When your dental practice is located in a densely populated city, you have a huge potential patient base with easy access to your office. It would almost seem like guaranteed success, if it were not for one factor. You also are surrounded by competitors. Without a strong online presence, it can be virtually impossible to make your office stand out.
That was the case with a dentist we’ll call Dr. Doe, who runs a holistic practice in a large East Coast city. She has excellent credentials, educational background, and professional affiliations. When we first met her 3 years ago, she was renting a chair in a large dental practice and averaging about $20,000 in monthly collections.
Despite practicing in a quite profitable niche, Dr. Doe simply wasn’t getting much business. She was seeing little to no growth from one month to the next and struggling to reach new patients. Today, she is the proud owner of a thriving practice with about $65,000 in monthly collections. She is currently expanding her practice and preparing to hire additional clinicians because she can’t keep up with the steady flow of new patients. Here’s how it happened.
The Challenge: Create a Marketing Funnel
The term “marketing funnel” refers the inverted pyramid shape of a graph that depicts the patient acquisition process. People enter the funnel the first time they see a practice in search results, social posts, or advertisements. Leads are directed, or “funneled,” through a series of actions, from clicking on the website to calling the office and eventually scheduling appointments.
In this case, the marketing funnel was restricted at the uppermost level. Although the practice had a website, it was lacking search engine optimization (SEO), so it was reaching a very small number of people. In fact, the website was not appearing on the front page of Google, even when the search term was the client’s own name.
Our challenge was to create a marketing funnel, from a strong online presence to patient conversion. The goals were:
- Open the funnel by increasing visibility in search results and other online platforms.
- Create a user-friendly and persuasive website that converts visitors into leads.
- Coach the client, helping her develop in-office procedures that convert leads into appointments.
Step by Step: What We Did
Research: The client onboarding process involved a detailed interview with Dr. Doe, during which we identified her unique selling propositions, branding goals, and target market. Once we had this information, we went to work creating a brand-new website that was customized and optimized from the ground up. Our research team identified the best keywords to reach the client’s target market in her location.
SEO: We created a separate page for each of her primary procedures, driving highly targeted traffic. Our content team created quality articles woven around these keywords, and our webmasters optimized the code and tags accordingly. The improvement in search visibility was noticeable almost immediately. Within months, Dr. Doe was ranking within the top 3 spots for her own name and nearly 2 dozen other common search terms.
User Experience Optimization: Once people are drawn to the website, they have entered the sales funnel. Our design team created a stunning design that perfectly reflects the “personality” of her practice. The moment people see the site, they know that this is not just another dentist. Carefully placed navigation elements and calls-to-action are included to lead visitors to the contact form and phone number. As a result, the website generates hundreds of leads each month.
In-Office Optimization: Our coaching team discussed patient acquisition procedures and customer service policies with the client. We identified some key areas of potential improvement. Our coaches advised Dr. Doe to focus on consistency, ensuring the phones are always answered promptly, using the same introductory phrases, and that calls are always handled in the same way. We also recommended that she ensure customer service standards were met by observing staff interactions with patients and occasionally listening to phone calls.
Brand Building: Every aspect of the marketing plan was coordinated to project a constant image and marketing message. With a recognizable logo, visual identity, and tagline, Dr. Doe’s name quickly became familiar locally. As her online visibility increased, we expanded the marketing reach of the campaign, eventually reaching a national and international audience.
Planned Growth: A website is a living thing in the virtual world. Fresh content keeps search engines interested and keeps visitors coming back. To promote long-term growth and continually increasing visibility, we add new pages every month. This expands the list of targeted keywords and gradually builds an educational library on the website.
Social Media: Because a website alone is not enough in today’s virtual world, our strategy for this client included the development of a strong social media following. The profile descriptions and posts on these networks, just like the website, are designed to reach a pre-defined target market. We advised Dr. Doe to encourage patient reviews, which has resulted in 5-star ratings on Facebook and a number of other websites.
Dr. Doe has been a client of Ekwa Marketing for 36 months. In that time, she has invested in a suite of high-tech equipment, upgraded her own practice, hired additional staff, and seen a steady increase in her practice’s bottom line. Furthermore, she has steadily gained visibility in the dental world, becoming a nationally recognized expert in her field. She has a large number of patients who fly in from out of state and some who travel internationally to seek her expertise.
Since implementing our marketing strategy, this dental practice has grown at a staggering rate:
- 325% increase in monthly collections
- 220% increase in monthly website visits
- 790% increase in the number of keywords within the top 3 results
- 1,010% increase in the number of backlinks to the website
- 462% increase in the number of leads generated by online marketing
Strategic planning, consistent implementation, and proactive brand building have taken this dental practice from barely surviving to absolutely thriving! Never underestimate the power of SEO and digital visibility.
Mr. Arulrajah is president and CEO of Ekwa Marketing, a complete Internet marketing company that focuses on SEO, social media, marketing education, and the online reputations of dentists. With a team of more than 140 full-time marketers, ekwa.com helps dentists who know where they want to go get there by dominating their market and growing their business significantly year after year. If you have questions about marketing your practice online, call (855) 598-3320 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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