I do a fair amount of writing about marketing, especially online marketing, some of which is very general information, and some is specifically targeted to people in a particular field. But when I write articles aimed at dentists, I sometimes feel like a strange visitor from another planet. It doesn’t surprise me that marketing is something of a foreign concept to healthcare professionals in general. I understand that you didn’t go to school to learn marketing, or probably any aspects of business. Anyone wanting to practice any form of medicine went through a rigorous regimen of schooling, which is, of course, highly technical in nature, and that’s plenty to work with. And for dentists, you’ve got much more in the way of specialized information to absorb, and new innovations in dentistry to stay on top of all the time. So, I fully get it, that marketing may not be in the forefront of your most immediate priorities.
Dental practices are businesses too.
Though you may cringe as soon as you hear the mention of marketing, there’s a simple fact that can’t be denied. As soon as you opened the door to your dental practice, you too became a business. It may be a small business, and one with the noble intention of helping people, but it’s a business, nonetheless. There’s one thing that every business needs in order to survive, and that’s clients. Dentists and dental practices are no exception. If you want your doors to stay open, you’re going to need to keep people coming through those doors.
It may seem on the surface that there’s almost an ethical dilemma here. Like any business, you need “customers”. But in the case of dentists or any heathcare providers, those customers are really patients. Dentists and doctors treat people who need help. You don’t want to wish for more people to have cavities, abscesses, and worse, just so that you can pay your bills. Fortunately, it’s not really like that. The reality is that everyone needs dentistry, and they’re going to get the services they need somewhere. Your goal is to get as many of those patients as possible into your office.
Old school marketing methods aren’t as effective as they used to be.
There was a time, not terribly long ago, when there weren’t that many options as far as marketing goes, especially for a local dental practice. Print advertising was the way to go. Dentists and other professionals would run ads in the yellow pages, local newspapers, and even placements in diners. However, it’s a different world now, and those methods of marketing aren’t really effective any longer. For starters, when was the last time you actually opened up the yellow pages at all? Or, for that matter, looked at an online equivalent of the same?
Today’s shoppers start with a web search.
Nowadays, it’s the internet that has replaced print media as the starting point when people are looking for healthcare information. Rock Health, a seed investor with a focus in healthcare and technology, reported last year that 71% of people have used the internet to search for health related information, and there’s no reason to suspect that this number has decreased. Furthermore, 40% of those searchers acted directly upon information that they found in those searches. Many of those individuals became patients of a new provider who they discovered in their internet searches. So your goal becomes finding ways to catch people when they’re looking for information, and get them in your door, rather than have them find another dentist.
Enter inbound marketing and HubSpot.
I hope that you’re following me so far, because I’m about to describe something which is a real paradigm shift in marketing, and one that makes the whole process so much easier and more effective. The earliest efforts at internet marketing and advertising, in many ways, mimicked the older methods of print advertising and other old school sales methods. For starters, we’ve all learned how to tune out ads that get in our way. In fact, many people, confronted with intrusive ads on a web page, will simply leave that site and move on to another one (that means your competitors). We all routinely throw away junk mail unopened, and use caller ID to avoid phone calls that are likely to be marketers.
No one appreciates having their busy life interrupted by someone trying to sell them something. Inbound marketing takes a different approach to the situation. You could actually say that it’s a reverse approach to older school marketing methods, which could be called “outbound”. Rather than intruding on people, inbound marketing works to attract potential customers. The general method here is to use meaningful content to engage people when they’re already looking for information.
Content marketing and HubSpot.
It’s for this reason that inbound marketing is often referred to as content marketing. Instead of getting in people’s faces, which really only tends to annoy people and inspire them to ignore you in the digital arena, the method is to catch potential clients who already have a need for what you’re offering. This is done primarily using well-written, engaging content, such as blog posts, whitepapers, and eBooks, that address the concerns, the pain points, if you will, of people who may need your services.
Here at Rhino, we’ve become great believers in the inbound methodology. We’ve seen it work, again and again, for dentists, as well as many other fields. We’ve also found that HubSpot is the ideal tool to coordinate this type of marketing campaign. In fact, it’s worked so well for us that we’ve not only become a HubSpot partner, but taken it a step further and become part of an elite group of agencies in the Gold tier of HubSpot partners.
HubSpot is not just a piece of software, it provides a complete “ecosystem”, if you will, for the development and deployment of an effective inbound marketing campaign. This is includes a framework for content creation, as well as tools that help manage search engine optimization (SEO), lead generation and tracking, and the analytics to stay on top of it all.
We would love to set up a consultation to discuss your practice, and show you how working with a HubSpot partner like Rhino can dramatically increase your patient list.