Lean-in to Marketing
By: Ms. Minal Sampat, RDH, BA
You may be an amazing clinical dentist but if you aren’t marketing your skills and practice properly, potential patients won’t know. As a healthcare professional, marketing may not be what excites you but it’s essential to your practice success. Plus, once you learn how to do it well and see the results, you may find it more exciting than you first thought. Here are some commonly asked questions on incorporating a successful marketing strategy into your practice.
There are so many ways to market a dental practice but going from ideas to execution can be a common hurdle. How can practices overcome this?
It’s true; many dentists have great marketing ideas they can’t seem to put into action. Between running the practice and treating patients, these ideas often fall between the cracks.
The best way to get the ball rolling is to make it one person’s job to execute the marketing. If it’s everyone’s job, then no one really does it. Once practices designate a marketing manager, they start seeing results. That’s because it becomes someone’s responsibility to make it happen.
You don’t always have to hire a new team member to accomplish this. Train someone in your practice or give them a couple of hours a week to train themselves. As their knowledge and project load grow, you can expand their hours and give them more resources.
Social media platforms are fun but require consistent posting. How can practices keep creating content long-term?
Consistent posting is important, but you don’t want to burn yourself out. To prevent that, choose just one platform and create a posting strategy for it. If you’re experienced on two social platforms, then you can stretch to two, but no more than that at first.
We know that photos and videos emphasizing your practice’s culture get the best engagement. The best strategy is to keep it simple by sharing something about your day at the office. Take a photo of your morning huddle one day, and the staff pizza party another. Honor birthdays or highlight team members for being great. If you see 25 patients a week, challenge yourself to get photos of four patients who consent to be featured online. Share before and after treatment cases.
Four posts a week is a great goal. Once that’s a habit, you can build from there either by posting more often or cross-posting to another social media platform. As you get better at gathering content, you can then focus on leveraging each platform individually to get maximum reach.
Four posts a week, got it. What type of content should practices focus on putting out?
Today, 80% of content consumed online is video. These are mostly short-form videos; think TikTok or Instagram Reels.
Pay attention to this trend. Figure out how to include it not just in your social media but also in your emails, text message marketing and website. Forbes published a finding that 88% of people would rather spend time on a website with a video than one without, and 64% of customers are more likely to buy a product after watching a video. Another fun fact is that Reels were just added to the Facebook platform and LinkedIn has mentioned many times that they are also adding video options to their platform.
Video is hot right now; lean into it.
Okay, we’ve got consistent posting and videos down, but we’re not seeing a lot of likes and comments. What can practices do to increase social media engagement?
On Instagram right now, Reels are the best way to organically reach audiences and boost engagement. You can record quick videos where you compile clips and effects to catch and keep your audience’s attention.
If you have a Facebook business page and you’re not already using Facebook Ads, it’s time to start. Their tools let you input parameters, so your ideal target audience sees the ads, making them worth the investment. You can affordably experiment with small geographic regions or shorter spans of ad time before committing to a larger campaign.
The real lesson here is to get comfortable with the tools that each platform encourages you to use. That’s what they’ll prioritize in the user’s feeds.
Alright, great advice. Let’s zoom out a little now. What gets in people’s way of success when it comes to marketing in general?
Most commonly friction around posting photos and videos. Perhaps there’s a marketing manager, but team members and doctors are camera shy. Or they’ll get the photos, but not have time allocated to create a meaningful post to go with them.
It’s really important to pick a marketing manager who enjoys marketing, social media and technology, and to give them ample time to execute on ideas. The biggest hurdle is often just getting the tasks done. Having someone who genuinely likes marketing rather than just doing it because they’ve been asked to makes a huge difference.
As for getting the team on board with helping to build marketing content, try to incentivize them. Put up a raffle prize and give a ticket for every patient photo that results from a team member’s invitation to take one.
This has all been very informative. Looking ahead, where can practices look for inspiration and branch out with their methods?
At RMDC 2022, we’ll be discussing strategies with dentists and their teams to help them consistently come up with marketing that’s customized to their practice.
We’ll look at ad-targeting, building a marketing plan that converts, and taking action based on the patients you want to attract. The goal is to keep practices from getting overwhelmed and to simplify marketing so it can be easily implemented.
Being a virtual presentation, the audience will also see examples of social platforms live on-screen so they can follow along. I’m really looking forward to meeting dental professionals and sharing strategies proven to work.
Minal Sampat, RDH, BA is an International Best Selling Author a National Speaker, Marketing Strategist, Social Media Coach, Registered Dental Hygienist and an enthusiastic shoe lover. Minal grew up in St.Thomas, US Virgin Islands and now resides in Washington State with her husband. She launched her first marketing company by breaking a Guinness World Record, and last year, she launched Marketologist™ – a marketing strategy school, online. Minal has also been featured in industry and national press including Forbes.