Is Your Dental Office Easily Found or Are You Hiding in Plain Sight?
I am not a marketing specialist, but I know how to market a dental office and people can’t consider your product if they can’t find you. It is that simple. But, wait – it’s simple, but there’s more. There are two important things to remember about prospective patients finding your office.
They’ve heard about you. Now what?
When someone hears about your dental office, it’s important to make it as easy as possible to find more information about you so they can get in touch. The intention of asking current patients to review the office is to pique other’s interest and be willing to learn more. For example, when a new restaurant opens in your neighborhood and you hear from different sources (friends, radio, newspaper ads) a few times about it, you want to go to the restaurant or at a minimum seek out more information and see what it’s all about. There is the social proof: before we are comfortable trying something ourselves, we like to hear from several trusted sources that it is good.
Let’s continue with the example of the new restaurant. What do you do next? That’s easy – get online to find specific information, whether it is directions to the restaurant or the phone number to make a reservation or to read the menu or look at reviews. Now, let’s assume the restaurant doesn’t have a website and you cannot find a single review and you even had trouble finding the phone number. Are you still excited to go to this new restaurant? Do you bother to keep looking past the first page of your search results? Probably not. You are either going to get distracted by a different restaurant pop-up advertisement or you’re going to assume the restaurant is not very good if there’s nothing online about it.
Guess what? This scenario is happening to your dental office too; if the public is searching for you, but can’t find you easily.
I would venture to guess that people looking for a dentist are going to give up much faster, because going to a new restaurant is more fun than going to the dentist. Let’s apply this anecdote to your office. Your loyal patient, Jane Smith, tells her cousin, Jimmy, that she just loves your dental office. Jimmy decides to give you a call to make an appointment, but when he gets online to find the office, it’s hard to locate your website or contact information. You just lost Jimmy as a patient because you made it hard for him to call you. It is vital that your website and your amazing reviews are displayed on the first page of their search. Be there when anyone is looking for you, or they will move on.
They need you. Where do they look?
When someone needs your dental office, make sure you can be found by the potential new patient. Oftentimes, people don’t
have a referral to your office, but they need a dentist. Be there when they need you – easily and regularly found. Being easily found means that you advertise to the public, so you are in front of the person when they need you. Your dental office should be doing different things to make sure people know about you – direct mail, radio commercials, asking for referrals and reviews, sending newsletters —each of these is excellent marketing. You want people to go out and talk about your office. You want to use various yet effective marketing tactics, so people want your service or product.
Don’t make the mistake of marketing once and stopping. You need to “always be marketing” so you are in front of them as often as possible to get them to pick up the phone and call you.
There’s evidence that people must see your marketing message multiple times to feel you are familiar and trustworthy. In fact, in marketing, they talk about the Rule of Seven—that’s the number of times it may take for a prospective patient to hear your message before they feel ready to call you. This may be especially true in dentistry, where patients who don’t already have a great dentist tend to put off deciding to find a new one. If you ensure your message is in the public view regularly, even someone who doesn’t need new dentist right now will remember your name when they are ready to make a call.
Many dentists have told me that they marketed once and stopped because it just didn’t work. This approach is a mistake, marketing is most effective when it’s repeated and continuous. Invest in this piece of your office so when a new patient needs you, you are there waiting there to be found.