Digital marketing strategies to scale your practice

What digital marketing strategies can you use to best scale your dental practice? Without tracking tools, you’re missing out on valuable information.

Summary 

  • Many practices don’t understand how their digital marketing efforts are affecting their bottom line, or how their patient funnel is working online in the first place.
  • By ignoring content or other digital marketing techniques, dental businesses are leaving money on the table by not understanding their current audience’s behavior, while also not understanding how to best attract new patients. 
  • Tracking pixels, heat maps, online reviews, online booking, social media, automated services, and a content strategy can all aid in improving your web presence, attracting new patients, and closing the loop between attraction and acquisition.
  • Take on one technique at a time, understanding how what you’re doing ties into the overall strategy and patient funnel, and build as you go. 

Do you understand what’s bringing in patients?  

Many practices don’t understand their patient funnel  

We know from talking to dentists that their practices do not have insight into the patient funnel. If you don’t know what turns your prospects into patients, and if you don’t work that funnel, you are missing out on revenue and practice growth. 

They also don’t understand which marketing tactics are working for them 

You may be putting out content via social media, email marketing, designing a new website, and requesting more reviews, but do you understand which of these tactics are having the most positive effect on your practice? If you’re not tracking or monitoring properly, you can miss out on how to best optimize your tactics to continue to bring in new patients. 

Are you leaving patients up for grabs by ignoring content? 

Many digital-first brands in sectors like telemedicine and health tech view content as a competitive advantage. But if you’re not part of The Mayo Clinic or another large health system, you may not see content as a way to bring in new potential patients. It’s just not part of a traditional health care marketing model. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be part of your model. Remember - when it comes to telemedicine, you’re not just competing with the practice down the street; you’re competing with practices all over.  

Your online presence is an important part of getting found and getting patients overall. You need to consider site design, where you’re showing up on the internet, what you’re posting on social media and listing sites, and what original content you’re publishing on your site. The more tech-forward companies are doing it, so you need to compete in that arena, too.

Key marketing strategies to better understand your audience’s behavior

Thinking about these marketing strategies and how they can help you understand your audience’s behavior will help you close the gap between what you know and don’t, get you better at identifying marketing opportunities, and make you more effective at bringing in clients. 

Tracking pixels 

A tracking pixel is a piece of code that’s added to your site to help you better understand the activity of your visitors. You can learn where they’re coming from, the device they’re using, and what pages they visited. 

You can use the activity recorded by a tracking pixel to determine the best time of the day to communicate with your audience, which pages are making the biggest impact, or what to say in the content of your ads. You can also use tracking pixels to set up retargeting campaigns. For example, if someone visits a specific page on your site, you can target ads to them to encourage them to go back to that page, or continue the process they started when they were on your site (like booking, for example). 

Facebook pixel

You can use the Facebook pixel code to track conversions on your site from Facebook ads. The information you gather from the pixel can also be used to optimize ads, build targeted audiences, and remarket to people who have taken some action, but not all desired actions, on your site. 

Website tracking

Website tracking pixels are also very similar. Google Analytics is the most common tracking pixel. It can help you learn all kinds of things about your visitors, including: 

  • The city they came from
  • The device they used
  • Pages they’ve visited and for how long
  • Bounce and exit rates
  • Approximate gender and age 
  • Sales conversions and other desired actions 

Other website tracking pixels may help track events like email opens, digital ad impressions, or sales conversions, as well as aid in retargeting. For example, AdRoll’s pixel can be a part of a retargeting campaign not tied to Facebook. 

NexHealth also offers a tracking pixel, and the implementation couldn’t be easier. NexHealth appends your unique tracking pixel within the platform, and you can start collecting data on your visitors instantly. 

Heat maps 

Heat mapping tools go a few steps beyond tracking pixels. They don’t just tell you what pages your audience visits, but also how they behave once they get there. Tools like HotJar can tell you where people are scrolling, clicking and hovering. You can see form fills, where people get lost in navigation, and how well your funnels are working. In a nutshell, heat maps can help you understand what people pay attention to, and what they ignore, when they’re on your site. You can also use HotJar to collect feedback from visitors, asking them to rate the ease of use of certain pages, or if they have any questions about the site. 

Heat maps are important because they provide a direct overview of key web activity, while also offering a level of detail you can’t see from a tracking pixel. This activity will help you see which pages drive the most attention, engagement, and conversions, and you can use the information to create a more user-friendly website. 

If adding heat maps feels like it’s over your head, NexHealth can help. Our Google Tag Manager integration means that you can seamlessly implement heat map tools onto your site, including HotJar, all within the platform. No need to worry about where you need to place your code. 

Boosting your online presence 

Online reviews 

Even with every advance brought to life by digital marketing, there’s one thing that still rings true: word-of-mouth is king when it comes to patient acquisition. If you’re looking to increase the word-of-mouth that comes from patients, you’ll need two things: HIPAA-compliant text messaging for patients and an easy way for them to leave online reviews. 

However, having this technology isn’t enough. You also need to ask your patients to leave reviews. Oftentimes, they won’t leave a review even if they have a positive experience. They’ll just move on with their day. Make sure to send patients a text message or email after they leave your office, asking them to rate their experience that day. Generally, simple reminders that you’d appreciate a review are enough to get more submitted. 

NexHealth can help you get more patients and gain more trust by establishing a solid repository of online reviews. You can save time by automatically sending scheduled review requests after appointments, even connecting your Google My Business listing to the process so that your online reviews are displayed there within minutes. 

Online booking 

What if your prospective patients could find you via social media, read glowing reviews on online listings, and then decide to book with you, only to find out they can’t book online and halt the process? Online booking is now a fundamental pillar of customer service for all service industries. Don’t get left in the dust - make it available to prospects, so they don’t get stuck at the last step before becoming a patient. 

Online booking is a great way to get patients to choose you. It helps close the loop between patient attraction and acquisition: Reviews are generating awareness and interest for your practice, and online booking completes the cycle. It’s good to enable this functionality on platforms that patients see the most, like Google, YouTube, Yelp, and Facebook. NexHealth can help do this, allowing patients to instantly book an appointment with you from anywhere they’re already looking. 

Social Media 

Social media is patient acquisition through thought leadership. It’s a useful tool for establishing your area of expertise in your field in a public-facing way. In healthcare marketing, credibility wins. Just ask Dr. Joshua Wolrich, a UK surgical doctor who gained thousands of followers after debunking myths that masks reduced your oxygen saturation levels. 

Don’t know where to start with social media? Try YouTube or Instagram first. Patients want to connect with a friendly face while scrolling through their social feeds. Videos are a great way for patients to get to know you in a way a photo and a bio just won’t do. When you record a video, repurpose and adapt it for other channels - post to your blog, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. This content should be posted and available for free. This is the kind of content you’re going to use to attract your dream patient. Monitor its performance, including likes, shares, and reactions, then further adapt your most successful posts into ads that drive people to your website. 

Organic thought leadership is not an instant process, especially on social media. You need to know upfront that you’re playing the long game. However, once you’ve established yourself as an authority in your field, you’ll remain top-of-mind when someone who follows you is looking for a new provider. 

Remember when we talked about the Facebook tracking pixel? This is where it gets put to good use. If you’re putting in the effort to create valuable content on Instagram or Facebook, the pixel can go the extra mile to monitor how your audience is interacting with your ads. 

Patient recall & automated SMS reminders 

Your patients are almost constantly nearby one of the most powerful marketing tools you may be ignoring - their phones. If you haven’t started sending SMS text reminders, you’re missing out. According to 99Firms, 75% of people are fine with receiving SMS messages after opting in for a service from a given brand. An opt-in from your patients would look like them booking an appointment online. They are opting into your service and are open to receiving text messages from your clinic. 

SMS messages and emails can also be used to improve patient experience after an appointment. Send follow-up emails or messages about treatment, at-home care, and preventative health after their appointment and beyond to show your ongoing care and concern for your patients’ health.  

Love the idea of “set it and forget it?” That’s what NexHealth’s automated messages are like. Automated messaging gets patients to come back. Our software allows for some enhanced customization and automation, including sending targeted messages according to treatment plans and procedure codes; automated, personalized text messages and emails; and the ability to book appointments directly from the recall message.

Conclusion

While digital marketing and other online tools can seem overwhelming, you’re really only a few tools and a few steps away from improving your overall marketing strategy. You don’t have to do it all at once. Take on one tactic at a time, and don’t forget to take the time you need to understand how the changes you’ve made are affecting your overall patient funnel. You’ll be a marketing whiz in no time! Register for our upcoming webinar and learn how to help drive patient acquisition and conversion from first impression to repeat visit. 

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