Dental Online Marketing Basics 2015
In today’s world, technology and online marketing is evolving as such a high speed that you might be confused about all the different online marketing options. Seems like a new one is invented each day. Have you finally mastered making your own Facebook page? Great – now get started on your Twitter, Instagram, and maybe make a blog.
How can a dentist get noticed using technology and online resources?
Most of the newly invented online marketing actually are ineffective for dental clinics or do very little in terms of bringing in paying patients. You can save your time and energy and wait for the right new ideas to prove out for dentist. Your focus should be on the proven and tested methods.
Here are the online marketing basics for dentist, these have worked for many others and will continue to work for many more. We’ll start with two of the most the fasting growing and most important areas, the patient reviews and the directory.
Consider this: an astonishing 79% of consumers state that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. These recommendations are your best bet to gain the trust of others. Your online reputation eventually boils down to what prospective patients will see when they find you on the web: what are people saying about you? Of course, this also encourages you to up your game and work harder to provide a great experience for patients.
Use online sources like Yelp, Google, DentistFind, and also your social media sites to get customer reviews that are authentic, genuine, and will help people choose your practice. Don’t be afraid to ask your current patients for these reviews! Here’s a great article on how to get more reviews from patients.
If you want to make it easier for potential patients to find your practice online, getting listed in online directories is a powerful way to help you do that and it will increase your authenticity. It is also a good way to build your website’s domain authority, because directory listings will increase the number of backlinks to your website—helping you get listed higher in search results, which can ultimately bring in new leads for your practice. It’s really a great system that will strengthen your overall marketing campaign.
As with all search engine optimization (SEO) strategies—especially link building—you have to be careful to make sure you are only adding your business to relevant, quality directories that will indeed improve your online visibility. Look for directories that are dental community specific, dental industry specific, and target the ones that competitors use (and don’t use!)
Build a website
All dentists including the ones living under a rock now knows that a website is a quintessential marketing tool. A website as you know is a collection of webpages that you see on the web. So what is the benefit of having the website? When you are working hard as a dentist to get more patients, wouldn’t it be nice to showcase your clinic to many people in different places all at once? I’m sure you have searched Google many times for a business. And most of your patients are doing the same thing.
Three reasons why you need a website:
- Nowadays many patients need to take a look at a clinic’s website before deciding to book with the clinic.
- In addition patients looking for a dentist online will see your website
- There are online tools to integrate into your website showcase your practice, patient results, and gather patient referral from your existing patients.
You need to invest in a professional website which should be optimized so that it shows up on major search engines like Google and Yahoo. It should contain relevant information like what quality treatment the dentist will provide and such focused information.
Keep in mind, provide all the information that a patient needs to make a decision such as the location, hours, services offer, and often missed, pictures of the dentist and staff. Majority of patients surveyed said the main reason they stay with their dentist is because they like the dentist and staff.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
After creating a website, you need to get some SEO done. SEO is process by which you get traffic to your website, whether it is free, organic, or from natural listings. To get a comprehensive explanation of SEO you can watch this great video:
Since you can get a lot of traffic from Search Engines easily and at a low patient acquisition cost it’s important that you set up the website SEO properly. The basic SEO are pretty easy and standard. It is recommened that you hire a reputable dental marketing company to optimize your website. While SEO companies offer monthly plans you can start off by paying the initial fix cost and optimize the structure one time. If you don’t have a proper structure then all SEO efforts will be wasted.
If your dental website is optimized, it can improve your website’s visibility. On your site, you can write articles or blogs and create focused and keyword-rich articles that prospective patients will be interested in reading. Once you post articles to your site and blog with regular frequency, you can see dramatic results, but it will take time!
Success here depends on the kind of keywords you use (they should be in the form of what your prospective patients will search), whether they are the ones people are looking for, whether your pages belong to the frequently searched pages, etc. You can boost your website linking by having back links and inbound links from other websites.
If you do see success from the optimization and you want to get more results I recommend you go with an expert non-dental SEO company. The reason is that the majority of SEO service provided by dental marketing companies are basic SEO which is effective passed a certain point. To get the most value you need a company that is an expert and have an expert of SEO. Keep in mind that this type of work requires a lot of experience and time and it is very expensive, you would be looking at monthly cost of around $1000 to start. Any company that offers lower amount are not providing the right expertise and service to implement proper SEO.
According to research, if you have a blog along with your practice, it adds to your relevance and makes good business sense for you. Through your blog, you can interact with your patients. But what is a blog anyway? It is basically a type of website which is arranged in a chronological manner from the most recent post to the first one. Blogs are often written on a particular topic, (in our case dental topic).
Blogging will help reach your patients and keep you on the top of the minds of current patients and build your expert status. What makes a good blog is one with personality, fun to read, and helpful advice. All this will help you gain traffic. For example if someone is suffering from cavities, they would like to know why have they had cavities and what are the best ways to avoid having them or how to treat them. Now they come to your blog and read about the various aspects of cavities and become interested. They start trusting you as your doctor. So what you have done is built a relationship with them. Some blogs use comments to interact with people.
If the blog too is optimized, it can have high rankings on Search Engine Results Page. By updating your blog once a week or month, you can receive up to 70% more clicks than a static site. When this 70% translates into new patients coming in to your practice, it makes all your efforts worthwhile. Google gives ranking to sites that are updated more often so by making posts it will help your whole website.
Social Media Marketing
Through social media you can attract the widest number of potential customers. You can create and post relevant content that can be shared by a large number of people on these networks. Apart from its huge impact, social media marketing is also free and lets you broaden your reach. While there are many platforms we recommend you start with Facebook and Twitter.
For instance, if you choose to go with Twitter, you can share any content you create or information regarding your services. On Facebook, you can take advantage of the forum for patients that share their experiences on services they receive, while on LinkedIn, you can build your professional links. For success on these platforms target your existing patients and their friends and family.
Pay Per Click advertising (PPC)
Pay Per Click marketing is the more effective and quickest strategy for getting new patients. However Google Adwords, the most common Pay Per Click if very expensive and do to the competition it is now critical to hire professionals or you will be losing a lot of money. By using PPC, you can publish your advertisements Google search results and on the websites of other people and company.
How does PPC work?
Lets talk about Google here. If you want to advertise your services on Google or the websites that it shows in its results, you have to use its Adwords service. Here you bid on certain keywords, which you think are best for your dental practice. Once you have formed an effective campaign, you can pay Google money to showcase your website in their search results.
So, when a user clicks your advertisement, you pay a nominal fee to the site owner or Google. The advantage of this practice is that the moment you pay, it gives you tremendous volumes of traffic, and some of it may convert.
Clinic Videos (YouTube)
Videos are the richest medium for patients to experience your clinic and presents an innovative approach of reaching out to potential patients. In addition videos are great for keeping your followers in the loop on your new services and products.
You can tag your videos, using targeted keywords, based on your services and the needs of your city. You can upload these videos on your website, blog, Twitter and Facebook where you can speak of the ease of use of your products. This awareness builds your brand and gives you a high search engine ranking.
Overall if you follow even a few of these online marketing basics for your dental practice, you will definitely get a surge in traffic and more people will come to know about your clinic. Your online presence needs to be authentic and realistic to build trust with patients. Patients are more likely to call and make an appointment if they see you interacting, in some form, with other people. Remember to keep these online sources updates, or you will seem negligent or rude. Online marketing your business nowadays is essential to any marketing plan and is better than advertising on your local TV any day!