Marketing a Dental Practice: Top 3 Lesser Known But Extremely Effective Methods Which Guarantee New Patients
Marketing a dental practice isn’t an easy task. Many people don’t realize how much they need dental services, and others worry about the cost of dentistry. However, there are several ways to quickly improve your dental marketing package quickly and easily.
One of the most important things to do when it comes to marketing a dental practice or anything else is to think outside the box.
One of the easiest ways to think outside the box when it comes to 21st century marketing is to focus on internet marketing.
Too many dentists out there are too focused on “traditional” marketing methods. These include some of the following:
- Television advertisements
- Radio spots
- Signage, flyers, and other tangible marketing goods
- “Intrusion marketing”
- Relying too much on word of mouth
Although there’s nothing inherently wrong with marketing methods like these, they’re simply not the most effective methods for marketing a dental practice anymore.
All three of the little known but highly effective dental marketing tips I’ve got for you today involve internet marketing to some extent. Before we get to those, let’s take a look at some of the basics of internet marketing.
Online Marketing – How It Works and Why You Need It
First off, let’s talk about why internet marketing matters so much these days. Here are some simple facts from HubSpot:
- 81% of customers (including your potential patients) do some kind of research online before making a big purchase (including expensive dental procedures).
- 72% of people who do local online searches end up visiting a business within five miles of them.
- 51% of smartphone users have discovered a new business or product of some kind searching on their phones.
While all of these facts are important, the first one really takes the cake. 81% of people in your town look online every time they make financial decisions – including going to the dentist.
Blue Rise Media also offers some simple facts on the importance of internet marketing. Although they’re less focused on hard numbers, they do bring up a very important point. Any marketing materials you put on the internet are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Besides the huge popularity of the internet these days, constant availability is one of internet marketing’s biggest advantages.
When you buy a TV or radio spot, you probably pay by the minute – or by even smaller increments of time. However, when you pay for internet marketing once, you can reap the benefits for years.
Internet marketing is also usually cheaper up front than traditional marketing forms. Reaching more customers for less money is every professional’s dream, right?
How Internet Marketing Works
Marketing a dental practice online is complex work. Many dentists and other medical professionals hire internet marketing companies or consultants to do it. However, there are plenty of things you can do on your own.
Also, it’s a great idea to learn as much as you can about internet marketing even if you plan to hire a professional marketer. The good news is that there are great resources out there to get you started.
However, before you go in search of the deepest details, let’s go over some of the basics of the basics here. There are several major keys to marketing a dental practice online:
- Having a website. This is the most basic part of internet marketing.
- Filling your website with content that attracts patients.
- SEO – short for Search Engine Optimization. I’ll give details on this in just a minute.
- Using “external properties” such as social media and review sites to market yourself.
Basics of Marketing a Dental Practice Online: Your Website
Having a website is the biggest key to marketing a dental practice online. Without having a website of your own, none of the other strategies I’ll talk about will help.
If you already have a great website, you’re ahead of many of your competitors. If you don’t, you need to get one immediately. Try using a simple platform like WordPress or talking to a professional web designer or internet marketer about other design options.
Basics of Marketing a Dental Practice Online: SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Search engine optimization is the main work that internet marketers do. Essentially, a simple definition would go something like this:
- SEO is the practice of making your website more attractive to search engines (Google, Yahoo, and Bing) so that your website appears higher in results for relevant searches like “best local dentist.”
However, SEO is anything but simple. It involves a lot of work and study. In fact, it is so complex that there’s an entire industry of professional search engine optimizers for hire.
I won’t go into depth on SEO here, but there are a lot of great resources on this site and the rest of the web. Try going through some other articles in our blog to get started learning about specifics. Blogs like Moz are also worth checking out, especially their exhaustive introduction to SEO.
You might also try watching the video below. Although it’s very long, it’s a really great introduction to the basics of SEO with some advanced lessons sprinkled in.
Basics of Marketing a Dental Practice Online: External Properties
An “external property” in internet marketing lingo is any site that you don’t own. Specifically, though, when marketers talk about “external properties,” we mean sites that you don’t own that offer content related to your practice.
External properties important to marketing a dental practice include the following:
- Social media platforms such as Facebook
- Review platforms like Yelp
- Google Maps and other business-related Google properties
These external properties are very important to two of the three specific, highly effective tips in this article.
Without further ado, let’s get to those tips!
Tip #1 for Marketing a Dental Practice Online: Use Social Media
Many small businesspeople, such as restaurant owners, have learned the benefits of social media. However, it has yet to catch on with professionals such as dentists.
Social media outlets like Facebook can be hugely beneficial when it comes to marketing a dental practice. They’re also a great way to stay connected with your customers.
Furthermore, social media is so massively popular that this can be one of the most effective forms of marketing. Even better, it’s completely free if you do it yourself. If you decide to hire a professional, social media marketing assistance is generally one of the cheapest services.
Concrete Benefits of Social Media Marketing
1. Reach a new audience.
Because so many people are on social media and because they use it so often, creating a few social media profiles is one of the easiest ways to reach a wide audience.
Also, Facebook in particular focuses very much on connecting users with local businesses. This can be a huge benefit for dentists.
In addition to all these wonderful free business services, Facebook also offers extremely affordable and easy advertising. This too is heavily focused on local business outreach.
Other major social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram also offer advertising programs.
2. Connect with patients.
Connection with your patients is hugely important to your marketing.
Think of all the work you do in your office to connect with patients. Simple things like learning patients’ names can make them much more comfortable with you. This in turn makes them more likely to come back to your practice.
Social media offers opportunities to connect with patients when they’re not in the office. Patients may message your practice directly and privately with questions. They can also interact with the content you post in various ways.
Seeing these connections made manifest on the screen can also teach you a lot. For example, Facebook offers free analytic tools that show you what demographics you’re popular with.
How to Start Reaping the Marketing Benefits of Social Media Profiles
Luckily, all the major social media outlets offer simple instructions to set up a profile. This is because they want their sites to be accessible to all. That’s one of the major reasons they’re so popular.
When it comes to specific strategies for social media marketing, here’s my advice:
- Start by creating a single social media profile. I’d recommend Facebook because it’s easy to use and effective.
- Fill out your profile in the greatest detail possible.
- Create new content every day or every few days. Update your status, add an image. Promote yourself!
Don’t move on to starting another social media profile until you’re very comfortable with the first one you started. Although more is merrier when it comes to social media marketing, you don’t want to overwork yourself. Social media marketing takes a lot of time and learning.
Tip #2 for Marketing a Dental Practice Online: Perfecting Local Search Engine Optimization
I mentioned search engine optimization earlier, remember? One of the most important aspects of generating good SEO is a focus on your locality. This is especially important for smaller, local businesses like dental practices.
No matter what, Google and the other search engines are going to index sites worldwide for their users to find. However, focusing on getting customers in your city or town has the biggest benefit for you.
There are two things to focus on when it comes to local SEO:
- External properties
- Your own website
Local SEO Techniques for External Properties
Optimizing external properties for local SEO is fairly easy. Social media especially can be highly effective, and is one of the easiest things to optimize.
Optimizing for local SEO on Facebook requires filling out the profile completely. Especially focus on geographical information and connecting with local people and businesses.
On Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, using popular local hashtags can also make your social media profile much more likely to appear for local searches like “dentists in [your city]” or similar searches.
Optimizing local SEO for external properties that aren’t under your direct control is also easy. This includes external properties such as Google Maps and Yelp.
Make sure to claim your business on Yelp. This is a very easy process that Yelp will walk you through.
The same goes for Google My Business. Google My Business encompasses several business services offered by Google. These include Google Maps listings, Google Reviews, and more.
Claiming your business or creating a business profile on these sites is extremely important. These actions can be incredibly lucrative for your business at no cost to you. Also, the signup process for each one is fast and easy.
Local SEO for Your Site
Optimizing your own site for local SEO gets a bit more complicated, but is equally helpful (if not even more so).
One action you can take is optimizing your site for local search is using a large amount of locally focused keywords. If you’re not an SEO pro yet, check out this Rags to Niches article on SEO keywords before reading on.
The following video may help as well. While it’s focused specifically on photography, the same principles apply to keywords across the board. You can easily use these skills for dental marketing.
Now that you understand what SEO keywords are, it’s important to understand local SEO keywords.
Whereas a general keyword you might want to optimize your site for is “best dentistry,” that may be too too general for local searches.
To attract local clients, you’ll need to optimize for local keyword phrases like “best dentistry in Scottsdale” or “dentists in Virginia.” Specificity is key here.
If you’re worried about the work that goes into researching keywords, an SEO consultant may be able to help. The same goes for getting the keywords into the content on your website naturally.
It takes a lot of work and research to get keywords right. However, they’re a key fundamental of SEO. Their impact can be undeniably huge.
The Benefits of Direct Advertising to Local SEO
Although these services obviously charge money, they can be useful. The reason they’re so useful is that you can tweak them to impact local customers the most.
When amateurs attempt SEO, it becomes an inexact science. Getting good at SEO requires a lot of trial and error. It may take you some time to get your keyword mix exactly right – not to mention all the other factors that determines where you page lands in search engine results.
Direct advertising, however, is very exact. It allows you total control up front. Purchasing direct advertising can also be a great way for you to hedge your bets while you practice SEO or look for an SEO professional to hire.
The most successful businesses – including the most successful dental practices – use a combination of SEO and ads. While this might not be possible for you right now, it’s a goal you should work towards.
Tip #3 for Marketing a Dental Practice Online: Retargeting
Retargeting is perhaps our best tip, because it is so underused by dentists. It’s also underused by other professionals such as MDs and lawyers, as well as small businesspeople.
Because retargeting was so expensive until relatively recently, it’s only caught on with very large organizations so far. However, retargeting is easier and cheaper than ever. If you start utilizing this strategy now, you can beat the curve and come out ahead of your local competitors.
What is Retargeting and How Can It Help You with Marketing a Dental Practice?
Retargeting, in the simplest sense, is a fresh new way to continually put your ads in front of customers. Here’s how it works.
- It then places your targeted ads in front of these potential patients after they leave your site.
- This often causes them to return to your site and reconsider your services.
If you’re more of a visual learner, this diagram should help explain things:
This method works best in conjunction with traditional ads, solid SEO, or both. That’s because retargeting requires people to visit your website in the first place to be successful.
Retargeting isn’t a strategy to get you more site visitors up front. It’s a strategy to get site visitors to come back again and again. Constantly putting your content in front of casual web browsers increases the chances they will become your patients.
Because not a lot of other professionals in your field are using retargeting right now, it can be highly effective for you in both the short term and the long term.
How to Get Retargeting Service on Your Site
The one downside to retargeting is that you won’t be able to set it up yourself. Doing so would be extremely difficult and expensive.
However, there are retargeting options from Google and Facebook, as well as retargeting agencies out there that specialize in this service. Also, many professional SEO services can get retargeting set up for you.
If you’re interested in learning more about how retargeting works or how to get it on your site, please give us a call or fill out the form below.
We would also love to hear from you if you have any other questions about our services. Feel free to contact us with general SEO and internet marketing questions as well. Everyone at Promote Dental knows how complicated and overwhelming all of this can be, and we’d like to help you understand it.
Even if you’re not interested in purchasing any of our services at this time, we offer free fifteen minute consultations. During this time we can discuss SEO in general or specific strategies for your practice.