4 Surefire Ways to Increase Your Word of Mouth Marketing
A staggering 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family more than any other form of advertising. Jonah Berger, a marketing expert and Wharton School professor claims that word of mouth marketing is 10 times more effective than traditional advertising. Specifically in the dental industry, 81% of those surveyed said they would look to the advice of family and friends to choose a dentist.
Those numbers are too big to ignore, and they’re growing every day.
It’s time you start actively investing in word of mouth marketing. After all, if you’ll spend $3000 on a TV ad that returns just a handful of new patients, why wouldn’t you invest in the one marketing tactic that could skyrocket your practice in no time?
Word of mouth marketing is all about getting your patients to spread positive reviews about your practice to their family and friends. To do this, you’ve got to offer something worth talking about.
Here are 4 surefire ways to get your patients talking:
1. DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT.
It’s a good start to have good customer service, a clean waiting room, and pleasant conversation with your patients. But that’s a little run-of-the-mill. Patients expect this, so it’s not exactly something they’ll be excited to talk to their friends about. In order to get them bragging about you, you have to do something worth bragging about.
- Just 4 Me Pediatric Dentistry of Getzville, NY does an amazing job of decorating their office for little ones. They recently added a Frozen themed room. 225 people “liked” their Facebook post, and 21 people shared it. You can bet that little ones will remember that room when their parent says it’s time for a check-up.
- Paddi Lund, a dentist in Brisbane, added a luxury cappuccino machine to his office and made sure his entire staff was capable of brewing a great cappuccino. You’re probably thinking, “So what? My office has a Keurig.” It might not seem like much, but it makes all the difference to Lund’s patients. Not only is Lund’s practice top of mind when it’s time for an annual check-up, but it helps patients associate good things with his practice. (And good things often get talked about!)
2. GET TO KNOW YOUR PATIENTS.
Sure, it’s nice that my dentist knows my name (although I’m sure he could just check the charts before he walked into the room), but it always catches me a little off guard when he remembers something particular that I mentioned during my last visit.
Take time to jot down a few notes from your patient’s visit for next time. Did little Billy start soccer in the fall? Ask how it’s going. (And here’s a good time for a discrete promotion of your sports mouth guards!) Did the family take a month long vacation to Europe? Ask what their favorite part of the trip was.
It might seem trivial, but it strengthens the connection between you and your patient in uncountable ways. Now you’re no longer just a person behind a white mask, you’re a community member, friend, AND dentist. (And people like helping out their friends!)
3. HELP THEM OUT.
I just cleaned out 10 different offers in my inbox, and I didn’t read a single one. Why? Because I get nearly 30 a day, and I don’t have time to look at each one.
If you’ve ever sent out an offer in an e-newsletter, you understand the frustration. You can practically give away free money and people still won’t open the email! Mass offers and discounts have their pros & cons. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t.
But a personalized offer adds a little more. Despite the results of many e-newsletters, offers do still work, especially when they feel personally tailored to your patient.
Did Sally just mention she got engaged? Offer her whitening services at a discount. Is little Bobby starting football in the fall? Offer to make him a sports mouth guard.
Not only will your patients feel like you genuinely care about them, but you’ll reach them at the point where they’re more likely to take you up on your offer. (As opposed to sending out an email blast offering whitening for 25% off when you’re not sure whether they’re interested in those services or not.)
4. GIVE THEM SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT.
Literally. Give them something. Create a “Care to Share” card that current patients can pass out to their family and friends. Offer a special discount to new patients, and make sure to include a space where your current patients can put their name. When a card is returned to the office, reward the current patient with a credit, prize, or discount.
Make sure they’re prominently displayed in your office – in the waiting room, at the front desk, etc. Staff should also be handing out these cards to your patients as they leave.
If your patients are very happy with you, they’ll want to talk about you. It makes them feel like an insider to know about such a great dentist. And as an insider, they’ll also have access to insider discounts to share.
***Remember the definition of word of mouth marketing – oral or written recommendation by a satisfied customer to the prospective customers of a good or service. But those unsatisfied customers? They talk too. In fact, 56% of unsatisfied customers will openly criticize companies they don’t like or trust, influencing the 53% of customers who won’t do business with a company they don’t trust.