Dental Marketing: It’s the one thing that every dentist knows they need to do for their dental practice. Every dental practice wants more patients. But how do you go about getting them? Many like to toss an advertisement in the local newspaper or put a 30-second spot on the radio. It’s how things WERE done and still are to a certain extent with dental practices.
But we’re in a new digital age where a website is a must and digital marketing campaigns are necessary to reach all areas of your community. This post gives you 6 specific, sales-proliferating dental marketing ideas to increase the amount of patients coming to your clinic.
1. Have A Website For Your Dental Practice!
Simply having a website might put you ahead of other dentists but in my experience, very very few dentists actually have decent websites.
We’re currently doing a website redesign for a local dentist in South Surrey/White Rock. We’ve done a few in the past for dentists and these projects typically involve the following people: Web Designers, Web Developers, Information Architecture Experts, Conversion Rate Optimizers, Search Engine Optimizers, Sales Copywriters, and Content Writers. Not many agencies have this all in-house. Having them in-house likely means a better turnaround time for the site redesign.
While website redesigns, from start to end, are a long process, it’s worthwhile. The end result is you’ll have a site design that tells the visitor who you are and what you do within 5 seconds of someone seeing your site. They should be able to tell that you’re a dentist and where your dental practice is located. They should be able to easily navigate to various areas of your site to consume the information they need before they fill out a form or call your office.
Potential patients will come to your website to make sure your dental practice offers the service they are looking for (orthodontics, cosmetic dentistry, preventative dentistry, etc.) and that they will have a positive experience at your dental clinic. Generally speaking, people do not enjoy going to the dentist, so make sure your website is as inviting and friendly as possible.
Avoid grisly “before & after” photos on the homepage, instead, opt for professional photos of your clinic. Highlight any amenities you may have (pillows, televisions, recovery room, etc.) You want to make sure that your website portrays your office as inviting as possible.
People use websites to evaluate possible dental practices they might use long-term. If a website is their first impression of your dental practice, you better make it good!
2. Pay-Per-Click Advertising For Dentists
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising, as I’ve advocated for before, ought to be in every digital marketing strategy . It gets you traffic and leads (patients). But it shouldn’t be the end all be all channel for success in growing your business online. Nevertheless, PPC provides you with the opportunity to get onto the first page of Google for keywords profitable for your business.
In bidding for keywords that you want your business’ ads to show up for on the first page of Google, you can get loads of qualified traffic that you control. Remember, 94% of clicks happen on the first page of results. That means roughly only 6% of searchers click on a 2nd page result and onwards.
With PPC, you can target users based on demographics, geography, interests and more. You can display text ads, image ads and video ads. You can also display ads to visitors returning to your site through remarketing . Just because you didn’t turn a visitor into a patient the first time, doesn’t mean you can’t try again to get them to convert.
Dentists, be aware that PPC provides you with near instant traffic. It’s very possible to be the first thing searchers see on the results pages (above the organic listings) once you start. Team up a full-fledged AdWords account with impressive landing pages that will convert your average Joe visitors into actual appointments.
3. Search Engine Optimization And Content Marketing: Dental Marketing Necessities
The reason I said PPC shouldn’t be the only channel in your dental marketing strategy is because you want to dominate the first page of results. To master digital marketing, your dental practice will need a paid ad, a local map listing (more on that later) and an organic result showing up on the first page for any given keyword related to your business. That last part - the organic result - is what I’ll delve into here.
People trust organic results. Statistically, in a study by GroupM UK and Nielsen, 94% of searchers clicked on organic results instead of paid results. Naturally, people are more likely to choose an organic result over a paid one. If the organic result has a title and meta description that matches what the searcher is looking for, they’ll click on it.
So how do you get attain these high organic rankings on search engines? Through Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Have you heard of that term? It may have come up in a conference or two before. It involves optimizing your website for keywords (naturally), publishing content (blogging) and getting others to link to you (link building).
Google loves content. Those who provide and publish content consistently - and useful - for searchers generally have better rankings than those who don’t. So make sure you setup a blog on your website. Then:
- Create a content strategy
- Come up with relevant blog topics
- Write those blog posts (or find someone that can write well to do them)
- Put together a blogging calendar/schedule to post them
This post has Google Authorship setup. Google introduced Author Rank in 2011 where people could connect their Google+ profiles to a blog they contribute to and become an author in Google’s eyes. The benefit of this is that if Google Authorship has been setup correctly, your photo and byline will show up in search results, like this snippet (taken from Google Webmaster Tools):
Guest blogging on other websites is a great way to build quality backlinks (links to your website on other websites). Getting people to link to you naturally takes time. Guest blogging is a good way to get your name (and website link) on other sites. This will help you build your organic rankings for specific keywords profitable for your business - so long as your guest blog posts are properly optimized.
So to become successful with guest blogging (much like blogging on your own site), you’ll have to:
- Apply the content strategy used for blogging to guest blogging
- Contact prospective sites to write content for
- Come up with topics that will be useful for audience on the prospective website
- Write the guest blog posts (or find someone who can write well)
- Organize your guest blogs posts with a tool like Buzzstream
4. Get Your Dental Practice Found With Local Search
How will prospective patients get to your dental practice? People need to know your address and get directions to your dental practice in some way. With a decline in the use of those big YellowPages books , Google Maps has become the go-to place for looking for geographical locations of, well, anything. Google Maps has over 150 million mobile users .
Dentistry is one of those industries where the majority of your patients will be local, meaning, it is highly important that your website appears on Google Maps and in the organic local 7-pack , which usually appear on the first page of Google for dental industry related keywords.
Here are some tips to help boost the local online presence for your dental practice:
- Create (or claim) your Local Business Page
- Ensure your Name, Address, and Phone (NAP) are consistent on your Google+ Local Business page, your website, and other online directories
- Encourage your patients to leave you reviews on your Google+ Local Business page
- Create local content for your practice (blog about events, promotions, and seminars you may be having locally in your area)
The local aspect of dental marketing is probably the most seized upon marketing aspects - but not all listings are optimized with the above. Make sure yours are.
5. Dental Marketing Through Video
Intuitively, people are more likely to come to your dental practice, if they know what the experience is like and can see themselves going there. Video is a great way to showcase this experience.
There are a ton of statistics backing up the validity of using video to grow businesses.
Length and content of the video depend on what your goals are and what you want to convey. There are a number of types of videos - from testimonials to case studies to how-to’s to simple dental practice tours - that can be done.
As a first video, I recommend showcasing your dental practice with a business profile video. It can include one voice - presumably being the dentist. It could include shots of your office and potentially a couple staff members and the dentist ‘in action’. So long as it’s not too complicated and professionally done. Shorter videos are quicker and easier to consume. Try to keep your videos under 1 minute and no longer than 2.5 minutes.
Furthermore, people are more engaged with video. They like to see and associate other faces with your dental practice. Human movement does capture attention, especially when it’s meaningful. My additional recommendation is to make sure that you do your best to connect with prospective patients - whether it’s in the form of a special promotion or in just the way you speak.
6. Track Every Call Into Your Dental Practice
Finally, call-tracking is an essential tactic to implement for any business but particularly for dental practices. Dentists, make sure you have this. Essentially, good call-tracking assigns a specific number so that you can use it to see how many calls to your dental practice
I recommend getting a lot of different numbers so that you can attribute one number to every channel into your dental practice. For example, I would assign one number for the home page of your website, a different number for your social media profiles (if necessary), a different number for your newspaper ads, and so on.
With this, you’ll be able to see what channels, Inbound Marketing or Outbound Marketing, are working for your dental practice. This will allow you to increase and decrease how much you allocate to different channels accordingly. Proper dental marketing is traceable and measurable. Why wouldn’t you want to know where your patients are coming from?
In any dental marketing channel you invest in for your dental practice, you want the best possible return. As a dentist, you want leads. You want appointments. You want people coming in and out of your office with smiles - and bright smiles. Get them in your door at a measurable, cost-effective rate with digital marketing. Apply all the suggested dental marketing recommendations to your own practice - and if you’re unsure of anything, be sure to hire someone to get it done.
As the old saying goes - “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur.”