Your patients are now spending a majority of their time online, which means your marketing efforts should be online too. In previous decades, online marketing was optional for dentists. Radio, television, and newspaper ads combined with word-of-mouth referrals kept new patients streaming into dental practices. Fast forward to today, and online marketing for dentists is no longer optional; it is a necessity for dental practices both big and small.
With the rise of the internet and the power of search engines patients are going online to find their new dentist. And while radio, TV and magazine ads might provide recall and brand lift it is the search engines like Google and Yahoo that are driving new patients to dentists doors. The winners in this online era are the dental practices that understand the search for a new dentist has moved online and so they are investing in SEO and PPC.
Think you want to get started with online marketing? Great! But where should you begin? That's a great question to ask. We believe a great place to start is with low hanging fruit that can generate quick results.
(SEO) Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is essentially optimizing the way your dental practice appears when users search for relevant terms for the practice. The easier your practice is to find online, the more new patients you'll have on your schedule.
To optimize SEO for your dental practice, you start with optimizing your website to be search engine friendly. Some low hanging fruit items are to make sure your webpages have headings, titles, and meta descriptions so search engines can properly rank your site. Be sure to use H1, and H2 text to clearly identify what's important on the page. Also, give a good review to the content on your pages. Is it high quality? Would you want to visit your practice after reading your content?
Creating helpful content (see our section on inbound marketing below), like blogs, video and downloadable content will not only help search engines (and humans) find your website but it will start to identify you as the expert in the space. Patients are looking for experts.
Most people won't go past a page or two when they're searching for something, so make sure to find ways to get your most relevant and helpful content up front so it's easy to locate. HubSpot makes it easy to track your data and discover how many visitors it takes to your website to get a new patient. Knowing the ROI if your content is helpful when you're trying to figure out which content to invest in.
Inbound Marketing Drives Long Term Growth
Successful dentists overwhelmingly choose inbound marketing to attract new business. To stay ahead of your competition online, you need to offer blogs that provide helpful insight to your soon-to-be patients. These blogs and "helpful content" is known as inbound marketing. Learn more about inbound here.
Combining your helpful insight with best SEO practices to capitalize on keywords and phrases your patients are searching for is the recipe for online marketing success.
Fill your website's blog with information people will actually find useful, rather than recycling old quotes and irrelevant material. It's okay to re-use information you've posted previously, as long as you're able to give it a fresh spin.
Start by creating content like how-to guides to answering simple dental questions. Keep a list of questions your current patients ask and turn those questions into blogs. Content like this does two things to help your online marketing efforts.
- Helpful content makes your patients see you as an authority figure in your industry.
- You'll also set yourself up for an awesome inbound marketing strategy if you offer downloadable content in the blog in exchange for contact information. Potential patients get answers and solutions, and you get more contacts to add to your sales list.
Read the case study of a dental practice that saw 300% growth in their web traffic after they implemented an inbound marketing strategy.
Put Live Chat To Work
People are busy creatures these days. They don't have time to sit on hold or hope you care enough to reply to their emails. They want information now, and that's exactly what live chat gives them.
By providing live customer and prospect support when someone visits your website, you're keeping them interested and engaged as you answer questions and help them along their journey. This is a win-win from every angle because your future patients don't have to wait forever to receive answers, and they feel valued and cared for at the same time.
Live chat enables you to speak to your patients in their language on their time. That alone can make the difference between acquiring a new patient and pushing someone to your competitor.
Manage Your Reputation
Reputation management is often an afterthought, but it should be at the forefront of your dental marketing strategy. We all know you'll have an unhappy patient from time to time because people are people. How you deal with unhappy patients, however, can ultimately cost you your patient if you're not careful.
Take the time to read people's reviews and comments on platforms like Google, Facebook, and Yelp, and respond to each of them—especially if they're negative. Responding to positive and negative feedback shows the human side of your business, and may encourage even more feedback if patients see that what they have to say isn't ignored.
Be Awesome on Social Media
Social media marketing isn't for the faint of heart, particularly if you're coming from a more old-school way of doing things. Jumping in with both feet can feel a little overwhelming and, frankly, quite scary because of the variety of platforms available.
Social content needs to be engaging, timely, and strategic to make an impact on your followers. Fortunately, you don't have to go it alone. Agencies including The Diamond Group are skilled at making your dental practice's social media accounts work for you. Before you know it, you'll be seeing selfies of the happy patients who have brilliant pearly whites because they love their dentist!
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can be a gold mine for dentists if implemented correctly. The key is finding words and phrases that will bring local traffic your way. Great PPC ads capitalize on the best search terms that your potential patients use on Google, Bing, and other search engines, and places ads on the search pages for these terms. Knowing how much to bid, and what keywords to bid on, is part of having a strong PPC strategy.
Utilizing PPC helps people who are looking for the services you provide find you, whether that means general cleanings, dental implants, or cosmetic fixes.
With a majority of people looking for a new dentist, or dental services using online search, using digital marketing in your dental practice business strategy is a no brainer. The Diamond Group employs a skilled team of dental-marketing experts who know how to drive patients to your chair. We invite you to sign up for our free eBook, which walks you through one of the first steps of successful marketing — knowing who your patients are. Take your dental marketing to the next level and go digital, your competitors probably already have.