you get your name and face out there, the more success you will experience.
Remember what I said about the face? It humanizes you.
When people see your logo and name on mailers and collateral marketing materials, it’s one thing. But to meet you in-person at a local event, to see you active and engaged in your community, that’s a game-changer.
Marketing tactics and strategies will only take you so far. You have to get out into the community and make sure people know who you are. Owning a business is not for the meek or faint of heart.
I can assure you of one thing—this is what will not happen …. You won’t set up shop and immediately have 100 new patients showing up every month until you decide to retire. You’ll have to build a reputation that parents and kids can count on.
The good news, however, is this—to ensure success all you have to do is work hard and be your spectacular self.