If you're a dental practice, then you'll need a constant stream of new local customers to step foot into your practice each month, regardless of whether you’re a privately funded practice or run by the National Health Service.
That’s the reason why all dental practices need to understand the importance of dental marketing and exactly which ways are the most successful for you to benefit and increase your patient footfall from it.
The problem is, is that traditional forms of marketing just don’t cut it in the modern digital world, and while putting an advertisement in the local directory may encourage a few new customers to set foot into your practice, it won’t encourage the type of customer base that every dental surgery dreams of having.
Nowadays, marketing, like many other industries, has made the switch over to the digital world, thus if you wish to see results for your business, digital marketing is the way to go.
In this article, you'll find 10 of the best dental marketing strategies for your dental practice, which are sure ways for you to increase your practice’s online and local visibility.
1. Utilise Local SEO
Unless you're a specialist practice, the majority of your customers who visit your surgery will be local to the area where you reside, that's why it's essential for you to optimise your business for local SEO. Local Search Engine optimisation will ensure that when local customers are looking for dental practices in your area, your practice will be one of the first results that appear for them; and generally once a customer has viewed your business locally online, they’ll visit within 24 hours of seeing your result in the search engine result pages.
One of the most accessible and useful ways for you to do this is to use Google My Business (GMB). Having a Google My Business account ensures that local customers can find all the information they need to know about your business before they visit. Which is why it’s essential that you complete your GMB application with as many of the relevant fields as you can provide, including:
- Business name
- Telephone number
- Opening times
- Website address
- Social media accounts
All of which are things customers would want to know before taking the time to have a consultation or a check-up at your surgery, for instance, if potential clients can’t get a telephone number or address for your business, then they may look elsewhere and go to one of your competitors.
2. Ensure you have a user-friendly website
As the nature of dentistry is important to many, and clients don't want just anyone looking after their teeth, they'll want to visit your website beforehand to ensure your credibility and how trustworthy you are. Your potential clients will want to see that not only are you certified and qualified to do your job, but also they'll want to see that you have a user-friendly website for them to find all the information that they need.
If users can't find all the information that they need to before they can make an informed decision about whether they want to visit your dental practice or not, then they might be deterred from visiting you in person. Therefore that's why it's vital that you provide a good experience of your websites for your client base and here are some of the most critical factors that all dental surgery websites should ensure:
Pages and content loads quickly – Nothing will deter potential clients away from your site quicker than a website that's pages and content doesn't load fast enough. Website speed is a ranking factor for Google, so if you want to appear in the top positions on Google, you’ll have to ensure you have a good site speed (which you can test using Google’s Pagespeed Insights). Furthermore, asides from promotion bad user experience research show that there is a correlation between higher bounce rates and longer page speed, which will affect your SERP ranking.
There are no 404 errors or missing resources – Imagine this, you're using a website, and you click to find more information on a different page when all of a sudden, you're told that this page hasn't been found or that the resource you were looking for doesn't exist. Doesn't look great, does it? Exactly, so this is why you should avoid having missing resources and pages as it affects your credibility.
Pages can be navigated easily – Whether you're on mobile or desktop, you should be able to navigate your website quickly and easily without any mishaps of clicking on the wrong link as buttons have not been spaced out adequately or the link directs to the incorrect page as this makes for frustrating browsing and poor user experience.
All essential information can be found quickly – A lot of dental cases can be emergencies, such as chipped teeth, missing fillings or even a mouth abscess; therefore you haven't got too much time to spare. If a patient views your website in a hurry, they should be able to find all the information they need about your practice in the space of a few seconds without it being too complicated. However, if you can't provide that, then you're losing a lot of potential clients who are likely to use someone else's services whose information they can obtain quickly and easily.
Website is mobile friendly – More than half of all Google searches now take place on mobile, which is why you should ensure that your website is mobile-friendly for you to take advantage of all that mobile and tablet traffic ensure that your site can be viewed on mobile.
3. Use Pay per Click (PPC) advertisements
Paid advertisements are a great way of finding yourself at the top search engine result pages without spending the time and effort trying to obtain your traffic organically (meaning it doesn’t cost you anything, although it is beneficial to use Dental PPC Ads and SEO in conjunction with one another).
All you have to do is set up Pay per Click (PPC) ads on Google for keywords which are relevant to your business. The more relevant your keywords are to your company and your content, the more you will find that the ads are cheaper to run. Once you've set up your keywords, your next step is to adjust your budget, and this can be as large or as small as you wish for it to be to keep it in line with the budget for your business.
If you are a local business, then you may want to consider paying for advertisements which are centred around your local area, for instance' dental practice Manchester’ or ‘dental hygienist London’, which will help you to grow your local customer base by defining your key audience demographic.
4. Try Email marketing
Although email marketing may sound quite commonplace, it doesn't have to be, as it can be as exciting and innovative as you wish to make it.
Nowadays everyone's inbox is filled up every day with hundreds of emails from different companies, each trying to tell and offer you whatever services they provide, meaning that it can be quite tricky for you to stand out from the rest unless you know how to.
Whether it's a dental check-up, a monthly newsletter or you're trying to entice your clients to try some of your other services, you need to ensure that they stand out above the rest before they end up in the trash or even worse… the Spam folder. Here are the best ways to make your email marketing emails stand above the rest.
- Don’t be too sales-like – As a dental practice, you don't want to come off as if you're trying to sell to your clients; instead, you want to approach them with information which you feel would be beneficial to them. This helps to establish rapport and trust between you and your patients.
- Make it personal – Mass emails that you send out which don’t have your patients names or personal information will appear spam-like and are more likely to be unread as they'll usually wind up in their junk mail folders. As you're providing your patients with a service which is personal and bespoke to each person who sits in your chair, your emails should mirror this.
- Offer value and deliver it – Whether you've written some exciting insights into dentistry or you've got something new to promote, make sure you show your patients the value and then deliver it. If you claim to offer the real benefits of charcoal toothpaste, then do it. If you claim to provide the most innovative hygiene treatment for teeth, then do it. Don't fall short when offering your clients value as they won't thank you for it.
- Get straight to the point – In a jam-packed inbox, you’ve only got a few seconds to capture the attention of your clients before they scroll away or delete your email, so it helps to get straight to the point, especially if you’ve got something great to say.
5. Optimise your website for emergency keywords
If you've been working in the industry for a while, then you'll know that a lot of the appointments and business that you'll get will come from patients who are having dental emergencies, from chipped and broken teeth to missing fillings and damaged braces. For you to gain those patients and that business, it is therefore vital for you to optimise your website for emergency keywords, such as ‘emergency dentist near me', ‘emergency dentist London' or ‘dental emergency'. As these will generally be the keywords that patients are searching for when an emergency occurs, and optimising your website for this keyword can help you to be one of the first results on Google for this search.
Just one great way for you to optimise your content for these keywords is to create a page advertising your emergency dental services or appointments online. It can be as brief or in-depth as you want to go, but should detail the following:
- Your location and address
- Your emergency contact details
- The hour's patients can get emergency appointments (e.g. 24 hours a day, seven days a week)
- The types of emergency problems you deal with
- The services you carry out in an emergency
- Your keywords and variations of those keywords
6. Submit your practice to online directories
It doesn't seem like all that long ago when if we needed a dentist when we moved to a new area or if we had a dental emergency, we'd pick up a directory such as the yellow pages to find our nearest dentist. Nowadays, this process is entirely different, and most directories are now online, which is why you should be too.
Although believed in the past to be beneficial for search engine optimisation methods for helping build links to your website, this was soon debunked, however, directories are still helpful even though they have little to no SEO benefit. Online directories are great ways of ensuring that you make people aware of your business and the types of services that you provide.
When adding your website to online directories, there are a few essential rules you should know:
- Only submit your site to high-quality directories – This includes websites such as Yell.com, TripAdvisor and Bright Local, all directories you have heard of and that are familiar as being trustworthy and reputable websites for those who are trying to find local businesses.
- Don’t submit your website to unauthorised directories – If you find any directories which you submit and they go live straight away, it's a good idea to steer clear. These directories aren't subject to authorisation, and therefore you'll find that there's no quality control and therefore it’ll look untrustworthy.
- Only submit your website if the directory is relevant to your industry – Don't submit your site to a popular directory unless dentistry or healthcare is listed as one of the categories as this won't help to increase your client base as it is unrelated and can, therefore, look out of place.
7. Be active on social media
For the most part, every widely successful brand has a social media account, so why should your business be any different if you want to be successful too?
Social media is an excellent way of not only showing off the results you've achieved (e.g. before and after shots of whitening treatments or Invisalign) but is also a great way to connect with your clients, whether they be past, present or future!
Establishing relationships with your patients is essential for building loyal and lasting relationships so that they’ll be more inclined to use and purchase the products and services that you have to offer over your competitors. It also helps to understand what is needed and expected of your business from customers, and social media is a great way to interact with them.
Here are just a few of the best ways to interact with your customers on your social media pages:
- Answer people’s questions about any product or service that your business provides
- Thank or like customer’s positive responses to your business, results or services
- Seek to resolve any disputes or customers who are unhappy with the service they received
- Conduct polls and ask your followers opinions on their experiences with your products and services
Moreover, you'll be well on your way to creating loyal and respected relationships with your customers, which is beneficial for both your patents and your brand.
8. Sponsor local events in your community
If most of your footfall is due to come from people who live locally and in the surrounding areas to your practice, then you should consider doing more in your community to get yourself noticed.
Sponsoring local events within your community is a great way to get yourself noticed but also shows you in a positive light to prospective patients. For instance, if you help sponsor a local primary school’s sports day and help them to buy their sports equipment, it gives your business more recognition but also shows that you’re doing something beneficial for the community.
Whether you can afford to donate a small amount or a substantial amount to a local event or a good cause, the recognition you are to receive from your donation will keep your community happy and your business in the spotlight.
9. Create blog posts and guest post on other sites
Whether you're a dentist, hygienist or an orthodontist, you're more than likely to have your hands full with patients. However, that is to be said; if you find yourself with some free time, then you may want to consider using that free time to benefit your search engine optimisation by putting your knowledge to good use.
Whether you've got some interesting insights into the best ways you should look after your oral health, or you want your patients to know the benefits of some of the services your providing or you want to answer common questions about your teeth; you can write some articles for SEO benefit, and here's how.
Firstly, you can start by publishing you're your written content on your website on a blog or a ‘dental care' page, depending on what type of content you wish to create. For instance, if you want to create content on a different variety of subjects which are also loosely related to dentistry, then it may be a good idea to create a blog. Whereas if you wish to create content which is specifically related to more of a niche, then you may want to create a page for your niche where all your articles and blog posts can go.
Alternatively, you can also broaden your audience and gain some brand recognition from guest posting on other websites which are related to the topic of your industry, or which you can create content for on your subject. For instance, you could write a post for a parenting website on how to look after your child's teeth, or if you are writing for a health and beauty brand, then you could consider giving your expert opinion on the best types of toothpaste and ingredients for sensitive teeth.
Whether you're posting content online for your website, or whether your guest posting on other's sites, creating content is a great way not only to show off your expertise but will attract a broader audience. Whether that be from the search engine results pages or from another website you've written for linking back to your content, it's all highly beneficial for helping you get more recognition for your business and your expertise.
10. Get your customers to leave reviews
Unfortunately, no one wants to be the first person to try out a new business that doesn't have any reviews or recommendations. Instead, customers are more inclined to use services and businesses' that have reviews on websites such as TripAdvisor, Google, Facebook and the like, as they feel they can trust these businesses more than they can trust companies with no reviews.
Dentistry and good dental health are crucial for anyone who makes regular appointments to see the dentists, and as you'll know it isn't cheap, therefore many customers are unwilling to take a risk on a new or even an established practice that doesn't have any customer feedback. That's why it's essential for you to get your customers to leave reviews of your practice, which can be easier said than done.
Although in theory, it's easy to ask customers to leave a review of the service they have received at your practice, a tiny percentage of your customers will go home and leave a review, which is why it's essential to provide a bit more incentive for customers to leave a review.
Whether you're sending a follow-up email, invoice, check-up reminder or a monthly newsletter, try to remind customers to leave a review and provide them with some incentive. It doesn't have to be spectacular, but it could be something such as: ‘Leave us a review, and we'll enter your details into a draw to win a £50 amazon gift card', ‘Happy with your teeth? Why not leave us a review of your experience with us' or perhaps even ‘Leave us a review for a chance to get 30% off your next dental check-up', the possibilities are endless, and you can be as generous as you wish to be.
We understand that executing your dental marketing strategy is no easy feat, and it can take time, effort and impeccable dedication to pull it off successfully.
Whether you have the time to spend on executing your dental SEO strategy yourself, or whether you have the need to hire a dental marketing expert from a dental marketing company, spending time and effort on your digital marketing plan will benefit your dental practice in more ways than you can imagine.
If you’re considering hiring a company to benefit both your dental SEO and help you to build a bespoke dental marketing strategy which is tailor-made to suit your business’s needs, then you may wish to take a look at some more information on the other services that we here at Dojono can provide: