If you are struggling to recruit younger generations as patients, you may not be reaching them through the proper channels. In the age of digitized marketing and disappearing newspapers, utilizing social media to promote your practice is no longer optional. Not only can effective social media marketing save you the money that was once used on print ads, but it can bring in a whole new set of loyal clients. Read on to learn about how millennial women in particular are changing the market.
Advertising in local newspapers is no longer a effective or cost-efficient way to acquire new patients
If your marketing efforts are not, at least in some way, reaching out to women — particularly millennial moms — you are likely ignoring a key demographic.
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Women hold much of the purchasing power for their families, and millennial moms rely heavily on social media to make buying decisions. Understanding and effectively targeting this population can produce a significant return on investment compared to newspaper advertising.
The disconnect in many marketing efforts, she says, is the misunderstanding that millennials, like any generation, span 20 years. In other words, there is a big difference between marketing to an 18 year old and a 38-year-old mother of two young children.
“They’re in a different life stage,” Bailey says. “They’re using different technologies, you communicate with them differently, and their priorities and their values are somewhat different.”
Understanding those differences is important in reaching a large and influential population.
Bailey explains that 85 percent of moms use technology to shop, and 90 percent consult some type of review or testimonial before making a purchase. Eighty percent have viewed at least one online video during the past week, which means they will likely be interacting with someone who has already experienced your dental practice.
The overwhelming majority of those interactions happen via social media.
“Social media is just another way to have a conversation with your patients and your prospective patients as well,” Bailey says.
The best way to start or jump into those conversations is to listen. Bailey suggests doing a Twitter search for phrases like “clean teeth” or “great smile,” then looking at all the conversations that populate around those phrases. The same approach can be taken on Facebook and Instagram.
“Spend 15 minutes a day just watching what people are talking about,” Bailey says. “And once you see what people are talking about, then you can engage in that conversation just as you would at a cocktail party or any networking event.”
If Twitter represents the world stage, and you want to know what is being talked about in your community, you can localize the conversation by typing in the name of the town or city where your practice is located. For example, type in #Atlanta and find 10 people who are looking for a dental provider in the Atlanta area.
“There’s an opportunity to interact with those people,” Bailey says.
Listening will also help dentists understand what is valuable to current and prospective patients. Bailey says research indicates millennial moms want quality and convenience, but they want it at a fair price. Most women, she says, are juggling family, work and personal life. Using social media, dentists can show what they have to offer.
By better understanding these lifestyles, you can avoid the mistaken assumption that they want to receive a reminder phone call the day before their next appointment. Eighty-five percent, according to Bailey, see that phone call as a nuisance. In fact, only 30 percent of millennials actually use their wireless devices to make phone calls.
“They want to interact through technology, because they’re digital and technology natives,” Bailey explains. “If you want to communicate with millennial moms, send them a Snapchat.”
Then, after their appointment, if they had a good experience, encourage them to spread the word. Bailey says that 73 percent of millennial moms will share a good experience with a service professional online.
“They like to impact the community,” she says. “So if you ask them to [post a review], they’ll feel like they’re part of your community.”
Bailey says that many dentists still take out small ads in their local newspaper, which is ineffective in reaching millennial moms. The return on investment is much greater using social media, and doing so enables dentists to carry on a more personal conversation with current and potential patients.
“It allows you to have a deeper relationship with the people that you’re communicating with,” Bailey says. “You run an ad in a newspaper, and it’s a one-way conversation. You’re basically trying to cram everything you can into that conversation within that two column by three-column ad. But when you’re online, you can have a more relevant and deep conversation.”