Marketing companies in the dental industry love to promote the next ‘it’ thing in marketing. Here are some things that, if you haven’t heard of before, you will soon.
Facebook, Google and other websites and networks are super excited to tell you about remarketing because it sounds like magic. Someone goes to your site and BOOM: you’ve got a visitor for life who will get your ads again and again wherever they go. You’ve probably noticed this type of creepy ad that follows you around the Web.
Unfortunately, remarketing isn’t a good strategy for dental practices. The ads can come off as pushy and can hurt your brand if the company running the ads isn’t extremely careful about where the ads display. Remarketing is a powerful tool for online business and big brands but it took me less than 5 minutes to find a remarketing ad for a dentist that has gone horribly astray…
I’m in Colorado, looking at a news article about a giant python caught in Florida. WHY am I seeing an ad about an Austin dentist? Do you think that this dentist’s marketing dollars could be spent more wisely?
Going LIVE with Video
This is an exciting tactic but is so new and unproven that I have to chalk it up to a novelty. Facebook lets anyone ‘go live’ and broadcast live video to their followers and really anyone in the world who cares to tune in. Facebook wants to be a source for user-generated content for obvious reasons: it’s consumable content that they can monetize and all they have to do is provide the platform.
I have seen this promoted by dentists-turned-marketers multiple times, the message being essentially, “Look what I can do! This is the cutting edge of social media. Why are you not doing this too?!”
It’s uncharted territory but I see some major issues:
- It’s difficult to find time and impetus to record a video or even take still photos. Streaming a live video is going to be much more intimidating and therefore is less likely to even happen during any given day, week or month.
- It’s live! Gulp! Are you prepared to do and say things that you can’t take back?
- If you can’t do this yourself or don’t want to, do you have someone you trust enough to do it for you? And if you delegate it, is it going to have the same positive impact?
Having said that, there are definite intriguing opportunities that live video presents. People who like your page and see your video in their newsfeed may or may not tune in, but Facebook is SO hungry for this new type of content that it’s one of the last remaining areas where you have a real shot to show up at all.
Remember from last month: unless you pay to play, our content is rarely going to be seen in a user’s newsfeed even if they like our page. Live content, and even the videos that are available for playback after you sign off from your live recording, is more likely to show up organically than other things we can do on Facebook.
The challenge is just finding the time to do it and figuring out whether or not it’s worth the effort. The jury is still out in my opinion, whether the same medium now used by would-be televangelists and oyster shuckers can help a dental practice bring in more patients.
Search engine optimizationis a form of permission marketing in that people are performing a Google search of their own volition and then clicking into your website to find the information that you have to offer. Inbound marketing takes this a step further, seeking out subscribers who will opt-in to receiving your future marketing messages. This is frequently done via email with services like InfusionSoft.
I recently opted in for this type of marketing with a fitness website that I liked. I continue to get their emails and have yet to spend a penny with them. Soon, I’ll get tired of deleting their emails and will unsubscribe, but I have definitely continued to go back to their website when one of their emails hits my inbox with an intriguing subject line.
The goal is to have a pipeline of subscribers who are receiving a series of messages that will move them through the buying cycle and to convert a decent percentage of them into paying customers before they leave the funnel by opting out of the messages.
Dental practices looking to harness the power of this kind of inbound marketing campaign will have to overcome two massive hurdles:
- Convincing prospective patients to subscribe for more information rather than just looking for it on readily available websites.
- Creating content to send on an ongoing basis that will move the prospective patient to schedule an appointment.
In my mind, there’s another question to be asked: Why use a call to action to prompt a visitor to subscribe rather than prompting them to email or call us? You could argue that some visitors are not going to be ready to do that and that having the Subscribe button may capture more prospective patients in the long run. This begs many more questions:
- What percentage of visitors falls into that category?
- What percentage of those visitors are actually local?
- How long should we keep sending messages to people?
- Can we send the same messages to new subscribers or do we always need to send fresh content?
- Do we want to attract and engage with people who are not ready to become patients or is this a waste of resources?
We just don’t have enough information to say for sure. Again, this type of marketing has been around for a while, but it is most commonly implemented by people selling a product or paid subscription- not local service-based businesses. My hunch is that we can leverage this but the office needs to be aware of the campaign, needs to be involved in the creation of the content that is distributed, and needs to be prepared to engage and re-engage prospective patients via effective email sales rather than simply answering the phone. This isn’t the strong suit or even the desire of many offices. For those, SEO is probably the only form of inbound marketing that makes sense.
Keeping an Eye on the Horizon
If there is another marketing tactic that you have heard of and are curious about, let us know. We are constantly keeping an eye on the horizon of marketing, searching for new tactics that can help bring in more quality patients into the practices that we work with. We are also testing out new tactics that we find to ensure that they are relevant and effective before we advise you to jump in. The only thing certain about marketing in 2017 and beyond is that change is inevitable.