The art of NOT advertising:
Some dentists send out direct mailers, do pay-per-click ads, run Facebook ads and have a great call to action strategy. That works for them and what they are trying to accomplish in their practice. This may not be what you’re looking for and this article is for those looking for an alternative.
Several dentists I speak with don’t want to rely on call to action “sales pitches” to bring in patients but know they have to do something to expand their new patient base.
The fact is successful marketers take the approach of a financial advisor. You are seeking the best options for short-term and long-term gains. For you, it’s about finding options that will bring you that success without all the call to action gimmicks.
So what is the best investment strategy for your advertising dollar?
This might seem odd coming from a guy that makes his living advertising for dentists; however, we are finding more success switching our focus to new age public relations.
What is this new age of Public Relations? Pretty simple really, give the patients what they are looking for how they are looking for it when they are looking for it.
Many dentists are focused on keywords like “dentist my city,” “city state cosmetic dentist,” etc. This is advertising and as a local advertiser, it’s always going to be very competitive and much more expensive. Public Relations is actually getting to potential patients before they type in those keywords.
Here’s an example for a family dentist:
Take a mother with a daughter at home. Her daughter complains about a pain in her gums. Realistically does she immediately get online and type in “dentist my city” “pediatric dentist?” Will she immediately schedule a visit to her pediatrician? Probably not right away. Most likely she is going to ask her daughter some questions about her condition, look at her gums, and then go online to see if it’s something serious.
When typing in “my daughter’s gums…” here is what came up:
Any of these she could click on depending on the condition. Unfortunately, when I clicked it no local dentists came up. It was all national answer websites. That means “dentists in my city” haven’t been doing their job.
This is the type of patient you are going after. The one that is looking for your help. People tend to trust people after they have helped them so here’s your chance to earn their trust.
Each week you should have a blog, video, or podcast that relates to topics that might be asked online. How do you know what’s being asked? Look to your front desk. Ask them to get out a notebook and write down every question someone asks. You can also do similar searches like the scenario I stated above.
Then you need to create your Public Relations (PR) strategy. Work with a company capable of doing all facets of PR (Blogging, Podcasting, and Video). Make sure all content is produced in a format that is journalistic and educational. You don’t want it to sound like a sales pitch.
Once you have used your content to educate a potential patient it’s ok to put a link to your site so they can call with more questions or schedule an appointment. You have earned it at that point.
This softer approach will help you get the right type of patients into your practice and will be with you long term.
If you want to learn more about PR for your dental practice and what this type of marketing costs, send me an email at the address below.
Ben Shaver is a dental marketing consultant for The Media Shops. He works with practices of all sizes. His main focus is to develop strategies that provide congruency between traditional media sources and new media platforms. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org