There’s a saying, “If you’re not online, it’s like you don’t exist.” Imagine you’re a patient who wants to find a dentist near your new home. What’s the first thing you do? In today’s tech world, the answer is easy: Google. A clinic with an online presence has an edge over a competitor that doesn’t; the latter misses the opportunity to engage with potential patients, many of who live and breathe digital. Let patients find and engage your services, from wherever they are. Here are five digital marketing channels that your clinic can consider using to widen its reach.
Google Ads help your clinic reach patients searching for your services. Your clinic will instantly appear as a top search result when your ad matches the searched keywords. Choose your ad copy wisely since space is limited. Put yourself in your patient’s shoes: what info would catch your eye? For example, since wisdom tooth surgeries are expensive, “Fully Claimable by Medisave” could help your ad stand out from the crowd and entice prospects to click in.
Google My Business lets clinics connect with patients across Google Search or Maps. Your clinic will be displayed as a business listing with details such as website, address, contact info and operating hours. Patients can call, message and leave reviews for your clinic. It’s not possible to turn off reviews for listings under Google My Business, so clinics that prefer not to be reviewed may wish to refrain from this option.
Have you browsed a website only to see that brand’s Facebook ad moments later? Facebook ads can be a great way for allied health, dental, dermatology and aesthetic clinics to retarget patients or clients. Let’s say a patient wants to get braces and searches online for an orthodontist. They visit your clinic’s website, but don’t book an appointment immediately. Since braces are expensive, the patient may want to take some time to decide if they should get the treatment. This doesn’t mean your clinic should be forgotten. Use Facebook ads to retarget your prospect, so your dental clinic stays at the top of their mind and increases the chance they will engage your services. For instance, Cosmetic Derma Medicine used Facebook ads to generate a 48% increase in its sales through a two-phase campaign*. First, it marketed its promotional ads to leads on Facebook. Second, it retargeted custom audiences based on the leads it had discovered in phase one. By using online appointment booking, Cosmetic Derma Medicine made it convenient for prospects to fulfill the ad’s call-to-action (CTA) button: Book Now.
Instagram is another popular platform among allied health, dental, dermatology and aesthetic clinics. Instagram ads widen your clinic’s reach and help generate leads from untapped markets. For example, teeth whitening company HiSmile saw a 90% increase in male customers—a formerly untapped demographic—through its Instagram ad campaign. Clinics can explore Instagram’s multimedia marketing formats, such as Stories and carousel ads, to increase sales. Treatwell UK included photos beneath its video ads to show its nearest locations to prospects, who could instantly secure their wellness visit thanks to online appointment booking. Clinics can also consider moving inventory off their shelves by linking their Instagram ads to their online store. For instance, German healthcare firm Queisser Pharma used Instagram ads to raise awareness about and promote the sale of its probiotic supplement Doppelherz Pro Lacto Balance.
Unlike online ads that are paid media, a blog is part of your clinic’s owned media—online property that’s owned and controlled by your practice, such as your website and social media channels. Instead of spending money on ads, writing a blog is a cost-effective way to increase your clinic’s online visibility. For instance, if you’re interested to learn how to treat pigmentation, a Google search could lead you to ‘An Honest Doctor’s Guide to Treating Pigmentation’ on Mizu Aesthetics’ blog (*Mizu Aesthetics uses Plato to run its clinic operations). A practitioner’s expertise reflected in the content can win over leads and strengthen your relationship with existing patients or clients. For example, those considering between Invisalign aligners and metal braces can find the advice they need on Nuffield Dental’s blog (*Nuffield Dental uses Plato to run its clinic operations). When brainstorming about a topic to write about, consider your ideal patient or client, their main concerns, and then write about the solutions. When patients or clients benefit from your advice, they will feel more connected to your practice and inclined to engage your services.
It’s important to give your patients an easy way to access your clinic’s services. Using Plato makes this simple: setup online appointment booking, and when patients are on your website, they can then schedule visits anytime, in a couple of clicks. Otherwise, your patients have to find your clinic’s number, wait to call during business hours, and then go through the effort of a phone booking. Digital consumers who are used to the convenience of online services will quickly give up on phone bookings. Don’t lose new patients right before they book their first visit. Eliminate the friction that patients face in traditional phone booking by letting them book their visit online.
Video logging is another type of owned media that your clinic can consider using. Since videos work well in documenting procedures, practitioners like dentists have taken to sharing videos of their work on YouTube to reach prospects. Apart from offering entertainment, YouTube is one of the top platforms for educational content. An orthodontist might share a video about how they put braces on a patient or how to clean your teeth if you have braces. Some orthodontists even document their patient’s braces journey, so prospects can see the end result and consider their services. Learning and understanding more about the procedure can help put anxious patients at ease. Some patients feel comforted from the experience of other patients who have gone through the same treatment plan. Before sharing videos online, clinics should get consent from the patients they have featured inside. Besides vlogging, clinics can consider YouTube’s paid ad options. For instance, YouTube’s discovery ads appear when a patient searches for a keyword on the platform or next to related videos.
Digital marketing is more than just finding the right channel...
Successful marketing isn’t just about finding the right channels. Your ad would go to waste if you lose your prospect before they book an appointment at your clinic. One way to minimise this drop off rate is to design a convenient user journey. In part two of this series, we’ll explain how to win over patients online through great user journeys.
*For Singapore clinics, please refer to the Private Hospitals and Medical Clinics Act for advertising regulations. For non-Singapore clinics, please refer to your country’s specific advertising regulations.