Don’t put all your eggs into the digital marketing basket

I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times by now: the chorus of voices echoing that the future of marketing is digital. Or you’ve read over and over again that an online presence is essential to growing your practice and remaining relevant in today’s dental industry. And that chorus isn’t wrong (after all, statistics show more and more people are searching for dentists online), but that doesn’t mean you should completely abandon offline marketing tactics as ineffective relics of the past.

Instead, you should embrace both to maximize your marketing success and gain the most exposure with potential patients. That means creating a marketing strategy that encompasses both mediums and makes sure they’re consistent in look, feels, and messaging—just tweaking the message to fit whatever type of marketing you’re doing. For example, taking the 10-second video you shared on Facebook and using the message in it (say a patient sharing a story of a successful root canal) and placing it on a postcard. Both are consistent and appropriate to the platform you’re using to share the patient experience.

That being said, let’s focus in a little more on how to do effective offline marketing in today’s digitally inclined world. There are still many options that will work really well as part of your overall marketing strategy when you’re willing to embrace new ideas in the process.

Out with the old—in with the relatable and engaging

Before digital marketing really took off a generic ad in the yellow pages or local newspaper listing your services or just the name of your office and phone number could be enough to bring in steady business. It didn’t need to have a lot of personality to garner the attention of dental-work-needing individuals. And it didn’t require much effort to put together. Unfortunately, that won’t fly today, so you need to use a little extra mental elbow grease (or even call in some professional help) to make your offline marketing pop.

Relevant offline marketing today consists of radio ads, postcards, billboards and more (yes, even ads in local publications like newspapers, community event calendars, etc.). They should all be familiar to you even if you haven’t dusted them off in a while.

However, simply dusting off these old marketing standbys isn’t enough to make them effective for you again. You need to take them and put a modern spin on your messaging by understanding what people are expecting to experience in offline marketing (hint: it’s the same as in online marketing).

Catch people’s attention in the first five seconds! Make your message personal, simple, and use eye-catching imagery to help  people relate to (and want) what you’re offering them. What you’re offering should directly benefit them in some way.

That means you need to consider who you’re targeting with this marketing. Are you a general dentist that can make use of USPS Every Door Direct Mail? Or are you a specialist who needs to purchase a list to send procedure specific messages to? Perhaps you see an opportunity to reach out to the aging population in your community and want to direct your marketing to channels that touch those potential patients. In either case, the message needs to be memorable and specific.

So, instead of a radio ad that goes something like, “I’m Dr. Smith from XYZ Dental and if you call us we promise to take excellent care of your dental health.”

Try an ad like this: “Hi, have you been suffering from tooth pain lately? Or sensitivity to hot or cold food and drinks? Don’t keep telling yourself it’ll get better. Go out and make it better by setting up an appointment with me, Dr. Smith, from XYZ Dental. We have 15 years of experience in helping patients with sensitive teeth.”

You’re speaking to a real problem real people have and want help for. A generic (but accurate) call out of your good service won’t perk up nearly as many ears. Like excellent online reviews, factual evidence of your great dental care (like years of experience) or patient testimonials will go a long way in making offline marketing work for your office.

Another technique to increase the response to your non-digital marketing is to add an offer that is too good to pass up. If you want to attract new patients try adding a free whitening kit with a first appointment—you’ll be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t want whiter teeth. That’s something you can add to postcards, billboards, radio spots, and more to easily reach a multitude of people. Or if you’re looking to get back patients who might have missed out on scheduling a 6-month hygiene appointment try sending them a “We miss you” letter personalized with their name and an offer to add X-rays to their appointment at no charge. The personalization combined with the offer makes it a piece of marketing that’s pretty hard to ignore.

Essentially, it boils down to making sure your offline marketing is a relatable, accurate reflection of the experience patients will get when they actually come into your office. By sharing messages that reflect people’s desire for trusted and professional care, a solution to a problem they’re facing, and/or a monetary savings your offline marketing will not only support your digital marketing but be successful in its own right.