There are certain big-name players in the web marketing world, but this month, we saw an appearance from someone that we never expected to turn to for marketing inspiration. As a partially government-funded entity and the unpopular alternative to airplane travel, Amtrak has never been the most glamorous institution on the block. They decided to combat this by focusing on what is appealing about their services: the long-held romantic tradition of train travel.
Amtrak found its opportunity to strike by paying close attention to social media. When writer Alexander Chee mentioned in an interview that there should be an Amtrak residency for writers, fellow writer Jessica Gross tweeted at Amtrak, asking them to make it a reality. Amtrak responded in the affirmative, sending Gross on the maiden residency. Their writer’s residency program is now underway, and this wallflower company has a young, creative, tastemaking audience listening, creating, and buzzing.
There’s a lesson to be learned here. No matter how uncool a business may seem, it can always find an angle. Amtrak showed off its connections with its users, jumping on a tweet to create a new kind of camaraderie with train travelers and writers alike. Draw inspiration from this to do the same with your dental practice. While dental offices may not seem like the most exciting places, you can find a way to connect with patients and show them that your practice values them.
Another great aspect of Amtrak’s interactions is the way the institution made their marketing entertaining – and even fun. Those behind the creation of the residency and those reaping its rewards enjoy the process. Your marketing doesn’t have to be all humdrum. Find and seize opportunities to make it more lively, and your current and prospective patients will appreciate your efforts. The simplest, most effective way to do so is to follow Amtrak’s example, and embrace social media.
Social media isn’t just the life of the party – is IS the party. It’s where everyone is hanging out online. If you want to break into a new group of patients, or build connections among existing ones, social media is the right route. Sharing content on social media is simple – it doesn’t even have to be something you created yourself. Posting a fun fact, dental graphic, blog post, cartoon, or educational tidbit will give your patients a moment of humor or reflection. They’ll appreciate that you put that content in their paths, and they will remember you for your online presence. Better yet, they could share that content with others.
You’ve provided superb dentistry – your patients will be happy to return the favor. Not by doing dental work (could get a bit messy), but by giving back to your practice. This is as simple as clicking “Share” on one of your Facebook posts, or pinning one of your photos on Pinterest. When your patients respect you and appreciate what you’ve done for them, they’re likely to blatantly and inadvertently help improve your web presence. Tapping into patients’ social groups offers you an entirely new group of prospective patients, and helps your practice continue to grow.
Whether you’re marketing long-distance train travel or dental crowns and root canals, the basic principles are the same. Find a way to connect with your audience, and you could be next month’s Amtrak.