It's half a century since The Beatles first visit to India – a journey that was to prove significantly influential in shaping the iconic band's brand.
Their search for spirituality changed not only their music and their style but their philosophy, too – and, in doing so, raised the profile of Indian music in the western world while handing The Beatles an iconic album that, in turn, would influence the sound of pop music for many years to come.
We all 'borrow' a little from the ideas of others.
Marketing is, after all, a reinvention of its former self and the metamorphosis your own business may go through over time is dependant on influences – outside as well as within.
As the exhibition, 'Beatles in India', opened in February in Liverpool's Albert Docks, we pay tribute to the Fab Four by 'sampling' some of their song titles to lend their creative genius to your digital marketing ideas.
'Fixing a hole' – promoting your USP
An obvious song title to link to dentistry, perhaps, but it serves as reminder that letting people know what you do is key to the success of any business.
- Most patient journeys begin online so any dental practice keen to tap into this virtual market needs to provide potential patients with the information they seek.
- Keep it simple and use the 'who, what, why, where, when' principle of writing copy.
- How much treatment information do you have on your website? Is it written in layman's terms? People have little time (or the desire) to assimilate detail, so don't laden your website with language that is dental jargon-heavy.
- Ensure website navigation is easy to use and that your pages clean and attractive to look at.
Use high-resolution images (your own as well as stock images) to complement crisp copy.
'Hello, Goodbye' – consumer-driven experience
The dental experience is now considered very much consumer driven. In this increasingly competitive market, consumers look deeper than the veneer of courtesy and want to be made to feel special – a part of an exclusive club perhaps?
Whilst a warm welcome and a follow-up phone call are stock in trade practices of the everyday practice, owners need to rethink the total experience to ensure patients keep returning.
- Extol the virtues of your team, promote your hygiene appointments as wellbeing 'whole self' experiences, talk about the cosmetic treatments available in blogs as well as in social media posts – relate them to health and confidence.
- Brand the practice as a spa, offer nutritional advice, consider appointing a treatment coordinator – an essential 'glue' in bridging the gap between reception desk and clinicians.
- Potential patients buy into digital dental marketing if it is genuine, well placed and supported by a real-life experience.
- Treat your customers to a 'lifestyle event', rather than a simple dental check up. Now more than ever, the patient in your chair is aware of how important oral health is to their wellbeing and how a healthy, aesthetically pleasing smile plays in their life.
'Here, There, Everywhere' – social media
When did your practice last post a social media update? Digital dental marketing demands activity that is frequent, relevant and across all key platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
- While a presence is necessary, do be mindful of your audience on each. The messages that are acceptable on one may not translate well to another so if you haven't got to grips with the nuances of each platform, consider handing the responsibility over to a professional who has.
- Engage with followers and remember to direct social media traffic to relevant pages on your website via links. Consider using the Google URL shortener so your posts do not get littered with coding. It's easy to use and easy on the eye for your audience, removing the clutter of longer links
- Reuse the good and reputable content that is out there, the BDA has some great infographics that your patients will appreciate, follow them @thebda or on Facebook and share their content!
- You can even track your click throughout using Google analytics so you can evaluate your marketing strategy to see which posts work and which don't.
'A day in the life' – dealing with dental anxiety
For some patients, you are their worst nightmare. A trip to the dentist rates high up there with Brits' biggest fears, alongside spiders and heights in fact.
So, it's important to maintain a human side to a profession that, historically, hasn't always had the best PR.
Make that initial introduction to the team personable – humanise dentistry and make that first impression a friendly one.
Ensure they know and, more importantly, feel they can trust you to help them on that long and winding road to a new smile.
A large part of this process is the way you present your business online – and your website team profiles, for example, should go beyond the basic essentials of name, role, qualification, date of qualification and GDC registration number.
- Add some colour to the 'About Us' page. Include interests outside of dentistry as well as family status, hobbies, favourite holiday destinations, and so on.
- Send out newsletters to let patients know what changes are taking place in the surgery, new treatments or details of new staff.
- Raise the profiles of your newest recruits. Introduce patients to the team in a series of A day in the life blogs, with a call to action to get in touch.
- Keep it light, too – dental care is a serious business but don't be afraid to break down barriers using a bit of personality and a lighter touch. It worked for Milad Shadrooh, and his Singing Dentist alter ego, who has probably done more for the profession than a health secretary ever did!
'She loves you' – getting patient loyalty
And so do many of your loyal patients who book in to see you week in, week out. Once you have established good relationships with patients, it is important to maintain these – and monopolise on them, too.
Invite feedback, request testimonials and incentivise participation in patient surveys and recommendations to use in your dental marketing as well as to inform future strategies and shape your brand.
Twist and shout – getting mileage out of content
The churning out of generic messages and images are a massive turn-off for any audience, whatever the business.
Telling patients about the need to change their toothbrush every three months has impact only so many times a week and over-used posts wear as thin as the tufts of a six-month-old manual!
Add a twist to your activity and shout about your business in a unique way, use content rich media, such as videos, and be inventive with your engagement.
Shout about what's special about you. Get your audience thinking, entertain as well as educate and inspire with clever, tactical and meaningful dental marketing, ensuring it's getting better all the time.
And, should know you require further help with all your marketing and branding needs, don't forget, as digital experts in all fields as well as dental marketing, we can work it out!
Shaz Memon, Creative Director