The previous Vice President of leading marketing software company HubSpot said: “Good marketing makes a company look smart. Great marketing makes the customer feel smart.” Brand awareness used to be the primary gauge of successful marketing; now, it’s about leveraging data at every decision-making point and advocating for patient retention over patient acquisition.
There are many bells and whistles and countless apps purported to provide the best marketing ROI. But if we had to dial back to basics and examine the psychology behind effective dentist marketing, we might say that great marketing doesn’t sell products or services; it provides solutions. This is the guiding premise that should shape all your digital marketing efforts.
Good marketing makes a company look smart. Great marketing makes the customer feel smart.
If your dental practice’s marketing strategy isn’t primarily digital, it’s time for a reboot. Instead, your marketing efforts should center on smartphones, tablets, and laptops, allowing your practice to connect with potential patients on search engines, email, and dental practice websites. With 85% of Americans owning a smartphone, the majority are connected to digital information 24/7, offering healthcare providers the opportunity to reach untapped target audiences.
Be it on Google search, reading online reviews, through email marketing, or seeing an ad from a local SEO search, dentist internet marketing meets potential patients where they already are. But, unfortunately, it casts a narrow net instead of a wide, meaning that you spend money to target more patients who want and need your treatments. And even if your dental marketing is shipshape, there’s always room for improvement. Here’s how to get the best online marketing results for your dental practice.
Online Marketing Strategies for Dentists to Get More clients
When properly utilized, Local SEO, content marketing, reputation management, and social media marketing have the power to accelerate your internet marketing and dentistry business.
Dentist SEO – Focus on Your Locale
All digital marketing strategies are built on search engine optimization (SEO). According to Google, SEO is “about making small modifications to parts of your website [and advertising campaigns]. When combined with other optimizations, they could have a noticeable impact on your site’s user experience and organic search results.” For example, through using specific keywords (popular phrases users search for online), SEO helps dentist websites rank higher in Google searches. The higher a website ranks, the more likely it is to be visited by users. More visits = more leads and new patients.
In 2019, Google noticed increased searches with the phrase “near me” and variations thereof. Since then, local SEO has helped many clients and customers discover local businesses in their search area. Instead of stuffing website and content marketing copy with the name of your city, local SEO provides a Google My Business profile, patient reviews and offers optimization for mobile and voice search. Why? Because 89% of people search for a local business on their smartphone at least once a week.
While local dental SEO works the same way as traditional SEO, Google search uses a unique set of ranking factors like; physical location, online review sentiment, the number of “check-ins” at a dental practice, NAP citations, social media shares, and your presence on Google My Business listing. It isolates the searches coming from your area and focuses on patients looking for a dental practice in your vicinity by providing your location on Google Maps, encouraging an increase in physical foot traffic walking through your dental practice doors.
To set up local dental SEO, you need a Google My Business account. Once you provide all the requested information (fill it in with as much detail and as accurately as possible), it will be added to your Business Profile, which appears in Google Search local results, the Google Search Knowledge Panel, and Google Maps. Don’t forget that local SEO loves reviews, so be sure to send a post-service email or text asking patients to write about their experience.
Social Media Marketing for Dentists
Have you heard of The Dentist on TikTok? Dr. Ben Winters is a 31-year-old dentist who became a TikTok sensation by creating content videos to educate patients on common medical practices related to dentistry. While his marketing style may not suit every dental practice, he has undoubtedly understood the power of social media marketing in attracting new patients who are likely Gen Z.
Social media plays an essential role in connecting with customers, increasing awareness about your brand, and bringing in new patients. However, if you rely solely on traditional marketing, you’ll be missing out on the chance to create innovative marketing campaigns that boost patient acquisition. As it is, TikTok reported it has 1 billion people use it every month, while over 3.6 billion people use social media worldwide.
All types of content can be shared on your social media platforms, such as videos, reviews, blogs, testimonials, and paid-for ads. For example, look at cosmetic dentist Dr. Yazdan, who uses Instagram to market her business. It has her contact information and links directly to her dentistry website (a good example of a great website). She’s smartly used Instagram to amplify her business and connect with potential patients. It’s an excellent example of how online marketing for dentists can effectively use social media.
Social media marketing is also one of the more cost-effective advertising strategies. It’s virtually free to create a profile, and investing in paid promotions is relatively low compared to other marketing tactics. When you use PPC campaigns on social media, you stay in control of your budget and can increase it as much or little as necessary.
Shareability is another factor to consider. If your content is engaging, more patients are likely to share it, further multiplying your marketing efforts and amplifying your exposure online with minimal effort. Make sure your content is easy to share by including social share buttons, and if you’re creating video content, try to keep it under two minutes. Please don’t feel obliged to use every platform out there; it truly is up to you and your customer base. Facebook is recommended, but as for Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, TikTok, and YouTube, one or two or all of them can work just as effectively.
Many potential patients have fears and anxiety when faced with the prospect of going to the dentist, and social media can assuage these by building relationships through sharing informative content. Marketing automation also enables automated responses to common patient questions via Facebook Messenger, enhancing customer experience. Remember that while you can advertise on social media, you’ll want to leverage its community-building opportunities and incredible reach to build your online reputation and business credibility.
Dental Practice Content Marketing
A basic explanation posits marketing as the process of identifying patient needs and determining how best to meet those needs. In contrast, online advertising is a component of marketing that entails promoting a company and its services. And content marketing, defined by Content Marketing Institute, “is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
To retain current patients and attract new ones, you need a multichannel marketing strategy that publishes different content on social media platforms, through email, on your website, other media, and video platforms. But, there’s no use in publishing engaging content based on keyword research without understanding the content marketing sales funnel in the healthcare industry.
Content Marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
Marketers often refer to the sales funnel, a broad-based term that describes a buyer’s decision-making journey in three phases; awareness, evaluation, and purchase. Therefore, every content you create, whether to advertise a particular service or boost brand recognition, must encourage the buyers to make purchases or schedule appointments deeper down the sales funnel.
Creating a content plan is vital to successful online marketing for dentists. It works the same way an editorial calendar would for a traditional publication and helps maintain publishing consistency and plan when and where your content will be posted. However, content marketing in the healthcare sector can be complex as there are many rules and regulations to follow. For example, permissible content must be HIPPA compliant, not share personal patient information or claim to diagnose or treat any illness.
Most patients will read blogs or view online content to find out more about products or brands. So, regardless of the type of content you create, it should connect to patients on a human level, provide valuable healthcare information and wellness tips, increase your practice’s reputation, and answer common healthcare questions.
Build a Great Dental Website
A great dental website is built with a marketing mind. It offers a huge opportunity to showcase a dentistry’s identity, ethos, services, and success rates to potential clients. Having an online presence helps solidify a positive first impression and proves that you are a legitimate business. Its graphic design should be appealing and easy to comprehend, while its layout needs to be navigable on mobiles, laptops, and tablets.
Your target audience across generations should be able to find what they are looking for without fuss, and every service page should have a call to action (CTA), nudging prospective patients towards booking an appointment. Without a clear CTA on your service pages that are as simple as “make a booking” or “call us” or even signing up for a newsletter, potential patients may not accomplish what you desire them to.
Moreover, there are dental SEO boxes you’ll need to tick to ensure your website ranks on search engines, like using relevant keywords effectively with on-site SEO, for example. Below are a few tweaks you can make to improve your search engine optimization:
- URL: Your ideal domain should be your business name and perhaps a relevant keyword to your business—for example, www.chicagodentist.com.
- Titles and Page Descriptions: Use SEO titles and page descriptions for each of your service pages. While the description is invisible on your dental website page, it helps Google determine your website ranking.
- Add alt text to images: Make sure your image descriptions are SEO-friendly, ensuring your website ranks higher.
- Structure: Every website page should have a title, a subtitle, and so on. Search engines use title structures to understand better what a website is about. Using the correct text hierarchy makes it easier for search engines to crawl and index your site.
With the amount of website builder apps available, almost anyone can build a good-looking website. However, to remain relevant online and attract prospective patients, you must make your website work harder. Sadly, the average conversion rate of websites across industries is only 2.86%. Improving website conversions entails following sound dental SEO practices built on understanding what your potential patients want and providing it.
Whether teeth whitening services or root canals, you’ll know what to promote to expand your patient base if you’ve researched potential and existing patients. SEO always comes first, though. If you don’t use relevant keywords, you won’t have traffic, and without traffic, it’s impossible to gain conversions. On the other hand, a site with available content and clear CTAs will always convert potential patients.
*A quick explanation on keywords: These are phrases or words that users type into search engines. For example, “dentist in Chicago.” When added to online content in terms of copy, site headings, marketing content, and landing pages, they improve search engine rankings for those terms.
With internet marketing, there are two types of reputation management your dental practice needs to manage. The first is the perception dental patients have of your business, and the second is how search engines perceive your website and marketing material for search engine result page ranking (SERPs). Of course, reputation management also comes into play during face-to-face interactions, but we’ll stick to online practices because we’re exploring digital marketing for dentists.
It goes without saying that robust social media marketing, a great website, and content marketing play a massive role in communicating a dental practice’s tone, professionalism, and ethos. Keeping these consistent and professional will develop a positive reputation over time. However, all of these tactics are long-term. After all, that is how a respectable reputation is built. An online marketing tactic that instantaneously boosts reputation is the utilization of online reviews.
Online reviews provide a steady pipeline of highly valued positive content that helps you to rank higher on Google search. It is social proof to potential customers and search engines that you possess authority and expertise. Nearly nine out of ten customers read reviews before making a purchase. If a patient already knows they require your dental services, it’s no longer a matter of capability but rather quality. This is especially true if there is more than one dentist in your vicinity.
Nearly nine out of ten customers read reviews before making a purchase
Potential patients are more likely to choose a practice with a high start rating complemented by the regular addition of positive reviews. What most dental practices don’t realize is that positive reviews also act as free advertising. From a search engine optimization perspective, a review includes the kind of dental services you offer and the name of your business, boosting organic dental SEO efforts. Effective dental marketing integrates reviews into their services, usually through a simple email request.
On the flip side, negative reviews can empower you to understand existing patients’ needs better. Despite their use as a marketing metric, they still serve the real function of constructive feedback, which is vital for business growth. Should you receive a disparaging review, always respond promptly and thoughtfully to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. In the case of social media, it’s advisable to answer the dissatisfied patient privately and with discretion, to avoid unintentionally broadcasting grievances that can be dealt with without fuss.
Is it Better to do Digital Marketing In-House or Hire an Agency?
To put it bluntly, your specialty is dentistry, not digital marketing. Would you hire a dental marketing agency to extract a tooth? Probably not. Similarly, if you want a revenue-driven online marketing strategy, you would certainly hire the experts. But, of course, being the experts, we know it’s easy for us to advocate outsourcing your online marketing, so let’s break down exactly what we mean.
In an ideal scenario, you want constant, immediate contact with your online marketing team. You’d have a marketing expert on staff for everything from SEO to social media accounts management, paid advertising, and online reputation management. Capacity, at all times, is a given because you have an entire team to support your online marketing strategy. This added capacity enables dental practices to implement a wider range of marketing campaigns faster than one or two people can.
Think about it; you won’t ever have to stress digital marketing because you have an agency with many services to do the work for you. Digital marketing agencies typically have a dedicated account manager assigned to each of their clients. They will be the point of contact for your dental practice and communication channel to relay requests and answer questions. Digital marketing is an agency’s only job, so naturally, they will keep up with industry trends and implement best practices expanding your patient base.
Many dental practices have a DIY mentality, but as digital marketing specialists, we can attest that a single person to carry out comprehensive digital marketing for dentists successfully requires a steep learning curve that would challenge any new dentist or established practice. Moreover, even if you devoted substantial time to learning necessary marketing fundamentals, it would mean losing time elsewhere.
With search engines constantly changing and digital marketing tactics updating, you’d be shortchanging yourself. Hiring a marketing agency for your dental practice provides unlimited value and should be viewed as a business asset and investment. And remember, if you have a limited budget, you can start to build your online marketing foundation with an expert dental website first.
If you’re inspired to upgrade your traditional dental marketing or need a complete overhaul, you’ve come to the right place. At Comrade Digital Marketing, our internet marketing specialists will improve your online presence and your profit. Because we are business owners, we know what it takes to execute a successful marketing plan that works! As a result, we’ll get you more traffic, more engagement, and new patients. Contact us at (312) 265 -0580 or click here to learn about our professional digital marketing for dentists.