In order to be effective in marketing to potential patients, you need to think like they do.
Simply defined, the customer journey is the sequence of decision-making and research steps someone will go through before buying a product or service. Along the way the customer has a series of touchpoints where they interact with your practice, from the time they click on your website to your billing department after they commit. Each interaction is a part of that journey and influences how they think and feel about your practice.
Think like a patient
To bring in new business you need to think less like an orthodontist and more like one of your patients. What motivates a patient to pick your business over another? There are many influences, but we have found that trust in a practice and its staff is very high on the list.
Building trust with a potential patient you haven’t met yet isn’t easy but it can be done and done well. Patients need to see that you have plenty of positive reviews on third party sites like Yelp or on your Google Business listing. They need to see that you are an expert in your field, answering their questions and allaying their concerns. Your content needs to communicate the value of your office over the competition, especially when independent practices are competing against corporate Dental Service Organizations.
The customer journey doesn’t end when they sign on the dotted line. A patient must continue to be engaged with you on social media and contribute positive reviews to online review sites. Our research shows that personal referrals are a vital decision point in the customer’s journey to choosing an orthodontist. If your current patients aren’t singing your praises, then you need to find ways to get them to start.
Waypoints on the customer journey
To connect to potential new clients you need a multifaceted approach that involves social media marketing, online reputation management, a constant flow of interesting and useful content, and targeted Facebook advertising. This strategy creates awareness, captures attention, instills trust, and puts patients in chairs.
Your social presence should be active and encourage sharing, creating a constant flow of engagement between your office, patients and potential clients. It also allows you to be found and recommended by others and enables patients to interact with you in a place they feel most comfortable. New patients will become part of the marketing process, engaging with your social media posts and exposing your practice to their network of friends online who are also potential new clients.
Educational content on your website positions you as a caring and knowledgeable professional that a customer can identify with before she even steps foot into your office. A constant flow of content is also great for getting your website up to the top of the results page in Google searches.
You can then expand your social media presence and drive traffic to your educational content through targeted advertising. Facebook’s powerful ad program allows practices to promote themselves by targeting a highly segmented demographic based on age, interest and location.
A practice should also have a system in place to encourage patients to share positive reviews online and intercept negative experiences to resolve issues before they become a problem. Positive reviews on services like Yelp and Google Business influence a client’s decision. We have mentioned this before, but it cannot be understated: surveys have shown that 84% of patients use online reviews to evaluate doctors.
The journey begins and ends with you
Once a new client discovers your practice, she begins to take a journey with you. Some are long and winding roads while others are very direct paths. It’s important that your marketing efforts guide her to your practice.
Are you ready to take the journey with your next patient? Our work builds trust in your practice online to help you get new patients in a digital era by convincing them (before even meeting you) that you’re the practice to choose. For more information, or a free marketing analysis, you can contact People & Practice today at 888.866.DOCS, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.