What is dental marketing?
The primary function of dental marketing and advertising is to acquire and retain new patients and prospects. Dental marketing has several main outcomes, drive qualified leads through Google and Facebook Advertising to make the phone ring and for people to schedule an online appointment. These outcomes are typically delivered from planned SEO as well as measurable online advertising campaigns.
You can expect to see a change in dental marketing trends, according to a study done by Morgan Stanley. This is because the field of dentistry is shifting in a way that will affect the profession for a while, if not permanently. For the average solo dental practice to stay afloat, it needs to see, roughly, a 10% increase of new customers per month, and they can expect this number to grow.
Here’s the problem we see coming with this. The percentage of dentists who are under the age of 35, and who own their private practice has been dropping steadily (around 3%) since 2005, while the number of dentists, ages 45 and up, who own their private practice has stayed relatively stable over the past almost 15 years.
This means that for the younger dentists, you can expect to see the growth of dental service organizations. According to the same Morgan Stanley study, dentists were 9% more likely to join a group practice, and according to a study done by the ADA, the United States can expect to see an increase of emerging new dentists.
These studies combined tell us that there will be more options available for dental customers in the near future. Moreover, if we apply the basic laws of supply and demand, this means that privately-owned dental practices WILL need to step up their marketing game in order to compete.
Since traditional marketing is almost completely irrelevant in the dental industry, now, we wanted to share with you some of the ideas we feel will help private dental offices grow their business.
Let’s review 10 foundational dental marketing strategies that dentists can use to get more patients.
Optimize your Dental Practice’s Google My Business Page
First things first. Optimizing your Google My Business Page should be an easy task and one that you can knock out quickly. Optimizing your Google My Business may seem like a small dental marketing idea, but this is a step that is imperative for private dental offices.
When someone searches for a business “near me” on Google, 9 times out of 10, Google provides the searcher with a map. Where do you suppose this data comes from? That’s right, a lot of the information comes from your dental office’s Google Business Listing. The number of searches for “dentist near me” on Google has increased significantly over the last five years.
You must make sure that Google not only recognizes you as a business but also that the details for your business are correct and up to date.
If you haven’t taken this step yet, you will need to claim your Google My Business Listing.
In order to optimize your dental office’s Google listing, you will need to fill out out all of information completely and correctly.
- Add outside photos of your dental office on your Google listing.
- Add your logos
- Upload staff photos
- Add before and after pictures.
- Complete all the services offered information.
- Ask customers for reviews!! This needs to be done on a weekly basis. If you get all the reviews at once, then Google won’t improve your rankings, you want to have good review velocity. Review velocity means that you need to consitantly get reviews over each month over an extended period of time.
- Add new pictures on a weekly basis.
- Add new Google Business posts on a weekly basis (Google likes to see new content).
Have a Professionally Designed Website
In business, people will judge a book by its cover, and this is more so true for anything medical, dental or health-related, in general.
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 thing is true for your website.
Now think about your website. The customer literally has zero reasons to call your dentist office. They’re just researching, and if your dental website looks sketchy, they can go ahead and mark your dentist office off as a “no”.
Make sure your website is responsive, it needs to look good on Mobile, Tablets and Desktops/Laptops
Is Your Website Secure?
Your website will look more professional and secure if you have the following:
- Helpful patient education content, updated regularly
- Video content of 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
- Online scheduling
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.
SEO Factors and Blogging to Improve Site Rankings
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.
- Site Technical Factors
- Other sites that link to you
Google ranks websites according to an ever-changing complex algorithm. This algorithm recognizes user intent and content quality. Having a lot of quality content is the easiest way to get Free traffic on Google.
Having an active blog on your website increases the chances of your website ranking by 434%.
Potential patients have questions and they want them answered. If you are the dentist that happens to answer their question, and you’re local, that patient is more than likely going to choose your office, as opposed to another local dentist office, because according to your website, you know what you’re doing. Here are a dental blog topic ideas to get you started:
- How can I prevent cavities?
- How often do I actually need to floss?
- How to teach my kids to brush their teeth?
- Is charcoal dangerous for my teeth?
- Do dentists have to take x-rays?
- 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 those questions have been answered, 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.
Social Media Marketing for Dentists
Your potential customers expect for a company to have a social media presence, now. However, having a “presence” doesn’t necessarily do the trick. In order to reach more customers, you will need to also create relevant, informational, and enjoyable posts for your audience. You need to work on building a community and connecting with your local audience.
Video Marketing for Dental Offices
One of the underlying constants for highly ranked dental websites is video content. Customers like videos.
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- tell the story for your office. This humanizes your brand
- Physician introduction video- this is a great way to establish confidence for your potential patients.
- Patient review videos- 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.
As your potential patients get older and mature, they realize that bad decisions can usually be avoided with a small amount of research. Consumers turn to Google to research reviews for local companies, and dentist offices are no exception to this. You will want to focus on the main directory first, Google. Then move your way down the list of other important directories, such as:
- Dentist Hub
- Dentist Directory
- Every Dentist
- Super Dentists
- Smile Guide
Pay Per Click Ads for Keywords that Convert
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 pay per click ads.
Although the process of maintaining and optimizing paid 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.
If you take this approach but tailor it for those who are worried about the cost of a dentist office visit, you can potentially eliminate probably the biggest pain point, according to customers.
However, if you choose to start using PPC ads, please only do so under the advisement of a professional. Google makes it seem as if anyone can do it, and they can. However, keep in mind that there are paid PPC professionals for a reason, it isn’t as easy as it seems.
For a more in depth tutorial, check out our Google Analytics Tutorial.
Get Patient Reviews
In order to excel in dental marketing, you will need reviews. You need reviews constantly, and you need up to date reviews. Can we say that one more time? Dentists need reviews! Nothing will give you more credibility than social proof. The first step patients take in searching for a new doctor is looking up reviews. You will need reviews for the following:
- The directories we previously listed
How can you get reviews from your patients? Here are a few suggestions:
- Ask via Facebook
- Ask via Email
- Have a camera set up for quick testimonials after appointments
- Get a review software like “Review Us Now”
Email Marketing for Dentists
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. Why not employ email marketing to communicate with your already existing customers. 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 product reviews
- 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
As old school as it sounds, sending postcard reminders out to patients is still a good idea. You can also send postcards out to new people who are moving in since they probably don’t know who the neighborhood dentist is yet.
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 need more guidance for your dental marketing plan, send us a chat in the lower right of your screen.