Jonathan Fashbaugh explains that your dental sleep marketing should include strong branding and a focus on your patients’ needs and your dental sleep expertise.
by Jonathan Fashbaugh
I am often asked, “How can I get more dental sleep patients from my marketing?” The dentists who ask this are highly trained in treating OSA, but they struggle when it comes to marketing dental sleep treatment. They don’t understand what makes the phone ring. For the best sleep dentists, the dentists who really rock, if they follow these dental sleep marketing tips, they’ll get more patients scheduling appointments.
Focus Your Sleep Marketing on Patient Needs
Your patient only cares about you and your office as far as you can help them live a more comfortable life doing what they love. They don’t care about your bona fides or which appliance you use. Your patient’s immediate concern is, “Do you understand my problem, and can you help?” If your website doesn’t make that clear from the get-go, then all the pay-per-click and SEO in the world doesn’t help.
The best dental sleep website tells the story of the struggle past patients have been on and how those patients achieved an amazing outcome. You and your office helped the patient through the journey and the patient emerged victorious! The struggle and a better life on the other side are all the patient really cares about.
Dental website design companies often get this wrong. They are focused on building websites that the dentist likes or that is just like the site of another dentist who their clients idolize. That approach is most often doomed to fail. You are not your patient. That amazing dentist is not you and isn’t practicing in your market.
You have patients who need YOU and what you have to offer. Focus your sleep marketing on them and their needs.
Consider a Sleep Brand
This is an advanced strategy, but if you want a killer, competitive advantage over other general dentists in your area, it’s hard to beat when done well. If you create a new practice: another practice name, phone number, and address, you can build a website and marketing campaign that looks like you “specialize” in sleep treatment.
You are probably promoting sleep alongside implants, ortho, and other general dentistry procedures. It’s a full menu of options that you could argue gives patients a one-stop-shop for dental care. But when a patient has a medical problem and they are considering alternative treatment options, you will win the patient over by setting yourself apart as the go-to expert with an easy-to-understand process. If patients come to your home page and all of the content is about their problems related to OSA, they know that you get it and you are that expert.
Google loves these websites for the same reason. They see a focused presence, and your marketing team will be able to optimize your home page for ‘sleep apnea [City name]’ rather than relegating that phrase to a secondary page at best. That’s a massive win for SEO and Google ranking potential. Your sleep website’s focused content and patient experience tell Google that they’d be fools not to consider you for the top spot if people are looking for sleep apnea treatment in your area.
Your internal pages will be focused on symptoms and treatment options. Your blog posts will be about SLEEP ONLY and not a bunch of other dental keywords. Everything in your site will make you look like THE SLEEP EXPERT in your area.
There are some requirements for doing this right. Marketing with a separate sleep brand requires:
- A separate business address. You can cheat a little bit by having a different suite number at your building but you must have a separate address from your primary dentistry brand. If you don’t, it’s unlikely to work and could even hurt your main practice’s results. You’ll have even more success if your office is in the heart of your city.
- A separate phone number. You don’t want your address and phone number to match your main office because it will confuse Google about your online business listings. Your new brand will have its own listings because you’ll need…
- A separate marketing campaign. Your sleep practice will not succeed on the merits of your other website. It needs its own profiles on the internet and social media. It needs its own ads that point to its own content that lives on…
- A separate website. Every dental brand needs a website, and your new sleep office will be no different. Multiple Google listings pointing to your old website will look like the new one is duplicative of the old one and will either confuse Google, hurting your main office’s results, or get deleted as a duplicate. Google believes that every small business should have one website and only one website. Your sleep website should take advantage of the opportunity to showcase its focus on sleep apnea treatment with original text about what patients go through and how you help. Don’t borrow content from your other website. Write all-new dental sleep content.
- Separate social media profiles. Your sleep practice will need its own social media profiles for the same reason that you need a separate website. Highlight the sleep-only focus. Get your patients at your current practice to like or follow the new practice profiles and let them know that you’ll enter them to win a drawing if they do so. Let them know that you are launching this new practice to help people suffering from snoring, fitful nights of sleep, morning headaches, and the life-threatening damage that OSA causes. Ask them to share the new page and posts you create with friends and loved ones who may not understand that their symptoms could be due to sleep apnea. People are less likely to share a website, but bite-sized social media posts with a cause for apnea awareness are appealing.
- Separate ads and a separate ad bud Your sleep website and social media profiles can go unnoticed for a long time if you don’t promote them. If you split off some of the budget from your main office, both websites will only have partial funding behind their campaigns. Invest the added budget to get the added patients. It only makes sense.
All of this may be hard at first. You are starting a new marketing campaign from scratch. It will feel redundant until you start seeing new patients at the new office. Then you’ll realize that you’re double-dipping in an increasingly competitive and lucrative market. You’ll still get sleep patients at your main office, but thanks to this advanced sleep marketing, you’ll push competitor websites off the first Google page, too.
Launching a separate practice for sleep treatment also gives you an exit strategy. After you’ve built up a second practice, you can consider selling your general and cosmetic practice while still having an established and thriving practice in the area. Some dentists try to do sleep-only after the fact. They’ll probably tell you that they wish they had started it all much earlier.
Engage Prospective Patients with Action-Oriented Sleep Marketing
Patients shouldn’t continue suffering from OSA while their symptoms go unnoticed or under-treated by the medical community. That’s the message you should broadcast: don’t wait! Don’t suffer more than you have to. Take action!
Include assessment forms on your website that stop short of diagnosing patients online but start the screening processn (see example at left).
An online Epworth or Berlin questionnaire changes your website into a useful extension of your practice rather than just an information source about your practice. If people can use your website to help answer questions, they go beyond reading and start engaging with it. This sets your website apart.
It is critical that sending the results to your office is optional. If you force the contact, your form goes back to being a marketing element rather than an online screening tool. The option to invite contact makes this assessment a powerful indirect call to action.
Of course, traditional calls to action are critical too. It’s unbelievable how often marketing companies launch websites where the phone number is hard to find and contact forms are buried at the bottom of the website (or don’t exist at all).
Get more new sleep patients by:
- Having your phone number in large text at the top of your website
- Having a click-to-call button on your website for mobile devices
- Adding links to schedule a consultation throughout every page of your website – not just at the top and bottom of the page.
- Including a basic Contact Us page.
Sleep Marketing Tips and Trends
People search Google for answers to their sleep questions. Not all will make suitable patients for you. Still, look for trends and get into the mindset of people who have been suffering from sleep apnea. You can capture their interest and minimize the amount of money you must invest in generating a new sleep patient from your marketing.
Online interest wanes over weekends and peaks on Tuesday and Wednesday. Don’t waste your money on advertising on weekends. The interest is down and you don’t have people ready to answer the phone at your office anyway. Weight your visibility for mid-week awareness. People will feel like you’re reading their groggy minds as they try to figure out why they just can’t get the rest they need.
Be careful in the kind of content that you put in your blog and on social media. There’s a fine line between attracting people in search of a dentist and people in search of at-home, DIY sleep treatment. Your Google Ads and social media strategy need to be led by someone who understands that not every click is worth targeting.
Targeting CPAP searches is a double- edged sword. They are more costly to generate a lead, but you will know that you almost certainly are speaking to someone who already had a diagnosis. When you have good visibility on Google, you probably already get calls asking if you offer CPAP equipment. This isn’t likely your website’s fault as much as Google’s. Google has two goals: list local providers for services and to sell stuff online. Unfortunately, sleep is an area where both service providers and equipment are fighting for the same patient eyeballs. Phone skills training is necessary to either quickly direct the flow of the conversation to compliance and comfort with OAT or to get the person off the phone so that your team is ready for the next opportunity.
Hire Sleep Marketing Experts
My company, Pro Impressions Marketing, has been marketing sleep dentists since our company launched in 2010. We’ve been part of the community ever since, attending seminars with our dentists, sponsoring events offered by companies and organizations such as Myotronics and ICCMO. We only work with dentists and are passionate about helping patients find relief from their symptoms, which makes us incredibly good at what we do.
If you’re not comfortable about offering just sleep apnea and snoring treatment, we’d encourage you to consider adding an emphasis there alongside TMJ treatment. Most of our offices that add more sleep patients also offer TMJ treatment and do very well. If you need help streamlining the diagnosis and insurance billing for sleep treatment, we have partners that can help.
In terms of marketing, we are not a fit for all practices, but we offer a marketing analysis report on our website that is free to use. You can get your custom report almost instantly at www.proimpressionsgroup.com. We also offer marketing consults that are free of charge. You can schedule your meeting on our website.
For more great advice on dental sleep marketing, read “Keys to Succesful Marketing in Dental Sleep,” by Dr. Rod Willey at https://dentalsleeppractice.com/keys-to-succesful-marketing-in-dental-sleep/.