Patients are picky. Oral health plays a massive role in overall health and well-being and people do not take it lightly. That’s why most people take their time and make informed decisions when opting to select a new dental, orthodontic, or specialty care provider.
In order to truly appeal to prospective patients, practices must understand the patient decision cycle and the necessity of a strong multi-channel digital marketing strategy.
“The Rule of 7”
In marketing, “The Rule of 7” states that it takes an average of 7 interactions with a brand in order for a person to make a purchase. In the dental world, that means 7 separate interactions before a person decides to become a patient.
While 7 is an average number that pertains to many industries, the exact number of times may fluctuate in either direction depending on the services offered, location, number of direct competitors, and an abundance of other factors.
What is certain, though, is that when decisions about personal health are made, people tend to be calculated and thoughtful. That means that multiple experiences with your practice BEFORE becoming a patient is the rule rather than the exception.
It Takes More than a Great Website
As the prevalence of the internet has grown over time, so too has the importance of having a strong digital presence. Data indicates that nearly every prospective patient will interact with your practice online in some form before becoming a patient.
The natural tendency is to think of a practice’s website exclusively as the requisite for a great online presence. However, while a great website provides the online foundation, more is needed. For example, an appealing website is unable to be effective if people can’t find it online. That’s why search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) marketing are crucial components of online marketing.
It’s also important to account for social media channels. Many prospective patients learn about a practice because of a great social post that lands in one of their feeds. Some people on social channels may never even visit a practice’s website so having buttoned-up and useful social content is also a necessity.
Overall, the most successful practices have a great digital marketing strategy across all of the top channels – specifically an excellent website supported by a strong SEO, Social, and PPC presence. By extending effort into each of these channels a practice can really expand its digital reach, increasing the likelihood a prospect will discover the practice and be interested in learning more.
If your practice has any questions pertaining to the aforementioned digital marketing channels or any others please feel free to reach out to us!
—Mike Fitterer, Sr. Marketing Manager II, Sesame Communications