You’ve likely read many resources about healthcare marketing for millennials, so we’ll be as direct and concise as possible:
Millennials always read online reviews before committing to a healthcare provider, or any other significant purchase.
Millennials seek community via social media, and practitioners need to participate in online communities and conversations about healthcare.
Millennials seek answers to their health questions via Google more than they actually see primary healthcare providers.
Keep reading to find out how you can best serve millennials who expect dentist marketing not to seem like marketing.
We’ll tell you how to provide value by boosting your online presence and creating efficient healthcare experiences for millennial consumers.
Ready to embrace text message communication for millennial consumers? Book a demo.
Online reviews: How millennials find their dentists
More than half of millennials read online reviews when they’re searching for a healthcare provider.
A whopping 97% of people between the ages of 24-34 believe online comments are reliable.
Finally, compared to older generations, millennials are more than twice as likely to search for healthcare providers on review sites like Yelp.
Online reviews have matured beyond the restaurant industry and consumer products – people under 40 want to know that other people have had great experiences with a dentist before committing to one.
Think of online reviews as digital word of mouth.
Before the proliferation of digital communication, patients verbally expressed whether or not they had a good experience with a dentist to the people they know.
Now that the internet has removed physical barriers to communication on a global scale – and millennials are the first quasi-natives to digital communication – trust in online reviews has been normalized for people under 40.
Millennials and social media
Concerning, but true: the majority of millennials now rely on social media for information about their health.
Even more concerning, 62% of millennials rely on influencers for health information.
While the spread of misinformation on social media has reached alarming levels, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, these unfortunate circumstances present healthcare providers with the opportunity to be the voice of reason on social media – and people are ready to listen.
An example: Laurel Bristow, an infectious disease researcher known as kinggutterbaby on Instagram, had approximately 600 followers before the pandemic.
Laurel noticed that people were having difficulty identifying true and false information about COVID-19, so she started sharing her knowledge on potential treatments and vaccines, always referencing quality peer-reviewed studies.
Within a few months, her account grew to more than 145,000 followers, and she’s now regarded as an authority on COVID-19 research. Her content is entertaining yet rigorously fact-checked – a winning combination on social media that your clinic can emulate.
Millennial healthcare trends: Providing a better patient experience
The #1 most important thing to millennials is convenience – and native digital communication has transformed that priority into a no-brainer expectation.
According to a study by Accenture, 77% of patients want to book, change, or cancel healthcare appointments online.
But online booking isn’t the only thing millennials want from their dentists.
Millennials want to communicate with their dentists via text and email.
Millennials want to provide information about their health history online.
Millennials want to easily pay for their appointments online.
You may not think of patient experience as “dentist marketing”, but it’s important for both patient acquisition and retention. Here are some experiential items that are most important for an under 40 patient segment.
Dentist-patient communication through text and email
According to 99Firms, “75% of people wouldn’t mind receiving an SMS text message from a brand if they opt-in for the service.”
When a patient books online, they’ve “opted in” – they’re open to receiving text messages from your clinic.
To improve patient experience after an appointment, send follow up messages about treatment, at-home care, and preventative health to show ongoing concern for your patients’ health.
Why waste time collecting information in person when millennials don’t mind providing health information online for the sake of efficiency?
HIPAA-compliant online forms centralize patient data so you can avoid hiccups and streamline information between patients and dentists at your clinic(s).
Time with your patients is precious, and digital forms make it easy to collect vital information about your patient before their appointment.
Online bill payment
Contactless payments are a foregone conclusion for millennials, especially amidst the pandemic.
When you adopt online payments for your dental clinic, you’re mimicking the online shopping experience people under 40 have come to expect when they pay for, well, anything.
How online bill payments make life easier for millennials:
- They receive itemized statements immediately after their appointment
- They connect their bank account to your online payment system for easy bank transfers
- They pay online with the credit card with a secure payment gateway
- They no longer need to file or throw away paper bills
The best way to market to millennials: Action items
While there is no one-size-fits-all way to promote your clinic to millennials, we’ve identified three online trends that are here to stay with people under 40.
At a high level, we recommend doing four things when you’re trying to attract younger people to your clinic:
- Make it easy for a patient to write an online review when they’ve had a great experience at your clinic
- Dedicate time and resources to engaging with potential and existing patients on social media channels
- Know what millennials are searching for online, and offer free, valuable healthcare advice via articles and/or video on your website and YouTube
- Adopt new technology that will make it easy for millennials to book an appointment online and communicate with your clinic
Here are some specific action items for your clinic when marketing to millennials.
Positive and negative reviews matter, so we recommend taking action in these ways:
- Invest in a mechanism to stimulate positive online reviews immediately after your patient leaves your clinic
- Devote time every week to responding to negative online reviews
- Devote time every week to thanking patients for positive reviews
- Take screenshots of positive online reviews and amplify them on your social media channels, with mention of the patient who left the review
Misinformation spreads quickly online, but you can play a role in fighting against it while connecting with millennial patients. Here’s where you can start:
- Get comfortable with Instagram stories and reels
- Develop weekly themes and post stories/reels to your Instagram account that break down information into fun, engaging, and fact-checked pieces
- Develop and evaluate your staff’s camera presence and choose your best “thought leader” to represent your clinic
People search for health information online more than they have access to practitioners.
While this leaves patients vulnerable to inaccurate data and sometimes poor decision making, dentists have yet another opportunity to participate and offer valuable information.
Here’s what you can do right now to start developing content your patients can find through Google search:
- Use Google Keyword Planner to find out which topics people are searching for in your field
- Start a blog on your website and develop a weekly content calendar for long-form articles
- If you’re feeling ambitious – start a YouTube channel! YouTube is the largest online search engine besides Google.
Patient experience is part of the dentist marketing package, because experience is king when it comes to acquisition and retention. Here’s what to look for in technology that can immediately improve experience for your younger patients:
- HIPAA-compliant email and text messaging
- EHR and practice management integrations
- Secure online payments
- Online scheduling widgets that can be embedded on your website and social media channels