A marketing funnel is a term for any digital assets your business has that help attract, nurture, and convert website visitors into paying patients. They can frequently include blog posts, automated emails, videos, graphics, and more. Often, all of the information that these assets provide answer someone’s questions and make them feel more comfortable with becoming your patient.
In this blog, we'll take a look at the three major parts of a marketing funnel so you can get a better grasp of them and create your own to help try to make your practice grow.
The first stage of the marketing funnel is awareness. This is when potential patients begin to learn about your practice. At this stage, they probably don't know how you're different from other dentists in your area.
You can address this in your dental marketing materials by focusing on your unique selling point. Your USP is a summary of what your practice brings to the table that others don't and why patients should choose you over another provider. A USP can be everything from awards that your practice has won to the view that patients enjoy when they’re in your chairs.
As long as it makes you unique, it can be part of your USP.
Types of First Contact with Your Dental Practice
There are several ways potential patients can have initial contact with your dental practice:
By Finding Your Site in Organic Search Results
If your site's pages or blogs rank well, users may find them organically using certain search terms. While organic marketing takes more time to show results than PPC or social marketing, it's important to make sure your SEO is up to snuff, helping your pages to rank well enough that users can still find you with a simple search and scroll.
Via a Paid Ad
PPC, or pay-per-click advertising, is an effective type of digital marketing that allows you to place ads at the top of search results for certain keywords. Ads are typically text-only. They’re often made of an eye-catching headline, a short explanation of the link, and an urge to take action.
You create ads for different keywords that are related to your dental practice, like “dentist in [your area],” to reach the audience that’s most likely to become paying patients. Then, you set a budget for the ads, and you enter an automated auction with other businesses competing for the same keywords as you. If you bid the most, your ad gets top billing, and you have an improved chance of bringing a prospective patient to your website.
Through Social Media
Social media marketing is especially important for dentists. It gives you a chance to show off the “face” or “personality” of your practice.
You can do this by posting photos of your practice’s team, your facilities, or even yourself after a day of hard work. Social networks like Instagram are great for showing off photos of your facilities. Facebook can be ideal for building a community of patients around your company and answering questions. You can even use LinkedIn to professionally network with other dentists or influential professionals in your area.
By doing this, you show your prospective patients that there’s more to your business than just a name and a building. You show that you have a true brand personality.
Once a user becomes familiar with your brand, they move from awareness into the consideration stage. During the consideration stage, you have the opportunity to build a deeper relationship with your potential patient by showing them that you’re a trustworthy authority on dentistry. You can even create content that answers common questions your current patients have, like the services you offer at your facility, what kind of insurance you accept, how much your services cost without insurance, and more.
The content users consume in the consideration stage typically works better when it focuses on empathy and problem-solving. Prospective patients want to know that you understand the challenges they face with their oral health and that you have a variety of solutions that can be tailored to their needs. Get to know the ways in which users engage with your brand in order to strategically craft helpful content.
How Users Can Re-Engage with Your Practice
There are many ways web users can engage with your brand on your dental website:
Blog posts and other website pages are great places to discuss questions and issues that are important to your prospective patients.
To do this, you can write blog posts with information that users want to read. You can give them tips on oral health, discuss how pediatric dentistry is different from adult dentistry, or any other question that prospective patients may want to know. This can even be as simple as “Are you open on weekends?”
Listening to Content
Podcasts are gaining popularity in the marketing space, and many people prefer to consume content via listening instead of reading. Consider starting a podcast that delivers valuable information similar to your blogs and website pages in an audio format.
You can post podcasts to your website with transcripts that allow listeners to read your content as well, and you can distribute your podcast to platforms like iTunes and Spotify where you could reach a larger audience.
Video marketing is becoming a preferred way for many potential patients to learn about companies. You can take advantage of this fact by shooting video footage and posting it to a hosting platform like YouTube.
This video footage doesn’t have to be simple. In fact, you can create it with a smartphone and upload the video straight to YouTube for maximum ease of use. This practice tends to work well with companies that take their blog topics (or other patient questions) and answer them by facing the camera.
Then, your prospective patients can get the answers to their questions straight from you. This is great for building trust, and it’s an excellent way to allow someone to see “behind the scenes” of your dental practice.
The conversion phase is the time when your prospective patients take the final step to becoming a paying customer, typically by setting an appointment.
At this point in the marketing funnel, one of the most effective tactics is making it easier for your prospective patients to get time on your calendar. Generally speaking, the easier it is for someone to set an appointment with you, the more your patients will do it.
Different Ways Users Can Take Action
Here are some ways users can take their interest in your practice a step further:
Calling Your Office
The most common way interested patients will reach out to your practice is to call your office and schedule an appointment. You can make this easier for them by prominently featuring your phone number in the header or footer of your website. That way, it shows up on every single page of your website to maximize the chance of a prospective patient getting in touch.
Scheduling an Appointment Online
Many of today's dental patients are looking for ways to quickly book appointments without calling an actual person. If you don't already offer online scheduling, consider it as an option to make the process easier for younger prospects who are more accustomed to online service.
Various dental management software programs have this feature out of the box so you don't have to invest in an additional resource that takes up your budget. The right software can make it easier for patients to schedule appointments online and for your staff to manage patient accounts and charts throughout their visit.
How to Grow Your Patient List with Treloar & Heisel
Your patient list may be your dental practice's bread and butter. Your marketing funnel could have a significant impact on your ability to bring in new patients and grow your list. At Treloar and Heisel, we can help to connect you with resources to help pursue your career goals.
Click here to download our free guide on how you can grow your patient list.
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Treloar & Heisel, Inc. and its divisions do not offer marketing or legal advice. Please consult a professional concerning these topics.