Paying attention to marketing is essential if you want to appeal to new patients, build your brand awareness and grow your dental practice. It provides you with an opportunity to attract new patients as well as to keep current patients engaged and connected. Making use of techniques such as website optimisation, SEO, social media, PPC and email marketing helps you grow your business and make sure that it continues to flourish as you want it to.
The basis of your dental practice should begin with getting the right team in place. However, growing your business and getting that attention that you need for your dental practice to succeed, is where your efforts need to be drawn to next. This is where marketing comes in. After nearly 20 years in the business, it has been a shame to see many dental practices who have the potential to thrive, fail due to the inability to get people through the door. This is why marketing is paramount to growing your business. Marketing a dental practice effectively can make all the difference when it comes to getting new patients in and retaining current ones.
Offline marketing refers to any advertising that is carried out using traditional offline media such as flyers and postcards, billboard ads and local magazines. Even though there should be a lot of focus on digital marketing and advertising nowadays, traditional offline media channels are still important to explore to get your name out into the community and build a reputation for your dental practice.
Before we begin on effectively marketing a dental practice, we need to start with what you are promoting. Needless to say, it is your brand name and image that will define you and get you recognition. But you need to start somewhere else entirely, your brand should come later. The first thing and main thing you need to market is the benefits of your practice. This is what will get you the attention you need. Remember, benefits before branding.
You need to promote the specific benefits patients will get if they visit your dental practice. The fact of the matter is, the dental industry is heavily populated. You need to market what makes you different and special. That is what your audience will respond to, your unique selling points.
It is hard to be unique as a dental practice, but there are certain aspects of your practice that can make you different, that is what you should market.
Think about anything positive about your surgery that can be promoted. Here are a few aspects that we have come up with but remember, with the right team, you can promote just about anything.
- Easily available emergency appointments.
- Easy access to appointments.
- Orthodontic surgery available on site.
- Specialist care for nervous patients.
- Specialists available (eg, orthodontists, hygienists).
- Children’s dental care specialists available at the practice
- Cosmetic dental procedures available on site.
Many dental patients tend to respond well to benefits like these before they even begin to respond to traditional commercial branding. Now you know the specific aspects of your dental practice that you need to promote, you need to remember to navigate a direct path from these benefits to the name of the dental practice. The aim is for patients to associate the benefits of the practice to the name of your practice, this will be your brand. Essentially, you will be branding your dental practice with your unique selling points.
Interacting With the Community
The patients who attend your practice are usually part of the local community, so it makes sense that you should ensure that your practice is known and respected locally. Community involvement can be a huge benefit to any business.
You can consider involvement including local fetes, contributing to local charities and sponsoring junior sports teams. You may even be able to attend local charities’ functions and support their events, it is a great way to promote your name. Word of mouth is a huge marketing tool, even today. The more your name is out in the community, the more you will be talked about, which correlates to more patients coming through the door.
A great way to contribute to your local community is to attend local schools and places of worship to talk about the importance of good dental care or about the pros and cons of a career as a dentist. Approach your local magazines and newspapers. You may be able to advertise via them, or you may be able to contribute branded articles on dental health.
Postcards and Flyers
It is important to remember that not all of your dental marketing efforts need to be based online. Your practice is physically located amongst both your current patients and prospective patients. Therefore, you are in the ideal position to make use of non-digital marketing solutions such as postcards and flyers.
Make sure that your postcards and flyers are relevant and have something important to say about your practice. Remember that there are many businesses that post their advertising materials through the postboxes of your potential clientele. Many people still get bombarded with many flyers and postcards that are all more or less the same, which is why your content needs to stand out.
Using customer testimonials on your flyers is always a great thing to add, but be sure not to go crazy with any designs. Sometimes it helps to include a promotion or discount on your flyers to provide more of an incentive for people to come to your practice and actually keep the flyer rather than throwing it away.
However, with society becoming more environmentally conscious, it is important to use sustainably sourced materials and to advertise that fact.
SMS marketing has made a huge comeback recently. If you’re like me and knew nothing about text marketing until recently, then you’re in for a pleasant surprise. In the last few years, there have been a lot of new and old marketing strategies that have seen a sudden boost in popularity, and SMS marketing is one of the older ones but is now more effective than ever. It has been around for a couple of decades now but only now has it really caught on, especially with the smaller to medium-sized business market.
SMS reminders are a great way to keep existing patients engaged by reminding them about scheduled appointments or prompting them to book an appointment if they haven’t been in a while. Almost everyone has a smartphone in their pocket nowadays and SMS reminders can help you reach your patients directly, cheaply and easily.
Digital Marketing for Dentists
Digital marketing has become the main channel many businesses use nowadays to advertise to their customers. Dentists are no different! Traditional, non-digital marketing techniques are still useful and effective. However, with the rise of the internet, it has become more common and more effective to advertise online. This does not just refer to pay per click (PPC) advertising such as Google Ads. Digital Marketing also covers your website, social media and email marketing.
Once you’ve built your website, created a Google profile and added your company to Google My Business, what now? How do you actually go about trying to get your name out there and patients through the door? The first step is to optimise your website to be easily found on Google.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for dental websites is the process of improving your website’s ability to be found online via a search engine such as Google or Bing. SEO is everywhere and for good reason! If you improve your SEO, you improve your rankings in search engines, you increase the traffic driven to your website and you increase awareness of your practice and your brand.
SEO is one of the most important aspects of digital marketing, however, it is also one of the least understood marketing strategies by many businesses. Dentistry is no exception!
Search engines use various metrics to determine how high your website or online content will rank in their search results. These metrics are used to decide how relevant your website is to any given searched term or phrase; search engines then match up the web pages they deem the most relevant or related to the search term or phrase.
The key to SEO for dental websites is to make sure your website and web pages are deemed as relevant as possible to the search terms most associated with your industry. Or, at least, more relevant than your competitors!
Your website doesn’t just need to be easily read by audiences, search engines need to be able to read them easily too. From user experience, such as header tags, page structure and layout to how many websites link back to your website, there are multiple tactics we can use to boost SEO for dental websites. It will help ensure that your article, post or blog has the best chance it needs to rank high in google.
The higher the ranking of your website, blog post or article, the more chances of your post being discovered by more and more people, further increasing its own position and page authority. So you can imagine why it is stressed upon so much by industry specialists. Not to mention it doesn’t have to cost anything and can be done relatively quickly if you don’t mind learning a few new things.
The basics of SEO are not as intimidating as you may think, it’s actually pretty simple. The first thing you have to do is make sure your website is using all the necessary tools. If it’s built on something like WordPress or Wix then you have the option to use SEO plugins without any additional cost. These plugins will take care of all the basic stuff like creating sitemaps and optimizing formats and guide you with the rest of the process as much as possible.
One of the key metrics search engines use is known as Keywords. Keywords are specific words or phrases that act as tags, letting search engines know what topic, industry or niche any given web page relates to and linking them to the relevant search.
For instance, a typical dental website will have pages on topics such as implants, fillings and veneers. Each of these topics is itself a keyword. When these keywords are searched online, it is the search engine’s job to determine which of the millions of web pages online are most relevant to the search. It is your job to ensure your website is the one the search engines pick.
Keywords need to be optimised throughout your website to ensure the highest online rankings possible. This means targeting both the specific keyword and also all possible variations of that term or phrase. Of course, you can’t just make a page repeating the keyword over and over again. You need to be tactical with your use. You need to consider your page titles, your subtitles, the body of the text, the meta description, the URL, the list goes on and on!
Use dedicated software, such as Ahrefs, to research both you and your competitors’ keyword rankings. This allows you to see which keywords search engines, such as Google, tag alongside your website and its pages, as well as your competitors. You can then examine how much traffic each keyword gets on average a month, which of your pages are linked to the keyword and how difficult it would be for you to rank highly for that keyword.
You could also perform a ‘keyword gap analysis’. This allows you to compare keywords for which your competitors are ranking highly, but for which you rank below them, or possibly not at all! Using this information, you can plan which keywords you need to create content for.
Where to Put Your Keywords
It’s hard to determine how much is too much. You don’t want to oversaturate your content and continuously dot your keywords everywhere, you have to be practical about where you put them and how these specific places will help you rank higher in Google searches.
You should definitely put your keyword in your page title. The title should also be interesting enough that people will actually be enticed enough to click on it.
You should also put the same keyword in the name and alt-tag of your image on the page. It goes without saying that you should definitely have at least one image on the page and even a video link if it links to your content. Use that image to cement the idea and the keyword of your blog to Google. The two ways to do this is through the image name and the image alt tag.
In order to change the image name, you simply need to change the name of the image on your computer before you upload it to your website. Instead of your image being named ‘7481.jpg’, rename it to ‘brushing.jpg’.
The ‘alt tag’ is something that you designate after you upload pictures to your website. Without going into all the technicals, the alt tag is just the text that simply describes the photo and will show in a case that the photo cannot load for some reason.
Put the keyword in your header. There is no set way as to how you should layout your website but there is no harm with going with what works. In many instances everyone tries so hard to be different, but in this case, simplicity is usually key. We have found that search engines do not usually respond well to overly complicated web page designs.
Use the keyword in the URL and scattered in the post itself. Another way Google is able to determine what your blog is about is through the URL. This is what is after the ‘.com/’. Following the suffix of the end of the end of the URL helps Google understand exactly what the post is about and therefore determines how relevant your post is to the search keyword and will rank you accordingly.
Make Use Of Long-Tail Keywords.
These keywords are more specific to you. They are more niche and less general, meaning that there should be less competition when it comes to ranking for them. Instead of just using ‘implants’ as a keyword, why not try to rank for long-tail variations such as; ‘costs of dental implants’ or ‘how to look after dental implants’ or ‘dental implants in Nottingham’.
Use Keywords In Headings And Subheadings
You should normally aim to use your main keyword in the page heading and at least once in a sub heading (h2/h3/h4 tags), in order to optimise its effectiveness. You should also make sure that the keyword appears in the URL of the page.
Use Location Keywords
If you want to feature highly in a search for dentists in your area, make sure that you include your location as part of your keyword strategy; for instance, “children’s dentist Clapham”. You probably won’t rank number 1 on Google for ‘Invisalign’, but you might rank in the top 10 for ‘Invisalign in Bristol’ if your page is good enough.
Make Sure That Content Is Fresh
It’s possible that your page ranking will improve if you simply post to your blog regularly. Regular posting means that Google reindexes your site more often. This could lead to an improvement in your ranking. However, never post content just for the sake of it. Anything that you publish should be relevant, engaging and informative.
Checking out the Competition’s Content
Now that you have made the first vital step and found what keyword you want to rank for, you need to do some undercover recon and research the competition.
Take a look at all the pages on the first page of your google search, let’s say for ‘dental implants in London’. Make sure to ignore any ad results at the top. The top 10-15 results are your competition. Look at their content and try to find what they are missing and compare their website to yours. What can you do better? You don’t want to copy their content or their links, you want to learn from the whole page and highlight what it is about their website that makes their post rank so high.
If someone is currently searching for a dentist in your area and your competition’s website comes up first, you need to figure out why. What you then want to do is improve on it so it’s your website that comes up first. Write a better blog on Invisalign in your area. Create better videos about your local services. Make content that audiences would rather see than the competition’s.
It may be a good idea to go on to a private, incognito browser if you don’t want Google to use your past history to influence what results you see from your search.
Content is Key
Now that you know exactly what your competition’s website looks like, it is time for you to create the content that is going to blow them out of the water completely. This is one of the most vital parts of your digital marketing and one of the most effective.
Content is key to digital marketing for dentists. The more content you produce about your niche or specialty, the more Google will take notice. If you’re constantly putting out great blogs and videos on Invisalign in Manchester, you’ll find it easier to rank for search terms about Invisalign in Manchester. If you produce content that audiences enjoy and engage with, Google will trust you more, rate your website more highly and, therefore, rank you higher.
It does not matter whether you are writing an article, a blog or a sales landing page. Whatever it is, it needs to be better than everyone else’s. This does not mean using big words to make your content sound fancy or making it extra long. Google has become really good at highlighting what is good content.
Pro tip: In fact, you actually want to make your content easy to read. Try not to use too much jargon. Remember, you’re writing for patients, not a conference!
Good content includes getting straight to the point, well-written content and directly answering what people are searching for. SEO plugins such as Yoast or Rank Math will give you hints and tips on how to write for SEO, such as using short paragraphs, using internal links and limiting passive and active voices. Remember, if your content isn’t great, neither Google nor your audience will take notice of it.
The main point to take away from this, though, is that it is all about content. Create blogs, articles, videos, resources, interviews etc and get them out there on your website and on your social media channels (which we’ll come to later).
On-page SEO for Dental Websites
SEO for dental websites isn’t just a question of making Google happy, it’s also about making the patient happy. If your website is formatted poorly, if it is hard to read or navigate, if it takes too long to load or if your audience doesn’t find what they need quickly then your audiences are more likely to leave the website after a short span of time. Search engines know this.
If your audiences are spending no more than a few seconds on your website, this tells the search engine that your website is not fit for purpose. What this shows is that someone has clicked on your page, realised it’s wrong and immediately left. Maybe your website is not relevant to the searched terms or maybe it is relevant but presents the information ineffectively. Either way, search engines will conclude that your website is not what the audience wants to see, even if it is!
On-page SEO is the process of building web pages in such a way as to optimise your online rankings and improve the user experience. Remember how Keywords affect your online ranking? On-page SEO is how you make sure your Keywords are targeting or referring to the most relevant content and how you let search engines know that you have the content they are looking for.
On-page SEO for dental websites is affected by dozens of criteria. How many keywords you use on each page, whether those keywords are in the body of the text or contained in Header tags, how many variations of those keywords are referenced, these all affect your SEO. Everything from the length of sentences to how many transition words you use can impact the readability of a web-page.
Backlinks are the SEO equivalent of referring a friend or getting good reviews from patients. If someone recommends a product, service or company to you then you are more likely to use that product, service or company. The more you trust the opinion of the person who made the recommendation, the better that recommendation seems. The more reputable the source, the more you’ll trust the recommendation. Search engines work in exactly the same way.
Websites regularly contain links on their pages to other, external websites. Whether it is a further information link, a promotional link or a link to an affiliate website, most websites link through to another one in at least one place. Whether it is for the BDA website, a sponsor’s page or an NHS page, your website most likely already has links to external websites. These are acting as backlinks for that external site (because you are linking back to their website). If such external websites have a link to your site, then they are acting as backlinks for your website.
To improve SEO for dental websites in terms of backlinks, you need to have as many backlinks as possible to your website from reputable external websites. The key here is reputable. Just like with referring a friend, the more you trust that friend or the better their reputation, the more you will trust that recommendation.
In exactly the same way, search engines will judge your backlinks by how reputable or trustworthy they deem the external website to be. In other words, if the BDA, Gov.uk or NHS websites link back to your website, search engines will rank those backlinks higher than a website like ‘obviouslyfake.co.uk’ or ‘just4backlinks.net’.
Local SEO for dental websites is the process of optimising your website for online searches by location. It is essentially helping audiences in close proximity to your business to find you online. There are several ways to improve your local SEO and make sure prospects in your area hear about you. Once upon a time you may have registered your business in the Yellow Pages and maybe the local newspaper.
Nowadays, you need to get your business cited in as many local online directories as possible. From the big names such as yell.com and yelp.co.uk, to your local business directories, the more the merrier! The more local citations you have, the more visible search engines will make you to audiences in that area.
Your business’s Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP) also has an effect on your online rankings. When you input your business details into Google My Business (GMB), it is this information that Google uses to match up your website to a given search. If your NAP does not match up exactly across all your online citations, search engines will notice this. From incorrect addresses, varying business names to differently formatted phone numbers, there can be no difference between the information you have listed on Google My Business and the rest of the internet.
The Importance of a Mobile Responsive Website
More people now access online content using a mobile device rather than using a desktop or laptop. This means that any dental surgery which is looking to grow its patient base needs to have a website that is designed with mobile users in mind. Using responsive web design helps with this as it means that content fits to the size of the screen that is being used to view it. There are also other factors to consider including:
- Flash should not be used.
- Links should be easily accessible by clicking.
- Pages should be easy to read without a significant amount of scrolling.
- Page load speed should ideally be 3 seconds or less. According to Google, the bounce rate for a mobile website starts to increase dramatically as the load time goes above this level.
It’s a good idea to get professional help with creating a website for a dental practice. I know from experience that trying to do the work in house can be time consuming, and the end result may not be as effective as it needs to be.
One of the best ways to grow your practice using digital marketing is to encourage current customers to review your practice. Hopefully, these reviews on online spaces such as Google Reviews or Trustpilot will be positive. However, negative reviews can still be an opportunity for you to address them in a helpful and positive manner. Look at the negatives as constructive criticism and make sure you are seen to be addressing the problem.
In this day and age, when prospective patients are looking to go to a new dental practice, the first thing they usually look at is reviews. Reviews are what will entice or repel prospective clients. When people see those reviews online, they will (hopefully) see that your dental practice is reputable and highly thought of. This makes it more likely for them to book an appointment with you and use your services.
Your best, as well as your worst, reviews equally have a way of quickly spreading online. Encouraging customers to review your company is an easy way to expand your brand’s reach. When people have good things to say and have a positive experience at your practice, they are more likely to spread their review to more sites including external websites such as TripAdvisor, Yelp and FourSquare.
Not only will good reviews impress possible patients, it also impresses Google. The better your reviews, the more reputable and trustworthy in the field of dentistry Google will consider you.
Email marketing is still one of the most effective digital marketing methods, if it is utilised in the right way. You can provide a means of people giving you their email address, such as a newsletter sign-up page on your website or in person when they book an appointment. Once you have collected email addresses, you need to decide on your campaign.
For instance, you may want to offer discounts for treatments or an ongoing newsletter with details of latest news within your practice. Newsletters that consist of getting to know the staff segments and continuous updates of your practice, helps your clients feel closer to you as a business. Think carefully about the people you are targeting with your emails and make sure that the tone of your email content is engaging and appropriate.
Newsletters can be a great way of keeping your customers engaged, enhance your brand awareness and build a feeling of community.
Great video marketing is essential for the survival and growth of your dental practice’s digital marketing efforts nowadays. To begin, you need people to know what service you can provide for prospective clients. Where dental practices are a dime a dozen right now, you need to stand out. One of the best ways to make this happen is to use video marketing.
Video is definitely king when it comes to online content in the world today. Globally, we watch as many as 1 billion hours of video each on just Youtube alone. This is why video marketing for dentists is so important. It should form a big part of any digital marketing strategy. There are several ways in which video content can be useful for helping to grow your business
Benefits of Video Marketing
Video has become one of the most powerful forms of marketing content. As people become less and less patient, the text-only approach is no longer cutting it. Videos are more effective as it has been proven that videos are processed by the brain 60,000 times faster than text. That is also why people often prefer videos, as they take less time and effort to obtain the information than it does to read text online. What’s more, videos are great for boosting your on-page SEO, just like images do.
Video is also an excellent means of providing an accurate picture without having to use a lot of words to explain what is going on. Put simply, it’s an entertaining and informative way of connecting with people that is more likely to gain their attention and encourage them to engage with your business. It’s also a means for you to compete for online viewers with your competitors. There are several ways in which video marketing makes these things happen. As a dentist, putting a friendly face to the name could also help nervous patients.
Informing the viewer
There is so much competition out there that it is no longer good enough for you to simply pitch your services to potential patients. You need to inform them about how certain services work and about how the treatments that you offer can help them. Sometimes simple informational videos are not as enticing as you may think. If you can make them more entertaining or more enticing for viewers to click on, then it would help you market your practice further. Bottom line is, it’s all about adding something valuable to the viewer experience, rather than going for the hard sell.
Helping with Search Engine Optimisation
Good quality video content is regarded highly when it comes to getting that high search engine ranking that you want for your business. Video marketing should be used in conjunction with high quality text content, for the best results. Do not forget to provide a solid meta description and a good heading for each video. Just like images, videos improve a page’s SEO and boost its rankings and should be used on all your important pages.
Connecting with patients on a personal level
One of the biggest benefits of video marketing is that it allows current patients, as well as prospective patients, to see you and your practice in a more personal way and put a face to the business. Businesses in this day and age need more than just service, they need character. Visually being able to see members of the practice on video enables this to happen in a way that text does not allow. You’re not just reading from a page, you’re learning from a person.
Bearing these benefits in mind, there are several different types of videos that you can use to make sure that you get the best return on your investment.
Types of Video That You Can Use
You may be thinking that one video is pretty much the same as the next, but that is not true. Videos are made for different reasons and you will need to think about this carefully when you are creating video content for your business. Here are some of the different types of video that you may want to consider using.
An educational video is a video that teaches people about your services and dentistry in general. This type of video can help you gain a lot of new fans if posted in the right online places. This type of video can also help people who are nervous about going to the dentist to get a better understanding, making it more likely for them to register at your practice.
Team videos and interviews
Using interviews as part of your video marketing is an excellent way to connect with potential patients as they can see various members of the practice team answering questions in a friendly and conversational way, allowing your audience to get to know them.
Reviews by brand ambassadors
If you can get people to provide a review of your businesses and services on camera, this can be an excellent way of encouraging people to engage with your business. They can see how you have helped others and these reviews are often paired with before and after pictures that impress new patients even more. They can see how you have helped others which gives them a better understanding of how you can help them.
You can see why video is such a vital part of any digital marketing strategy. It can help your business to better communicate with people and also means that they are more likely to engage with your marketing strategies and your business.
Like any business, if you are running a dental practice then you cannot afford to ignore the strength of social media marketing. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn provide you with the opportunity to connect with current patients, new patients and other dental professionals. This connection allows you to promote and help to grow your dental practice with social media.
Social media for dentists is not dissimilar to the use of social media by any other business. The idea is to engage with people who can be instrumental in helping your business to thrive and grow. Let’s take a look at how this works in more detail.
Benefits of Social Media for Dentists
It’s important to note that you cannot just rely on social media. Using social media platforms should form a significant part of your marketing strategy, but not all of it. Having said this, you can get some impressive benefits from using channels such as Facebook, if you do so in the right way. These benefits include:
- Making it easy for people to find your practice.
- Telling people what you can help them with.
- Targeting your presence at local people.
- Maintaining relationships with current patients, to keep them engaged.
- Allowing you to build positive relationships with other professionals.
- Giving audiences the chance to contact you easily.
Which Platforms Can Grow Your Dental Practice
In order to make sure that your practice benefits as much as possible, you need to plan your social media activity carefully. You need to think about who you are trying to reach. This list will usually include current patients, new patients and other dental professionals. Once you have this information, it’s time to look at which platforms these people use and what type of content they are most likely to engage with. People are continuously scrolling on their phones for hours per day, with the right type of marketing, you’re going to get some people’s attention. There are some specific options you can consider, depending on which platforms you choose to use.
Facebook is often first on the list when it comes to using social media for dentists. This is because more than 3 billion people use Facebook globally; in the UK around 78% of Internet users use Facebook. Quite simply, it’s a potential market place that you cannot ignore. If you are wondering what to post on Facebook; here are some tips:
- Advice about oral hygiene routines.
- Comments and advice about new dental techniques.
- Community announcements, especially details of any community work you are doing.
- Special offers; although this type of content should not be used too often as you do not want your Facebook page to look too sales orientated.
- Videos and images that allow people to have a better connection with your practice.
Aside from posting on your regular Facebook page, you may also want to consider Facebook marketing. You can target Facebook ads at people in your local area or based on their interests, demographics or even simply by uploading your contacts’ emails addresses. This means you are likely to get engagement from people who are actually looking for a dentist locally to you. Your Facebook Page will quite often be the first thing people find when they search for you. So make sure you keep it up-to-date and interesting!
Instagram is a hugely influential social media channel, with hundreds of millions of users worldwide. It’s a great way of helping people to see inside your business, using images and videos. Connecting with people in this way helps them to see your practice as friendly and reliable. These are positive attributes that are sought by people looking for a dentist.
Set up an Instagram account for your practice and post video clips and images regularly. Instagram has a much younger audience on average than Facebook so take this into account when you post.
The best kind of posts for Instagram are your more fun behind the scenes clips, team videos and your best photos. Instagram is all about image and aesthetics!
You should think outside the box when you are using Twitter to help your practice to grow. It’s fine to tweet about the latest goings on at the practice and include the occasional promotion. However, using Twitter should be more about displaying your expertise. Tweet about the latest developments in the industry, or local charity events, and include your educated comments. You may also want to think about setting up a Twitter Q&A session, when you can communicate with people in real time.
Social media for dentists is not just about communicating with patients and potential patients. You can use LinkedIn to publish articles and show your expertise. You can also use it to develop relationships with other dental practices which can be mutually beneficial. For instance, if you do not provide orthodontic services, you can find a local specialist to refer your patients to. This helps you to provide a better service and provides more patients for the orthodontist, for whom you may receive a referral fee.
Using Social Media to its Fullest
Using social media for marketing can transform your business. Social media is a place where billions of users spend hours a day scrolling and engaging with friends, brands and companies alike. These billions of users are not just users to your business, they are all potential customers.
If you haven’t done so already, get on every social media platform you can with a simple profile to start. It is then imperative to understand which platform is most likely to have your target audience. Social media is one of the most inexpensive ways of marketing a dental practice and can actually have a huge impact, if used correctly. Decide who your target audiences are (families, teenagers, people interested in health or cosmetics etc) and then figure out which platforms they are more likely to use and what they expect to see there.
You need to build your brand name, but the idea is not to plaster your name everywhere. You need to post consistently but you need posts with substance. People follow and like to engage with posts that they are genuinely interested in or keep them entertained. It is a great idea to place online ads on Google as well as social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, they get a lot of reach.
Let’s take Facebook for example. A car mechanic will surely see more visits and clicks on a platform like Facebook where there are people from every walk of life and every age range. But doing the same on Instagram or Snapchat often won’t net you the same result as the majority of the users are young teens that either just don’t own a car or simply aren’t interested in seeing anything related to your business.
That’s why although it’s a good idea to be present on every platform, focusing the majority of your efforts on one or two platforms that are going to be most beneficial and responsive to your efforts might be the better option, at least to begin with. We focus mainly on Facebook and Instagram, but you might find a different combination works for you.
Connecting with your target audience is how you engage your audience and improve client retention. For all businesses, whether they are large corporations or up and coming businesses, customer engagement is the solution to most of your marketing problems. It’s anywhere from 5 to 20 times more expensive to acquire new clients than it is to keep old ones. That’s why focusing efforts to retain clients by increasing customer engagement through any number of techniques is advised at every stage.
Knowing who your target audience is great even if your target audience is a very niche group of people and thanks to the extensive targeting selections on social media, you are able to target people based on purchasing behaviours, interests and demographics.
If you know exactly who and what type of people are going to see your ads, you can cater the ads to that specific audience. The key is to make ads that resonate with your audience, rather than throwing a general ad up hoping it appeals to someone who randomly comes across it.
The more you start using social media for marketing, the more data you will gather about your target audience. It is important to collect and learn from this data in order to streamline your target audience and spend ad budget where it makes the most sense. Don’t just focus on that streamlined audience, you can use tools within social media advertising that allow you to expand that audience.
Post interesting content on your social media pages that is connected to your field. If you have the time to spare or the resources to hire someone, start a blog and post regularly. It doesn’t have to be too often at the start and you can go slow, but pick up the pace as you get used to it and set yourself apart from the competition by showcasing your own set of unique skills through different methods.
Talk about topics that interest you or you know about. Give advice or ask for it from the experts and continue developing your brand through it.
Pro tip: Figure out which keywords you want to rank for on Google and create blog articles around them.
Online contests are a great way to boost your following without opting for paid advertisements. You will have to fork out a bit for the final prize but that’s still cheaper than buying clicks and views.
Use simple, cheap treatments such as a free tooth whitening session, a dental care kit or a treatment voucher as your prizes to encourage winners to have to come to your location.
This not only directly promotes your own product/service but also saves you from spending on another item. It’s basically free publicity. As long as your customer service is handled well, you should be able to convert the prize winner into a long-term patient once they are in the practice.
No one can do everything by themselves. Sooner or later you will need help and teaming up with another business that is in the same field can help create a symbiotic relationship where both parties benefit greatly.
Creating strategic partnerships has many advantages while doesn’t require as much work on your part. Your business is able to receive twice as much notice and partnering with an industry-relevant business will also introduce you to an entirely new audience that is looking for something in your area of specialties.
Continuing from the previous example once again, a car mechanic can partner with a car dealership and have access to an exclusive audience that would usually be out of reach. And you can even go a step further and give discounts or offer special pricing to the customers that are referred to you by the partner.
Certain businesses in the dental industry, like equipment suppliers and dental tech companies, are always happy to team up with practitioners to help grow their patient base (as this often translates into more revenue for them too). Reach out, share posts and see what opportunities are out there.
Speaking of referral programs, they should not only be limited to your partnerships. Under normal circumstances even if customers like what you have to offer, they still often wouldn’t just refer to your services without a reason. So why not give them one?
You have a lot of freedom when it comes to designing referral programs, but the one thing that should be kept in mind is the reward. It has to be enticing enough for your customers to consider actively referring new clients. What you’re looking for is someone that will stick around, even after the initial purchase.
Studies have shown that referred customers have much higher brand loyalty from the get-go and larger profit margins without much work from your side. Not only this, but it would also increase the loyalty of your existing customers once they have a more vested interest in your brand.
Plus, with the dozens of different softwares out there that are designed for the sole purpose of setting up and maintaining such referral programs, there really is no reason for you to not at least try it out.
Marketing a Dental Practice With Pay-Per-Click (PPC)
After exhausting all other methods you can finally focus on some cost-effective advertising alternatives to the more mainstream strategies.
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can be one of the most effective ways of getting your adverts seen by potential patients. By using platforms such as Google Ads and Facebook Ads, businesses can pay to have their adverts shown to the exact audiences they want. With PPC, you pay every time a user clicks on your advert.
Google and Facebook both allow you to use narrowly-defined target audiences, meaning you are not paying for your adverts to be shown to audiences with no intention of becoming a patient. With Google and Facebook by far being the largest search engine and social media platform, the advertising potential with these two services are enormous.
5 Reasons to use Google Ads
Google is the biggest search engine in the world by far. In November 2018, an incredible 73% of online searches occurred through Google, as opposed to 7.91% on Bing. Most people don’t even think about it anymore, using Google as your first port-of-call has become second nature for most people.
In many ways, to ‘Google’ something has become synonymous with using the internet at all. Simply put, audiences are far more likely to use Google to find their dentist than any other online platform. Therefore, Google is where you need to direct your efforts. Done correctly, using Google Ads for a dental practice can really help your marketing take off.
- Google’s Reach Is Huge
As we have already said, Google is the largest search engine in the world, and this doesn’t look like it is going to change any time soon. Each day there are 3.5 billion searches made on Google, that is 40,000 a second! Compare that to the year 2000 when Google saw a measly 33 million searches per day! Imagine how far Google’s reach will be in 5, 10 or 20 years!
Using Google AdWords is an easy, simple and relatively cheap way of getting your name directly in front of those audiences. Google doesn’t just let you show your adverts to the entire world, it allows you to define exactly which audiences, which types of people, you wish to see your advert.
- Target Specific Audiences
With so many users on Google each day, it is important to let Google know exactly who you wish to advertise to. There is no use showing your advert to someone on the other side of the world; if there isn’t a good possibility a user will find your advert relevant, you’re wasting your money. Google allows you to decide who should be shown the advert based on a large number of data points. Some of the criteria by which you can filter your audiences are:
- Online behaviour
- Previous online activity
You can tell Google to only show your ads to audiences who have visited a certain page on your website, who have searched for products and services similar to yours, you can even define audiences based on their lifestyles and milestone events, such as those recently married, or new parents. The ability to target only the people to whom you want to advertise doesn’t just make your adverts more efficient and effective, it keeps the cost down! Google has masses of data on each user’s habits, use it!
- Using Keywords
In PPC marketing, keywords, as they do with SEO, act as tags that allow search engines to match up your advert with a user’s searched term on Google. If the keywords you have associated with your advert appear in a user’s search, they will see your advert.
When choosing your keywords, it is important to understand that you are trying to guess what your intended audiences are searching for. You can’t tell them what to search to find you. You need to get inside their minds, figure out how they behave online and understand what they are searching for. Then you can mimic their searches in your keywords and ensure that yours is the advert they see.
A good tip with keywords is to group them together by category. Instead of using separate keywords such as “London”, “Orthodontics” and “emergency”, group them together as “London Emergency Orthodontics”. This helps to further narrow down the audience and really target the most likely leads.
It is also possible to tag your adverts with negative keywords. Negative keywords are the keywords with which you DO NOT want your advert to be associated. For instance, imagine your practice is in York and one of your adverts has the keywords “Emergency Dentist”. You may see some of your adverts being shown to, and being engaged with, audiences who have searched something like “Emergency Dentist Portsmouth”.
Obviously, you do not want audiences 200 miles away seeing your advert, it’s a waste of their time and your money! Google gives you the option of adding this as a negative keyword, meaning anyone who performs the same search in the future will NOT see your advert.
- Fast Results
There are 2 main ways of getting yourself to the front page of Google; SEO and PPC. SEO is great; it’s organic, it’s free and it works. However, you could build the perfect website for SEO, but it will still take Google time to index your website as first-page material. The process is not instantaneous, sometimes it’s not even quick! You could make endless improvements to your website and only see it creep up slowly.
There are so many factors governing Google’s ranking algorithms, and Google does its best to keep them secret! The good news is, there is a quick and easy fix. With PPC, you can pay to have your advert appear immediately, within seconds, at the very top of the very front page of Google.
- Google Wants You To Succeed.
As a marketing platform, your success is in Google’s best interest. Google has made advertising on its platform easier and cheaper in recent years. Of course there is lots of data you can work through, lots of small changes and tweaks you can make, but for the most part the user interface is simple, straightforward and easy to use for even the average business owner. You don’t need a degree in computer analytics or a lifetime’s worth of marketing experience to make it work or to see results.
Furthermore, the user interface is straight forward. More importantly, the user interface you see is exactly the same as the interface that mega-corporations see and use as well. There are no hidden features that only the big-hitters can access. You have access to the same features as companies such as BMW, Calvin Klein or Apple.
Also, there are mountains of blogs, videos and articles out there explaining how to get good results from Google Ads. Many of them were written by Google themselves!
Google Ads: Conclusion
Google is, without question, the largest search engine in the world. This makes advertising on Google a no-brainer. If the vast majority of your potential patients are hanging out online in one place, and that place just so happens to be where they will be going to look for you, why wouldn’t you advertise there? In terms of reach and demographics, Google is absolutely your best option. Furthermore, Google’s platform is relatively cheap and easy to use. You do not have to be a technical or marketing wizard to use the software! Advertising on Google can bring you quick, easy results at a fairly low cost per click.
5 Reasons to use Facebook Ads
Why should you use Facebook ads for a dental practice?
Facebook is, by far, the most widely used social media platform in the world. In the second quarter of 2020, Facebook had over 2.7 billion monthly active users! Advertisers are spending more time and money on their Facebook advertisements. You should too! If you run both Facebook and Google advertisements, you cover 2 of the most widely-used social and search platforms on the internet. The potential to reach far wider audiences is huge. If you can effectively reach these audiences, you will see your conversions grow.
Done correctly, using Facebook Ads for a dental practice can really help your marketing take off.
- It’s The Biggest Online Hangout
The average person spends 28% of their time online using social media platforms. With 2.7 billion people spending 28% of their time online on social media platforms like Facebook, the potential audiences you can reach are enormous! Online advertising is all about finding out where your intended audience spends their time online. For certain businesses, this can be quite difficult.
If you need to attract audiences from certain industries, with certain likes or values, you need to do some research into their online habits. For dentists, the intended audiences tend to be far broader. Often, they are defined primarily by their proximity to the practice. Facebook adverts give you the opportunity to easily reach multiple defined audiences in one central hub.
- Targeting Exact Audiences
One of Facebook’s most advantageous features is its ability to target exact audiences. Facebook holds thousands of data points about each of its users. These include location, employment and relationship status, likes and dislikes and far more! These data points can be used in your advertising strategy to narrowly define the exact kind of audience you want to see your adverts.
If you offer luxury cosmetic dentistry in London, you can tell Facebook to show your adverts only to people with high-paying careers, who live close to your practice and who like the finer things in life. If you offer paediatric dentistry, you can tell Facebook to only show your advert to new parents or children and teenagers close to your practice. This means you don’t need to waste time and money showing your adverts to audiences who have no intention of ever converting!
- Remarketing To Warm Audiences
Remarketing is another of Facebook’s most useful features for advertisers. Remarketing is the process of showing adverts to what are known as warm audiences. Cold audiences are those who have never heard of your business before, who are not aware of your brand or your services and products. Hot audiences are those who have subscribed, engaged regularly with your business or have even made a purchase. Warm audiences are those who are aware of your business, perhaps they have watched one of your videos, seen an advert or visited the website briefly.
Remarketing to warm audiences allows you to show adverts to audiences that you know are already interested. They may need a product or service similar to yours and are shopping around, they may have developed an interest in your brand in particular. You can tell Facebook to only show an advert on orthodontics to audiences who have already visited your orthodontics page, read one of your blogs on braces, watched a video, browsed your website and read up on the treatments you offer etc.
Coupled with Facebook’s ability to target narrowly defined audiences such as teenagers and their parents within a certain radius, you can make sure only the exact people to whom you want to re-market will see your adverts.
- The Decline Of Organic Traffic.
Once upon a time, businesses could reach a decent-sized audience simply through organic reach. Simply put, organic reach is how far your social media posts can reach without you paying for them to be shown to specific audiences. You rely solely on the quality of the content and the engagement rate of your followers to make sure it is shared and seen as widely as possible.
Unfortunately, Facebook has been taking steps in recent years to reduce the ability of businesses to reach audiences this way. Facebook is a business, and they want you to pay for that privilege. Facebook’s algorithms have made it far harder than 10 years ago for your organic posts to reach much further than your immediate followers. And even then, most of your followers might not see the post on their wall either!
The most efficient way to reach audiences, therefore, is to pay for adverts. This ensures that your posts not only get the widest reach possible, but that they reach only the audiences you want them to.
- The Power of Analytics
Facebook’s bread and butter is analysing their users’ data. In the same way that Facebook has countless data points on each user, they also have in-depth analytics for their own platform. Facebook’s analytics (or Insights) allow advertisers to examine just how well (or poorly) their adverts are performing.
More importantly, it allows you to determine what features of your advert are performing well or poorly. The analytics portal allows you to investigate things such as audience engagement rates, click-through rates, cost per click, conversions and much more! By using this portal, it becomes far easier to amend your adverts so as to truly maximise their impact and, in so doing, minimise their cost.
Facebook Ads For A Dental Practice: Conclusion
In summary, Facebook offers one of the (if not the) best platforms online to advertise your business. Facebook’s ability to target the exact audience you want, coupled with its remarketing functionality, allows advertisers full control over where their adverts are shown. Being able to stop your adverts being shown to irrelevant or uninterested audiences keeps the cost per click down and conversions high. Facebook’s relatively simple user-interface, its low cost and ability to analyse the performance of your adverts makes it a perfect platform when it comes to effectively marketing a dental practice.
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