Optimize Your Online Presence
Six digital marketing strategies for dental practices
The dental industry is rapidly evolving. Unlike in the past, when dental practices depended on word-of-mouth referrals and reputation to grow, they now require a digital presence to thrive.1 It's no longer a secret that online visibility plays a critical role in how many patients you attend to in a day. If you would like to increase this number, try implementing the following six strategies to attract more patients to your business.
1. Claim Your Business on Google
If you aren't using Google My Business to boost your online visibility, you are probably missing out on great opportunities to improve your searchability. A Google My Business account is a free and easy-to-use tool that provides a perfect way to display your dental business card.
With a Google Business Profile, you can better manage the location, name, and phone number of your dental office. The feature also allows patients to book appointments straight from the page. This means that they can book appointments from anywhere, making it more convenient for them to visit your practice when they are available.
At the same time, a Google Business Profile makes you more discoverable in local searches and on Google Maps. When you claim your business on Google My Business, you can be more easily found on Google Local Finder and in organic searches, so any patient who is searching for dental services near you will be more likely to find your practice before others.
To optimize your Google Business Profile for search engines, ensure that all relevant information is correctly added to your listing, including the following:
• Your business category with the right keywords (eg, dentist, dental practice, dentistry)
• Your physical address
• The hours of operation
• Your primary phone number
• An accurate description of your services
• A relevant profile cover photo (eg, something related to your dental practice)
• Patient reviews
2. Optimize Your Website for Search
For your digital marketing efforts to truly flourish, you should optimize your website for search engines. Developing strategies that increase your online visibility will attract more people to your practice.
If you are creating content for your website, the content must contain the right keywords for your website to be listed at the top of search pages such as Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and others. The process of search engine optimization (SEO) also includes updating your website to be fast, easy to navigate, and mobile friendly.
For dentistry, this requires doing extensive research to understand your patients' needs and also involves looking at what your competitors are doing to discover gaps and opportunities in their campaigns. With these results, you can create digital marketing campaigns that further boost your traffic.
The SEO process for your online marketing campaign should also include the development of quality content, a secure website, and links that help you stand out from the competition. Just remember that SEO is a demanding process. If, like many dentists, you are a busy practitioner with little time to improve your business, don't hesitate to involve a digital marketing agency to help oversee and implement your plans.
3. Be Mobile Responsive
Because many people spend a significant amount of time on their mobile devices, it helps marketing efforts if your practice's website is optimized for mobile access. It should be as easy to navigate on a mobile device as it is on a computer.
If, for example, you are sharing images in a blog post, make sure that they are compressed to a size that's easily viewable on a mobile device. Your page layout should also include icons and buttons that make it easy for patients to schedule their appointments. Better still is the inclusion of colored call-to-action buttons in easy-to-locate positions so potential patients can convert even faster.
4. Reliably Engage Your Patients
Your website is the perfect place to showcase your practice. It's the place where you educate and inform patients about what your practice does. For example, if you offer additional services, a website is the best place to share detailed information about these treatments and procedures. However, for a dental website to be most effective, it needs a design that efficiently converts. Your design should make it easy for customers who visit your website to quickly locate your hours of operation, location, and contact information.
Your design should clearly indicate what your practice offers and include appointment buttons. Use images, texts, and colors that clearly define your brand as well as human faces, when possible, to create a connection with what you do.
Remember to consistently update any content provided, such as useful blogs on healthy oral habits, so visitors are encouraged to keep coming back to your website for more information. Blogs can also provide a space to demonstrate your expertise, and the inclusion of links to helpful articles can help to build trust in your practice.
In addition to providing quality content, practice owners should put a lot of emphasis on keywords and the website's speed. Keywords will attract potential patients to your website, and if your website is fast and free of lag, it will encourage them to stay. Focusing on these will contribute to a better conversion rate for your practice.
It is important to note that designing a website takes time and expertise. If you are up to the task, consider WordPress design themes that are easy to customize. Another option is to seek out a reliable web design firm to create and optimize your website.
5. Consider Social Media Platforms
There's never been a better time to engage potential patients on social media platforms than right now. Social media is a fast-growing area for engagement with more than 3.6 billion active users.2 This number is expected to keep growing, and your dental practice could benefit from the expanding audience.
To engage the right patients on social media, consider using geo-targeted advertising. Geo-targeted ads, especially on Facebook pages, can help you control how far your advertisement will reach. If your dental office would like to target potential patients within 10 miles of your area, geo-targeted advertising can help you achieve this.
Consistency is imperative to start and succeed in social media. You need to deliver regular content (ie, approximately four offerings per week) and be ready to answer patients' queries.3 Accepting feedback and replying to comments in a timely fashion is a sure way to build a good reputation on social media platforms.
6. Extend Your Reach With Paid Ads
Another digital marketing strategy that works for dental practices is the use of pay-per-click advertising. This can offer a strategic way of appearing at the top of search results without using organic SEO routines. It is also convenient for targeting patients around a specific area.
The biggest advantage of pay-per-click advertising is that you only pay when people click your ads. If no one clicks on your ads, then you don't pay a single cent. To design and deliver a great pay-per-click campaign, make sure you research and use the right keywords, leverage your pay-per-click ads to generate phone calls, consider local targeting, and develop custom landing pages.
The practice of dentistry is highly competitive. If you want to stand out from your competitors, it is essential to develop aggressive digital marketing strategies that help you rank higher in searches. Furthermore, the inclusion of both free and paid strategies will help diversify your efforts and deliver more value to your potential patients.
1. Leziy S, Miller BA. Integrating a full digital workflow to achieve optimal surgical and restorative outcomes in implant dentistry. Compend Contin Educ Dent. 2019;40(7):414-421.
2. Clement J. How many people use social media? Statista website. https://www.statista.com/statistics/278414/number-of-worldwide-social-network-users. Published November 24, 2020. Accessed January 5, 2021.
3. Higgins J. Best practices for improving patient communication in the digital era. Compend Contin Educ Dent.2020;41(2):74.
About the Author
Dan Martin is an editor for ArcStone, a web design company for nonprofits since 1997.