Like other businesses, orthodontists need to maintain a rapport with customers to keep income stable. This is especially crucial when it comes to orthodontic work, as each patient only has a certain amount of treatments they need to maintain their smile.
In other words, you need to be sure you are building a sterling reputation with every procedure. The whole family might be done with all their orthodontic needs, but they know plenty of others who might still require your services. And a direct referral has even more power than an online review.
Luckily, independently owned orthodontist offices have several advantages:
1. Strong Patient Relationships
At a time when independent dentists are increasingly being pushed out of the market by bigger players, local orthodontists stand out. Patients who come to your practice don’t have to worry about being treated like a number. They know you will be well aware of their needs and their history.
This creates a huge shift in how you can relate to and communicate with your patients.
Orthodontist marketing might not sound like the most exciting thing in the world, but it gets attention from past customers who already have positive feelings about your brand. Of course, you are the center of that brand! So, you have all the power when it comes to building patient relationships that last.
2. Superior Customer Service
Customer service goes hand in hand with your efforts to deepen patient relationships.
The time patients spend in the chair is second only to customer service in whether they look forward to visiting you or drag their feet with dread. Naturally, you don’t have direct control over everything that happens in the realm of customer care, but you can prepare your team to do the best job possible.
Compassion and responsiveness are two virtues that help orthodontic patients feel truly cared about. As a leader, you have the opportunity to guide the rest of your team based on the specific experiences you have with your patients. What they say is important to them is what you can reflect.
This leads us directly to the next point …
3. Nimbleness and Versatility
Large dental practices with in-house orthodontists may seem to have a competitive advantage due to their economy of scale. But they also must see so many patients that they are unable to focus much of their attention or resources on the needs of anyone who visits them.
Since larger practices are locked into specific agreements with insurance companies and other sprawling organizations, they are often slow to change and must wade through lots of red tape. By comparison, a smaller orthodontist business can turn on a dime, helping you stay in step with patients.
That translates to even more effective orthodontist marketing since you can target more efficiently.
4. The Ability to Attract Customers at Low Cost
You might be surprised to find this on a list of orthodontists’ strengths, especially if you’ve had trouble keeping your schedule full in the past. But, as time goes on, the right orthodontist marketing is proving more and more instrumental in helping independent businesses stand tall against their entrenched rivals.
The key is to leverage the right combination of traditional and digital marketing.
Inbound marketing is the term given to marketing that draws customers to you at the moment they’re most interested in what you have to say. This contrasts with outbound marketing, which focuses on an interruption of the prospect’s day, followed by “convincing” them they need your services.
Inbound marketing consists of a variety of techniques for adding value before the first visit and all across the patient relationship. Since it emphasizes helping people answer their questions and solve their problems, it is very effective in creating a bond of trust.
That positions you as an advisor who is there to help, not just make a sale.
You already know how important this is. Many times, the decision-maker about orthodontic services is a concerned mother or father who wants to be sure of choosing the best local orthodontist for a growing child. They want understanding and clear facts on which to base their choice.
When orthodontist marketing focuses on explaining the options and providing context, it can soothe any worries and make a first procedure more likely. But you should make sure there’s some fun in your orthodontist marketing toolkit for your current and long-term patients.
Luckily, you don’t have to start from scratch.
New York Ave is the Central Florida marketing agency that helps orthodontists grow and scale. We’ve seen plenty of orthodontist marketing campaigns come and go, so we know a thing or two about what works – and what doesn’t. That means you can save time and skip straight to the good stuff.
Let’s take a look at some of the most effective orthodontist marketing practices around:
1. Social Media Contests and Giveaway
Most people think about orthodontics – and dentistry as a whole – only when they have a need. They will do some research when they believe that they or a loved one needs treatment. After this, they usually disengage from any kind of interaction with orthodontic brands.
One key to long-term patient relationships and referrals is maintaining a level of connection even when a patient has no immediate concerns. That means finding ways to provide fun and excitement for patients, experiences that they don’t necessarily associate with their favorite orthodontist.
Social media contests are a surprisingly powerful way to do exactly that.
The most popular social media contests for orthodontist marketing rely on user-generated content. That is, the people who participate are the ones actually creating the interest and the materials that keep others watching. The best way to do this is to sponsor a photo contest.
While you might think “before and after” photos and healthy smiles are the best thing to showcase for an orthodontist, this can be sensitive for many patients. It is even more effective to have a fun theme such as local landmarks or a visual scavenger hunt – especially if kids will be participating.
It is a good idea to advertise a contest on your social media and your email marketing list for at least two weeks before you start. From there, be sure you are accepting submissions for at least a full month. To reduce administrative overhead, encourage users to tag your social usernames with their submissions.
Once all submissions are in, a second voting round can keep the fun going longer. If your event has been smaller, though, it can sometimes be best to wrap it up with a vote by your staff. Make sure that at least some of your contest prizes are branded, and that they meet any applicable state rules for contests.
2. A Huge Library of Evergreen Blogs
So, what about all those times when people are actively seeking information on orthodontics?
Many of those are first-time visitors to your website who do not yet have a relationship with any local orthodontist. They are still in the earliest phase of the buyer journey – awareness – when they conclude that they have a problem.
Your website can begin serving their needs right away by ensuring you have plenty of valuable, vetted information on the most common orthodontic concerns. Because this material is useful to the majority of your first-time visitors and it rarely needs to be updated, it is called evergreen content.
Evergreen content has a huge impact on your visibility in online searches related to your business. It’s the most powerful plank in an inbound marketing strategy. When people get clear, credible insights from your brand before they even call you for the first time, they know you will take good care of them.
Don’t be intimidated by the thought of a “huge” amount of content. A Central Florida marketing agency can get you on track with professional blog writing. The most effective brands online have a content calendar, a detailed publishing schedule that lets them provide useful content regularly.
It is a wise idea to launch a new orthodontist website with about 30 pages of relevant content. As time goes on, the sustainable approach is the best, even if that means posting only a few times a month. Still, research shows that the best results come from posting 11-16 new blogs every month.
While that may sound overwhelming, your Central Florida marketing firm can help determine what fits best for your practice. New York Ave will work with you to be sure you have the right content and enough of it.
3. Doctor-Led Video Storytelling
Virtually every sophisticated service shares one thing in common: People aren’t really buying the service itself, but how they expect it to make them feel. Often, there’s a highly evocative emotional story that’s attached to that decision. One job of a marketer is to tap into that narrative.
There’s no better way to do so than to use video storytelling with the doctor’s own voice.
In the case of orthodontics, there’s a rich and resonant emotional side to the decision. Orthodontics is one way to ensure a healthy, beautiful smile. Adult patients going into orthodontics for the first time often need some level of encouragement to feel that they are doing the right thing.
And, of course, the majority of adult patients will be deciding to pursue treatment on behalf of their kids. What could be more relatable than the tireless quest to do the right thing for the next generation? When choosing an orthodontist, parents want to know their kids are in safe hands.
For all these different buyers and more, video is the next best thing to being there.
We call it video storytelling because it can weave a narrative that personalizes and humanizes your brand. You can use a video to give a case study about a particular patient, their worries, and how you helped. Or you can simply introduce your team and what makes you different.
4. Email Marketing for Prospective and Current Patients
Email marketing has long been hailed as the digital marketing approach with the best ROI.
For orthodontist marketing, it can perform many different roles:
- Providing targeted content to prospective patients who have not yet set an appointment
- Equipping current patients to maximize their health after a procedure has been completed
- Sending reminders for follow-up appointments and at-home care patients should perform
- Requesting information, such as customer feedback or referrals, from long-term patients
In digital marketing lingo, each of these different purposes would get its own list segment. Segmenting your email list ensures that each subscriber receives only the content that’s most relevant to them. That makes them more likely to open, read, and respond in ways that will drive your business forward.
Email marketing also stands out because it helps you manage the pace of appointments.
Let’s say you’re having a slow season and would like to take your schedule to another level. All you need to do is send out a limited-time special offer to your prospective patient email segment. The larger your overall email list, the more people will respond to your offer by setting an appointment.
Building an email list may not seem glamorous, but it’s one of the most helpful long-term projects you can undertake in orthodontist marketing. The larger your list, the bigger the pool of potential short-term customers and the more opportunities you have to bring in new business.
5. Direct Mail Reminders for Current Patients
It’s an open secret that, while lots of businesses have been giving up on direct mail, orthodontists are among those still seeing strong results. Direct mail is extremely effective in reminding current patients about follow-up appointments they’d otherwise forget or add-on services they aren’t familiar with.
Many orthodontists and dentists also use direct mail as a means of prospecting for new patients. This is generally less effective, but it can be valuable depending on your local community. For example, it is easy to ensure relevant direct mail reaches new tenants at large apartment complexes.
No matter whether you’ve used it before or what results you’ve had in the past, the time has come to start thinking seriously about direct mail. Across all industries, response rates are going up. At the same time, emails must be more compelling than ever before to get the attention they once did.
One easy way to learn a lot about your customers’ preferences is to follow up with them by text after you try to get in touch by direct mail. A quick text will often get eyes on that direct mail piece – or it will get a response you can use to guide the conversation in other productive directions.
In general, Millennials and Gen Z prefer text over voice calls, since they don’t interrupt the flow of their day. Older people tend to appreciate calls more. Tailor your outreach strategy to the demographics of your patients and you’ll save time all around.
New York Ave Helps You Build Your Business with Orthodontist Marketing that Works
Maybe you’ve heard the old saying that half of all advertising money is wasted.
The secret is knowing which half.
Modern digital marketing isn’t like old-fashioned advertising. In fact, even online advertising is only a small part of an overall strategy. It helps to think of yourself as a publisher. You’re providing information and insight to help people make informed decisions about their orthodontic care.
This helps settle your future customers’ minds, of course. But it’s more than that. Every time you put out new marketing material, you’re also making sure it’ll be easier to find your practice in online searches pertinent to your business. That’s the secret to drawing new patients in at the moment they need you.
And you can see improved results every single month.
If the idea of orthodontist marketing makes you yawn – or you’ve been working at it non-stop with no results – it’s time to refresh your perspective. You can see real business results with the help of a team that understands your business, your goals, and what makes your practice unique.
Contact the team at New York Ave to bring your orthodontist marketing to new heights.