Much has been written about the ways the Millennial generation is re-shaping the market for everything from taxicabs to diamond rings. But will this generation’s tastes and preferences really affect dental clinics? After all, everyone needs to have their teeth cleaned, right?
While dental clinics do offer a timeless service, I’ve heard a lot of concern from some clinics that are struggling to reach out to younger patients. Millennials approach healthcare in different ways than their parents did, so if you want your dental practice to continue to grow, it is important to find ways to connect with this segment of the market.
Millennials approach healthcare in different ways than their parents did, so if you want your dental practice to continue to grow, it is important to find ways to connect with this segment of the market.
Here are a few ways you can make your clinic more Millennial-friendly:
1. Invest in a Good Website
In order to attract Millennials as patients, you have to connect with them. Unlike their parents, Millennials much prefer being able to explore a dental clinic’s website before they get in touch to book an appointment, so make sure your clinic is searchable online and has an easy-to-navigate website.
And reaching Millennials isn’t just about creating a new public face for your clinic, it also requires a re-imagining of how to explain what services you offer and how you differentiate your practice from others.
2. Invest in Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Millennials are natural born web surfers. In fact, because they are so Internet savvy, the digitally-minded Millennial generation relies on very specific keyword searches to locate the products and services they want.
In layman’s terms, SEO is the practice of encouraging Google’s ranking system to place your business higher than your competition in a Google search based on industry terms.
When a Millennial searches for ‘Dentist Toronto’ for example, Google displays links to the web pages it thinks are relevant and authoritative – which is measured mostly by analysing the number and quality of links from other web pages back to yours. Simply put, a person searching for services within your industry is more likely to find your homepage the more frequently other reliable web pages (including other pages on your own site!) are linking back to it.
Once they find your site, remember that Millennials want a variety of engaging content that is informative and emotive. Research shows most Millennial purchasing decisions are based on an emotional connection rather than a logical one. Furthermore, your site’s content should not be preachy, overly long or boring – if it is you’ll lose their interest. So, try to offer vibrant, fun content rather than a lecture on dental hygiene!
3. Update Your Social Media Marketing
As the following video explains, successfully marketing to Millennials requires different strategies and a different emphasis compared to marketing to Baby Boomers.
If you want to reach this segment of the population, simply tweaking your current advertising strategy will not be enough: you need to target Millennials specifically, and the best way to do that is by increasing your social media presence and strategically using tools like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
When it comes to reaching the under-forty market, no marketing tool is going to be quite as effective as social media, and paid social media marketing campaigns can be a huge boon to dental clinics that are trying to reach new patients.
4. Expand Your Digital Services
It’s also a good idea to make the scheduling, appointment confirmation and billing experiences as seamless as possible. Millennials like to request visits and confirm appointments online rather than in-person and they will prefer that bills and statements be available from a patient portal. Using practice management software with these capabilities makes it easy for dental offices to meet these expectations.
5. Recognize the Challenges They Face
As the American Dental Association has noted, only thirty percent of Millennials report having gone to the dentist in the past year, which is seven points below the national average. There are several factors driving this trend, but one of the most significant is the fact that Millennials are often not insured at the same rate as previous generations.
In order to attract (and more importantly, keep) Millennials as patients, you need to understand that broader economic forces are making it harder for them to afford regular care, and be sympathetic to this fact.
As Gary Radz noted in a piece he wrote for Dental Economics, Millennials aren’t kids anymore: as they begin to enter middle age and raise families of their own, they are becoming a key demographic for all healthcare-related businesses. And, the reality is that if you want to reach this growing market you need to do so on Millennials’ terms.
6. Don’t Expect Them to Pick Up the Phone
One of the key challenges for healthcare businesses today is figuring out how to adjust service to varying customer expectations. Older patients tend to prefer phone calls and paper, whereas younger patients prefer text and email attachments.
Attracting Millennials while keeping your older patients happy means tailoring service to individual customer preferences, which is why we’ve designed the ABELDent platform to make customization easy, so you can keep detailed notes on how each patient prefers to be contacted.
Millennials are the first generation of digital natives, so earning their trust and meeting them on their turf will require investing in new marketing strategies and new software. If you want to make your clinic more appealing to this audience, check out ABELDent’s dental management software to learn how it can help you achieve that goal.