10 Dental Marketing Strategies that Just Don’t Work in 2021
2021 is here and if you want to get the most out of your dental marketing and attract more new patients, avoid these 10 dental marketing strategy mistakes.
Bonus: Stick around until the end and we’ll tell you what you should do instead!
1. Ignoring trends (sticking with the same strategy forever)
Change is the name of the game. If you don’t keep up, your practice will suffer.
An up-to-date marketing strategy is important for every business, but especially dentists. The dental workforce is growing much faster than other industries, resulting in a highly saturated marketplace.
Competition is fierce. If your practice wants to keep up and stand out, you need to stay up-to-date on the state of dental patient marketing and update your strategy accordingly.
2. Keyword stuffing
Back in the early days of search engines, businesses could easily manipulate a website’s ranking in Google by cramming a huge number of keywords onto a single page.
While this marketing tactic temporarily helped a site rank and be found, it created an incredibly negative user experience and left a bad taste in your mouth. Just look at this example below:
Are you looking for sleep apnea treatments? If you have sleep apnea and need a sleep apnea treatment look no further. Our sleep apnea treatments are the best sleep apnea treatments in town. Make a sleep apnea treatment appointment and get the sleep apnea treatment you need to sleep better.
Pretty annoying, right?
Thankfully, Google quickly grew wise to this sneaky tactic. Today, this practice is known as “keyword stuffing,” and Google does not like it. Keyword stuffing can result in Google penalizing your site. Your page could be demoted in rankings or even removed altogether!
Pro Tip: Yes, keywords are important for SEO, but they must be used in moderation. While there’s no magic number, 2-5% keyword density is generally considered safe.
3. Spamming patients
As a dentist, you likely have hundreds of patient emails, phone numbers, and mailing addresses on file. This list of contacts is a valuable marketing asset, but just like Ben Parker advised Spiderman, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
It’s perfectly acceptable to use patient data for marketing communications — whether its sending automated emails, monthly newsletters, home mailers, or text messages — so long as you do 3 things:
- Have your patient’s explicit permission to contact them
- Be respectful with your communications — both the content and the frequency
- Use proper security and best practices to mitigate risk of HIPAA violation
If you do not follow this approach, you are participating in spam marketing. Though there are some that promote this as an effective marketing strategy, spamming patients (or potential patients) with unwanted and unnecessary marketing is the fastest way to lose their trust and business.
And remember, you must balance patient marketing communication tactics with your responsibility to maintain HIPAA compliance.
4. Holding onto a clunky, dated website design
Above all else, your website is a way to attract and convert new patients. But an outdated and poorly designed website might be nearly as bad as having no website at all.
Some of the most common problems an old website design can cause include…
- Slower site loading speed — a major factor that affects Google rankings
- Difficulty or inability to navigate on a mobile device
- Lower domain authority
- Damage to your brand
- Lack of trust from potential patients and fewer new patient appointments
Neglecting to keep your site up-to-date with the latest proven website design trends can prove costly.
5. Ignoring your online reputation
Many dentists don’t consider online reputation management as part of their marketing strategy. This is a mistake. Especially when considering that unaddressed negative reviews can result in major financial loss. Just look at these 20 online reputation statistics, including:
- 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business
- 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation
- Every one-star increase in your overall Yelp rating can mean a 5 to 9% increase in revenue
Considering that most patients will only look at (or consider) the most recent reviews as relevant, online reputation management is a matter of constant attention.
- Control your presence on every online review site
- Respond to reviews or online chatter about your practice
- Develop a general understanding of patient sentiment toward your practice (and take action based on findings)
6. Paying for social media followers
As you build your social presence and pursue social media marketing tactics, the temptation to find followers fast can be great. While buying a few hundred or thousand followers is incredibly easy and relatively cheap, it’s a strategy that will not pay off.
While we don’t condone buying social followers for any business, this practice is especially useless for dentists. Why?
- These followers don’t typically live in your city or area
- They have zero interest in your services
- You can damage your reputation
- You may end up spamming your real followers
- It may result in your account getting shut down
Pro Tip: Paying for followers is not the same as paying for an audience. Using a purchased audience list is a smart strategy for effectively targeting promoted posts and services on social media.
7. Using a content library
We’ve reviewed and analyzed thousands of dental websites from across the US. One dental marketing strategy we’ve noticed is worrisome: copy and paste content.
Take a look at the screenshot above. We copied a paragraph from a dental website and threw it into Google search. What did we find? The exact same sentences on countless other dental sites!
If Google visits your website and finds copy like this that’s nearly identical to another site — whether on a service page or your blog — you’ll be penalized. Not only will your Google search rankings suffer, but unoriginal content creates a boring and generic user experience that cannot meet the needs of your patients.
We can’t tell you the number of shady agencies and copywriting services we’ve come across that market access to their “content library” as a benefit. Do not fall for this scammy dental marketing strategy! Your website needs original writing to be successful.
8. Radio & newspaper advertising
Placing ads on the radio, newspaper, or other print publications certainly have their place, but relying on these outlets as your primary source of attracting new patients can be ineffective, frustrating, and expensive.
Compared to online dental marketing, radio and newspaper ads…
- Lack transparent tracking of results and effectiveness (we’ll talk more about this soon)
- Cannot achieve the same level of targeting
- Cost more and offer a lower ROI
With this in mind, make sure your dental marketing strategy is not relying on “old-school” methods like these. This goes back to our very first point about staying up-to-date with the latest marketing tactics!
9. Not tracking results
If you don’t collect and analyze the results of your dental marketing strategy, you…
- Won’t be able to understand what’s working and what isn’t
- Will never know the return on your investment in time, money, and effort
And yet, we’re continually surprised by the number of dental practices who aren’t analyzing results, let alone make adjustments based on findings.
To be blunt: There’s no point in doing any marketing if you don’t track the results. You’re just flushing money down the toilet.
Pro Tip: When it comes to tracking results, Google Analytics is your best friend. This tool will help you analyze all your online marketing efforts. Plus, it’s free and easy to use. If you’re not using it, start now.
10. Managing it all yourself
Does your practice employ a trained and educated marketing professional? If not, managing this aspect of your business is a mistake.
As we’ve discussed a few times in this article, the world of marketing is constantly changing. Getting it right and staying ahead of the competition requires someone who understands the latest proven methods.
The person managing your marketing needs the ability to create and implement an effective strategy designed to meet your goals, track results, and make changes as necessary. They also need to understand how to effectively represent your brand, voice, and personality.
All this requires full-time attention. And many dental practices rely on busy front office staff who just can’t keep up with both patient care and marketing duties.
Bonus: What to do instead
These dental marketing strategies DO work!
There are 4 key components to a successful dental marketing strategy:
- Your website
- Search engine optimization
- Paid advertising
- Reputation management
Focus all your attention on doing these 4 things very well and you’ll beat out the competition every time.
If you’re new to dental marketing, read our beginner’s guide to learn more.
A winning dental marketing strategy starts here
Our proven strategies have worked for dentists around the country and are designed to…
- Clearly communicate your mission
- Ensure your practice stands out from the competition
- Increase online visibility, website traffic, and Google Maps rankings
- Attract new patients
On average, our dental clients see 57 new patients per month!
Connect with us today to talk about how we can help your dental marketing strategy succeed.
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