Dental marketing is the marketing strategy and marketing tactics dental practices and dental clinics use to attract and retain new patients, as well as increase awareness of their dentist brand.
Most dental patients will agree that finding a dentist is difficult. But, because dental marketing has moved almost 100% to digital, as someone running a dental operation, you may find that filling your practice with patients is hard, as well! In this post, we’ll provide some good digital marketing ideas to help market your dental business.
What is Dental Marketing?
For most dentists, the subject of a dentist marketing company rings with uncertainty. Gone are the days of purchasing a YP ad and waiting for the phone to ring. Today’s dental patients are doing their research-online. Therefore, que dental marketing…
If you want the phone calls and scheduled appointments, acquiring and retaining dental patients, you’ll need to invest some time and money into current dental marketing strategies.
These strategies begin with a well-planned, properly implemented and measurable dental marketing campaign. More specifically, a solid digital marketing strategy for your dental practice.
Google My Business Listing / Google Maps
Your Google My Business listing is crucial to local dental SEO. The first step to optimizing your brand for search engines is claiming your business listing.
When people need a new dentist, they don’t drive around until they spy an office. No, they type “Dentist Office Near Me” into Google on their mobile device. This isn’t up for discussion. You NEED a Google My Business Listing.
This listing displays everything your potential patient may need to know before they call your office to schedule an appointment including:
- Business Name
- Phone Number
Claiming your listing and optimizing it for optimal growth gives you a better shot of landing in Google’s Local Pack-the top three businesses with the map in local search results.
The number of searches for “dentist near me” on Google has increased significantly over the last five years.
If more people are searching for dentists, like yourself, then why isn’t your practice getting more phone calls? More than likely, your competition capitalizes on this simple, yet very effective strategy.
Google draws from your information on your Google My Business listing to determine which businesses to show in local search results. If you haven’t set up your account or claimed your listing yet, you’re at a serious disadvantage here.
Google Business Listing Basics
Google needs to recognize you as a dentist, dental clinic or a cosmetic dentist. Before we dive in, you’ll want to keep the following in mind about your listing:
- Fill out your listing completely. You want to add as much information as you can, here. This isn’t the spot to slack up. The more information you give, the more legitimate you appear to be. In order to optimize your dental office’s Google listing, you will need to fill out all of the information completely and correctly.
- Make sure your listing is accurate. In order to gain and keep the trust of your potential patients, you’ll want to also make sure the details for your business are correct and stay up to date. If you decide you want to leave early on Fridays, that needs to be reflected in your listing’s business hours. Otherwise, you’ll have a pile of unhappy customers and start racking in the negative reviews, which is never good.
- Know which keywords you want to rank for, and use them appropriately. Your keywords will be crucial for SEO. Without these, Google may find it difficult to understand what your business is all about.
You’ll also want to add the following to your Google Business Profile:
- Outside photos of your dental office
- Logo and any other brand identifiers
- Staff photos
- Before and after pictures
Services offered information
On a weekly basis, add the following to your Google Business Profile:
- New pictures
- New Google Business posts
- Ask customers for reviews. If you get all the reviews at once, then Google won’t increase your rankings. You want to have good review velocity, meaning that you need to consistently get reviews over each month over an extended period of time.
Mobile Website Optimization for Dental Practices
First impressions matter and people will judge your practice based on your website. By avoiding or ignoring your website, you’re hindering your practice and the ability to convert more leads, daily. If you don’t have a website with a good design, your dental marketing efforts will be drastically hindered.
If you drive up to a new location, regardless of what services they offer, if the outside of the building looks sketchy, the chances of you going inside, even though you’re already there, drastically diminish. The same can be said for your website. Put yourself in the mind of a patient, for a second.
How easy is it to believe, “This practice doesn’t even pay attention to their own website. What are the chances of them paying attention to me?”
In order to fully capitalize on your dental marketing efforts, you’ll need to make sure the following apply to your site:
Responsive Web Design
Make sure your website is responsive. A dental site should, at very least, look good on Mobile, Tablets and Desktops/Laptops.
The first interaction a potential patient will have with your business will most likely be with your website. And, the majority will find your website conducting a search via a mobile device.
Take a quick second to ask yourself, “Does my website look good across all devices?“. If the answer is no, and you’re marketing still isn’t up to par, it may be time to hire a web developer, along with a team of digital marketing experts.
Before and After Pictures
People want to see what they’ll look like with better teeth. As a practice, you should be taking before and after pictures of patients and showcasing these on your website. Not only will this help patients see what their results might look like, but it will also give you more content for Google to index.
Speaking of Google: while it’s important to have great image quality for your dental practice website, it’s equally important to make sure you’ve optimized these images for SEO. You want BOTH your patients and Google to be impressed by your work.
Your website will look more professional and secure if you have the following:
- Regularly updated helpful patient education content
- Video content showcasing recent technology changes in your office
- A section for each Dentist in your office, along with a professional picture
- Messaging capability for patients, directly from the website
- Online bill pay
- Online prescription request for renewal
These features are imperative to the success of your dental website. However, the list doesn’t end here.
In order to reach new dental patients, your website will also need to be:
- Fast– a popular marketing statistic states that website traffic will “bounce” off of your website if it hasn’t loaded in 3 seconds or less
- Secure– we shouldn’t even have to say this. HIPAA. Your site should read HTTPS (make sure you have a padlock)
- Mobile-Friendly– 82% of local searches are conducted from a mobile device. Your website is basically useless if it’s not mobile-friendly these days.
- Optimized for Search Engines (SEO)– in order to rank on Google, you will need to code your website so that Google is easily able to recognize you as an authority in the dental industry.
ADA Compliant (Americans with Disabilities Act)
The Americans with Disabilities Act requires certain medical businesses to make specific accommodations for those with disabilities. Content on your website should be accessible to those who are blind and/or deaf. The website should be accessible to those who need to navigate by voice and screen readers.
Unfortunately, the rules aren’t as clear for website accessibility as one would assume. None the less, failure to create an ADA-compliant website could open your practice up to financial liabilities and damage to your brand’s reputation.
This free tool will help you determine whether or not your website is ADA compliant.
The term SEO refers to search engine optimization. This is the process of includes several main factors:
- Having content that’s relevant to your target users.
- On-Site Technical SEO Factors: making sure you have proper names on images, pages, etc.
Other sites that link to you
It’s best to think of SEO for dental marketing like you would a recipe. In order to organically grow your dental practice, you’ll want to implement the right amount of each ingredient. As you progress, you may decide to make bigger batches, to grow your business more, exponentially. You can’t just drop all of your eggs in one basket, in hopes that your traffic will skyrocket. This isn’t the way SEO works. And frankly, if a marketing company tells you otherwise, run.
According to Moz, Google uses the following factors to rank businesses organically:
Audience Specific Content Marketing
Having plenty of high-value content is the easiest way to get free traffic on Google. Therefore, your dental marketing strategy should include writing blog posts.
Businesses that regularly blog have 97% more inbound links. This means that outside websites point to these sites as an authority in the field. In turn, this gives you more credibility with Google. Also, 60% of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading published content on the site.
Moreover, actively blogging increases the chances of your website ranking by 434%.
A visit to the dentist office doesn’t top the list of enjoyable activities, for most people. Potential patients have questions and concerns. Addressing these beforehand could be the ticket to getting those customers into your practice.
Take this scenario, for example: Someone local feels like they may have a cavity and knows that they need to see a dentist. However, they’re a little apprehensive about what may happen once they arrive. They type their question into Google, and there you are with the answer. You were in the right place at the right time. They see that your business is local and decide to go ahead and schedule the appointment with your practice.
And yes, in case you had your doubts, Google does give authority to sites, based on location. So, you are more likely to appear to the searcher in your city, than another practice in a different state!
Not sure where to start?
Here are a dental blog topic ideas to get you started:
- How can I prevent cavities?
- Is charcoal dangerous for my teeth?
- How often do I actually need to floss?
- Do dentists have to take x-rays?
- How to teach my kids to brush their teeth?
- Does my toothpaste need to include fluoride?
What is the best toothbrush to use?
There are literally thousands of topics to choose from. You can start by answering a few of the questions you hear day in and day out.
Once you’ve answered those questions, feel free to start debunking all of the random dental myths out there. Also, you can post regularly to help your patients or potential patients start developing healthy dental habits.
For more ideas on blog posts, you can take a look at AnswerThePublic.com and get a big list of ideas like this one:
Dentist Directory Citations
Having your dental practice listed on local directories also plays a role in SEO.
Citations, also called local business listings, are also an important tool for ranking your dental website in search engines. These are references from websites to your businesses’ name, address and phone number (commonly called NAP). Search engines, like Google, consider these legitimate signals stating that you are actually a legitimate local business.
The more citations you have indexed on Google, the more credible your business listing appears to Google. In turn, Google gives your Google Map listing more authority, alongside your website.
According to Moz, citation signals are 10.82% of how to rank on Google.
When starting your way through the business directory chain, you’ll want to focus on the main directory first, Google. Then move your way down the list of other important directories.
You may categorize business directory citations for dental practices into four categories:
Data aggregators are the business data collectors. These include sites such as Infogroup and Factual. These confirm the local business data more thoroughly than the rest, so there may be more work initially getting this set up. Many other, smaller directories will pull data from these types of sites. If this information is incorrect, it will trickle down to smaller directories. Even if you update your information on smaller sites, the larger data aggrigators will replace the information again.
- Consumer directories offer a benefit to your citation profile. Authoritative sites, such as Yelp, Angie’s List and YellowPages will provide more value than smaller, little-known directories.
- Local directories are useful in helping Google determine if you’re a local dental practice. Though these will vary by location, you can usually count on you local Better Business Bureau and Chamber or Commerce, if nothing else, to help get your practice some authority.
- Industry directories can help with your authority, as well as your citation profile. If the directory ranks for target keywords in your industry, these can be extremely valuable. A few solid industry directories for dentists include:
We added patient reviews under SEO because a direct correlation exists between how many positive reviews a business has and how well their Google Business listing shows up in maps.
Take a look at the search for “dentists in Dallas”. All of the top map listings have a lot of reviews.
Patient Reviews Help Establish Authority With Google
Google reviews have been a fixture on Google’s local properties for well over a decade. They aren’t going anywhere, because, frankly, customers love them. Since customers love them, so does Google’s ranking algorithm.
We mentioned earlier that your practice will need to obtain new Google reviews weekly. You want your reviews to show a consistent timeline. Otherwise, both the consumer, as well as Google will question the integrity of these reviews. If you go out and get 20 reviews in one day, it won’t help your map rankings. According to a BrightLocal survey, 73% of consumers believe that reviews older than 3 months are no longer relevant.
Patient Reviews Help Establish Authority With Consumers
Reviews matter, not only to Google but also to consumers. In fact, 93% of people say online reviews do impact their purchasing decisions. Your dental marketing efforts should go hand in hand with positive patient reviews.
As your people get older and mature, they realize that bad decisions can usually be avoided with a small amount of research. Now, more than ever, consumers turn to Google to research reviews. They want to learn from other patient’s experiences. Within seconds, they can view reviews regarding previous patients’ experiences. Your dental practice is no exception to this.
Social proof will give your dental practice more credibility than any advertising dollar ever could.
The first step patients take in searching for a new doctor is looking up reviews. Leverage your existing patients to get these.
The goal is to have reviews of your practice on several platforms. Again, this establishes authority.
You will need reviews for the following:
- Google (most important)
The directories we previously listed
How can you get reviews from your patients? Here are a few suggestions:
- Engage patients on Facebook
- Ask via Email
- Set up a camera for quick testimonials after appointments
- Get a review software like “Review Us Now” or Podium.
Facebook and Instagram Marketing
Customers expect your dental practice to have a social media presence: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Like anything else, your patients are only going to follow enjoyable pages.
If they don’t gain from your presence online, they simply won’t follow you.
No harm, no foul.
So, in order to reach more patients, you must focus on creating relevant, informational, and enjoyable posts for your audience. Think of it as building a community and connecting with your local audience. When done right, dental advertising on social media will have incredible outcomes when the appropriate target audience is used.
How to Use Social Media for your Practice
Your practice can use social media in a variety of ways. You’ll want to choose some of the following ways to work within the context of how your dental practice operates.
Some ideas include:
- Promoting Offers (Free teeth cleaning, teeth whitening, referral program)
- Provide links to helpful information on your website
- Before and after pictures
- Patient testimonials (videos and written)
Short videos to explain certain treatment options and FAQs.
When posting, your end goal is always to bring value to your audience. Sure, social media is a form of dental marketing, but your social pages shouldn’t feel that way to your patients.
One of the underlying constants for highly ranked dental websites is video content. Customers like videos. And, like we said earlier, when customers like something, the Google algorithm follows suit.
With technology today, you can video almost any tech process you perform in your office. Also, customer testimonials will also drive traffic.
Here are a few video ideas to get you started:
- Welcome video telling the story for your office. This humanizes your brand.
- Physician introduction video is a great way to establish confidence for your potential patients. This puts a face with a name.
- Patient review videos to boost traffic. In the past few years, videos with the word “review” had more that 50,000 years worth of watch time. If this stat doesn’t persuade you, we don’t know what will.
Educational videos for frequently asked questions. This is the same concept as the blog, mentioned earlier. Adding educational videos is an excellent way to establish authority.
All of the videos you create can be published across social media pages, as well as YouTube. You can then set up video advertising campaigns on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram to reach and influence your target audience.
Dental Digital Advertising Strategies
There are a number of effective digital advertising channels that dental practices can leverage. The primary digital advertising channels are PPC (Paid Search, Display Advertising, Remarketing and Social Media Advertising)
PPC using Google Ads
According to the American Dental Association, almost 45% of those surveyed said that they don’t go to the dentist because it’s too expensive. A way to combat this is to advertise specials via PPC Advertising.
If you do a search on Google for something, the first few listings that you’ll see are for ads. This is a direct result from a company running PPC ads.
When someone searches for a local dentist or “dentist near me”, you need to show up.
Although the process of maintaining and optimizing Google Ads can be extremely difficult, the condensed and overly simplified version is as follows:
- You choose keywords you feel best to describe your service or product.
- A potential customer searches for your keywords.
- Your ad shows on the top of the search page.
- Only when someone clicks on your ad, do you pay.
Track everything that happens from ads (phone calls, forms, etc)
For a more in-depth tutorial, check out our this search engine advertising tutorial.
Display Advertising via Google Ads
Display ads allow you to target users across the internet in certain locations. You see these ads on various news websites and links you click on from articles on Facebook, as well.
These ads can be set up in Google Ads, and the targeting is very comprehensive. The main ways to target display ads are by age, sex, location, interests as well as content targeting.
Pricing for display ads is typically done by the cost per thousand or CPM (cost per mill). The typical CPM on Google for Dentist display ads is between $1 – $2 per thousand people. As an example, at $2CPM you can get 500,000 ad views for only $1,000. The low price point makes it affordable to run branding and awareness campaigns for your dental practice.
Email marketing has one of the best conversion rates there is to be had, and for online lead generation, there’s really nothing close with respect to pricing and conversions. This type of marketing is one of the most simple ways to communicate with your already existing patients. They will consider it a perk of using your dental office. You can send emails to remind patients of upcoming appointments, random tips, and tricks, send invoice billing, etc.
Most younger adults would prefer to communicate via email, and according to MedCity, over 90% of patients want better email communication from their doctor, because let’s face it, for the most part, it’s non-existent.
Here are a few types of email that you should take advantage of:
- Dental Promotions / Offers
- Seasonal tips and tricks
- Announcements about office updates and the latest technology
- Dental News
- Request referrals
- “It’s time for” or “It’s time to” reminders
- Appointment reminders
Post Card Marketing
Although you certainly can’t rely on post cards to fill your dental practice regularly, they can be a great asset, as part of a cumulative marketing strategy. Direct mail postcards are a cost-effective, safe tool for dental marketing.
Depending on the area, you have one of two ways to conduct your post card strategy. You can choose to activate more of a targeted approach or you can hit every house within a certain radius.
Which option you choose should depend on your target market.
Hire a Top Dental Marketing Agency
We’ve given you some of our ideas, but we know that building a marketing plan and executing a multi-channel campaign will be no cakewalk for most dentists.
It takes a lot of time, dedication, and consistency to run a successful dental online marketing campaign.
The best dental marketing companies are going to be the ones to write specifically to dentists, and are ready to cater to the industry-specific needs that private dentist offices have.
If you’re looking for fully managed digital marketing services send us a chat in the lower right of your screen, or hit the request proposal button below!