With each new year comes a renewed desire to improve. We buy new exercise equipment and take our vitamins more regularly and find novel ways to organize our closets.
But this spirit of optimization can apply to a business, too. And for dental practices, the marketing department is a great place to focus it. Some of us enjoy marketing and others see it as an extra headache, but whatever your feelings, marketing is only going to grow in relevance for your practice.
So today, we’re going to share five creative concepts for your dental practice’s marketing team. Using these ideas, you can increase the effectiveness of your marketing approach and, by extension, land new patients.
#1 Research and Join in on Hashtags
We’ve discussed the power of utilizing social media for your dental practice in another blog post, and we’ve also shared a few general tips for your social media approach. But here we’re going to talk about a few ways you can boost traction for the purpose of marketing reach … it’s all about those hashtags!
Hashtags are key because they help social media algorithms put your posts in front of the people who want to see them. Without hashtags, it’s likely that the only people who will see your content are those who already follow you. Whereas, if you use relevant hashtags, you can connect to random users who either search those hashtags or find your post on their feed because the platform’s algorithm knows they will care about content under that tag.
One of our major tips is for your practice's marketing team to research both niche and popular hashtags. A more niche hashtag will be one that narrows in on a topic relevant to you but doesn’t have a ton of posts under it, while a popular one will be more generalized and have tons of posts. For example, on Instagram, #raleighdentists only has 100+ posts, while #oralhealth has 1.4 million. It’s a great idea to combine a mix of niche and popular hashtags in your standard five to ten, but you should also try to look both up based on specific topics you post about and add those tags in too.
You might be thinking, how many hashtags should I use altogether?
Well, the answer is a complicated one, because Instagram changes its tune often and other platforms don’t even have the same algorithm so, who knows! But Sprout Social recently said that 1-3 within a caption or up to 30 in a comment is a good rule to follow.
First, work with your team to identify five to ten hashtags that ideally represent your practice and specializations. Consider geography in this process too. For example, if your practice is located in Raleigh, North Carolina, and you specialize in pediatric care, you might build out a suite that looks like this:
These will serve as a quick way to set any post up for success. No matter the topic, your social media team can just copy and paste those hashtags into the caption or a comment.
#2 Award an Employee and Patient of the Month
A lot of great marketing is focused on building a bridge between potential patients and your team. You want to create emotional, personal connections that will keep them walking through your doors. So, consider having an Employee of the Month, a Patient of the Month, or both!
Employee of the Month designations invite your patients to get to know your hygienists, front office staff, and dental assistants a little better, which increases their sense of connection with your practice as a whole and also makes them more comfortable with those who will be going about their care each visit.
A Patient of the Month feature is a fun way to engage them, and other patients often like to see who else is checking into your practice for cleanings, restorative care, and more.
These can be showcased in the office on small tabletop posters, but you can also share them on social media and through email newsletters!
If it feels overwhelming for your practice's marketing team to do this every month, you could always have an Employee and Patient of the Quarter.
#3 Establish Collectible Items for the Kiddos
We recently shared a blog post all about making the little ones feel comfortable at your dental practice. In it, we shared insights from our interview with Dr. Mary Pham of Lollipop Dental Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics. One of the tips she shared with us is to make sure the goodie bag they go home with is truly a goodie bag! Visit the post to read all of her ideas, but we have one to add that your marketing team could be responsible for.
Kids love to collect things, so why not start up your own coveted toy series? Or toothbrush series? Create a plan for your youngest patients to have something they can look forward to collecting a new version of every time they come to the office. It could be an actual toy series, or it could be something as simple as five different brightly colored toothbrushes and a sign that says “Collect us all!”
Trust us, if parents are hearing that their kids are excited to come to the dentist now that they’re at your practice, you’re going to have some lifelong loyalty.
#4 Put Together Patient Packages with Nicer Items
On this same note, consider upping the ante for your adult goodie bags, too! Instead of just your average toothbrush and toothpaste and floss minis, include a mug or hand towel with your practice’s logo on it, or an electric toothbrush.
Of course, you probably won’t want to do this all of the time because of costs, but they make great welcome bags for new patients after their first visit. Never underestimate the marketing power of a mug that has your logo on it … it’s like a traveling billboard, catching the eye of the neighbor who stops by for coffee and the coworker walking alongside you into work alike.
To reduce the overhead cost of this, find wholesale retailers. A quick Google search of something like “wholesale mugs with logos” will present a plethora of options.
#5 Host a Discount Giveway
Another fun tactic for your practice's marketing team that always seems to gain traction is giveaways! If you’re hoping to boost your social following, this will do it. But even an in-office “submit your name into a jar”-style process can drum up excitement.
What should the prize be? We recommend choosing something that connects to a specific procedure or feature you want to advertise. If you have a dental membership plan, offer the winner a free year of membership. Remember, it’s just one person, and everyone else will be mulling over what your dental membership plan entails now that they’ve submitted their name to possibly win it. If you want to start doing more whitening, the giveaway prize could be 52% off one treatment. The possibilities are pretty much endless, which gives you the freedom to essentially boost any point of marketing you want!
We think these five creative concepts for your dental practice’s marketing team could truly change the game for you in 2022. But of course, there are many others as well.
If you’re looking to really kick your brand up a notch this year, you could consider hiring a marketing firm or even just one new marketing-focused team member.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for more marketing ideas that you could adjust to suit your practice and its needs, we love this article from Biteable: 55 Creative Marketing Ideas for Your Product or Business. They aren’t specific to dentistry, but we think these concepts will get your brainstorming ball rolling!
Lastly, if your practice has a dental membership plan and you want more marketing insights specific to it from all of us here at DentalHQ, you should check out our ultimate dental membership plan marketing checklist.