Dental practices in general are quite accustomed to interacting with patients mostly over the phone. In many cases, the phone is and has always been the main point of access to the practice. For the older generations, this works perfectly, but for younger patients, maybe not so much. A number of dentists we meet with for the first time are surprised to learn that most of the patients they are trying to attract no longer think of the phone when they want to learn more about a practice but choose other digital means of interaction instead.
A few facts
According to recent data, consumers — and in the case of dental practices, patients — are relying much more frequently on digital media platforms to engage with the businesses they want to patronize. In fact, a HubSpot survey recently revealed that only 2% of Gen Z consumers prefer to engage with businesses over the phone. However, 46% want to get to know a business or brand by reviewing content online, with YouTube being the preferred platform, followed by Instagram. Over half admitted that they are influenced by their friends’ and families’ social media posts and feel that using social media is a better way to find new products and services than searching online alone. The trend also holds for online reviews, with more than half of the surveyed consumers stating that they have gone elsewhere if the business’s site did not have reviews.
So what does this mean for dental practices?
These figures tell us that in order to attract patients across all age groups, dental practices need to be thinking beyond the phone, if they aren’t already. A website with a phone number is not going to be enough to engage Gen Z and Millennial patients (which includes 25-41 year olds) with your practice’s brand. Additional content posted on various digital channels plus posting and promoting patient reviews can bridge the gap and also send the message that yours is a modern practice that caters to patients like them.
More people than ever do their research online before reaching out to a business because they want to know what others have to say first before deciding whether a business will meet their needs. And it’s easier than ever to find the information they need online. YouTube is full of people reviewing products and services. And Google and Facebook provide a great way for new patients to read reviews.
The numbers reported by HubSpot strongly suggest that posting content on YouTube and other social media platforms is an effective way to market a dental practice and reach potential new patients, with the potential to be far more effective than traditional marketing channels. It also suggests that patients are more heavily influenced by others’ experiences than by what comes up first on a Google search. It stands to reason then, that putting time and effort into digital marketing is well worth it.
Don’t stay stuck in the past!
We’ve said it before, and we’ll keep saying it, digital marketing is the best way for a dental practice to stay competitive in the age where people can get information about nearly everything online. The statistics continue to reflect this shift in consumer behavior, and your patients are no different. They want to get a feel for the kind of practice you run, and they want to know that other patients have good things to say about the treatments they’ve received, as well as the way they’ve been treated by the dentist and staff. Therefore, it is vitally important for a dental practice to include reviews and other digital content in its marketing strategy or risk being left behind.