Dental Marketing – Top Trends for 2021
Which techniques will deliver the most new patient enquiries in the year ahead?
I’m often asked for my opinion regarding which marketing techniques are likely to be most popular for securing new dental patient enquiries as we progress towards a new year. So today I thought I’d share my thoughts on this and how the events of 2020 have shaped how things will likely look in 2021.
Here are the top five areas where we expect to be putting in a lot of effort for clients, new and old, in the year ahead. Oh and one ‘dodgy’ thing you need to look out for!
Dental website upgrades
This is an ‘ever present’ and as the emphasis moves increasingly to online dealings, having a stand-out dental website is more important than ever. Not only will websites need all of the usual engaging features and be mobile-friendly, they will also need to focus on how the practice delivers patient safety in this new “Covid” world. Even with vaccines and better therapeutics rolling-out, this is just the start and Covid controls are likely to be with us for some time yet.
If you aren’t convinced about the important of this, please take a look at a few sets of patient reviews left for dentists on Google and see how many mention Covid safety features.
Google and SEO
When it comes to patients finding your website in Google, we expect 2021 to be a big year. Whilst Google updates all the time, they recently announced a significant ranking algorithm update being introduced in May. This will look closely at user experience on a website and how well the site meets user’s needs. Google can measure all sorts of factors such as how fast pages load, how easy the website navigation was to use, did the sites use intrusive pop-ups etc. So if your site isn’t technically sound in those key areas, then expect to see your Google positions suffer. We are already auditing lots of sites with this in mind to ensure client websites remain robust in the face of these big new SEO challenges.
This is already a major channel dentists use to complement the “organic” SEO used to improve Google positions. Google and Facebook have become very adept at forcing businesses to pay for ads if they want to secure a proportion of the increasing level of enquiries originating via paid channels – you have to be “in it to win it” as they say.
Whilst you do need a realistic budget to sustain a paid ads campaign as explained elsewhere in this blog, the rewards can still be excellent – but please seek assistance to ensure that campaigns are set up and managed expertly. For example, we are already helping lots of dentists fill open days for implants and orthodontics using paid ad techniques, as well as bringing in regular new treatment enquiries using regular awareness campaigns.
More than ever we are seeing businesses which utilise bespoke, high quality visuals stealing a lead on their competitors. We achieve excellent results where our visuals team attends the practice to film professional video footage along with a suite of top grade photographs to showcase the business.
A visuals session of this type typically includes an overview of the practice, the team, the technology and patient testimonials. Websites equipped with this type of imagery are much more engaging than those which rely on “tacky” stock images and consequently tend to secure more patient enquiries as a result.
We expect to see more and more investment in visuals work like this as the benefits become increasingly clear.
Online Booking, Remote Consultation and Smile Assessment
As dentists shut down back in March 2020, thoughts immediately turned to finding ways to try to keep business going in the background and perking new patient interest, even though they couldn’t attend the practice.
Techniques such as video consultation, online booking and the use of tools such as “SmileMate” quickly came to the fore, helping dentists to secure advance bookings for treatments which wouldn’t start for several months. So whilst the majority shut down, the savvy few got busy and creative, looking for ways to keep their businesses running, if only virtually.
These techniques have proved to be very successful and we expect them to continue and become more commonplace into 2021.
And the dodgy dental marketing to avoid….
Unfortunately we see another accelerating trend in the marketing business where agencies consistently let down their clients. This tends to be in three main areas – a) agencies which promised the earth, grew too big on the back of it and then failed to deliver, b) new agencies and freelancers entering the sector and frankly not really knowing what they are doing and c) long-established agencies hiking prices and insisting on long-term contracts unsustainably.
So please take care when signing up for new services. If it feels wrong, then it probably is wrong.
2020 has been a test for all of us within the dental business but despite the uncertainties, momentum is definitely building again. So here’s to a successful 2021!
If you would like an informal chat to help you plan your practice marketing for the year ahead, please get in touch on 01332 672548 and we’ll be pleased to help.
Thank you for your business in 2020 and best wishes from the team at Dental Media!