Twitching curtains

Shaz Memon considers the benefits of being a nosy neighbour.

The British are a notoriously nosy nation. According to a poll by Anglian Home Improvements, almost one third of us admit to curtain twitching, with 21% braver souls even discreetly opening a window in the hope of hearing a snatch of a neighbour’s private conversations.

In the world of dental marketing, it is worth taking a moment to look at this neighbourly competition.

Eye spy

Spying on other people is a modern-day digital phenomenon. Social networking thrives on the belief that we all have an innate desire to glimpse into the inner sanctum of the lives and business of others.

Social media also taps into the very basic human need for approval, which is why so many of us share everyday moments with an audience of ‘friends’ and ‘followers’ to garner likes and other interactions.

The terms of friendship have expanded greatly with digital communication; there are little to no barriers when it comes to reach and the possibilities in building relationships are limitless.

But have you ever stopped to consider what your ‘business neighbours’ are doing in terms of raising their online profile?

Compare the market

A peek at your competitor’s activity is an essential part of your marketing strategy.

Start by comparing your website to theirs. Look at what keywords and images they’re using on their most important pages.

What are your main competitors posting? Do they follow trends? Are their posts scheduled to go out at the same time every day or do they react to what dental topics are in the news? Are they reacting quicker than you to social media requests, such as ‘I need a dentist in my area’ or ‘can anyone recommend an emergency dentist?’ 

A quick way to monitor the online presence of your competitor is to set up a Google alert. It’s an easy-to-use tool that sends reports direct to your inbox every time your competitor is mentioned online. You can monitor keywords as well to strengthen your own activity so that you know when something dental-related might be trending.

Badge of honour

If you haven’t a handle on activity throughout the day, then delegate the job of social media to someone who has. Whether it is an in-house role or you appoint a social media agency, there needs to be an eye kept on engagement throughout the day and a policy of swift reaction.

Facebook even has a ‘very responsive’ badge to show for those pages that respond quickly and consistently to private messages. To get the badge, your page must have achieved both of the following over seven days:

  • A response rate of 90%
  • A response time of 15 minutes.

Aim to answer queries quicker than your rivals. If their practice Facebook page has a badge, then so should you. By displaying the badge, you demonstrate that you mean business when it comes to efficient communication – and will persuade potential patients to get in touch.

Check your competitor’s most popular posts and tweets. What gets high levels of engagement? Mimic their successes – remember, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Also, to stay ahead of the curve and ensure growth, analyse your competitor’s social media strategies.

Adapt and grow

Competitive content marketing analysis by a dental marketing agency is a worthwhile investment and helps dental teams refine practices in clinic as well as online.

Dentistry is a local competitive business and tapping in to the ethos of other local practices can shape yours. Adapting practices while remaining true to your brand is essential.

What do their patient testimonials say? What is their USP and how does it compare to yours? You can use this knowledge to create marketing strategies that take advantage of your competitors’ weaknesses and compete with their strengths.

Is their web design and brand imaging appealing to the same demographic? These considerations can help tailor your own brand to get a wider and more effective reach.

Outstanding results

Data analysis of your competitors – as well as your own – is a key part of your dental marketing and helps to shape your own activity to ensure optimum results. Compare your results to your competitors. Is the ratio of education and entertainment the correct one?

A dental marketing agency can assess your results as well as those of your competitors to place you in pole position for growth and push ahead of your competitors.

Embrace being a nosy neighbour for the sake of your practice profits, but just don’t forget to close the curtains – you never know who may be peering in!

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