As a practicing dentist, office manager, or marketing director, you know how challenging it can be to manage a successful dental practice. While most people appreciate the importance of good oral health (notwithstanding reliable studies putting the percentage of those who do not at 40%), getting your website ranked high is a necessary precondition to delivering quality dental care to patients at a fee that permits the practice to prosper.
Competition in many demographics is fierce, making the key dental practice marketing challenge how to consistently and cost-effectively promote your practice in a way that substantively differentiates it from your competition.
Here are five ways to level the online dental marketing playing field.
1. Complete and Fully Responsive Web Design
A survey of 1,100 shoppers found that 98 percent are dissuaded from using a product or service if the website was not up to their standards. These standards include a site that provides insufficient detail, features incorrect information, or lacks the function today’s web surfer deems essential.
With the ever increasing percentage of web searches originating from a handheld device, it is equally important to ensure your website is fully mobile responsive, meaning it renders itself for both optimal viewing and function regardless of the device being used to view it. Being fully responsive also helps satisfy one of Google’s search ranking algorithms; increasing the likelihood people in your community searching for services you offer will find your dental practice.
2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Google, as the self-appointed Judge (and jury) of the Online Ranking Beauty Pageant, is constantly modifying its algorithms to yield results for its users that best match the searcher’s intent. Accordingly, the successful dental websites rank higher than their competitors for words and phrases being used by prospective patients searching for a dentist in their area.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a critical digital marketing tactic in ensuring a practice ranks highly in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Spending time with an SEO expert to work on on-page, off-page, and technical SEO techniques can catapult your website up Google’s rankings.
3. Pay Per Click (PPC)
While SEO is an outstanding way to organically enhance your website’s rankings, it takes time and that’s why it’s referred to as “organic”. Practices that want to see more immediate results in the form of prominent placement on SERPs should also consider Pay Per Click (PPC). For a new dental practice, getting your name out there early on to generate business can be paramount to its success.
PPC can help generate targeted web traffic based on the keywords for which you want to rank highly and are also proven to drive conversions.
For instance, if someone is searching for “cosmetic dentist” in your service area, and that term is part of your professionally managed PPC campaign, your ad will be featured prominently on Google’s SERP, bringing you that much closer to connecting with that prospective client.
4. Online Review Management
While it may not be intuitive, studies continue to show that people place their trust in online third party reviews at least as much as they do a recommendation from a friend, family member, or even a recognized authority. That’s why an automated review management system that consistently and effectively helps generate Google reviews, as well as reviews on other trusted online sources, is another key online dental marketing success criterion. Proper management of your online review system also entails coaching your team on the proper manner, method and timing for requesting reviews. For example, it helps to ask open-ended questions. Someone should regularly monitor review activity to respond promptly to all reviews, including the negative ones, and share every positive review you receive. All this feedback helps boost your online presence, especially on Google’s Map Pack.
As noted above, it is important to have a plan for responding to less than flattering reviews. It’s best to always respond to negative reviews. Bear in mind that your most important audience is not the person who posted the review; it’s the public, as in current and prospective patients, who may see it. Keep the response short, never argue, and offer to do whatever is reasonable to address the reviewer’s concerns, whether they are legitimate or not. It can also be said that, in countering negative reviews, the best defense is a good offense. By committing to a regular inflow of positive reviews, the negative ones get ‘pushed down’, meaning they lose their prominence and visibility. Your average score will rise as the ratio of good to bad reviews continues to increase.
5. Social Media
While social media may originally have been used mostly by families and friends who wanted to reconnect and otherwise keep in touch, those days are over. Social media is now big business, and is only increasing. Savvy digital marketers have learned to harness the commercial potential to not only build one’s brand recognition, but also to actually drive qualified traffic to your website. Millions of businesses of all sizes use platforms such as Facebook to connect with their customers and clients. A great social media management campaign can greatly aid your practice.
Is your dental clinic utilizing social media properly?
Getting started with a winning social media ad campaign is not complicated, but does require working with someone who understands how to design and test effective ad copy, imagery, and offers, then target the appropriate audience, then monitor, evaluate, and modify the campaign to achieve optimal results.
Facebook is not the only platform to consider. Instagram can be successful as can Pinterest and LinkedIn, the latter if your target is professionals in your area. Start a page for your practice, present your services and procedures, and provide avenues for people to leave reviews, get in touch, and connect with your page.
What Next? AIM Dental Marketing® Can Help Your Dental Practice Grow
If you are interested in generating more business for your dental practice by attracting new patients, as well as encouraging more visits from existing patients, it is time to investigate some of the online marketing practices outlined above. AIM Dental Marketing® specializes in helping dental practices across the country utilize digital marketing to grow and expand. If you have any further questions get in touch with us today. We’d be happy to provide you with a free consultation.