As a dentist, you’re in a unique position. Whereas some businesses and professionals offer services that people get excited about, the reality is that very few people get excited about going to the dentist. So you have to take a unique approach to lead generation.
Why a lead generation strategy is necessary
The average dental practice loses over 20 percent of its patients per year. That’s a massive attrition rate – one of the highest in the entire healthcare industry. And while you can’t always do something about the turnover, you can (and should) look for ways to generate more patients on a regular basis. This will offset some of the attrition and allow you to grow at a sustainable rate.
While you’re always going to have some walk-in foot traffic and/or referrals from existing patients, these sources of new patients aren’t adequate for growing a company. Considering the 20 percent attrition rate, you’ll be lucky just to hold steady. What you really need is a digital lead generation strategy that allows you to add a significant number of new patients on a monthly basis.
4 lead generation tips
When it comes to generating new leads/patients, there are dozens of different strategies and techniques you can try. But if you’re looking for the best bang for your buck, here are five options that are proven to work over and over again.
Let’s begin with blogging. This is probably the most time-consuming option to get up and running, but it has the best long-term ROI potential. In other words, if you’re willing to do the work on the front end to get things up and running, it’ll eventually pay off.
There are six key steps to launching a successful blog:
(1) Pick a descriptive blog name
(2) Register your blog and secure hosting
(3) Customize your blog using a design template (or hire a developer)
(4) Promote your blog using basic marketing principles and SEO
(5) Monetize your blog by capturing leads and scheduling consultations with new patients
You don’t need to publish five thousand words of copy every day. Once you have your blog up and running, you can publish one or two posts every week and slowly start to build up a solid foundation of SEO-friendly content for your specific market and niche.
2. Social media
When it comes to social media marketing, dentists aren’t the first professionals who come to mind. But if you’re looking for a cost-effective way to engage people and build trust (which is obviously vital in this industry), social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are useful.
The traditional method of creating profiles for your practice and sharing generic posts every day doesn’t usually produce much. So if you’re going to go down the route of social media, we recommend trying an alternative approach.
One of the top alternative social media strategies for dentists involves creating Facebook groups that directly relate to a pain point that your audience has. For example, if you know a lot of people suffer from dental anxiety, you could create a dental anxiety Facebook group and use it to spark conversation.
This gives people a community and a support group. Not only that, but it allows you to peek behind the curtain and understand what your target audience is thinking. You can then publish helpful and encouraging posts that position you as the trusted dentist who cares for their physical and emotional needs.
3. Facebook ads
If you have a bit of a marketing budget, you can always try your hand at Facebook ads. With Facebook ads, you only pay on a per-click basis. In other words, you aren’t paying every time the ad is shown – just when someone clicks.
The key to a successful Facebook ad is to target the right audience and to drive them to the right landing page. This is a page that gives them immediate value. It could be something like a free eBook, consultation, or 10-minute chat with the dentist.
4. Email marketing
Whether you’re blogging, using social media, or running Facebook ads, email should always be a central focus. In fact, the goal of each of these should be to collect the email addresses of qualified patient leads. This allows you to launch drip marketing campaigns that educate prospects over time and make your practice the clear and obvious choice when they have dental needs.
Putting it all together
You’ll have to figure out what your specific lead generation strategy should look like. Maybe blogging and social media is your main focus. Or perhaps you use Facebook ads to build up an email list, which you nurture over time. Maybe webinars are your thing. We recommend experimenting with multiple strategies and refining them over time. You’ll eventually find the lead generation strategy that works best for your practice.