Should you showcase facial aesthetics services on your dental website or separately?
More and more dentists are now providing facial aesthetics services and it’s understandable why. Not only are dentists skilled medical professionals used to the dexterity and types of instruments needed, they also work in a clean, clinical environment from which to provide the service. So a “win win” for the dentist and the client, particularly when compared to some of the “dodgy” high street services which unfortunately still exist.
Of course there is also the financial aspect too, with these types of services providing excellent revenue potential.
So as a dentist providing facial aesthetics services, how best do you showcase what you do to ensure you reach the maximum number of potential clients?
Using your dental website
The first and very popular option is to create a separate section on an existing dental practice website to leverage the Google traffic which already exists. Of course the new facial aesthetics content will need to be created and added to the website before this can happen, but you can start to get meaningful traffic and enquiries quite quickly by leveraging in this way. Although there used to be some concern that the GDC would frown on mixing dissimilar treatments like this, it has not proved to be a problem.
There are a lot of similarities between showcasing dental treatments and aesthetics treatments on a website and your current web provider should be able to assist. Here at Dental Media we do this for lots of our website clients and we can always help if you have any difficulties.
As with dental treatments, there are some key things to consider when publishing new content:
- Be concise but informative. Remember that Google also needs to find meaningful, useful information if your new content is to stand a chance of ranking well – so don’t go minimalist
- Personalise your content to ensure it’s very readable, interesting and engaging
- Use compelling before/after case studies and images
- Intersperse your content with patient testimonials and reviews
- Avoid anything “gory”
- Separate your key treatments so that each of them has a dedicated web page. This is important for optimisation and search engine ranking. For example, if Botox and fillers are your main treatments, ensure they have a page each on your website – less important treatments can be consolidated, particularly if you have a limited design budget.
Building a dedicated facial aesthetics website
Is advertising on Facebook and Instagram still worthwhile?
Several months ago I summarised the status of UK Invisalign marketing on this blog. This was against the backdrop of increasing competition, not just the dentists providing the treatment but also the large number of dental marketing companies jumping in to try to take advantage of the situation, many of them unscrupulously.
So what’s changed in the last 6-9 months and has the landscape become any easier to navigate? Or has it actually got worse, even to the point of saturation in some regions?
Let’s dive in and take a look at the latest state-of-play with Invisalign advertising in the UK; how to evaluate, how to choose an ads management partner, the input you will need to make and what to expect from your campaigns.
What’s happening right now?
In short, it’s all a bit frenzied, particularly in some areas. I commented on my last update that most practices now seem to have at least one clinician who offers Invisalign, not helped by the fact that you can seemingly do a very short training course and then start offering the treatment. Invisalign themselves are also actively encouraging practices to get on board. So as you’ll no doubt be aware, competition at the treatment provider level is generally quite intense.
Alongside this we also have more and more ads agencies jumping in, creating significant competition on the marketing side too. You’ll almost certainly have seen lots of ads on Facebook from agencies claiming that their system is the best and offering what seem to be “too good to be true” offers in terms of the leads and treatments they claim they can generate. As I illustrated in my last blog on this topic, much of what is being offered cannot be trusted – please take a look here to see why.
It’s actually been fascinating to watch the frenzy amongst the ad agencies as they’ve ported their offers and changed their own Facebook and Instagram ads to try to stay ahead. We’ve moved through the “guaranteed 20 leads a month” phase, to 40 guaranteed leads and more. We’re now at the stage where some agencies are offering to work for free unless they deliver leads, but as I mentioned above, you really need to look at their small print and what they expect from you, before you fall for such offers.
The latest ads I’ve seen are increasingly desperate and actually quite aggressive, suggesting that other agencies are just scamming dentists and the like – while this is close to the truth in some cases, it’s not really the sort of thing you’d broadcast on social media and tends to indicate just how frenzied the market has become.
Is it still worthwhile advertising on social media for Invisalign patients?
SEO and why you need to invest in it.
One of the most frequent types of ‘phone call we receive at Dental Media is from dentists wanting help with search engine optimisation. Very often they’ve had a new dental website built elsewhere but the influx of new patient enquiries they’d been promised had failed to materialise. Usually it’s the same story about how they’d been told that a new website would really boost search engine rankings, deliver a flood of new treatment enquiries, but then it didn’t happen.
Of course those promises were made simply to get the website sale and also help tie the client in to a long term maintenance contract. With that secured the marketing agency is then free to upsell the search engine optimisation service that the unsuspecting dentist thought they’d never need. Of course there was never any guarantee regarding search engine success and so the dentist is either left disillusioned with a website languishing in Google, or forking out for an expensive SEO service.
So what should you expect from a new website with respect to Google rankings?
The reality is that great dental websites built to latest standards will give you some advantage in Google. However, in the grand scheme of things, that advantage is relatively small and you should not expect the new site to go leaps and bounds straight to the top of Google. Of course there comes a point where all websites need to be renewed, both to provide the best foundation for ongoing optimisation but also, importantly, to help encourage website users to actually make contact. A modern, engaging website will be much more effective at that conversion process than an old one.
However when it comes to search engine position, you must remember that in most locations these days, there will be four or five dentists who are already in the upper positions and very likely also have SEO campaigns underway. So to think that by having a new website built you will be able to leapfrog them in Google is highly unrealistic.
The role of SEO – search engine optimisation
Here’s why an excellent practice blog is just as powerful as ever
In 2023, Google introduced what it called the “Helpful Content Update” which was aimed at promoting those websites which provide great content whilst demoting those which provide “thin”, copied or relatively worthless content.
This Google ranking update created quite some repercussions with a lot of websites being demoted and losing lots of traffic overnight, whilst others benefitted considerably. Some of the websites which were hit were huge blog sites which subsequently started a big discussion amongst SEOs as to whether blogging had become defunct and actually more risky than beneficial.
However, close inspection of the blogs which were penalised showed quite clearly that they were publishing unhelpful, often copied content with the sole objectives of supporting ads and spammy keywords. So they were penalised not simply because they were blogs, but absolutely due to the content they were publishing.
Here at Dental Media we actively encourage our clients to use regular blogging as a key part of their web marketing and patient acquisition strategies. What we saw as a result of the Helpful Content Update was that clients with excellent blogs actually benefitted quite considerably, vindicating our confidence in the technique.
It’s therefore clear to us that a dental practice blog was, is and continues to be a powerful tool. Let’s take a look at the main reasons why you should be blogging regularly.
The benefits of a dental practice blog
- Provides an excellent source of information on your website to encourage patient engagement
- Provides an excellent platform to publish information demonstrating your competence in a particular discipline or disciplines
- Provides the “human element” – for example regular updates about new team members, practice events, charity support etc
- Provides an excellent way to increase your website footprint and improve SEO. Optimised blogs full of informative treatment content are an ideal way to provide internal back-linking opportunities to headline pages, as well as for attracting links from third-party websites.
How should a dental blog post be structured for maximum impact?
Don’t start advertising until you have these key elements in place
There is somewhat of a frenzy surrounding Invisalign advertising at the moment. Whether that’s dentists who are keen to sell teeth-straightening services to new patients, or marketing agencies trying to sell their ad services to dentists, everywhere you look there is a huge buzz of activity.
Whilst this is great for Invisalign, it’s not so good for dentists trying to sell the treatment. Hugely increased competition increases the pressure on price and the effort needed to stand out from the crowd to become the local supplier of choice.
It’s that latter element I want to discuss in this blog and also take a closer look at the elements you need in place to ensure that your Invisalign social ads campaigns stand some chance of success.
But first, let’s take a look at what’s happening in the current Invisalign advertising landscape and what we expect moving forwards.
The characteristics of Invisalign advertising in 2023 and into 2024
- significantly increasing competition
- the additional challenges of patients with financial constraints
- window-shopping has increased and patient loyalty decreased
- too many speculative enquiries
- fewer and fewer practices are succeeding
- agencies over-promising and under-delivering
- dentists expecting full “done for you” services – unfortunately that just doesn’t work any more
Basically it’s a lot harder than ever before by some margin and whilst advertising for Invisalign patients can still be very successful, you need to go in with your eyes open. This is why I’m recommending that you don’t start advertising before you have all of the essential elements in place, so that when the enquiries start to come in, you stand the best chance of converting them to treatments.
Here are the basic elements which must be in place before you start.
High quality bespoke ad content
Promoting your practice successfully in the face of increasing competition and financial pressures
The last three and half years in dentistry have been very turbulent, starting with the arrival of the pandemic, closed practices and huge uncertainty. We then moved into the period immediately post the pandemic with the no shortage of patient demand, price increases and generally renewed confidence.
However, that confidence bubble now appears to be bursting with lots of dentists starting to experience gappy appointment books and patients shopping around for the more lucrative treatments such as Invisalign and dental implants.
This isn’t just anecdotal, we also see it in the data we collect from client’s marketing reports, and whilst this isn’t affecting everyone, there is a picture developing of a general slowing down. So even where a dentist’s website is top of Google and traffic is still buoyant, the number of enquiries from that traffic is, in quite a few cases, reduced.
We’ve seen the cyclical nature of the dental business before of course and with significant peaks and troughs. However the current downturn arrives on the back of very bleak economic data, with real growth in the UK economy not predicted to happen until some way into 2025. So do we batten down the hatches or go on the front foot to keep ahead?
With that in mind, let’s take a look at our recommendations for progressive practices when it comes to their dental marketing strategies for the year ahead.
Stand out from the crowd with an excellent website
We’ve discussed in detail why your practice website should be your priority marketing asset, with better quality enquiries and return-on-investment than from any other channel over time. However we often see dentists resting on their laurels and failing to update their websites, even when it’s long overdue.
With increasing competition and switched on dentists updating their websites regularly, it’s very important to avoid being left behind. Whilst spending £4 – £5k on a dental website upgrade might seem like a huge expenditure, when compared to other practice spend, the investment potential is huge. Please speak to our team for an illustration of typical return-on-investment and how updating your website is something you certainly won’t regret.
Get your social channels in order and consider paid ads
Top five reasons why your website is your priority marketing tool.
Of all the marketing tools and systems we provide for dentists, the one we always advise should be priority is the practice website. In spite of this, it’s unfortunate that quite a lot of dentists still neglect their websites, letting them become stale and outdated and consequently missing out on the numerous new patient enquiries that could have resulted.
With this in mind, let’s recap on the top ten reasons why a top-grade dental practice website is hugely important for the success of your practice.
It’s a public representation of your services
When someone is seeking new dental services, whether a long-term partnership to look after their oral health, or perhaps a one-off course of treatment for an implant, you can rest-assured that the majority of them will visit your website to find out more about you. This applies whether the patient was made aware of you through a recommendation, or whether they found you via an on-line search in Google or other platform.
It’s inescapable therefore, that your web presence needs to accurately and elegantly represent the services you provide and the standards you uphold. It doesn’t take too much imagination to understand what a potential new patient might think if they found an old and unloved website? Chances are they will just look elsewhere.
It’s a platform for building great Google ranking positions
The number of new patients enquires coming from Google searches is second only to those coming from word-of-mouth recommendations. Getting those all-important, prominent Google positions is a lot easier if a website is up-to-date and meets Google’s ever-changing standards. Where websites become stale and the technical infrastructure outdated, Google rankings can progressively fall away and with that, your new enquires decrease too.
With dentistry becoming ever more competitive and web savvy dentists doing all they can to dominate Google with excellent websites and SEO, you really can’t afford to be left behind.
It answers the key questions patients need answered
What is it and what does it mean for your dental website?
We’ve discussed elsewhere on the Dental Media blog how Google uses various signals from websites to determine where they should be positioned in the overall search engine results. There are many of these signals which Google collects and then processes algorithmically to evaluate the quality of your website and most importantly how well it serves users and answers their questions.
The highly experienced SEO team at Dental Media has tracked the numerous changes introduced by Google over the last 20 years or so, from the early days where it website ranking was fairly unsophisticated, through to the far more complex and nuanced environment today. Google has become much better at differentiating between good and bad websites and it is important to understand how they do this so that we can give our dental SEO clients the best chance of success with their own websites.
Today we will look at Google’s Helpful Content System which is part of their algorithmic processing and an important ranking signal. This system has been known about for the last few years and periodically Google will apply changes to the system to introduce new features and update existing ones. Please note that the Helpful Content System is just one of the many mechanisms which Google uses to determine website quality, but it appears to be becoming increasingly important and impactful.
How does the Helpful Content System work?
Of course we’ll never know the specifics as Google keeps the details a closely guarded secret. However, if we read their guidance we will note:
“The helpful content system aims to better reward content where visitors feel they’ve had a satisfying experience, while content that doesn’t meet a visitor’s expectations won’t perform as well”.
This alone should tell us what they are trying to achieve. They go on to tell us that the system also identifies unhelpful content i.e. of little apparent value and likely not serving visitors well. The system appears to look at the overall levels of helpful AND unhelpful content on a website and then aggregates this to create a site-wide signal for use in their ranking algorithms. Again we should note that this is one of many signals, albeit an important one.
What does this mean for a dental practice website?
Watch out for these agency tricks designed to hook you in….
Here at Dental Media we have a lot of proven experience in running paid ads for dentists, primarily on Google, Facebook and Instagram. When clients first approach us, we are keen to be as transparent as possible when discussing the pros and cons of this type of advertising. It’s not as easy as some agencies would have you believe and the pitfalls are significant if you get it wrong.
For example, we discuss the speculative nature of enquiries from social media ads and the need to work hard to filter out time-wasters, through to the significant budgets required to gain traction where competition is high. We don’t want clients to be disappointed and consequently it’s important that they understand what they are subscribing to.
No doubt you’ve probably seen the plethora of agency ads on Facebook and Instagram where they appear to claim that ads will be a winner every time and that there is very little effort needed to gain success? Unfortunately this is not always the case and those ads need to be treated with a fair degree of caution – even the ones which claim to offer guarantees as we’ve discussed in more detail in this blog here.
Your personalised ad video
What to expect for 2023 and 2024
Here at Dental Media one of our core activities is the creation of high-quality websites for dentists, something we’ve been doing since the late 1990s and now with over 2000 sites built during that time. We’ve seen web technology change dramatically, from the earliest “static html” websites, through the advent of mobile-optimised design, to the latest content management systems and CRM integrations.
One of the key features of modern dental website design is that it takes time to do well – typically 3 or 4 weeks per website. This excludes complementary activities such as writing content, SEO work etc. So it’s quite a substantial, time-intensive task.
So what does a dental website cost in 2023/2024?
If you’ve searched around for website pricing recently, you’ll have seen a huge disparity in the pricing, from a few hundred pounds for a DIY system, to £10k+ at the other end of the spectrum. Both of those extremes are “no go” territory in our opinion – at the cheap end, you get something that will look very amateurish and not represent your business professionally, whilst at the other end, you’re paying way over-the-top for zero advantage.
Realistically, you should expect to pay in the region of £4 – 6k for a high-quality dentist’s website with sufficient scope to provide a solid foundation in Google and represent your practice, team and treatments professionally. If you consider that such a website takes 3 to 4 weeks of dedicated work to complete, then those figures should not really come as a surprise – it covers the developer’s business costs and allows for a reasonable profit, or at least it should.
Another important comparison is with websites for non-dental businesses and how much they cost. Typically you will see prices for general business websites also in the £4 – 6k range – so not at the extreme top end prices you will see advertised by some dental design companies. This begs the question, why should dentists expect to pay more than any other business for their website? Unfortunately this is another example of the “dental tax” where suppliers exploit dentists where they can get away with it.
What features should I expect in a £4 – £6k website?