Marketing can be difficult for dentists. When you manage your own clinic, you are always on the go and attracting new clients may fall at the end of your long list of priorities. With that being said, marketing is so incredibly important for dental clinics. Those that invest the time and energy in marketing see increased revenues and long-term client retention.
There are many different channels within marketing, and it may take some time to find out what is most effective for your office. Most dentists find a multi-pronged approach to marketing works best. We have created a step-by-step guide to kickstart your dental marketing initiatives and promote your clinic. Grow your practice and attract new patients with these effective dental marketing tips for beginners.
Step 1: Set Up Proper Analytics Tracking
The first thing you should ask yourself is ‘where do my leads come from?’ - If you are unsure, that is a red flag.
Marketing has shifted greatly in the past few decades and it is now incredibly data-driven. This is largely due to the shift online, and the rise of digital marketing. A user's actions on your website can be recorded and used to inform your marketing strategy. Your website is the hub of your dental clinic online and it holds some pretty insightful information about your leads.
Modern website analytics can track the number of users that visit your site, the pages they visit, where they came from online and the number of conversions you receive. This is information you as a dentist don’t want to be missing, yet all too often we see clinics without proper tracking. In order to get started, you’re going to need to set up a Google Analytics account for your dental clinic and have your web developer install a piece of Google's tracking code on your website. You can also do this yourself if you feel comfortable.
Next, you’re going to want to create a conversion goal in Google Analytics to track how many leads book appointments with you on your website.
Tracking is the first step to getting tangible marketing metrics to help you better answer the question of where your leads are coming from. Once you know this, you can use the base numbers you track to improve your metrics over time.
Step 2: Update Your Website
Speaking of websites, as the hub of your clinic online, you want to make your website as appealing and informative as possible to prospective clients. You want to tell them everything they need to know about your clinic - where you are located, your services, your hours and how to contact you. It’s also essential that your website be optimized for mobile, as most users nowadays are searching online on their phones. If your website seems to be converting poorly, isn’t mobile responsive or simply needs a new look, you’re going to need an upgrade.
There are many platforms that offer easy-to-use, mobile responsive website templates. These include Squarespace and WordPress. A complete website overhaul may not be needed, if you are simply looking to liven things up and make your website more personable consider adding new images and text. Take photos from within your clinic and use them on your website. This adds a personal touch and helps users picture what your clinic is like before they visit.
Step 3: Create a Local Presence Using Directories
Has your clinic ever had a bad review online? One-sided comments from disgruntled patients and potentially also your competitors can have a very negative impact on your reputation.
Do not worry if this has happened to you - there are ways to improve it. Local search directories such as Yelp, Google, and Yellow Pages are all places customers can find you online. The good news about these platforms is that they allow you to claim your profile and take control of your reputation online. Local search directories are beneficial because they improve your visibility online. They normally rank high on search engines, so you want to be sure you have control over the messaging.
The first thing you should do is to take stock of all of the places you are mentioned online in directories. You can make a simple spreadsheet and link to any profiles you see with your business name. If you do not see any, you can create these profiles for your dental clinic.
Next, once you have a complete list of directories where your clinic appears, audit each one to ensure consistency. Check to see if the address is the same, phone number, email, website link, images and hours of operation. You do not want your business profiles to mislead your patients after all.
Lastly, if your profile has negative reviews, be sure to respond to each one in a positive, professional manner. This does several things. It shows other viewers that you care about your reputation online, it also shows them that you are paying attention. This is likely to deter future negative reviews because reviewers know that they will be held accountable for what they say. If the reviews are recent and you know the patients who wrote them, it may be worth reaching out to them directly to go over the problem and ask that they remove their review once it is resolved.
If you do not have any reviews on your local listings yet, it’s time to start asking for them! The most personal and heartfelt way to do this is to ask your patients to leave you a review online. Specify which platform such as Google or Yelp. You can also send them a reminder email after their appointment to encourage them to do this.
Step 4: Be Social on Social Media
As a dentist, you may be thinking, ‘how will I have time to be on social media?’ Social media management is an entire job in itself and if you are not used to posting frequently for your dental practice, it may seem like futile work to start with.
However, do not overlook the power social media has for your clinical practice. Oftentimes, it’s essentially a free way to garner referral traffic to your practice. If you are new to social media, start slow and start with the basics. Create the two core accounts first, Facebook and Instagram.
Once you have those setup, you are going to want to ensure you’re posting content your clients will love, consistently. The best way to do this is to create a social media calendar.
This can be a simple spreadsheet, but at ElementIQ we like to use Trello to plan our content. If you are unsure about what to post, try using some of these fun, recurring posts as inspiration:
Dental Social Media Post Ideas
- Team member Tuesday - post a photo of one of your staff members and tell your followers about why they are such a valuable member of your team.
- Dental Fact Friday - As a dentist, we know you have some pretty stellar dental tips. Share them with your followers!
- Thankful Thursdays (Reviews) - Share positive reviews your clients give you and show gratitude.
- Be real - Post photos of the clinic, photos in your scrubs, photos of the tools that you use, it’s all interesting to your patients
- Post news - if you have recently published a new blog post, have an update in the clinic or are part of a local event, be sure to post it on social media.
- Make your followers feel like insiders - Give them something special for following you, run contests for fun prizes, show them the behind the scenes and share your authentic self.
Step 5: Create Useful Content to Inform Your Clients
Want to reach the top of search results? Increase your dental office's visibility online. Search engine optimization(SEO) and content go hand in hand. When you search for your clinic on Google, what comes up?
If you are not the first to show, you need to improve your search engine optimization. This is a way to optimize your content to be seen and ranked by Google and other search engines. If you create good written website content that your users love, there is a good chance Google has noticed too, and it will rank your website higher as a result. If you want to learn more, here’s how to use SEO to grow your dental practice online.
Now, let’s focus on content for a minute - the content applies to all written text on your website. We suggest performing a basic content audit to assess your current website content. To do this, go to each page of your website and analyze the text. Ask yourself, ‘does this wording truly reflect the personality of my dental clinic?’ Make note of areas that you would improve and do just that. Set out to add one new sentence to each page on your site, sometimes you may want to rewrite entire pages and that is okay too. Just be sure your content answers the who, what, when, where, why and how questions about your dental clinic.
When you are feeling confident with your website content, we suggest creating a blog. Blogs are an excellent way to improve your SEO and help provide useful information for your prospective clients. Another excellent content idea is to create a FAQ page, like the one we made for our dental client, VCCID. We know you must get a lot of questions from your clients and chances are, many of them are asking similar things. FAQ pages are the ideal way to help answer your client's questions while also improving your visibility online.
Step 6: Keep Patients in the Loop With Newsletters
No, we do not mean those spammy marketing emails that go to your junk box. It is very common for businesses to have email marketing and nowadays, it is actually expected. A simple way to start email marketing is to send a monthly newsletter to your clients. There are many free mailing platforms out there that can do this but we like Mailchimp.
What should be in this newsletter you ask? Send your patients any news updates going on within your clinic. If you are running a promotion, including the details in your newsletter. Likewise, if you have updated your blog, share your recent content in the newsletter as well. Lastly, add a call to action button in your newsletter so that patients who are interested to click and contact you directly.
Keep in mind, you will want to be sure to include a newsletter opt-in on your website so that your patients can sign up as they please.
Work With the Professionals
This guide is meant to cover the basics and help you stay on top of your dental marketing initiatives. We could dive more in-depth but once you have mastered the basics, you will be well on your way to dental marketing success.
If you want to learn more about how to level up your marketing, send us a message and connect with our team. With over 10 years of experience navigating the digital landscape, the team at ElementIQ can help you with your long-term dental marketing initiatives. Based in Coquitlam, British Columbia, we specialize in helping local dental clinics like yours thrive.
Do not hesitate, we’re here to help. Give us a shout to get started.