Whether you just opened your dental practice or have been in business for a while, you certainly know how important it is to constantly work on new patient growth and make sure they become loyal and long-term patients. If you find that your marketing strategies are not working to attract new patients, it may be time for you to switch things up and try out a fresh approach.
Your goal should be to identify and apply the correct strategies for your dental office. By focusing only on what’s working for you, you should be able to reduce your marketing costs. To do this, you may find it helpful to work with marketing professionals that can lead you in the right direction and deliver results. Two areas they should specialize in are Inbound Marketing and Outbound Marketing.
Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing – What Is It and Which One Should You Choose?
Among the two marketing approaches, one is more passive and the other proactive. Put in simple terms:
Inbound Marketing – A patient comes to you after encountering one of your ads.
Outbound Marketing – Initial contact with a prospective patient is done through proactive outreach through phone, email, direct mail, text, etc.
Thanks to the internet, inbound marketing – such as digital sales strategies – is cost efficient and effective. Social Media campaigns and other online sales methods are popular and help reach a big audience and wide range of people fast. But is this really the best way for you to attract and retain new patients to your dental practice?
If you’ve already maximized your online marketing efforts and still don’t see results, you may be missing out on other valuable opportunities to attract new patients. To understand this better, let’s analyze the two marketing methods.
In today’s world of digital advertising, you are likely to already be applying various of the following marketing methods. In inbound marketing, you attract patients to come to you by forming connections with them through social media, webinars, videos, SEO or other strategies. The goal is to reach patients that are already interested in what you offer, help them meet their needs and provide solutions to their problems. It is an effective way of sales but by no means the only one that should be applied. Some of the most popular inbound marketing strategies include:
- Social Media – Most businesses nowadays have a social media presence, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and/or Pinterest. Social media can help you reach large amounts of people quickly and put your business in front of them. It’s free to use but requires the right content strategy to be effective.
- Blogs – Blogs can help you rank on search engines which makes it easier for people to find your business. By posting articles on various topics related to your products or services, you also provide answers online to questions your patients might have.
- SEO – Search Engine Optimization leads search engine users to your website through keywords and other SEO strategies. This is an essential digital tool for people to find your business.
- Webinars – Web-based seminars, or webinars, allow you to share your knowledge with your target audience. The goal here is to turn webinar attendees into paying patients and chances are, if they are willing to pay to hear you speak, they are willing to pay for your products/services as well.
- Viral Videos – The probably fastest-growing marketing segment is streaming videos. They are easily digestible, often consumed by internet users and can condense much valuable information in a short amount of time. By making sure the content is always interesting and engaging, videos can become viral.
- Ebooks – Before people make the decision to buy something, they usually do a fair amount of research. Ebooks provide an opportunity for businesses to share information and present their level of expertise with patients, while collecting valuable patient data like email addresses for further marketing efforts.
Instead of hoping for patients to come to you as a result of Inbound Marketing, in Outbound Marketing you become proactive by reaching out to prospective patients or already existing patients yourself. Today, it remains valuable to put your brand out there; for some businesses it is even essential. Some outbound marketing methods include:
- Direct Mail: An opportunity that should not be overlooked due to its high success rate is direct mail. Not only do you get to geotarget patients based on proximity to your business, sending them something tangible, such as a postcard, sales flyer, or promotional offer through mail allows you to remain top of mind. If they are interested in your services, they are likely to put up your postcard on their refrigerator and give you a call to inquire about your services.
- Email Campaigns: You can reach out to patients digitally through email campaigns. This is why it is important to gather patient data, e.g. through giving away free ebooks, providing a newsletter sign-up button on your website or various other methods. By periodically sending potential and existing patients your newsletters, you keep them updated and your dental practice fresh on their minds.
…Inbound and Outbound Marketing are complementary. Depending on your activity, you may get more leads through Inbound, but keep in mind that these may not be quality leads. Inbound Marketing can attract a lot of curiosity, which doesn’t necessarily lead to actual paying patients.
Outbound on the other hand may get you quality results more quickly. Because outbound leads are more likely to turn into actual paying patients, we truly believe that proactive outreach is the future of prospecting methods. Outbound marketing also helps you track your pipeline: you learn where your patients are coming from so you can better market to those individuals. However, keep in mind that once you put these efforts to a halt, you’ll also receive less leads. This is why regular outbound marketing efforts are important to continuously attracting new patients to your dental office and keeping them long-term.
Both Inbound and Outbound Marketing are long-term strategies that have to be maintained on a regular basis. If your current marketing efforts have not been working as well as you would like, figure out which method you haven’t explored yet and give it a try. And for a complete marketing and business development plan, choose pieces of both!