Millennials or members of Generation Y are the generation born from 1980 through 2000. While the Baby Boomer generation was known as the largest generation in human history, the Millennial generation has changed the game. The Millennial generation is now the largest generation in recorded history, and is likely to become the most affluent and influential. If you haven’t starting thinking about the future of your marketing efforts, it’s time to learn a little about Millennials and how they will change the landscape of the dental industry.
Millennials now account for one-third of the total world population. That’s right. One generation comprises one third of all people on earth today. They possess over $200 billion in annual purchasing power and will receive an estimated $30 trillion of wealth from their affluent Baby Boomer parents.
Millennials are the most educated generation thanks to a difficult job market and doting parents that wanted them to have it all. With this education comes a level of diversity of opinion and lifestyle not seen in prior generations. Success in attracting Millennial patients will depend on your ability to adapt your practice to meeting the needs of this affluent and well-educated generation.
Following are five practical steps to attract Millennial patients to your dental practice.
1. Be Genuine. Emphasize Transparency.
Eliminate superlatives from your marketing. Not every dental clinic can be the best, or have the best care, or use the best materials. Your clinic is not the BEST…and they know this. Instead of focusing on aggressive sales tactics that promote your excellence, instead focus on honest and relationship-focused communications. Discuss the strengths of your practice and why you are better, but don’t make it a competition. Instead, focus on traits that they admire: honesty, trust and sincerity. Be clear about pricing and make sure that you can deliver what you promise. The fastest way to lose the Millennial generation is to overpromise and under-deliver. If your pricing is higher than your competitor, that’s ok. Millennials understand value and are willing to pay more for quality. It’s your responsibility to communicate your value proposition clearly and without exaggeration. Remember that this generation is connected and quick to comment online. Be upfront, and deliver as promised, and the Millennial generation will beat a path to your clinic doors.
2. Online Reviews & Personal Referrals Matter
Millennials are connected to each other online and through personal relationships. They care about online reviews and they value referrals from friends and colleagues. When compared to Baby Boomers, Millennials are twice as likely to seek out online reviews or referrals from friends before making a purchase decision.
If your practice has survived without focusing on Google reviews or has been unscathed by a negative Yelp! review, your world is about to change. Google reviews and Facebook posts are important for Millennial patients. It is essential that every patient has a positive experience with your practice. Invest in a progressive online strategy that encourages positive Google reviews and helps patients spread the good word via Facebook and other social media. Don’t post fake reviews. Just ask your satisfied patients to leave honest, thoughtful reviews about your clinic online. Send emails to patients asking them to leave a review for you online. Make it easy for them. There is an art to achieving strong online Google reviews. A dental marketing professional can help you find the right balance. Offer ongoing incentives for referring friends.
Today, more than 80% of all internet traffic is video-based. Millennials respond to video content. If you want to attract Millennials, invest in patient video testimonials. Millennials are tech-savvy and will respect videos with quality production values. The videos shouldn’t be “slick” or too sales focused. Focus on patient testimonials and stories that show Millennials saying good things about your practice. Remember…if you say it…its advertising. If they say it…it’s a referral.
3. Give Back
Authors William Strauss and Neil Howe believe that each generation has common characteristics that define it and make it stand out. The principle is that there are four basic generational archetypes that repeat themselves in a cycle. According to their theory, Millennials will adopt views similar to the G.I. Generation with a strong sense of community both at home, nationally and globally.
If you want to have a meaningful conversation with Millennials, care about what they care about. Millennials express interest in brands that promote socially meaningful causes. They want to support businesses that make a difference. Studies show that approximately 91% of Millennials would be willing to change their brand preference to support companies that support meaningful causes. (91% vs. 85% U.S. average). Social media is often the media of choice to communicate with Millennials about social responsibility topics.
Remember, it’s important to be genuine in your communications. Any marketing that smacks of pandering or comes off as insincere will leave Millennials cold. If your dental practice is passionate about a cause, talk about it…and discuss how Millennials how they can contribute and make a difference with you.
4. Build Trust
Every touch point, from your online marketing, to phone calls, to emails and even scheduling, is an opportunity to build a relationship based on trust. Credibility is earned. Be sincere and keep your promises. When you can deliver consistently, you will lay the foundation for a long-term relationship predicated on mutual respect and trust. This advice isn’t just for reaching Millennials. This is sound advice for building relationships with patients of any age.
Millennials practically live online. They are voracious consumers of digital and video content and are always wanting more. Do yourself a favor and create online tools that make it easy for them to find you and communicate with you. Create an easy to use and easy to navigate website. Create a video channel and upload regular patient and staff videos. Engage your patients on social media and build an online community of followers that are loyal to your brand. This is how you win with Millennials.
Assume that before they call you, they have already done their homework. When they finally call you, they want to do business with you. Help them take the next step toward trusting you, by having a real, live person answering the phone. Make sure that your team is well-trained and educated about your practice. They should know what makes your clinic different and better. They will have questions. A failure to answer the questions honestly and thoroughly will cost you your credibility. This is the equivalent to a phone call before the date. If you are not what they are looking for, they will hang up and call the next clinic on their list. Respect their time and their interests and they will reward you with their business.
At the Clinic:
Don’t make Millennial patients feel like another number in the crowd. Give them some face time when they arrive. Greet them by name and make them feel special. They want to feel that you care. They are used to personal attention and they expect it. Fail to deliver…and it may be the last time you see them in your office.
5. One Size Does Not Fit All
The biggest mistake any business can make is to assume that they understand Millennials. You don’t. More accurately…you can’t. Millennials are a diverse group that includes a wide range of people spanning 20 years. For now…they are young and they approach the world in very different ways.
While Generation X and prior generations are focused on getting married and having a family, many Millennials are choosing alternative paths that allow them to focus on their careers, dating, life experiences, travel or personal ambitions.
Don’t fall prey to the temptation of grouping all Millennials into one easy to understand target market. To do so would be to waste the opportunity to communicate with them in meaningful ways. One on one marketing is a prime way of earning Millennial business. It may seem tedious. But if you can focus on the individual, you will reap the rewards of plentiful referrals and the benefits of powerful online testimonials.
If you need some help reaching Millennials or could benefit from professional dental marketing services, its best to seek out a dental marketing agency that can help you better understand your goals and how to help you reach them. Effective marketing is more than a pretty website and clever social media posts. Good marketing builds relationships and opens doors to increased understanding of who you are and how best to communicate your value to the world. Invest for success.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Patrick Goodness is the CEO of The Goodness Company a global healthcare and dental marketing firm.
Patrick Goodness is one of the most recognized names in dental practice marketing. Dental clinics and labs rely on Patrick for insightful marketing consultation, marketing planning and public relations services. His results-driven approach to marketing has helped dental offices and dental labs transform their brand and dramatically increase sales and profitability. Patrick offers a wide spectrum of marketing and public relations consulting services focused on building powerful branding and dramatically increasing sales. His extensive dental marketing experience, global network of clients and colleagues, and his ability to build and deliver valuable marketing concepts and tools that generate significant results are the reason for his popularity and his leadership in dental marketing and dental practice business development. You can reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org