Pediatric Dentistry Marketing Plan
Pediatric dentists need an effective medical marketing plan like any other professional helping their community with dental health. As with any area in the field of healthcare, competition is stiff in many areas unless they are the only dentist in town serving the needs of pediatric patients. For a dental practice to grow and succeed, they need a constant stream of new patients to their facility. A medical marketing plan will help them achieve those goals!
There are several different reasons why a pediatric dental practice may lose a patient. Some of the most common causes include:
- Becoming too old to be a pediatric dentist and instead they need to see a regular dental professional
- Moving away from the community
- Changes in insurance
- Bad experiences prompt the parent to seek out a different dentist
- Needing a dentist with an additional specialization
All in all, a pediatric dentist should not expect to keep the same number of patients they have today to be the same ones they will have a month or even a year from now. A medical marketing plan for their practice will help keep their numbers stable and grow them!
How can search engine optimization help a pediatric dentist get more patients?
Although pediatric dentists serve children, their parents will be the ones that ultimately make the selection of the provider that will suit their family. The vast majority of those parents will begin the journey to make a dental care choice with a search engine, usually with Google, as it still maintains a significant market share in the search engine market. While search engines return millions of results when people conduct searches, most, if not all, users will only look at the first page of results. Pediatric dental practices must appear on the first page of results for those seeking their services. Using search engine optimization, or SEO, is widely accepted as one of the best ways to do that.
SEO is the process of inserting target keywords throughout the content of a pediatric dental practice’s website. These keywords will be the same keywords that parents of potential patients will use when researching online. A practice should use both common keywords for pediatric dental treatments and conditions and medical terms. The common keywords will connect with those parents who do not have a deep background in this area of dental health, and the medical terms will add some authority to the site in the eyes of search engines.
A pediatric dental practice should use both short-tail and long-tail keywords when making a list of target keywords for their SEO work. Using both kinds is very beneficial to growing the organic rankings and reaching the most significant number of people possible. Short-tail keywords are three words or less, cover broad topics, have low conversion rates, and send a lot of traffic to a site. Long-tail keywords are four words or more, send lower amounts of traffic to a website as they cover narrower or more specific topics but have higher conversion rates. Long-tail keywords are also becoming more critical in voice search, as many people ask questions four words or more when using voice search on their phone or their smart speaker. This area of search is growing, and a pediatric dental practice would be wise to take advantage of it.
How can content marketing help boost the number of patients that come to pediatric dentistry?
Search engines love content, so “Content is King” is a famous phrase among digital marketers. The more content a website has, the more authoritative it will look. However, this content needs to be engaging, unique, practical, and informative. Adding “Fluff” to a site to make it longer will not positively impact organic rankings. The more content a site has, the more people spend more time on it, which also impacts organic rankings. A page that has 100 words is not going to keep patients on it as long as a page with 500 or 1000 words. To a search engine, the page with more content keeping a website visitor on their longer will seem more important.
Another thing search engines like to see when it comes to content is it being updated regularly. A critical factor in content marketing is continually updating, refining, or adding content to a site. This needs to be done gradually throughout the year, not all at once. It will show a search engine that it is constantly kept up to date and relevant. A significant site-wide content update all at once will instead confuse a search engine. It could see it as a new site, causing organic rankings to fall slightly. Continual updating will prevent this and instead constantly show a site is continually being updated.
An excellent tip to use when keeping a site updated is to list every content page on a pediatric dental practice’s website. Every page should be reviewed at least once a year, twice if possible. Then, a practice can determine if any updates need to be made, content needs to be added, and correct any random minor grammatical errors that they might see. For those practices whose pages do not need much updating and do not have any new content to add, consider adding a monthly blog. These new, unique, and engaging pages will help boost a site’s SEO scores and provide regular content updates for search engines to gobble up. Be sure to sprinkle a practice’s target keywords throughout the blog posts for added organic benefit.
How can a medical engagement chatbot help a pediatric dental practice get more patients?
Some website visitors will always need help on a site no matter how well written it is or how much content they can access. These questions or support requests fall to the front desk staff to handle. During times of high patient volume or after business hours, messages are left for them to attend to the next day while managing incoming requests and other patients. As a result, it can sometimes take time for staff to reach out to current or potential patients. These people can wait, but they also might start to explore competitors. A great way to help some of them is to use a medical engagement chatbot.
This simple program is embedded into a website and will assist website visitors. Generally, they help them find information or accomplish simple tasks. Every question or task they can assist with is programmed into the dental practice. For anything it can not assist with, the chatbot will take the visitor’s contact information, question and then store it on a HIPAA compliant dashboard to be addressed by a staff member. Many pediatric dental practices will ask the front desk staff to generate a list of common questions and tasks they assist patients with. While not all inquiries will be on this list, many will be, which should help reduce the number of calls and messages to the front desk, allowing staff to concentrate on more complicated patient issues.
Another advantage to a medical chatbot is that it is available 24 hours a day, every day of the year. If the practice is closed for the holidays, staff are unavailable to pick up the phone, or if it is in the middle of the night, a chatbot can help patients! They can also be updated quickly with new questions and information. When the COVID-19 pandemic started, many pediatric dental practices updated their chatbots with further information on protocols, procedures, or even when they plan to resume operations again. While this did not cut down on all phone calls to practices, it did redirect some of them.
How can making online scheduling available to parents help a pediatric dentist get more patients?
A child’s dental healthcare is just one of dozens and dozens of things on parents’ minds. Making it easier for them to schedule a dental appointment for their children means they will be more likely to do it. Online scheduling allows them to pick the day and time for their child’s appointment and enable them to make that selection at any time during the day. They do not need to call a dental practice during business hours to find an appointment slot that works for them. They can schedule an appointment in the middle of the night when they finally remember it was something on their to-do list or even over a holiday when a child begins to complain about a pain in their tooth. The quicker they can make an appointment, the less likely they will explore other competitors.
Many online scheduling systems also allow first-time and returning patients to fill out paperwork in advance. Instead of sitting in a waiting room filling out paperwork that will need to be transcribed into a patient management system, information can be submitted and uploaded over a secure connection. Online scheduling systems also have appointment confirmation and reminder alerts built into them. These alerts help remind parents of their upcoming visit who might forget about their appointment in their already busy schedules. As a result, this will reduce missed appointment rates.
Finally, for a dental practice to use an online appointment system, it must be HIPAA compliant. Any information sent in needs to be stored on a HIPPA compliant server where access is limited, monitored, and audited. Not all appointment systems are HIPAA compliant. For example, Facebook Business pages offer an appointment system for their users. However, this system does not store data in a way that would be considered secure by HIPAA standards, and therefore should not be used by any healthcare business. Avoid future compliance issues by ensuring an online scheduling system is completely HIPAA compliant.
How can using text messages help a pediatric dental practice communicate with current and potential patients?
Studies show that the majority of the population prefers texting over phone calls. Not only do most people prefer friends and family members to text them and communicate with them via text, but a growing number prefer to communicate with businesses that way. With cell phones being so ordinary in society, it only makes sense. A pediatric dental practice can take advantage of this trend by allowing patients to text/SMS your practice, and text back, but it must be done in a HIPAA fashion.
Texting between two phones is generally not considered to be HIPAA compliant. There are no safeguards, auditing ability, or ways to limit who accesses the data sent in a text. Having a “company phone” sit on the front desk to which anyone can text their information will not be acceptable. Even if a pediatric dental practice does not ask for personal health information, they are responsible for any data sent to it. A HIPPA compliant solution is to allow people to send texts to a pediatric dental practice’s website that are then stored on a HIPAA secure dashboard. From there, assigned staff can answer texts with ease and remain within HIPAA privacy guidelines.
Are there any traditional or offline marketing methods that can still be effective for a pediatric dentist?
While digital marketing has taken the lead in many marketing plans for a pediatric dental practice, some traditional marketing methods can be effective. Direct mail marketing is an offline marketing tactic that has an advantage that other conventional strategies do not: targeting. Unlike ads on radio, TV, or in newspapers, a direct mail campaign can target precisely what households or neighborhoods will receive their marketing materials. Direct mail marketing is a great way to reach people that might slip through other digital marketing methods. Plus, if the volume is large enough, organized, and dropped off at a postal distribution center, discounted prices and tools from the United States Postal Service may be available.
Effective direct mail marketing needs to catch the attention of the person checking the mail. The goal is to end up on a fridge or corkboard, not in the recycling bin. A practice should experiment with color, size, and paper texture to give them the best chance to get the attention of a household. Anything sent to a current or potential patient through the mail should have:
- The name of the pediatric dental office
- Address, with any applicable suite or office numbers
- Phone number
- Website URL
- A call to action.
The experts at PatientGain.com are standing by to help your pediatric dental practice meets its goals and grow. Let our team show you what we have done for other practices across the country. We look forward to working with you!