Last updated on December 5th, 2022 at 09:41 am
When your practice is just starting out, it can be tempting to just let new patients find you organically. But steadily growing your patient base is essential for the ongoing health of your practice, especially as patients may move away, change insurance providers, or leave your practice for other reasons.
Having a strategic and consistent plan for your dental office marketing keeps your practice busy, increases revenue, and helps expand the impact you can have in your community. Whether you just founded your practice, or have been in business for years, marketing is worth the investment!
Dental practices that utilize digital marketing tools to reach and engage their patients will experience increased patient retention and attract new patients. When patients are left in the dark, unsure if their dental office is open or if they should reschedule their next appointment, their satisfaction with the dental office may decrease.
Those frustrated patients may then seek the help of other dental practices that are actively marketing their new office hours or virtual dental care.
There is good news. When dental practices send proactive and helpful digital patient communications consistently, they let their patients know they care. Dental practices that share frequent patient communication on their website or Facebook page, will let their patients know that their practice is open and ready to provide patient care today.
The first step to marketing your office is to create a professional website. When it comes to attracting new patients, the only thing that’s more important than your physical dental office is your online presence. While patients might drive by your location and decide to book an appointment, having a well-developed website expands your opportunities and allows you to reach patients all around your city.
In the modern age, just having a website isn’t enough. It has to present a professional image and provide a user-friendly interface so potential patients will feel confident in your services. Take the time to build a website that is mobile-responsive, modern, and contains helpful information for patients and prospects alike.
Since your website acts as the centerpiece of your dental marketing strategy, this is the one thing you may want to leave to the experts. ProSites can design your website, provide excellent dental care content, and drive users to convert using our 20 years of dental marketing experience!
Ultimately, there are thousands of different designs to choose from, but each should have the same basics. Here’s a checklist of all the features that will help your website stand out!
Writing a blog article serves numerous benefits. First, search engines love fresh, new content. This means writing a blog on a topic related to your expertise can help you get better rankings in search results.
It also helps you build trust and establish yourself as an expert among current and prospective patients. Since the majority of prospective patients conduct research online before they select a dentist or doctor, providing educational, helpful articles will help position you as a credible professional.
And don’t worry, blog articles don’t have to be super lengthy. A simple post packed with relevant and helpful tips only needs to be about 500 words. More than length though, aim to make your article clear and easy to read. Use headers, bullet points and spacing for optimum success.
Spending time & money to get visitors to your website without helping them take the next step is like leading a horse to water, but just a picture of one.
Allowing patients & prospective dental patients know how to get a hold of you, book an appointment & having a system to follow up with them will maximize any website traffic efforts.
Online reviews are trusted just as much as a personal recommendation and are a critical part of your online marketing strategy. But, in order to gain more positive reviews, you must ask for them! Start by putting together a list of your most loyal patients.
Then, write a personalized email asking them to share their experience to help educate prospective patients. Make it as easy as possible for them by including a direct link to where they can leave a review for your practice (i.e., your website’s reviews page, or your Google My Business page).
Don’t forget, with ProSites you can take advantage of our complimentary Reputation Marketing feature that helps you remain in control of which reviews appear on your website.
New visitors should intuitively understand your site’s navigation and be able to quickly find what they’re looking for. Make sure to surface the content that answer the questions most of your patients are asking.
If you haven’t changed your website design in more than three or four years, it’s likely that it’s outdated. Internet browsers constantly change which can create an unpleasant viewing experience if your website design is out-of-date.
Ask your website provider if they have any new website styles available that can be easily changed without a fee.
For every service you offer, create an individual page fully describing everything that service entails. Do you get common questions from patients about a service? Add FAQs to the page. Is it hard for patients to visualize what will be happening? Use images or video to illustrate & make it simple to understand.
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.
In many cases mobile visits to websites account for over 80% of total web traffic. Google itself now uses the mobile version of websites to determine search engine rankings.
If you give your patients & prospects a great experience when they’re browning your site on their phone, you can expect more & happy customers as well as better search engine rankings.
Learn more about the specifics of what it means to have a mobile friendly website.
Social media isn’t just about funny memes; 42% of consumers use it to access health-related reviews with the goal of choosing a better provider.
Social media marketing gives your dental practice the opportunity to engage and interact with current and potential patients in a more relaxed and personable environment. It also opens the door to help you increase referrals and website traffic.
To get the most out of social media, make sure you complete your profiles with practice information, website URL, hours, specialties, and quick descriptions. Then, post consistently and frequently with content that will resonate with your audience. For example, if your patient base consists of young families, share articles or games that parents can use to teach their children about oral hygiene.
When you’re ready to attract new patients, it’s essential to take full advantage of social media. In order to make the most of your office’s dental marketing, here are a few best practices to use across all social media should you choose to launch a program:
Here’s an overview of the main networks & the type of content that works best for each:
Next let’s look at how dentists, hygienists & other dental office staff are using social media to connect with dental patients:
Expert Tip: Rather than writing your posts one at a time, compose one month’s worth of posts and have your office staff copy and paste the content onto your Facebook page each day or schedule them out for the month. Just don’t forget to go back to your page to answer questions & engage with your audience.
If your staff is too busy, you can also hire a service like ProSites Social Media Management to create content from scratch and post it for your team.
Now, given that almost 70% of American adults are on Facebook, it is an essential tool for attracting leads and engaging with your current patients. Facebook allows you to continually interact with your community, share dental care tips, and build your brand awareness.
And when you’re ready to aggressively grow your business, Facebook also provides targeted advertising options that will help your practice bring in new patients in your area!
Here are some other compelling reasons why dental practices should use Facebook to rapidly boost their new patient numbers.
Why this matters: Once the province of college students and teens, Facebook has matured along with its audience. Chances are, your potential patients are on Facebook right now, some looking for a new dentist
Reaching those potential patients with an engaging business page and highly targeted ads can be done both rapidly and within your budget – delivering a fast return on your marketing investment. If you’re experiencing an emergency, last-minute opening, or another critical change that requires you to alert numerous patients at once, sending a text may be the best way to reach a group of patients at once.
Why this matters: If you seek patients who value quality dentistry—and are willing to pay for it—Facebooks users are likely candidates. Of all the social media platforms, this audience is the most affluent.
With income of more than $75,000 per year, you can tap into the ideal patient demographics for your practice.
Why this matters: Your current and potential patients are constantly bombarded with noise—from junk emails to group texts to online video ads which play automatically, like it or not. How can you capture their attention?
With 58 dedicated minutes a day, Facebook marketing allows you to engage users when they are in a more relaxed, receptive frame of mind. Here you can grab their undivided attention.
Why this matters: The social media experience—particularly for Facebook users—is all about connecting with friends, family, and businesses in a relaxed, friendly environment. When your practice is there with an active Facebook page, it builds brand awareness with prospective patients.
When your practice isn’t there, it diminishes brand awareness and expectations for your practice. Plus, it leaves room for the competition. There’s simply no downside to having a Facebook page for your practice. Did we mention it’s free?
Why this matters: Having a presence in a digital environment which influences buying decisions is a must for dentists. With Facebook marketing, you can showcase your expertise while building a rapport with existing and prospective patients.
A strong Facebook business page with glowing reviews, educational articles and enticing promotional offers builds confidence and familiarity—all of which leads to more business for your practice.
Using highly targeted algorithm’s Facebook monitors shares, likes, interaction with content and posting behavior, etc to ensure that all audiences are engaged at a massive level.
That means Facebook Audience Insights can be a powerful way to connect with new and potential patients on a regular basis that is relevant to them personally. That is powerful.
Since the social media giant provides free access to users, Facebook relies heavily on advertising for the bulk of its revenues. For that reason, the company cleverly tracks user patterns, interests and demographics to entice advertisers.
That means you can fairly precisely target prospective patients with Facebook Ads.
Mobile is pervasive and continues to redefine the way we live. Research over the years has consistently indicated that one of the wisest ways to spend your marketing money is by advertising on mobile devices.
As mobile usage continues to skyrocket, marketers have increased mobile ad spend 90% over the last decade. The opportunity is maturing & it’s never been better.
Most ad pricing is auction-style bidding with options for Cost Per Click ads (CPC), Cost Per Action ads (CPA), and Cost Per 1000 Impression ads (CPM). Some of the well-known mobile advertising agencies include InMobi, adBrite, and Chitika.
Regardless of where you decide to market your practice on mobile devices, one thing is certain: it is vital that you direct mobile users from your ad to your mobile website. Doing so provides an optimal viewing experience for your mobile users each step of the way and will increase their likelihood of contacting your practice to schedule an appointment.
You’ve likely heard the term Search Engine Optimization, and its abbreviation “SEO,” as it’s an essential part of your dental office marketing. Patients won’t drive too far to visit their dentist, so local SEO should be your central focus to find patients near you.
It takes time and dedication to create an ongoing SEO strategy that grows year after year, especially since Google constantly re-evaluates pages and prioritizes different factors.
If your dental office is too busy supporting patients, it may be a good option to outsource your website’s SEO. Dental office marketing services like ProSites Dental SEO Services will create pages that focus on the best keywords for your practice and include all the technical minutiae that will help you to rank. Our SEO clients see over 300% ROI on average.
However, if you’re up for doing it yourself, we’ve got you covered there as well. Check out our complete guide to dental website SEO.
Generally speaking, local marketing is often a subset of Dental SEO, but in reality, for dentists, it’s THE SEO marketing. You shouldn’t tend to SEO without considering the local aspects (some of which are listed above) like:
See the Ultimate Dental SEO Guide for more specifics.
SEO is a solid & proven process that often takes months before any measurable results are seen. While you are working on your SEO, for quicker returns try dental PPC.
PPC or Pay-Per-Click advertising gives you the opportunity to buy ads on major search engines, news sites or social networks and get more immediate traffic.
PPC, like SEO, is ever changing. New technology comes along and redefines how advertisers can get in front of their target audience, so it’s best if you work with someone who keeps up with all those changes as well as someone who’s successfully used paid ads to drive traffic to dental offices.
Since we run paid ads day in and out for thousands of dentists, we’ll give you a few of our best tips below to help you get your feet wet if you’d like to try it on your own.
For a more in-depth training, please visit our PPC for Dentists guide.
How do I get the most out of my PPC advertising?
Again, to dive deeper into what it takes to succeed with your dental Google Ads, please visit PPC for Dentists.
Direct mail is sometimes thought of as a thing of the past, but it’s still thriving in the dental marketing industry. The ability to reach people in your neighborhood for the cost of a card and a stamp is an impactful way to fill your appointment book. Here are some best practices for conducting your direct mail campaigns:
Given that dental practices rely largely on word-of-mouth, it’s essential to collect reviews and provide what marketers call “social proof” on your dental website. When prospects see reviews on your site, they recognize you as a trusted authority in the neighborhood.
We’ve included a few basics & best practices below to maximize your dental review process. Make sure to also check out the following articles when you’re ready to dive deeper into the benefits of online reviews, how to get more and how to manage them when they start rolling in (both good & bad):
When choosing which review websites to focus your efforts on, we recommend evaluating your competition. If they have the most reviews on Yelp, send your patients there to submit reviews for your practice. Once you have a comfortable number of reviews on the first site, you can direct patients to another platform. By switching between all three reviews platforms, potential patients can read about your great customer service wherever they look!
Confirm your practice’s identity on various directories online such as Google Maps, Google My Business, and Yelp.
It doesn’t take much time (15 minutes per directory) but can have an amazing positive impact on your practice’s visibility. Plus, verifying your listing provides you with access to a dashboard that allows you to edit your information such as your practice name, address, and phone number which are critical components in ranking within the Google snack pack.
Verifying your listing also allows you to respond to reviews, list business hours, let’s prospective patients call you directly from search results, and provides driving directions through GPS.
With 102 million monthly visitors and over 39 million reviews, it’s no wonder Yelp is one of the leading sources of new patient referrals. And, each referral Yelp generates adds significant revenue to your practice over the course of one year.
According to a recent study conducted by The Boston Consulting Group, Yelp generates, on average, $8,000 annually for businesses that have optimized their free account.
Additionally, if implementing Yelp’s paid advertising with an annual budget of $4,500, the same study demonstrated that health and medical services bring in an average of $20,000 in increased revenue annually.
Because claiming and optimizing your free Yelp profile has proven, positive impacts, we highly recommend you get started. Create your free account at http://biz.yelp.com and follow the simple prompts to complete your listing, and don’t forget to include a link to your website.
Here are some tips to keep in mind that can help increase your exposure on Yelp:
If you’re not familiar, Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool that helps local businesses, such as your dental practice, appear when customers search for your practice or practices like yours on Google search. On your GMB page, you can add pertinent information so potential patients can learn more about your practice. These include: a link to your website, hours of operation, address, phone number, photos, and more.
GMB results are then displayed in the Snack Pack which we explain in more detail below. Because GMB is free, you never pay for a higher placement within the snack pack. Your ranking is based on a complex system that values the merit of your website while considering your location, the search terms used, and services or products offered.
If you’re in an urban or suburban area, it may be tough to get your practice noticed at the top of this list. That’s why we’ve outlined a few key steps below to help you work toward getting featured within the first-page of GMB listings.
The Google snack pack references the Google map listings that appear directly under pay-per-click (PPC) ads. These are displayed right above organic listings, making it prime real estate at the top of search results.
Though usually only the first three results are shown, many searchers will click “More Places” to get a comprehensive view of results, giving you higher visibility on Google through a popular portal with high traffic. Having an established business listing with GMB also helps add credibility to your site which translates into higher rankings.
First, you must have a Google Account for your practice. Once you have that set up, go to Google My Business where you’ll be walked through the process of setting up an account.
When setting up your GMB account, make sure the business name and address listed are consistent across your website, GMB listing, and all other online marketing platforms. This consistency adds credibility to your site and helps Google identify your practice. Having this information consistent will directly translate to higher rankings in search engine results.
In the final step, GMB will mail a verification code to your claimed practice address. Once you receive the code and enter it, you will have access to your dashboard. If you are having trouble entering your Google My Business verification code, follow these 3 easy steps from Google.
GMB offers two additional features that can be utilized to further improve your listing, online presence, and overall experience for visitors on your GMB page.
Product collections: This feature helps you further showcase and draw attention to the services you offer. Through the products tab in the GMB dashboard, your practice can add information about its various services (e.g. deep cleanings, teeth whitening, dental implants, etc.). This way, viewers can get a quick, at-a-glance overview of your services before arriving at your website to learn more.
Booking feature: For practices that use software supported by Google’s booking feature, patients will now be able to schedule an appointment directly from your GMB page. This feature does require that you have an account with one of Google’s scheduling providers, but it further simplifies the process of patients making an appointment with your practice.
Read more about the new features in this blog about optimizing your GMB profile.
With 72% of consumers saying they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, it’s more important than ever to take an active role in your online dental reviews.
While the simplest way to increase online reviews for your dental office is to ask, when, where and how you do it can make a big difference in your results.
Whether you ask face to face as they leave the office, shoot them a text or email or send out a mailer, the most important thing to remember is that nothing can take the place of kindness, good communication & good business practices, in short delighting your existing customers.
As any marketing expert will tell you, it’s more expensive to recruit a new client than to retain an old one. That’s why delighting your current patients should be an integral part of your dental marketing plan!
While your greatest asset will lie in a friendly office and excellent customer service, there are other excellent ways to delight your existing clients. Here are some tips:
Assuming you’re doing work worthy of good reviews, go here for ideas on getting more dental reviews.
If your dental practice faces a lot of competition, it’s essential to find ways of standing out from the crowd. Video marketing for dentists gives you the opportunity to show up first on Google search results, appear on YouTube, and make potential patients feel welcomed and supported.
Here are some of the benefits of incorporating video in your dental marketing strategy with Prosites:
Your practice can utilize email marketing to send out appointment reminders, ask for online reviews, and so much more. Consider adding a monthly email newsletter filled with tips, office updates, and information on new procedures or technology you are offering. These regular newsletters help to ensure you stay top-of-mind with your patients.
We all know the story; a doctor develops a cure for cancer, but a deadly side effect of the treatment causes the brain to function at its more primitive level, the heart stops, and the patient develops a taste for humans. Next thing you know, the protagonist is flash-mobbing in a graveyard alongside zombies!
Like the doctor attempting to make the world a better place by eliminating cancer, you may find yourself wanting to improve your marketing by bringing back some classic marketing methods. However, you may find those strategies are only a husk of their former selves.
Avoid having your marketing strategy eaten alive by these scary tactics:
Ask anyone born before 1995 what YellowPages are and they’ll probably point you to Google. Truth is, YellowPages aren’t being seen by many.
Instead, maximize visibility among potential patients with search engine optimization (SEO) best practices. SEO helps your website get found higher on search results when potential patients search for the services that you offer. The higher you rank, the more likely a visitor will find your website and click your name to see what your practice is about.
While traditional marketing still has its perks, TV advertising is expensive, difficult to measure, and likely won’t be seen by your target audience.
Instead of wasting precious advertising dollars on ad space that potential patients likely will not see (or simply tune out), consider pay-per-click advertising; a digital marketing method that allows you to target specific audiences in various locations, set your own budget, and only pay when someone clicks your ad.
Make sure your PPC campaigns direct visitors to a special landing page about your practice and its services for optimal performance and ROI.
The world is long past the point where people pick up a physical newspaper to get information. Instead of searching through ads, prospective patients rely on their social networks for recommendations because they know they’ll be able to pull from a broad audience they trust.
That’s why it’s crucial for you to create and maintain an online social media presence by updating your profiles and collecting reviews that give prospective patients an inside look at your practice.
Additionally, you can incentivize your existing patients with a referral program so they’re more likely to recommend you the next time their Facebook friend reaches out.
There’s a delicate balance of showing your personality and being transparent on social media while maintaining a level of professionalism. Create posts that resonate and engage with your patients in a conversational manner, but steer clear of rants, profanity, and anything that is overly opinionated.
In today’s digital world, having a website that isn’t mobile-friendly is just as scary (and painful to patients) as getting a cavity filled sans Novocain. Most of your website visitors are likely checking it out on their smartphone – so make sure your website loads quickly, has enlarged text, simplified navigation, and thumb-friendly buttons. Otherwise, 8 in 10 people will stop engaging with content on your website.
While patients do want and need appointment reminders – there’s a fine line between being helpful vs. irritating. It’s important to reach patients in the right way at the right time – in the ways that they prefer.
Look for a patient communications solution that helps you reach 100% of patients with timely and automated reminders including dental appointment reminder texts, emails and phone calls.
This simply screams red flag. Today, 91% of people regularly read online reviews and as much as 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
If there’s little to nothing about your practice from other patients – it leaves potential patients quieting wondering “why?”
To combat this fear – ask happy patients to leave reviews on your Facebook, Yelp, Website, and/or Google My Business pages to put your best foot forward. Make sure to respond to all comments with gratitude to show patients and viewers you care!
While it may sound like a good idea in theory, sometimes leaving it to the professionals in the space may deliver a greater return on investment for your practice than attempting to do it yourself.
For example, running a pay-per-click campaign for your dental practice could be an extremely profitable strategy for your practice – when you know what you’re doing. There’s also the risk of overspending – or not using your budget wisely.
Do your research before investing too much time or money into an effort on your own that you’re not familiar with. In the ever-changing world of Internet technology, it may behoove your practice to stick with an online marketing company.
Building your practice requires ongoing testing, support, and dental marketing expertise. If you decide you want a dedicated dental marketing team to help attract new patients, reach out to ProSites today!
ProSites Headquarters38977 Sky Canyon Drive,2nd FloorMurrieta, CA 92563(888) 932-3644
Free TrialContact Usservice@prosites.com
©ProSites Inc. All rights reserved.