Marketing may not be the most favorite topic for healthcare providers but it is an essential part of running your own practice. Without marketing and advertising your services, you will have a tough time getting new clients through the door. Marketing is how you tell prospective clients about the services you offer and the benefits of being proactive regarding oral health care.
You can market your practice yourself or hire someone to do it for you. Nowadays digital media channels are an essential part of any marketing strategy. Postcards, newsletters and phone calls have their place but digital marketing tools should be at the top of your list.
Does Your Practice Have a Brand?
Branding is more than designing a logo or having a social media presence. In general, customers don’t form emotional connections with companies. But people do that with brands. You may not have particularly fond feelings for a shoe company but the word ‘Nike’ might bring back good memories.
Branding is an important part of marketing your practice. It is just as important for a small business or a healthcare service provider as it is for a large multi national corporation. Branding is the way you define your business to both internal and external audiences. Think of it as your business identity.
Consider what your clients associate with your clinic. Most people fear the dentist’s chair but you certainly don’t want your clients to think of pain or fear in connection with your practice! Branding can make a huge difference in how your patients perceive your business. Branding your services effectively gives you many benefits. Your patience will remain loyal and will even refer their friends and family to you. It will even let you keep your prices unchanged when rivals try to attract your patients with discounts.
You have to build your brand in both online and offline media space. Online branding involves more exposure for your brand across online channels like search and social media. There are many ways you can extend your brand online including:
- Have a well designed website that represents your practice online
- Maintain an active social media presence across multiple networks that are relevant to your prospective and current patients
- Maintain a blog that is continuously updated with healthcare information
- Have a logo, colors and/or theme that links all your online activities
Build Authority and Trust
Today’s customers are savvy enough to figure out when businesses are not authentic in their interactions. If the content you post on various sites or your own blog is not genuine or original, your viewers will pick up on it. Whether you are posting a new entry on your blog or a status update on Facebook, don’t use marketing terms or technical jargon. Keep it personal and authentic. Your prospective audience should come to rely on your voice online.
Building your brand online can seem to be a full-time job but it doesn’t actually take that much time or resources. For example, take 30 minutes every few days to post new content on your blog. It doesn’t have to be only you either. Various members of your team can bring different perspectives to the blog posts. Once you’ve created your website, it won’t need much maintenance beyond updating your work hours or staff information.
As you can see, branding is an ongoing and continuous activity. A little bit of investment in online branding can bring you significant dividends. Slowly but surely, you can build a stable base of loyal customers that will advocate for you against your competition. Now isn’t that worth striving for?