If you’re a dentist looking to get new patients and grow your practice, you’re probably thinking about increasing your dental marketing budget. But before you double your advertising spend, you’ll need to put together a plan to get in front of your target audience and convert website visitors into patients. Here are six tips you need to know to avoid failing at your dental marketing plan.
Invest in Local SEO
There are many facets of marketing: social media, email marketing, traditional marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), local SEO, pay-per-click marketing, and more. And while each facet of marketing definitely has a purpose, one speciality is more than important for dental practices—local SEO, a marketing discipline that works to get your dental practice ranking higher in the local search results.
For example, when someone searches “dentist near me,” “dentist in Seattle,” or “dental office near 27609,” you want to be one of the top results shown, whether that’s in the Google 3 Pack or in the organic listings. Local SEO is how you’re able to achieve this. It entails:
- Consistent name, address, and phone number (NAP) listings
- An optimized Google My Business listing
- Regular, positive reviews from patients
NAP refers to directory listings that share information about your dental practice. When creating and optimizing these listings, you want your NAP to be exactly the same in each one. Any difference in your listings, even as small as using street versus road or avenue, can cause another listing to appear (we call these duplicate listings) and affect your local search rankings.
A well-optimized Google My Business listing will help your office appear in the local search results. This listing gives potential patients key information about your practice, like:
- Phone number
- Website URL
- Dental specialties
Patients who see your listing can decide from this snapshot if you’re the best dentist for their oral health needs. Because they might only see this and not your website, it’s important to update and optimize your listing (specifically the categories mentioned above) with pertinent information to help them make a decision.
Finally, patient reviews serve two purposes. First, they show patients what they can expect should they visit your practice. Second, they show Google that you’re a reputable dentist in the area and need to be shown to patients looking for a dentist.
Reviews also show up on your Google My Business listing, and not just your Google reviews. Google will also show other reviews from around the web to give searchers the best information on what they’re looking for.
It’s important to get reviews consistently throughout the year so you can grow your review numbers and show Google that you’re the best dentist in your area.
Don’t Set It and Forget It
Marketing campaigns can take time to show results. Oftentimes it takes several weeks if not a month to get a healthy set of data to test and compare. When you have this much time while you’re waiting to see if something is working, it’s all too easy to forget about it. And the next thing you know, it’s six months later and the same title tag you were once testing is now your permanent title tag.
Worse than a title tag, you could be testing a new pay-per-click campaign or Facebook ad and have left it running for six months without seeing a single conversion. The money spent to get you in front of new potential patients could be considered a waste because it didn’t help you achieve your goals.
Dental marketing is not a “set it and forget it” activity. It requires constant care and attention to keep up with the changing dental markets, technologies, and marketing tactics. If you’re unable to give your campaigns the tender loving care they deserve, it may be a good idea to hire a marketing agency to handle your marketing efforts.
Use CTAs to Explicitly Tell People What to Do
CTAs are calls to action. They’re action-oriented phrases or words that get users to do something on your site.
For example, when sending an email invitation, you might include a CTA to RSVP to the party. Or, in the header of a website, you might see “Call Now” followed by a phone number. These calls to action all spur people to take action, which is exactly the same feeling you’re trying to instill in those visiting your website or interacting with your marketing campaign.
CTAs tell users exactly what to do. In our email invitation example, we’re specifically telling people to RSVP via the link in the email. While readers might scroll through the whole email before clicking the RSVP link, they will ultimately take action.
By not including CTAs in your site, users will most likely not understand what you want them to do. If you want them to schedule an appointment, tell them. If you’d rather they call you to set up their appointment, say that too.
Review Your Data & Analytics
Data is a marketing goldmine. From website analytics to conversion tracking information to sales operations metrics, there is a ton of data you can use to inform and improve your marketing campaigns.
One of the best sources of data to review is Google Analytics (GA), which uses a tracking code to monitor the user performance of your website. You can learn:
- What pages on your site are most popular over a designated time period
- How much time users are spending on your website and/or specific pages
- Which pages convert the most visitors into leads
- What sources are driving the most traffic to your website
Knowing this information, you can make informed decisions regarding your marketing campaigns.
If your teeth whitening page isn’t driving enough leads, you can update the page with additional content and then track its performance in GA. You can see if the page’s sessions are increasing, if visitors are spending more time on the page, and if visitors are converting into leads for your practice.
You should make it a point to review your marketing and website performance at least once a month, which will give you an idea of what is happening and help you shape your upcoming campaigns.
While you can look at the data every day, it’s best to not take action until you have at least a week or more of insights to aggregate. This will ensure your numbers take outliers into account and you’re working off averages.
Working with an agency or marketing consultant can make reviewing your data and analytics easier. They can also offer insights that you might not see or think of because they’re used to looking at the data and making recommendations for improvement.
You Don’t Have to Be on All the Social Networks
A common misconception about social media is that you have to be on all the platforms to make an impact. But this simply isn’t true. In fact, it’s better to only be on the platforms that make the most sense to your business.
For example, your dental practice doesn’t need a profile on SoundCloud if you’re not putting together dental playlists or podcasts. Or, you don’t need to be on Pinterest if you don’t have the content or visuals for your pins.
Knowing your audience is also important here. If most of your target audience is on Facebook, then you’ll want to make sure you spend a good amount of time optimizing your business page, running ad campaigns, and engaging with your followers.
By spending time where your followers are, you’ll see bigger returns on your social advertising budget, and not just in terms of patients and dollars.
Find Your Own Brand Voice and Stick to It
To stand out and make a name for yourself, you have to know who you are—and not just you, the dentist, but your business. Is your business bright, happy, and cheerful? Or is it serious, solemn, and neutral? Whichever you choose is perfectly okay, as long as you own that reputation and consistently act on it.
Users are most loyal to brands that know what they are, publish content that is on-brand, and understand their target audience.
It’s best to have one person at your dental office manage your blog, social media, and other marketing campaigns. This ensures that your tone and style are on brand. You can also hire a agency to help with this, including having it help you fine-tune your tone, style, and branding guidelines.
Mr. Williams, a digital marketing veteran with more than 20 years of experience, is the CEO and founder of DigitalToothFairy, a digital marketing agency that specializes in creating dentist websites that are focused on dental patient growth. He is also the author of the free book How To Supercharge Your Dental Website and Dominate Your Competition. For information about how DigitalToothFairy can help your practice dominate your competition, visit DigitalToothFairy, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (888) 748-7178 for a free consultation and evaluation.