Shaz Memon shares eight great hacks to get your dental marketing in the mood for 2018.

1. Be sociable and take photos!

Do you know who you are speaking to when it comes to your dental marketing efforts? If you are making some big noises on social media but nobody seems to be listening, your branded content may just need adjusting.

Be a good mixer and network on all social media outlets. A sociable account is a successful one. Introduce yourself on Facebook and Twitter and, if you’ve already established a presence there, consider an account with Instagram. Pictures speak 1,000 words, they say – and nowhere more is this true that with smile makeovers. Share your best ‘before and after’ images on the photo-sharing platform and be sure to tag your location so people can find you.

Consider using branded hashtags from time to time, too – it’s a great way to track performance and reach.

2. Mingle with the right people

Just because digital is a relatively new way to draw patients into your practice, it doesn’t mean you lose sight of some old-fashioned values – the ‘human touch’ is key when it comes to content. Traditional communication skills should still be observed and a user-friendly voice is as important online as it is at the front desk or when patients are in your chair.

Creating and amplifying quality content is easy if you can tap into an expert who has both the knowledge and experience at appealing to a target audience effectively. Dentistry has a specific ‘voice’ – and, with the rise in evidence (and, therefore, public interest) of oral health and related inflammatory diseases, diet, overall health and wellbeing, it is important to speak to patients, potential as well as existing, with empathy as well as authority.

3. Design a great ‘venue’

Audit your website regularly – the Christmas holidays are a good time to kick back and review content and function. Ask a dental marketing expert to assess if it is fit for purpose and, if necessary, invest in their expertise; a few adjustments can give your website a fresh look and improved function.

By making a few strong tweaks, they can increase how many of enquiries convert to real-life patients in your chair. Unveiling a newly designed website is a great way to start the New Year.

4. Send out the invitations

By making it easy to navigate and appealing to your target audience, you then need to send out those ‘party invitations’ – or social media posts – to draw them in.

Tailored marketing is the buzzword for 2018 – so eke out the patients that fit your profile with specific branding messages. The patient journey and practice ethos are, of course, part of this bespoke care – so ask some loyal and happy customers for their feedback and testimonials that you may share across all platforms.

5. Show off your party tricks

Brand awareness is important. If orthodontics is your speciality, then let everyone know. Don’t be a wallflower! Additionally, be true to who you are – wherever you appear.

Make sure you are saying the same thing in the same style and using the same voice and language. What changes can you make to ensure your voice is consistent across all media platforms? Is your logo prominent wherever you appear – in your email signature as well as on your signage, in the leaflets you share, even your invoices and your dental plan?

Recognisable visual cues that patients associate with your brand are important. If your Facebook page still has an old logo that is the wrong dimension or your team are wearing uniforms that are a mismatch of old and new, then start 2018 with a fresh eye.

6. Get a cracker of a start to the New Year!

Digital experts are predicting a bumper year for rich content, such as videos that encourages more engagement and drives more visitors to you door.

Anything that facilitates more people to ‘join the party’ and interact with you counts – from running a poll on Twitter to any content that requires the user to click ‘play’.

7. Make new friends

Establish relationships that are long lasting and mutually beneficial. Local business networks and social media networking are perfect partners when it comes to engagement and marketing your practice to potential patients, so reach out to local companies. They can advertise in your practice and vice versa; perhaps even consider offering corporate benefits.

Maximise engagement and follow up on all interactions – don’t leave interested parties hanging. Warm leads go cold very quickly.

8. Offer gifts galore!

Reward patients for their loyalty. Offer value to those who have committed to your practice. In today’s consumer-driven dental environment, patients can often come and go and those who remain loyal to your brand are worth their weight in gold, especially if they recommend friends and family.

Referral rewards, such as 15% discount on all treatments, are a great way of saying ‘thank you’. Incentives encourage patients to return time and time again – just be sure to talk about it on social media.

Speak to someone who can grow your brand audience and are adept at dental storytelling – the financial benefits of establishing a digital ecosystem are also undisputed and are there to be nurtured, so reach out to other businesses and ensure your website links seamlessly, too, so patients can find what they want quickly. Digital dental marketing changes rapidly, so it’s important to remain up to speed with new platforms, strategies and tactics. Eradicate the risk of new patients looking at your competitor’s website by ensuring yours is the best ‘party’ in town.