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November 2016

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Practice Marketing

25 Marketing Ideas that Every Dentist Should Be Doing

Marketing your dental practice is always a good idea, whether your focus is keeping current patients engaged, attracting new ones, or both. But, it isn’t always easy to decide which marketing strategies are best for your practice.

Whether you’re looking to stay top-of-mind for current patients or increase your visibility to potential new patients, here are 25 ideas that every dentist should be doing:

1. Have a dedicated website – Your website is the foundation of your online presence and gives prospective patients their first impression of your practice. Make sure they see you as a professional!

2. Carry business cards – You never know when you’ll run into someone who’s looking for a new dentist so be prepared.

3. Create a Google My Business page – Doing so ensures people see the correct address and contact information for your practice, and enables patients to leave positive reviews.

4. Create a Twitter page – Send frequent updates to your current and prospective patients, quick tips and more.

5. Create a Facebook business page – Increase referrals and share information about your practice such as holiday office hours, promotions, and events.

6. Ensure your website is mobile-friendly – With more Internet searchers using mobile devices over traditional desktops, having a mobile-friendly website for your on-the-go patients is a must.

7. Send appointment reminders – Cut down on no-shows and last minute cancellations by sending appointment reminders to ensure you’re on patients’ radar.

8. Create an Instagram profile – A great place to showcase before and after photos (with your patient’s permission of course) and the aesthetics of your office.

9. Use Google AdWords – Pay-per-click advertising is one of the quickest ways to get your practice noticed at the top of search results. Plus, you only pay when someone clicks your ad!

10. Gather patient reviews – Over 88% of online users trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. The more positive reviews you have on your website and third party sites, the better!

11. Include an “About” page on your website – The majority of people today do online research before contacting your practice for an appointment. Make your office as transparent as possible and have a page dedicated to teaching visitors about you, your expertise and education, and your staff.

12. Start a blog – Showcase your expertise on dental topics with a blog (this also helps your website rankings on search engines). To gain more exposure, share your blog articles on your website and social media pages.

13. Send your patients a thank you post card – Stay top-of-mind and leave a lasting impression by letting patients know they are appreciated!

14. Ask patients for referrals – Provide a referral program to thank patients for their vote of trust!

15. Review competitors to see what’s working and what’s not – Use the Internet to your advantage and see what patients enjoy and dislike about their experiences with your competitors.

16. Use social media to provide customer service – Have someone actively monitor your social media pages to answer any questions people post and respond to any reviews (positive or negative).

17. Send an eNewsletter – Reach out to your patients once a month with tips, office updates, and information on new procedures to ensure you stay top-of-mind.

18. Have office managers ask patients how they heard about you – This helps you understand which new patients are coming from your website or other marketing campaigns.

19. Offer a discounted special on one of your services – Everyone loves a great offer. Perhaps offer a year-end special on teeth whitening or a free consultation around Halloween.

20. Network on LinkedIn – Reconnect with former colleagues, stay in touch with industry leaders after CE events and conferences, and increase referrals!

21. Write a press release – If your practice participates in a local event, sponsors a scholarship, or takes part in other noteworthy activities make sure people know about it! Publish a press release and share the news on your website and social media.

22. Attend a community event – Show your patients that you care about being involved in the community.

23. Share before and after photos – A picture is worth a thousand words! Showcase your work (with your patient’s permission) on your website and social media pages.

24. Listen to your patients – Look to social media and the Internet to see what questions they’re asking (and write a blog post about it), consider their feedback from reviews, and adjust your practice’s procedures as necessary.

25. Provide value every day – In the end, if you’re making your patients feel comfortable, educated, and valued, they’ll continue to come back.

What other ideas do you have to market your practice online? Share your feedback on social media using #dentalpracticetips, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

To learn more about marketing your practice online, call ProSites at (888) 932-3644.

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Website Design

New Benchmark Report Now Available: The State of Dental Practice Marketing

Wouldn’t it be helpful to know how your practice’s marketing habits compare to your peers? Now, you can!

ProSites just released the results of a comprehensive survey in The State of Dental Practice Marketing Benchmark Report. This report reveals how dentists are marketing their practices, their allocated budgets, who is managing these efforts, and more.

Overall, the study showed that website design and search engine optimization continue to be the top marketing methods for dental practices.

Key findings revealed that behind word-of-mouth marketing (96 percent), dental practices currently rely on a wide range of online marketing tools to reach new patients. These include practice websites (93 percent), social media (88 percent), and search engine optimization (77 percent).

Furthermore, over 51% of respondents anticipate an increase in their marketing budget in the next three years.

Learn more and discover other key findings by downloading your own copy of the report today.

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Search Marketing

Your Dental Practice Website Must be Mobile-Friendly After Google’s Latest Update

According to Search Engine Journal, Google is splitting its index of search results into separate versions for mobile and desktop. Google’s primary index will now be mobile, which means it will be more up-to-date than desktop. 

Since April 2015, Google has been very vocal about their “mobile first” stance. This new update is the latest in Google’s efforts to deliver better mobile-optimized content to its users.

What does this mean for you?

If your practice website isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re essentially hiding from prospective patients that use their smartphone to search for a dentist.  As Google continues to prioritize the mobile experience for its searchers, not having a mobile-friendly site will undoubtedly hurt your rankings on search engine results pages. 

Conversely, having a mobile-friendly website will help to boost your visibility on search results pages by delivering a better experience for your mobile visitors. 

Mobile-friendly and/or responsive website must-haves

There are a handful of best practices that you must ensure your mobile-friendly site contains:

1. Quick load times: According to Google, 53% of users will abandon a site if it doesn’t load within three seconds. 

2. Easy Navigation: On a mobile site it’s best to keep things simple. Have a menu that is easy to navigate and doesn’t require multiple taps to get to the desired page. Avoid multi-level menus, and instead aim to have a hamburger menu (where options expand from the side).

3. Designed for Touch: Make sure that your buttons are thumb-friendly and easily accessible so visitors aren’t forced to zoom in.

4. Text and Images: Mobile-friendly websites should have resized images and text to provide an optimal viewing experience. Users are unlikely to take the time to zoom in and out of your content, and rather hit the “back” button. 

5. Keep Forms Minimal: The golden rule of thumb is the longer the form, the less people will fill it out. If you have new patient appointment requests, make sure to ask for only the absolutely necessary information upfront. 

Not sure if your website is mobile-friendly? 

Click here to see how your website appears on a smartphone or tablet by entering your website address at the top of the page.

To learn more about mobile responsive designs, click here or call (888) 932-3644.

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Search Marketing

How to Improve Your Dental Website’s Rankings in 2016 and Beyond – Part 5

Up until this point in our five-part blog post series on search engine optimization (SEO), we’ve explored all of the factors that help and hurt your SEO. However, search engine optimization does not happen in a vacuum; your competitors are likely doing the same things that you are to optimize their online visibility. If you’ve been following and implementing the recommendations outlined in this series, yet find yourself just outside of Google’s Snack Pack or still not ranking to your liking on search results pages, you’re probably up against some fierce competition.

To get an edge over your competition, prioritize the 6 following items:

1. Generate high-quality backlinks. Claim your business on online directories, put your website on social media profiles, and ask your professional associations and societies if they can list your website on their membership directory. Ultimately, the more credible and authoritative backlinks to your website will help you see better rankings.

2. Have a consistent name, address, and phone number (NAP data) in your online directories. Remember that searchers and search engines use NAP data to learn who you are and what you do. Look for hidden duplicate listings that may appear under an old address, name or phone number by taking advantage of free tools such as Moz’s Local Listing Scanner, which will give you a consistency score. It will also tell you where you could add more information within your online directories, where your NAP data is inconsistent, and if you have duplicate listings so you may report them.

3.Improve your website’s domain authority. Your domain authority (DA) should gradually increase over time, but it will largely depend on the quality and quantity of websites linking back your site. Here’s how you can increase your website’s DA:

Ensure technical SEO is in place – improve aspects of your website such as site structure, ease of navigation, breadcrumbs, URL structure, meta tags, header tags, word counts, keywords, and alt tags. At times, some of these items may be difficult to implement depending on who your website provider is or your level of comfort with website design. If you’re with ProSites, these aspects are taken care of for you.

Link internally – linking internally on your website from one web page to another creates a network that searchers and search engine crawlers can use to get around your website and it helps keep your content organized. For example, on your services page, have a link that goes to your pricing page (where it makes sense).

Remove bad backlinks – your website is scrutinized by search engines based on your backlinks. That’s why removing bad backlinks from your website is important. Although time-consuming, it’s worth taking the time to remove these links so that you reduce the risk of being penalized. Identify which links are pointing back to your website with free tools such as Open Site Explorer or Search Console and identify any that are pointing to your site that may not make sense. For example, a website from another country that does not mention a topic related to your business is an irrelevant link and should be removed by disavowing it – which essentially tells Google that you have an unwanted backlink and they should disregard it when evaluating your website.

4. List your most important categories first on Google My Business.  Google categories largely dictate which keywords your practice will show up for within Google’s snack pack. Ensure to include the correct categories on your page, listing the most important category first.

5. Increase your number of Google reviews. Implement a strategy to garner more online reviews from your patients, naturally over time. Regularly encourage patients to leave reviews for your practice online through email, after you’ve helped them, and on social media. Make sure that you respond to any and all reviews in a professional and genuine manner!

6. Improve your click-through rate from search results. Click-through rate is a behavioral factor that Google will look at to determine interest in a specific page i.e. how often searchers choose to click on a listing from a search engine results page matters. You can influence whether someone will click on your webpage by optimizing your each page title and meta description across your website’s pages.

Remember, the larger your market, the more work it will be. Check out our previous posts in the series for more information on optimizing your website. Read part 1 to understand overall ranking factors affecting your website. Parts 2 and 3 examine how to optimize your website for Google’s snack pack and organic listings, respectively. Finally, part 4 lists pitfalls to avoid that could negatively impact your website’s online rankings.

If you would prefer help with optimizing your website, ProSites can help you. Learn more about our SEO programs here or call (888) 932-3644.

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Social Media

How to Get the Word Out that Your Dental Practice is on Social Media

As you already know, dental marketing has dramatically evolved over the past decade. It’s now more important than ever for you to be where your current and prospective patients are, and that’s on social media!

Once your practice takes the initial step of getting on social media, the next step is growing your follower base. Gaining new followers on social media is not something that will happen overnight. It will require a thoughtful strategy, dedication and consistency, but over time you will see the results.

Here are six key ways that you can grow your followers on social media:

1. Send an email to your patient base. Let your patients know that your practice is now on Facebook and/or Twitter by sending them an email that encourages them to “Like” your page and follow your profiles. Make sure to give them a reason to do so, such as “Follow our page to get weekly dental hygiene tips!”

2. Post signage in your waiting room. Print out a sign and put it where all of your patients can see it while they wait. Ask your front office staff to tell patients upon check-in that they can now find you on Facebook and Twitter, too!

3. Use #hashtags in your posts. Hashtags are a word or a phrase preceded by a pound sign and used to identify a specific topic of your post. This way, people can search for relevant hashtags and find your practice. For example, if someone searches #teethwhitening and your practice just posted a special offer on cosmetic whitening trays using the same hashtag, your practice would appear. The more applicable hashtags you use, the more visible your practice is on social media.

4. Post often and consistently. By posting reliable content on a consistent basis (e.g. every Monday), you will grow a more steady following because they’ll become accustomed to seeing your posts each week. Conversely, if you get on social media and people can see that you’ve only posted once or twice, they may not see the value behind why they should take the effort to “Like” or follow your practice.

5. Be social! People want to see that there’s benefit to following your practice on social media. Offer specials to new patients, educational content, and incentives for people to interact with your pages. You should also make it a point to always respond when someone comments on a status or leaves a review on your page.

6. Utilize shared content. You can also grow your audience by listening to what is being said in community groups, local news, or industry trends. If an article or video is published, you can then repost that article and add your perspective.  This helps establish you as an expert in the field by providing an informed opinion to your online community.

To learn more about marketing your practice in the age of social media, download ProSites’ free whitepaper, Running a Dental Practice in the Age of Social Media, today.

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