Your digital dental marketing strategies can be a powerful trust-building factor for all your prospective new patients who are doing their due diligence online.
When you work in the medical industry, trust is incredibly important for your patients. They are putting their health and wellness in your hands, and they need to know that you will provide them with the care they need. Now if they lose that trust in your then you end up losing them.
You can work towards developing a trust-focused relationship during your appointments with patients, but it’s important to start even earlier than that. Your dental marketing strategies can lay the foundation towards assuring prospective patients that you can be trusted and counted upon to provide what is best for their teeth.
Much like any other business, dentists need to market themselves and their practice to find success and grow their patient base. With so much being done online, digital medical marketing has never been more important, and it will only grow in importance as time goes on. It is absolutely crucial for you to build an online brand that projects the trustworthiness that patients want out of their dental care providers, whether you are a general practitioner or are highly specialized.
Build Trust With These Proven Dental Marketing Strategies
There are several strategies that you might use for your marketing, but these ones in particular can help you build trust with your patients.
Keep Online Directories Up to Date
One of the most common ways to lose trust for any business is to have negative or no information online. This could be flat-out incorrect information, or information that is not consistent among different places. It is very rarely the fault of the directory, so the dental practice owner must make sure that all of its listings online are correct and up-to-date.
Online directories are a major part of any digital dental marketing strategy, and they have become more important over time with Google increasingly rewarding businesses that are heavily brand-oriented. More people every day are searching for products and services in their local area by using a search engine (mainly Google). If you are not listed in your relevant industry-specific directories, then your dental practice brand will not show up as often for those who need dental care.
You need to make sure that you at minimum have a verified listing with all of the most popular online directories, such as Google My Business and Yelp. In addition, you want to keep building your branding foundation by creating profiles on as many other directories as possible. There are over 600 social media-style websites that allow you to create directory listings with a no-follow or do-follow backlink to your dental website. This gives your dental brand authority, trust and relevance.
You need to then regularly check to make sure that your NAP (name, address and phone) information is up-to-date. If a prospective patient notices something is wrong, or clicks on a website link that is no longer active, then it’s a surefire way to lose trust online with people’s dissipating attention span. Any confusion or barrier to making contact with you will direct a prospective patient to another provider who has invested in a more trustworthy digital presence.
You can also optimize and power up your directory listings to make sure that they rank higher in search engine results. Google and other search engines place a priority on the relevancy and authority of a site when placing it in a ranking. To improve your relevancy, make sure to fill out as many of the options as possible. When describing your business, make sure that you talk about what you provide, and not necessarily what you sell. You can also choose your general business category, along with 5 sub-categories. Make sure to select all that apply.
Humanize Your Dental Practice
Finding any health care provider is a decision that involves many factors, including personal preference. Patients want to strike human bonds with their providers. Giving off a feeling of comfort should be one of your priorities, because a lot of your prospective patients are sometimes feeling anxious about visiting a dental practice.
By humanizing your dental practice as being staffed by caring folks who have the best interests of patients in mind, you can ease that discomfort and make your practice a place where people want to come. Your content should feature bios, photos, and even videos of the dental staff, administration, and even your current and past patients.
Make sure that your social media and directory listings also have pictures of the people who make your practice work. Prospective patients won’t connect with the image of a building, or an empty dental chair, but they will connect with people who seem like their neighbors and friends.
Another thing you can do to provide comfort to prospective patients is to place your credentials on all of your online materials, including your directory profiles. When they see that you have a great amount of expertise and experience, it will help them make the right decision by going with the practice that can prove it is certified and competent at providing their services.
Manage Your Online Reputation
More and more people are going online to not just find products and services, but to read testimonials and reviews as well. This includes when they are looking for doctors, chiropractors, and even dentists. Not only that, but online reviews are highly trusted. This means that if you have several negative reviews floating around on the internet somewhere, it can damage your reputation and affect your business.
You can manage your reputation with strategies that you can include in your digital marketing plan. To start, talk to your current patients to get their opinions on all aspects of your practice. This can include the dental services you provided them, your bedside manner, how they were treated by the reception staff, and anything else they might have experienced in your practice.
This feedback will help you run your dental practice better, but it will also help you with marketing. Unless you have been a truly negligent dentist, you will end up with a stream of positive reviews that you can highlight on your website or on your social media channels.
Online reputation management also involves taking the time to keep track of any mentions of your practice online. You can set up Google alerts for your dental practice, and keep track of any review services that are out there. If you have a negative review, respond to it as soon as possible to try to rectify the situation.
Mistakes happen with any business, but prospective patients will appreciate that you took the time to address concerns. In fact, you can turn a complaint into a positive for your practice by simply engaging with the negative reviewer and working to find a solution.
Patients trust a medical practice that is willing to own up to its mistakes, or at least explain what led to the situation in the first place. It is also a valuable way to get your side of the story out there for the world to see so that you can counteract the narrative of the person complaining.
Highlight Patient Stories
Some of the best advocates to help you gain trust with prospective patients are your current patients. They may not have friends or families who have experienced the specific dental services you provide, but they can get similar word of mouth from patients who they don’t know personally.
With the power of the internet, any patient story you have can reach your potential patient pool. It could be as simple as before and after photos of whitening, gum reshaping, or another procedure. You may also be able to get some of your most successful patients, which would mean those who answered very positively in the surveys mentioned earlier, to provide their stories for marketing material.
This type of content can really bring home that your practice is not just staffed by caring people, but that it helps real people get the best smile possible. It brings home that personal connection that you need to build trust with your potential patients.
Provide Informational and Educational Content
Yes, providing credentials, certifications, and awards will help to position you as an expert in the field. However, there are other ways to show that you are an authority while also building trust at the same time. It’s important that with your online content that you educate and inform on top of telling people what you are selling.
This means blog posts that talk about new innovations and technologies in language that everyone can understand. You should also provide general information about gum and dental health. If you have authoritative, educational and well-written expert information on your dental website, then you will look like you care about their health, and not just the services you can sell to them.
If your blog is only about the services you provide and how much they cost, then prospective patients will be turned off and feeling like they are a commodity, as opposed to a person who has dental health needs. The public trusts experts to provide the best health and dental care possible, so by positioning yourself as one, it will go a long way towards conveying the trustworthiness of your practice.
Coincidentally, the more authoritative information you have on your website, the better it will perform in search engine rankings. Search engine algorithms will detect the relevant content and reward you for it.
There is a lot of competition out there in the health industry, including with dentists, and it will only get fiercer. To avoid getting squeezed out, you need to make sure that your medical marketing strategy is optimized to not just get people to find you, but also to take the plunge and trust you for their care.
Taking this into consideration when selecting a healthcare digital marketing agency, planning your dental marketing strategies and creating your content will go a long way towards gaining that trust that is crucial towards growing your dental practice to where you want it to be.