Your “Must Do” Modern Dental Marketing Tactics
These proven techniques are essential within a modern marketing campaign for dentists
The days of expecting patients to simply walk into a dental practice in sufficient numbers to sustain and grow it are long passed. This reality simply means that dental business owners have to be proactive in seeking out new patients using effective and measurable marketing mechanisms.
Whilst “word-of-mouth” referral will always be essential, and indeed is still the best form of new patient acquisition, this alone is not enough and you also need to cast a wide net via other channels such as the web and e-mail marketing. Indeed, with 94 percent of consumers using on-line resources to seek out services generally and 71 percent of patients using search engines to find dentists in particular, it’s quite clear why digital marketing is essential for business growth. Furthermore, those 71 percent then go on to seek out reviews to validate the services they’ve found.
With effective programmes underway in all key areas, staying ahead of the competition is very achievable; but be prepared to work hard on it and provide suitable resources and investment. Not all practices have sufficient resources to handle all of this in-house; however there are a number of specialist dental marketing companies including Dental Media, who can help.
So what are the key marketing mechanisms you will find in most of the successful dental practices at the moment? Here at Dental Media we have deep experience in assisting dentists with their marketing campaigns and below you’ll find an overview of key techniques that work time and again. Let’s go….
Claim and optimise your Google “My Business” page
Google is so fundamental when it comes to marketing any business and a key foundation is to claim and then optimise your “My Business” page on the Google platform. This gives a clear overview of all of your key business details and appears in the “local pack” of search results when someone searches for you using Google. It’s not quite as simple as that unfortunately and associated factors such as reviews will dictate which businesses appear prominently; however without a claimed and optimised page, you won’t stand any chance of appearing. The “local pack” listing (often known as “maps” listing) now attracts around 40% of all clicks through to websites and so it’s plain to see just how important it is to appear prominently there.
Your digital marketing partner will also be able to advise how to optimise your page and boost the factors which make it appear prominently in the search results.
Enhance your website so it stands out from the crowd
A high-performing website is absolutely essential if you are to beat your competitors to a new patient’s signature. Not only do high-performing sites work better for Google searches, they also work better for what we know as “conversions” i.e. the process whereby a person lands on your website and is sufficiently interested to then make contact with you. No longer is a generic, cheap WordPress template going to cut it for this process; you need something much more sophisticated and capable. If you haven’t already, please review the following features of high-performing websites which are known to help drive conversions:
- Mobile-friendly and easy to navigate
- Search engine optimised (on and off-site optimisation)
- Prominent reviews
- Case studies – how your services changed people’s lives
- Messaging capabilities and clear contact details
- On-line booking
- Clear information which helps patients look after their oral health
- Clear and user-friendly treatment information
- Fast loading
- Written empathetically
Your website is a really crucial asset and requires an ongoing investment in maintenance. If you let it go stale, not only will your patients notice but Google will too, and demotion in the rankings can soon follow.
Invest in Search Engine Optimisation
You’ve probably heard this many times before but it’s absolutely pointless to have a good-looking website which doesn’t work well in Google. Way too many dentists don’t budget for this and then wonder why their site is back on page two or three, six months after launch. Your first objective should be to get into the top half of page one on Google and then push on progressively from there. Below this in the rankings, you can expect your enquiries to be sparse.
Publish new, useful content via a practice blog
It’s well known that Google rewards websites which publish fresh, useful content and progressively demotes websites where content goes stale and user-interaction degrades. One of the best ways to keep Google and users happy, is to build a practice blog and progressively add new content to it. Your blog posts should cover a range of topics with some ideas as follows:
- technical (but user-friendly) explanation of treatments
- practice announcements e.g. open days, events etc
- staff profiles
- case studies (with appropriate patient approval)
- latest dental news and trends
Your SEO company can provide lots of useful information to help build your blog, however you should also complement this with lots of “human interest” content whenever possible.
Create dental videos and use them liberally withing your marketing content
Users love videos and tend to engage with them much better than the written word. If you review the marketing campaigns of top practices you will very likely notice the comprehensive use of video materials to help stimulate new patient enquiries. Typical examples would be:
- Website welcome
- Practice and facilities overview
- Clinician profiles
- Patient testimonials
- Procedure and treatment overviews
- Educational videos to answer frequently asked questions
These types of videos can be used for your website, blog, social media posts, reception area flat screens and more.
Get listed in relevant online dental directories
Want some easy-win SEO to help get traffic to your website? Dental directories can help with this and contrary to what some SEO companies will tell you about all directories being “bad”, this is not actually the case. If the directory is bona fide, of decent quality and preferably where submissions are human-reviewed, then an entry there can be very useful. There are quite a lot of these types of directories and it’s easy enough to filter out the good ones if you know what you’re doing. If you’re not sure, then seek some guidance from your digital marketing team.
Implement an email marketing strategy
Too many dentists neglect to nurture their existing patients and simply send out a 6 monthly check-up text. This isn’t enough! Many people seeking out more expensive treatments, for example dental implants or orthodontics, will shop around for services, even when they’ve been registered with a practice for a long time. If you send out periodic e-news updates to them to keep your services “top of mind” and if those services are suitably attractive, then as a minimum you should be in the driving seat when it comes to securing their new treatments.
Topics for e-newsletters typically might include:
- latest practice news
- announcement of open days and offers
- latest technology which will benefit patients
- patient reviews and testimonials
- case studies
- reviews of latest dental health products
The key is to keep the selling element as a relatively small proportion of the content, maybe just 25% – this is essential to avoid annoying your audience. Of course such communications must obey the GDPR regulations.
Boost your organic SEO campaign with pay-per-click (PPC)
Unfortunately it’s impossible to avoid pay-per-click advertising these days as both Google and Facebook are forcing businesses to “pay to play” by restricting the organic (free) use of their platforms. There is more detail elsewhere in our blog which covers this in depth, but suffice to say it is important to understand how PPC is now increasingly important to complement organic SEO strategies. This is another rather specialised area where you will definitely benefit from the assistance of an experienced digital marketer.
Seek out patient reviews – and don’t stop!
We mentioned near the start of this article just how important reviews are when people are seeking out new services online, and this goes for dental services too. You must have robust procedures in-house for managing this process and be very proactive in encouraging your patients to leave (hopefully positive!) reviews for you, both on Google, Facebook and relevant dental platforms. This is essential to encourage people who seek out those reviews directly before making a decision, to use your services, but also to help with your Google ranking positions. Do not underestimate the power of reviews – they are extremely important!
So now it’s time to implement your dental marketing campaign as comprehensively as possible and the features above are all very important if you wish to do it well. But not all practices will have the time, resources or experience to achieve all of this and so may be wondering what to do next. Fortunately there are UK dental marketing teams who can take on much of this work on your behalf and do a lot of the heavy-lifting as well as providing the specialist advice and experience needed. Just be cautious when selecting your marketing partner however, as there are way more bad suppliers than good ones.
Here at Dental Media we can help; whether you are already established and simply need a review of under-performing campaigns, or if you are just starting out and need a complete infrastructure developed. Please call our team on 01332 672548 for a no obligation discussion to discuss your project.Google+