Digital Marketing For Dentists: A Beginner’s Guide
Marketing your dental practice isn’t what it used to be. Even just a few years ago you could rely on word of mouth and traditional marketing to find new patients. But the world, and the way patients choose a dentist, has changed.
Enter digital marketing for dentists — the modern way to attract and convert someone looking for a new dentist into a long-term patient.
Why digital marketing for dentists?
Your customers are online (and prefer to contact you this way)
New patients are likely to be online often throughout their day and will feel most comfortable finding a practice through means they are familiar with. Be it searching Google, looking at online reviews, getting a recommendation from a friend on Facebook, or seeing an ad on Instagram, digital marketing meets patients where they already are.
Traditional advertising casts a wide net in the hopes of catching just a few patients. Whether it’s a newspaper advertisement, radio spot, or flyer on a car windshield, traditional advertising costs are high with a low return on investment. Why? The vast majority of people who see these ads aren’t interested in finding a dentist — you’re spending a lot of money on people who don’t even need (or want) treatment from you.
Dental internet marketing is significantly more efficient and effective. With this modern strategy for marketing your practice, your resources can be used to target people who want and need your treatments.
Easy to evaluate and adjust
Traditional marketing does a poor job of showing how your success (or failure) is tied to your marketing efforts. Who’s to say that the patient who scheduled an appointment saw your billboard or was referred by a friend?
With digital marketing, every dollar spent can have a digital fingerprint to trace back to new patients. Not only does this tell you what’s working and what’s not, but it allows you to adjust your marketing plan much more nimbly and tinker with your strategy until something clicks.
The 4 key components of digital marketing for dentists
While we wish there was a shortcut for setting up a dental internet marketing strategy, the reality is digital marketing is more of a mosaic of efforts than a simple trick.
Component #1: Your website
Your digital marketing’s presence begins and ends with your website. Not only does your website set up the foundation of your practice’s online presence, but it will also be an opportunity to convert potential patients into paying, long-term patients.
So what makes a quality dental website?
- Mobile-friendly: More and more every day, patients are opting for a mobile experience when looking for new dentists online. A quality dental website is designed to work just as well on a phone as it is on a desktop computer.
- Engaging and informational: You may have heard the old adage “content is king.” Content, or the written words on your website, is the primary way you’ll communicate your voice and values to new patients. The content on your website should be informational, engaging, and original. It also needs to be optimized for SEO.
- Representative of your practice: A quality website gives visitors a true taste of what it’s like to be your patient. How? By displaying patient testimonials, dentist bios, and most importantly high-quality images and/or video.
- Modern: Take a look at the best dental websites designed this year and compare them to one built in 2016 (or if you’re really brave, 2011). Notice a difference? Technology and best practices rapidly change with web design, and patients will take note if your site looks out of date.
- Up-to-date and flexible: If you pay for a website, use it! If a patient goes to your site and sees that it hasn’t been updated in 2 years, they’ll be put off. By ensuring your website is flexible (through a website built on WordPress or another reliable platform), you’ll make it easy to update regularly.
Component #2: Search engine optimization
If you’re looking into digital marketing for dentists, chances are you’ve heard or read the term “SEO” before. SEO is a key piece of the digital marketing puzzle, and without taking it seriously even the nicest website in the world would hardly ever get any visitors.
While it may seem like a confusing concept, it’s actually quite simple. SEO makes sure that Google and other search engines can clearly see your website. The end goal? To make sure your website and practice show up when a potential patient in your city searches online for a new dentist.
Think of it this way: If your website is an island in the vast ocean of the internet, think of SEO as a smoke signal for the patient flying overhead in their single-engine plane. Without SEO, this potential new patient will never see your practice’s website from 20,000 feet in the air.
So how do you make sure your website and practice are search engine optimized? There are many tactics, but almost all are centered around keyword research and identifying what terms patients in your city are searching for when looking for a new dentist. From there, you can design your website and content around these terms.
Learn more about SEO, how you can leverage it to get the patients you’re looking for, and how it fits into the digital marketing for dentists puzzle.
Component #3: Paid advertising
While SEO will help get you in front of your ideal patients, paid advertising will give your website a little push in the right direction. This is particularly relevant when your website is brand new, you just start offering a new treatment, or you’d like a particularly strong push of brand new patients.
We recommend advertising on Google with a PPC campaign. Paid advertising essentially allows you to jump to the top of the rankings line and get your website in front of the patients who are looking for dentists before they can see your competitors.
The catch is that it costs money, of course. But unlike traditional advertising, you’ll only pay Google if someone clicks on your ad. Once that happens, it’s in the hands of your website to demonstrate value and convince someone to schedule an appointment (see, what did we say about this whole interconnected thing?).
Component #4: Reputation management
Often overlooked, reputation management is a crucial part of digital marketing for dentists. Remember at the beginning of this blog post when we said that you can’t rely on word of mouth for new patients any longer? Instead, patients today rely on online reviews to vouch for what an experience at your practice might be like.
Without good online reviews, patients can feel in the dark about what to expect when they walk through your doors.
While online reviews may seem like something that’s out of your hands, you can (and should) take steps to facilitate a good online reputation. We recommend online reputation management software, which makes it easy to follow up with patients to make sure they leave a positive review.
Ready to take your practice to the next level?
Don’t stop here — learn more about digital marketing for dentists and how to stop surviving and start thriving. Request a free copy of our book, From Search to Smile: How to Book More of the Right Patients Through Digital Marketing.
From Search to Smile presents the topic of dental marketing in a concise, simple-to-digest format. You’ll finish this book knowing how to create a proven marketing plan that drives a steady flow of high-quality new patients.
Our team is here to help
At :Delmain, we’ve helped hundreds of practices book thousands of patients through modern digital marketing for dentists. Book an intro call today let’s talk about how we can help your practice book more patients through your website.
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