3 Dental Online Marketing Strategies That Can Grow Practice
Like practically every other industry, dental practices now get the majority of their non-referral based leads from online search engines. Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines now play the role that the Yellow Pages once played. But you probably know all this right? The fact of the matter is dental online marketing has become the most effective way for a dentist to gain targeted, high quality, new patients.
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As a result, successful dental practices now need to pursue effective online marketing strategies in order to continually bring in a steady stream of new customers. Dental practice managers can either learn how to develop and manage a dental internet marketing strategy on their own or they can hire a dental marketing agency to do it for them.
Online Marketing for Dentists: Inhouse or Outsourced?
While at its most basic level, marketing is not terribly complicated – you need to get your specific message in front of the specific audience that wants to hear it – it can be time consuming. Depending on the size of your dental practice, managing your online marketing in-house could require a full-time employee who is exclusively dedicated to promoting your practice online.
Typically, small, private dental practice budgets don’t typically include a marketing position. So turning to an outside company that specializes in creating innovative and effective online marketing strategies for dentists often is the best and most cost-effective option.
When considering which marketing company to hire, it’s important that you take the time to consider all options and identify a company that will make your practice their top priority, as well as provide you with the best possible customer service experience as they develop and launch your results-based approach to online marketing for your dental practice.
Be sure to read this post about what to watch out for when hiring a dental SEO or dental website company.
Three Successful Online Marketing Strategies for Dentists
There are many different online marketing strategies that are effective for leading new clients to your dental practice, but three are generally considered the best because they can provide you with highly-targeted leads who are ready to make an appointment.
These three strategies are creating, launching and managing your own website for your dental practice, harnessing the power of social media, and utilizing paid traffic methods such as pay-per-click (PPC) marketing.
1. The Hub: Your Dental Website
I think it's safe to say that every dentist today needs their own website. Think of your dental website as a location where current and prospective patients can gather the information that they need to develop the confidence in you and built a virtual relationship with you to the point that they are ready to do business with you. They should be able to view your services, find your location, and book an appointment from your website.
Your website should look clean, modern and professional. After all, it is the first impression that most people will get of you. If your site is outdated, hard to use, or has a poor layout, it can hurt rather than help the effectiveness of your online marketing. Your website should be inviting to users and simple to navigate.
Typically you'll want to stay away from generic or technical text, cheesy stock photos, and salesy methods -- like hot buttons within messages and appealing offers – aren’t going to be appealing to most web visitors.
A good website should be designed so that it is easy for visitors to find instinctively the information they are looking for. Your website should include these minimal requirements:
- Fast access to critical contact information, such as your phone number, hours of operation and directions to your practice
- The ability to make or change dental appointments online
- Clear, specific information about the services you offer and which insurance carrier/payments you accept
- The opportunity for patients to write testimonials and where prospective clients can read reviews
- Links to your social media sites, including your Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest pages
- Access to your blog
Wondering what some of the best dental websites look like, and what features they have? Read this post:
2. Social Media Marketing Strategies for Dental Practices
Social media is an important part of everybody’s lives these days, so it is essential that your dental practice have a high profile on such sites as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and others. Most of your current (and future) clients use these social media platforms every day, and you should, too.
Effective social media campaigns for dental practices should include the following strategies:
- Frequent, easy to follow links to your dental practice blog and website
- Patient testimonials written by current and former patients that highlight the benefits and services of your dental practice
- Before and after photos of some of the services you provide
- Special offers, such as discounts, promotions and bonus opportunities
- Up to date information on important information related to your practice, such as good oral health techniques
- Reviews of various dental products, such as tooth whitening kits, toothpastes, mouthwashes, and so on.
3. PPC for Dentists; Multiple Options
The free social media strategies described above should be complemented by paid social marketing, such as PPC ads on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other popular sites. You can even use PPC to buy ads that appear directly on the search engine result pages (SERPs) of Google, Bing and Yahoo.
Where to spend your paid marketing budget for your practice will depend on a variety of different factors. PPC generally should always be used in conjunction with other marketing strategies so that you can get the most for your marketing dollar. If you rely exclusively on PPC ads, it can be prohibitively expensive and you can blast through your marketing budget fairly quickly.
Google Adwords is one of the most popular formats for dental PPC online marketing for dental practices. It can be used in conjunction with effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO for dentists) techniques that enhance your practice’s overall marketing as well as raising your position on the search engines prospective clients use to look for dental practices in your area. Because Google is constantly updating its search algorithm, it’s important for whoever is managing your dental online marketing – whether it be an in-house employee or an outside marketing agency – keep up on the most up to date marketing practices so you can be sure to get the most out of your marketing budget.
PPC is an effective way to get immediate results, but it often comes at a higher cost than other types of online marketing for dental practices because it takes time to see what is working and what is converting, and unfortuantely most people that test this out, don't test it long enough to get a solid return on it. Your long-term web-based marketing plan should include a combination of a high-quality, interactive website, the marketing of your dental practice on social media, and PPC and other forms of paid online marketing for dental practices.
PPC is an effective way to get immediate results
Which of these online marketing strategies is your practice using? What have you tested and which have you seen convert to most patients? Let us know below in the comments.