READ McGill Advisory Article: Digital Marketing Strategies To Build Patient Trust

Effective digital marketing requires more than just a website and Facebook page. To build trust and increase new patient flow, you must also actively engage consumers online. Below we discuss how you can use digital media to convince potential patients that you’re the right practice for them.

Building trust with potential patients you’ve never met isn’t easy, but it can be done. Potential new patients are savvier than ever, researching practices on and offline before making a decision. Several factors contribute to their decision-making process including your website, online reviews, social media, positive comments, testimonials, a doctor’s referral, etc. All of these sources must convince them your practice is trustworthy and worth investing their time and money.

Where to Start: Building Your Online Reputation

Surveys show 90% of people read reviews before choosing a business. And most consumers read an average of 7 positive reviews before trusting that business—even with a strong star rating. Thus, your first priority should be garnering as many 5-star reviews as possible on Google and Facebook.

Since reviews of your practice carry so much weight, it’s vital to have some control over that information flow. One way to accomplish this is to capture authentic positive reviews in the office. A review capturing service will help boost positive reviews, and limit negative comments—“catching” them before the patient airs their grievances publicly. If a negative comment is posted on the web, you can defend it proactively by buffering it with positive feedback, making a single negative comment look like an outlier.

Next, add video testimonials from patients and/or referring doctors to your website. While written testimonials can be effective, video is much more powerful in building trust. Post these on your homepage and social media so they can be easily accessible with just one click.

Underscore Your Practice’s Unique Value

Authenticity translates into trust—a powerful motivator when making a purchase decision. So, always be authentic. Communicate your unique value to potential patients online with strong educational and interesting content.

Your content should educate them by answering their most frequently asked questions, show you’re an expert and clearly communicate your value over the competition. By using a blog and/or news section, you can organically attract patients to your website who are searching topics of interest. If they like what they read, they’ll follow you on social media and sign up for your email newsletter. Fun posts showing the personal side of your staff and patients, your community and charitable involvement, cool contests and informational content, all build confidence with potential new patients. So, when it’s time choose to a practice, you’re the one they’ll already know and trust!

Ensuring That If You Build It, They Will Come

Unfortunately, potential patients don’t always find you on their own and sometimes need a push. Facebook is arguably the most effective direct distribution channel for online content in the world. Their ads are highly targeted, allowing you to focus on a particular geographic area, age group, or interest category, so they reach the potential patients most likely to respond.

Carefully crafted original educational content is easily converted into ads that will move potential patients from Facebook or Instagram to your website with just one click. This strategy captures attention and creates awareness.

When writing online content, use a natural, friendly tone, as if you are speaking to the patient chairside. Also, make sure that photos and captions are posted by someone familiar with your practice culture to maintain authenticity. Otherwise, potential patients may unfollow you on social media if the posts don’t feel authentic.

Making Social Media Work for You

The primary benefit of social media is its social aspect—the sharing of information and content between your practice, patients, and potential new patients. Social media invites conversation. Everyone becomes part of the marketing process when engaging on Facebook and Instagram, thus exposing your practice to their entire network of online friends and family.

Social media is an integral part of digital marketing and building patient trust. Never let your online presence go stale. Rather, keep it fresh and authentic. Have a key staffer regularly update your website, Facebook and Instagram pages, and your Google Business listing. Remember, active engagement is key.

Dr. Leon Klempner and Amy Epstein, MBA are founders of People & Practice, LLC, a digital marketing firm exclusively for the dental profession. For more information and a free marketing analysis, contact them at 888.866.DOCS or email hello@pplpractice.com.