Those who own or who manage a dental clinic know that the success of the company will ultimately come down to one thing, and that is the number of clients that you can successfully service.
Obviously, having excellent, high-quality services to sell is vitally important, but as you may well know, sadly there are many dental clinics that fall by the wayside.
The issue is they cannot see enough clients to be profitable, and the causes of that are likely to be lack of client streamlining, poor marketing, and a lack of prospects and leads.
So, once any client streamlining is worked through you can focus on client leads. If a lack of leads is an issue, the obvious solution is to generate more leads, so we are going to look at four highly effective ways that dental clinics can generate leads from their online marketing, but before we do, there is one thing we need to discuss, and that is what you define as a lead.
What Is A Lead?
If you ask 10 different sales and marketing experts to define a lead, you can expect to hear 10 different answers. Some might say the second you have any kind of contact with someone online, no matter how fleeting, then they are a lead.
At the other end of the scale, you might get the answer that a lead is someone who is almost at the end of the sales process, and within one step of buying.
To be honest, as every business niche and individual company, including dental, will have different marketing and sales funnels, there really is no right or wrong answer.
If you determine that someone who follows you on Twitter is a lead, then so be it. Alternatively, if you define a lead as a prospect who requests a price list from you, then we are not going to disagree.
As we go through the four marketing strategies for generating leads, you will discover that in each case, the prospect or lead, is likely to be at a different stage of the buying process. For some, it might the first contact they ever have with your business, for others, they may have had several communications from you.
The point is that regardless of how near, or how far, they seem from making the decision to buy or not, you want to be using all the marketing and sales resources at your disposal to get them to move a little bit further along on that journey from being a lead to becoming a buyer.
Now, let us look at the four strategies…
Email has been around for as long as the internet has existed, and the fact is, almost everyone online uses email in some form or another. For dental clinics, it is one of the most effective ways, of turning those with a slight interest in your products or services, into genuine leads, and those who may have already been a client, into long-term clients.
To be able to email someone they need to become an email subscriber, and to do that you offer something free in return for them allowing you to email them. You could offer a free report relating to your niche, or even a discount which they can redeem on a future visit.
Once they are on your email subscriber list, you can then use the emails you send them to build a relationship with them, and in doing so, turn them from someone who just wanted a freebie report, into a lead who actively considers buying your products.
Your emails should have a balance of useful information, interesting content, and promotions that describe the benefits of your products.
As for existing customers, you want to use the emails to them in order to maintain the relationship and to ensure they are kept up to date with the latest products and services that you are offering, and the current promotions which might be available to them.
One of the great benefits of email marketing is that you can tailor each email message to suit a specific group of subscribers. As such you can send new prospects emails which introduce them to your business and reassure them that if they purchase from you, they will be making a wise decision.
Alternatively, long-term customers can be sent emails that refer to their loyalty, and then offer them additional benefits or incentives to thank them for it.
Pay Per Click Advertising
Pay per click advertising (PPC) or commonly referred to as Google Ads is a marketing strategy you should seriously consider, especially if you want to generate leads as quickly as possible, and on a consistent, on-going basis. Once a PPC campaign is activated, you could literally have leads calling, emailing, or filling in an online contact form, within an hour.
Whilst lead generation can happen quickly once it has gone live, a PPC campaign does take money, time and effort to set up. This is why many dental clinic owners often pass on it, or worse, they try to do it themselves, and end up spending more than they needed to, and get no return for it either.
PPC campaigns are best left to agencies and consultants who are skilled in them. Those skills include researching and determining which keywords to target, how to get the lowest possible cost per click, and in knowing how to keep the campaign within budget.
They will also know how to analyse the data once the PPC campaign is running, and then make the necessary adjustments to make it even more successful.
For you, your business will have a steady and predictable stream of leads, and because the PPC campaign has been set up correctly, those leads will be more likely to convert into sales.
In the offline business world, if you were to approach a store, an office, or some other type of business premises and it looked as though it hadn’t seen a lick of paint for years, you’d question whether that company was the one you wanted to do business with, given the poor first impression they gave you.
Well, that same scenario exists online, whereby the first impression anyone has of your dental clinic is more than likely going to be when they initially land on your website. This is where the design of your website plays a huge role in generating leads.
If that website isn’t welcoming, is difficult to navigate, and is using outdated images, then rather than becoming a lead, anyone visiting it is going to click away almost immediately.
On the other hand, if the website is welcoming, looks appealing, has clear menus and navigation, and also has an obvious call to action so the visitor isn’t confused, then they’ll stay. During that stay, they may not necessarily buy there and then, but they will be more willing to fill in a quote form or submit their email so that you can contact them.
You do not necessarily need a monster-sized 100-page plus website with all the bells and whistles, albeit, if your business is the type that has multiple products and service areas, then obviously you may want one.
The point is that whether your dental clinic needs a large website or small one, it needs to be designed or updated by those who know what they are doing.
They will obviously take on board your ideas, after all, it is your website. However, they can advise on what it should and shouldn’t’ have in terms of functionality, especially with regards to how visitor friendly it needs to be.
As with many things, you only have one chance to make a great first impression, but when that means the difference between generating a lead or not, then it is essential your website design is given your highest attention.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
In the last section we discussed having great website design, but there is little point in having an awesome website if no one visits it. It is a bit like having a luxury, 5-star hotel, and no guests.
Whilst there are many ways to generate traffic to your website, such as PPC advertising which we mentioned previously, the greatest source of traffic can be the search engines, and in particular Google.
In order to benefit from the traffic generated by the search engines, SEO needs to have been properly implemented. SEO is the methodology of helping your website rank for keywords based on search terms the potential customers you are targeting might enter in the search box.
Each industry and business niche will target different keywords, and they will even be differences across different local areas. For example, a dental clinic offering ‘dental implants’ and looking to generate leads in Perth isn’t likely to be targeting search terms such as ‘dental implants Melbourne’.
Identifying keywords to target is just one of several dozen different elements of SEO that need to be researched as part of a campaign. Beyond research, the implementation also has multiple parts to it, with optimisation both on, and off your website required. Thereafter, ongoing analysis and updates to further optimise are necessary.
A significant undertaking, but one which can bring huge results, which is why employing an SEO agency to create and implement your SEO campaign is the only sensible option. They will have the expertise and the tools to do everything that is required, and once they have, your website should soon start climbing the rankings.