Dental lab marketing has been forever transformed. Over the past 15-20 years, the ever-increasing influence of the Internet on how people get information and consume media has caused a sea change that has slowly but surely trickled down to the dental profession. Dental lab owners hear buzzwords like social media, search engine optimization, and online communication at every turn.
Dental lab marketing has been forever transformed.
Over the past 15-20 years, the ever-increasing influence of the Internet on how people get information and consume media has caused a sea change that has slowly but surely trickled down to the dental profession. Dental lab owners hear buzzwords like social media, search engine optimization, and online communication at every turn.
Suddenly, lab owners are forced to not only familiarize themselves with a new repertoire of methods to promote their labs, but also an entirely new vocabulary of terms including Likes, Tweets, blogs and online reviews. It’s a challenge for seasoned marketing experts to stay on top of the latest metrics and trends, and even more difficult for lab owners to keep up with while also running and managing a busy dental lab.
But these new tactics have proven themselves to be more than just trends-now, they are valuable staples of the marketing plan for any dental lab. The lab’s website and the ubiquitous Facebook business page has supplanted the all-important ad in the phone book. Having a presence on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, revamping an outdated website, writing a blog and asking dentists to post online reviews are all critical components of a marketing communication plan that can reach today’s target dentist client.
Professionals in general-and those of us in the dental industry in particular - are sometimes hesitant to make the leap from old school tactics to new school methods. Venturing into the unknown can be overwhelming, especially when valuable marketing dollars are on the line. However, doing so can be well worth the trouble.
Ongoing client connections
One of the most meaningful advantages of many online and modern marketing methods is the countless opportunities to connect with both active and prospective clients every day of the year. In addition to providing continuous opportunities to engage with clients, these new marketing methods encourage dentists to share their positive experiences with others.
While word of mouth marketing always has been a critical component of any dental lab’s marketing strategy, social media and review sites such as Facebook, Yelp, Angie’s List and Google+ Local take the word of mouth to the next level, providing “social proof” about the lab on third-party websites. These sites tend to have more credibility than the testimonials page of the lab’s website, and also allows positive reviews to live on in perpetuity.
Gone are the days of writing a check and hoping the advertising pays off later. Online tools that provide real-time tracking and ROI metrics are now available. Website tracking technology makes it painless for lab owners to see how many people have visited their website at any given time, the amount of time each visitor stays on the site, how people arrived at the site and which pages are most viewed.
Email platforms are used to send promotional email messages and electronic newsletters to large numbers of clients simply by hitting the Send button. These systems also provide details such as the number of people who received the email, as well as any who have opened and read the message. Lab owners can monitor their email lists to determine which information most appeals to their client base, giving them priceless insight into what their dentist clients are looking for from their lab.
While new media marketing is what everyone is talking and blogging about, there is still a case to be made for traditional marketing mediums. It is important for labs to take their client profiles into consideration, and to use the marketing efforts that most effectively reach their target clients.
Most importantly, effectively and consistently tracking the results of all marketing methods, both old school and new school, is essential. With objective analysis of the return on investment for every marketing dollar spent, it is possible to determine what has actually been successful-whether it be traditional or modern
Naomi Cooper is President & Founder of Minoa Marketing and Chief Marketing Consultant for Pride Institute. She is a respected dental marketing consultant, author, speaker and industry opinion leader who co-teaches Pride’s marketing course, The New Rules of Dental Marketing. Naomi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and blogs at minoamarketing.com.