Marketing is key to the success of any business, and dental practices are no exception. Having a solid marketing strategy is essential for the growth and prosperity of any business. No matter how advanced the technology at your practice is, or how skilled you are at dentistry, your practice will not boom if you do not have a continuous inflow of new and returning patients. As more people use the internet to research and purchase services, a dental practice without an online presence is virtually hidden to a new patient at home. People spend twice as much time online nowadays than ever before.
Digital Marketing is “an umbrella term for the marketing of products or services using digital technologies, mainly on the Internet, but also including mobile phones, display advertising, and any other digital medium”.
Traditional marketing was the hype a decade ago and it still is to this day. However, advancements in digital marketing has set the bar higher. While with traditional marketing techniques, it was difficult to measure the Return on Investment (ROI). Now dental practices can better measure and forecast marketing efforts in real-time, through valuable analytics tools.
Listed here are the 10 methods of Digital Marketing for dental practices to follow:
- Responsive Website
- Social Media Marketing
- Improve Local Search Engine Optimization Ranking
- Blog Posting
- Local Business Listings
- Campaign Emails and Surveys
- Analyze Competitor’s Online Presence and Strategy
- Digital Advertising
- Online Customer Support
- Provide Useful Information and Raise Awareness through Video Marketing
1. Responsive Website
Can you recall the last time you didn’t visit a website before checking out a new business? It is important to understand how vital it is to have a responsive website for your dental business. It educates the public about your practice, projects a culture of transparency and delivers the information your patients are most likely to require. Whether you have already invested in a dental website or are thinking about it for your dentistry, there are certain key strategies one must follow to have a successful online presence.
- Create a Mobile-Friendly Website
- Shows you are keeping up with the latest technology and is passionate about your service
- Capability to be accessed from all devices
- Allows patients to have easy access to website from wherever they are
- Make appointments easier
- Provide all Relevant Information
- Helps to establish trust and comfort with your website visitors
- Allows patients to get to know about your dental practice and your staff
- Share photos of your office setup and your dental team
- Provide details about your practice such as Name, Address, Business Hours, Services listed out, etc.
- Emphasize important information in an easy and eligible manner
- Include Interactive Forums
- Attracts visitors in and keeps them coming back to your website
- Include Q&A forums, Social Media links, Review page, Blog, Chatbox, and Patient Portal
2. Social Media Marketing
Engaging with your patients via social media platform accounts for a key component in your Digital Marketing plan. Based on recent studies, 42% of people say social media would affect their choice of specific doctor. Social Media Marketing helps you to get your content seen, which in turn helps to increase your dental practice’s online presence. Social Media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are networking and communication channels where you can have a one-on-one basis interaction with your visitors. This increases brand loyalty and customer satisfaction among your patients.
Feature your customers on social media People love it when you make them look good. Try featuring your customers on your Facebook and Instagram pages. When people see themselves as the “Customer of the Month” or “Smile of the Week”, etc. they usually want to share that with friends. Get creative with it! One example of this include Cherished Events By Liz, a wedding and planning company in Sugar Land, Texas. They repost pictures and messages they’ve found from happy customers sharing their experience with the company. Besides connecting with the customers, this also serves as a form of a testimonial as they are showing non-professional photos submitted by customers of their service in action. This helps make the Cherished Events By Liz appear more transparent, since they are simply reposting what happy customers have already posted voluntarily.
3. Improve Local Search Engine Optimization Ranking
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. Basically, SEO helps websites rank higher. SEO guidelines include:
- Having a responsive website,
- Updated content,
- Easy to navigate layout for your website, and
- Proper keywords
More than ever, people are using the Internet to find local businesses. According to the Local Search Association, 51% of consumers searched for dentist via search engines. So what does this mean? Local searching uses geographic identifiers to find local businesses. For example, if I am looking for a Dentist in Katy, Texas, I would type “Katy Dentist” or type my zip code followed by Dentist “77494 Dentist” into my search engine. Majority of the search engines will result in a map with the corresponding business listings. This information appears at the top of the page above everything else, giving your dental practice an opportunity to be found and listed at the top of all the search engines.
4. Blog Posts
A business blog is an incredible marketing tool for a small business, and that includes dental practices. Businesses that blog, get 97% more backlinks, which are links to your website posted to other websites. Because each blog post becomes its own webpage, your online presence grows with each post. This provides more chances to attract the interest of potential patients. Meanwhile, the content you put on your blog builds trust with those prospective patients and convinces them to contact you.
For your blog to produce results for your dental practice, you need your content to attract the interest of prospective patients. These patients are using search engines to search for things such as “Maintaining Good Dental Hygiene”, “Natural Teeth Whitening Techniques”, “Why do Gums Bleed?”, etc. Content that is focused on their needs is obviously more attractive to them because they are able to read about the topics they are already interested in. You need to show your practice’s quality through your ability to inform them and help them with their questions about dental care.
5. Local Business Listings
A Local Business Listing is an online profile that provides your business name, address, phone number along with other details. Google my Business, Yelp for Business, Facebook for Business, Bing places for business, Foursquare for Business, Angie’s list Business Center, LinkedIn for Businesses, CitySearch, Better Business Bureau, Internet Yellow Pages, and Yahoo! Local are some of the market leaders in business listings. Local listings make your business visible on the Internet. Each new listing you create increases your chances of being found by customers.
Did you know that the major search engines offer free local business listings? When someone searches for “dentist” and “(your city),” these listings are what comes up, along with a map with red arrows pointing to the practice’s locations. It’s an easy and free way to generate traffic to your site.
6. Campaign Emails and Surveys
Email is one of the most underrated, yet most effective marketing tools. Marketing professionals agree that the Return on Investment for Email Marketing is some of the highest for any digital tool. With tools like MailChimp, you can know which of your patients opened the message, and how they are geographically distributed. Exceptional Email Marketing Campaigns need to be cleverly written to attract attention in busy inboxes. You will have the option to send personalized emails with specific dental care content to better connect with your patients.
7. Analyze Competitor’s Online Presence & Strategy
When it comes to strategic dental marketing, it’s important to watch your market and know your competition. Don’t advertise a new patient special if any of your dental competitors offer the same package at a more aggressive promotion. Differentiate your dental practice from that of your competitors. It is necessary to remember that patients want convenience; such as one time visit treatments, before and after school appointments, and weekend availability.
For beginners, there are some easy and effective ways to track your competitors marketing techniques. They include:
With Google Alerts, you would get notifications on your competitor’s online activity, including blogs, videos, and news etc. You will be able to schedule the notifications as often as you need to receive it
Social Media Monitoring
Like, Follow, and Subscribe to your competitor’s social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, etc.)
Sign up for Customer Relationship Marketing programs
This will help you to benchmark your marketing strategies (including Email and Direct Marketing Campaigns) with that of your competition and identify areas of improvement
Monitoring your Competitor’s Website
Allows you to track your competitor’s latest offerings, upcoming events, and other updates
8. Digital Advertising
Advertising has evolved and it is no longer limited to Print Publications, Radio or Television. Advancements in technology have opened new channels in Advertising-Digital Advertising.
Digital Advertising is when businesses use digital technologies to deliver promotional advertisements to consumers. It allows Marketers and Advertisers to reach beyond their existing network and highly targeted audience via search, display and social advertising.
Digital Advertising promote practice’s services through Google AdWords, or Social Media Advertising. It reaches larger audience and have greater control over what your ad looks like, when it is displayed, who sees it, and how much you spend on it.
Here are a few popular ways that dental practices can reach out to prospective patients:
- Google AdWords and AdSense
- Email advertising
- Facebook Ads
- Youtube Ads
- Sponsored Tweets
- Banner Ads
- Pop Up Ads
9. Online Customer Support
Before the existence of the internet, dental offices used to follow-up with their patients by phone or mail. This was a challenging process for both the dental staff and the patients. Not only did it take a very long time to reach out to the patients, but there was a pause in providing Holistic Dental Care. The development of the internet and advancements in digital media has made an extensive difference in how patients receive care. Dental care has become more accessible and convenient in many ways. Dentists and dental staff are able to interact with their patients on a one-on-one basis. They can attend to patient inquiries and complaints quickly and easily.
A Patient Portal, Live Online Chatbox, and Online Appointment Bookings are great tools used to engage with patients online. A Patient Portal is a secure online site that gives patients convenient 24-hour access to personal health information. It can be accessed from anywhere with an Internet connection. Patients can view health information, such as Dental Visit Summaries, Past Health History, and Lab Results (if any), using a secure username and password. They can message the dental team through the Patient Portal as well. Having an online chat is the easiest way to convert visitors into actual customers. With the Live Online Chatbox on your homepage, patients and visitors can easily interact with you. The faster you address their issues, the more likely they will trust your business and return back to you in the future. Online Appointment Bookings are growing quickly. According to a study published by Accenture, “by the end of 2019, 66 percent of US health systems will offer digital self-scheduling and 64 percent of patients will book appointments using digital tools. Nearly 38 percent of appointments will be self-scheduled—almost 986 million appointments—creating $3.2 billion in value.” Online appointment scheduling can save your dental staff a considerable amount of time; allowing them to focus their attention on patients who are currently in the office.
10. Provide Useful Information and Raise Awareness through Video Marketing
Many dentists often fear video marketing, because they are afraid to be in front of the camera. However, it is the one technique you can use when attempting to increase your patients or to give your current patients a glimpse of a new procedure.
It’s hard to deny the power of a well-executed video. Videos draw us in and hold our attention. Why not use the same strategy for your dental practice? By investing in a video, you can provide useful, informational content to patients and provide them with more reasons to trust your practice.
YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook Live, Instagram Live, and Snapchat are continuing to take the video marketing industry by storm. If you are really looking to stand above your dental competition, consider embracing video marketing.
Video can help you build and strengthen relationships with your patients. No one knows your patients better than you do, and video can help you connect with them to create a lasting relationship. From showcasing your practice to introducing your staff, answering common questions, or relieving common fears, dental videos can help accomplish this and more.
Scribble Videos or Whiteboard Animations are a great way to instantly capture your potential patient’s attention and to keep them captivated in your message. It is created from a time-lapse of drawings on a whiteboard. According to the University of California, Whiteboard Animation videos can increase understanding by 51%. It is proven to be very effective.
Here are a few examples of how Healthcare professionals can use videos to create awareness in their patient’s daily lives.
- Tips on Brushing and Flossing
- Lesson on “What is Gum Disease?” and how to prevent it
- Short video on the emphasis of routine Dental Check-ups and Cleanings
- Advice on how to disinfect retainers, when to replace your toothbrush, and the importance of staying hydrated with water