Marketing to Millennials for Dentists

The Dental Business Guide Podcast Episode | February 24th
George Bellamy, Nikita Kanda, Chris O’Shea

George Bellamy: Welcome back to the dental business guide. I’m George and today I am with Chris O’Shea and Nikita Kanda. 

Nikita Kanda: Hi, guys.

Chris O’Shea: Hi George.

George Bellamy: So both of you are millennials. I’m unfortunately just out of that bracket so what is actually a millennial?

Nikita Kanda: So a millennial is anyone born between 1981 and 1996?

George Bellamy: Right, everyone knows what a millennial is in terms of, you see in the news millennials are destroying this and that. Millennials are doing all this stuff. People are saying, Millennials aren’t buying houses because they can’t afford them. Let’s just dive straight into it, just on what marketing to millennials is, the specifics really. So is it harder to market with millennials?

Chris O’Shea: Well, it’s a really good point you made there that you’ll see newspapers all the time come out with ‘millennials are destroying this industry and they’re destroying this form of business because they’re not buying it.’ No. Millennials don’t destroy anything, businesses don’t adapt to new markets.

Millennials have their way of buying things they have their ways of being marketed to and if you’re not adapting to that, that’s your business’s fault. It’s not the millennials fault. They’re not destroying the diamond industry. The diamond industry hasn’t adapted to millennial marketing.

So yes and no, it can be harder, because there’s a lot more you need to get right nowadays, mainly with digital marketing but it can also be a lot easier, especially for dentists, because once upon a time for dentists to market to anyone, no matter what their age bracket, you had to put your name in the local newspaper and put some flyers out there and that was pretty much it.

But now with the internet and with millennials all being on the internet, all the time, you’ve got this one place where you can reach all of them. Whether it’s with SEO, your website, whether it’s ads, or social media, they’re all online. They’re all on their phones, they’re all computers and it’s just a perfect way to get to them now.

George Bellamy: Yes, that’s what I was going to say was, should you just focus purely on digital marketing then to secure these millennials in your practice?

Chris O’Shea: Yeah, I mean offline marketing still has a huge role to play but yes, digital marketing is huge. Now, digital marketing should be taking up a lot of your marketing energy, budget and time, digital marketing is going to be the key for you now.

George Bellamy: Yeah. So would I have to then spend more money to market and everything like that?

Nikita Kanda: In terms of social media marketing, I think that’s a big part of millennial marketing at the moment, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on that, because when you first sign up to a social media platform, it’s free. Then, when you want to do ads and things, that’s where you’re going to probably spend most of your money. To start off with, it’s not expensive if you’re going to do that side of digital marketing.

Chris O’Shea: I was going to say the exactly the same thing. If you want to do it for free, you absolutely can do it. If you want to just use social media for free, if you want to just use SEO techniques to get your website to the top of Google, you can do all that for free. And if you want to really kick start it, then you can use pay per click advertising, things like Google ads, Facebook ads and Instagram ads. So, there is the free option, but there is also the option to pay for it and get some better results.

George Bellamy: Yes, we live in a world where if you’re not online, you can’t survive as a business. It’s as simple as that really. So how would people search for a business? Let’s say I’ve just moved into the area, I’m looking for a new practice, how would most people search for a dental practice for example?

Chris O’Shea: The first thing most people are going to do is simply type into Google ‘dentist near me’, or they’ll type in dentist, and then the area they’re in, so ‘dentist London’, ‘dentist Cornwall’, wherever it’s going to be. But for the most part, they’re just going to type in ‘dentist near me’ and then what is going to determine whether you come up there is your local SEO.

So SEO is just how good your website is being ranked. But local SEO is how good it is being ranked locally. If you google anything right now such as ‘off licence near me’, It’ll show you google maps with a little tag for each of the off licences in your area and that’s the local SEO. So the better your local SEO is, the higher up in that ranking you’re going to come. So if someone types in ‘dentist near me’ and your local SEO is really good. It’s likely you’re going to be right at the top of that, and you’re going to be the first pin they see on Google Maps.

Nikita Kanda: I agree with you, but also with social media at the moment, I’m seeing a lot of millennials searching using Instagram as their search engine which is really interesting, because I do it myself as well. I went to Bath once and I’d never been there. I searched on Instagram where the nicest restaurants were to go in Bath or the nicest afternoon tea places and I searched it all on Instagram to find the top ones.

Definitely, Google’s always going to be number 1 but millennials are using Instagram as their search engine now. So they want to find maybe the coolest dentist near them, then they might find that on Google or type in hashtag dentist in London, click on it, and it’ll come up with a list of dentists near them or in London, and then they’ll see their posts and content and then click on their page through that. So it’s really interesting how even searching for a business has changed through social media.

George Bellamy: Right, so do you think traditional methods of offline marketing such as flyers, joining the local communities, like a local community fair, etc, Do you think they’re still essential? Do you think they’re still a good way to market your practice? 

Chris O’Shea: Yes, they still absolutely have their place in marketing. With things like flyers, I’ve got a feeling we’re gonna see the end of flyers in the next five to ten years. I really wouldn’t be surprised if they become illegal.

George Bellamy: The amount of times I get flyers through the front door, I think I got five of the same one on the same day.

Chris O’Shea: Yes. How many Dominoes flyers have you received in the last week alone?

George Bellamy: The thing is, I unfortunately live within 100 metres of a Dominoes so I get them all the time.

Nikita Kanda: I get Domino’s as well. But all they do is text, they constantly text and email. So yeah, they’re still doing the whole flyer thing. But they’re texting you. They’re emailing you. They’re giving you notifications.

Chris O’Shea: I really wouldn’t be surprised to see the end of the flyer thing within the next few years, because especially with millennials, we all know how much millennials care about causes, especially the environment and if businesses just send a millennial endless streams of paper that could have been an email, that’s really going to put a millennial off.

Flyers may still work the older generations, but younger, or at least the environmentally-minded demographics are really not going to appreciate that. So flyers definitely I would start thinking about easing up on purely for the environment sake, because that’s something millennials really do respond to.

George Bellamy: I know, we obviously care about the environment. I actually read somewhere that around 37% of millennials actually will purchase a product or a service that they believe in even if they pay extra, it’s interesting, isn’t it?

Chris O’Shea: That’s a huge part of millennial marketing, showing your cause and showing what you believe in and showing what you’re striving to do. So if you do anything with charities or the local community, that’s really the kind of thing Millennials are going to love. They really like to see businesses being ethical and they hate to see them be unethical. So that’s a huge part of it. 

George Bellamy: Definitely, Alright Nikita this is one for you. Which social media platform are millennials using the most? Most middle aged people are using Facebook, let’s be honest. So it’s Instagram or maybe Twitter?

Nikita Kanda: I’d say definitely Instagram and Twitter that millennials are using. Twitter is something that I think is on par with Instagram because it’s more conversational. Instagram is there for the content and the content marketing.

If you are marketing your dental practice, I would always 100% say, get an Instagram account and make it a business Instagram page, because you can push out your content and your videos and pictures all on that. There’s loads of features you can get with an Instagram business but Twitter is something we can speak about because we haven’t spoken about it too much yet.

Twitter is something that a lot of millennials use and it’s just conversations constantly happening. Anything that’s trending, it’s on Twitter, anything that’s controversial, It’s on Twitter, anything that’s happened in the news, it’s on Twitter. So I think, definitely, that’s something that millennials are always checking as well. So it’s good to probably have a Twitter account, less for posting content, but more if you want to have conversations. I think Facebook is still something that people do use and do look at probably less for like the 20-30 years maybe. And definitely teenagers, I don’t think they use Facebook at all, but it is still good for the ads side of things.

George Bellamy: Yeah, definitely. All right, Well, you mentioned Instagram and obviously Instagram is your forte, it’s your safe haven if you will.

Nikita Kanda: Instagram queen over here. as I like to call myself.

George Bellamy: I remember years ago obviously Instagram was introduced as a social media platform to share images of things. Obviously it still is that today like but it was more or less intended as a friendly version of Flickr more than anything, I’d say. Over the years, Instagram has changed constantly. With the Instagram algorithms, with showing which images to show on the feed etc, is it actually harder to market or is it the same?

Nikita Kanda: This is something that actually is really, really annoys me. Instagram just constantly keeps changing the algorithm. So that means; where your posts are being seen, who they’re showing your posts to, even though you might have for example, 1000 followers, not even half of your followers sometimes will see your post because of just the random way they just change the algorithm. They’ll just change it.

So sometimes not everyone will see your posts, or sometimes it will be seen by all your followers, you just don’t know. So it’s something that is happening a lot more recently. I mean, I’ve experienced it in the last week or so that posts weren’t getting as much engagement and weren’t getting as many likes, but I think it’s not down to the person it’s literally just down to Instagram and what they’re controlling.

They just like to do it, I think randomly and I’m not sure why, I’m still figuring that out. But that’s something does make it harder, because if you want to post the video that you’ve made of your dental practice that week, and then it’s like, hang on a minute, I’ve posted it at the right time, I’ve posted when i usually get the most engagement so why is nobody engaging with it? It’s because Instagram behind the scenes wants to change it up for some reason so you’ve just got to be aware of that.

And notice when the algorithm is changing, going up and down, maybe back off with posting as much when it is like that Just so your posts don’t get lost somewhere. You could have saved that bit of content for another day when you know the algorithm is fine and everything is normal. I can’t really understand why they do it, I don’t know if Chris, have you experienced the same thing with Google?

Chris O’Shea: Yeah, I was going to say Google does exactly the same thing, I’d say about once a year, they do a big change to the algorithms, the SEO algorithms that change up how they rank websites, what techniques work, what don’t. So a really good example is in the last year or so, they’ve made a change to the Google algorithms that moves away from things like keywords, and it’s moving towards things like user experience.

So your pages now don’t have to have as many keywords. So let’s say dental implants, you don’t have to pack that out as many keywords anymore to rank, it has to be a great page for user experience. So you could have 10 words on there. As long as it looks good. It’s quick, it loads fast, it loads well on mobile, that’s the kind of thing Google looks for now.

So in the last year, a lot of websites really had to change, basically the structure of entire pages, because it’s completely different now and I think personally it’s to keep people on their toes, I think people get too good at marketing, they know all the tricks and tips and strategies and tactics they need and they get too good at it, they know how to play the system. So I think then Google comes along and says, right, we’re gonna change this up. We figured out users prefer this to that. So we’re gonna move towards this instead, that’s my personal opinion.

Nikita Kanda: I noticed something on Instagram actually to add. You can pay for Instagram ads, Facebook ads, but I’ve noticed that they’ve started, they gave me one actually, it was a notification claiming ‘we’re giving you 20 pounds to try out an ad’. So I think they’re changing the Instagram algorithm because they want people to buy ads and push their posts or content ads, which isn’t a bad thing.

But then again, like we were saying in the beginning, if you want to do it on the cheap to begin with, or you want to do it for free to begin with, it’s not really fair. So it’s just about keeping an eye on what’s happening in the marketing world and social media just being aware of it, try to be two steps ahead. Instagram always brings out new features all the time and they’re testing those out more than the original one. So it’s just about keeping an eye on these kinds of things and staying ahead of the game.

Chris O’Shea: Definitely, definitely.

George Bellamy: Yeah, it’s just changing every single time it’s so frustrating because as Chris said, one day, you could be doing something that works perfectly and the next day… nothing.

Chris O’Shea: All completely different. 

George Bellamy: It’s crazy, is there anything else millennials do at all? 

Chris O’Shea: I think if I was going to give people one piece of advice when it comes to millennials, it’s, like you said, they respond to ethics, they respond to causes, they respond to charity and community and its ethics. They want their companies to be more moral. They don’t want to invest money with people they don’t agree with. They don’t want to spend money with people who don’t agree with them. So I know it’s simple, I know it’s quite cheesy, but make a mission statement page, make an About Us page and get all your charity on there. Get all your community work, get pictures on there of you smiling with families, that kind of thing. That’s the kind of thing millennials like, they’d like to know that they’re handing their money over to good people.

Nikita Kanda: Yeah, I’d say as well just be authentic and make sure you’re being real. Don’t show them anything that’s fake because millennials will always figure it out. They know when what they’re being shown is real or not. I’ve said it previously before, but don’t do the whole fake followers or fake likes, because people can figure that out, then they won’t trust your business. So I definitely think the way millennials think, is different to how people would think before when they used to just get flyers handed to them. And you wouldn’t care as much about marketing, but I think it’s so important now. Just being real and letting people trust your business is really, really important.

George Bellamy: Definitely. Well thank you so much, guys for taking the time to speak with me. Thank you guys for listening to the Dental Business Guide and we’ll catch on the next one.

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