The simple question is...
How do dental patients find a new dentist?
There are basically two ways - people who know you, and people who DON'T
First is a referral. Your existing, happy patients are a great source of new ones.
...But what about everybody else?
People who haven’t been to a dentist in years and now have to find someone?
Families who moved and are looking for a family dental practice?
Someone who needs a dental specialist?
You're a very logical person, that's why you're a dentist.
...Studies show that 90 percent of people looking for a new service such as a dental practice will begin their search online.
Before my time there was the PRINT Yellow Pages, but when you’ve got a smartphone in your back-pocket, why bother?
It's the first point of contact so you've got to be there where your new prospective patients are looking.
....Marketing dental practices is digital
Two challenges face your dental practice with marketing.
When someone does a search, you have to show-up on page one or you essentially lose business to practices that are there.
Here is the behaviour of someone who uses their phone when searching. It's such a micro moment you don't even notice.
Google Ads, or Google Adwords as it was known, gets you in the very top positions based on a bidding platform (PPC - Pay Per Click). This is essential as an early traffic source and to bring more traffic from mobile searches.
Your online ads and website are far more than just online listings.
They are your most important marketing asset, and you shouldn't skimp on it. It's your best salesperson that works for you around the clock.
Prospective patients will compare your website side-by-side with other dental practices.
And look, you're have to persuade them that you are the best choice.
Value, trust, convenience, price, experience, reputation… all of these are part of a strong web presence that converts.
5 strategies for success
Strategy #1 - Have an optimized website
- 81% of consumers who search for a type of local business on a mobile device call or go to that business within 24 hours.
- 81% of consumers research a product online before buying yet in Australia, more than half (59 percent) of small business owners do not have a website.
Google recommends the following things to position your website better in the search engine rankings.
1. Write your pages primarily for users, not for content that is is optimised for search engines.
2. Make a site with a clear structure and text links. Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link, think of it like a spider web.
3. Create useful valuable content with lots of information, images and videos.
4. Use keywords to create descriptive, human-friendly links
5. Make it mobile. Having a website isn’t enough.
Once you have your mobile optimised website, ready to go with your value proposition. It's time to bring traffic, I always recommend paid with Google Ads, or Facebook Advertising.
Strategy No. 2: Search engine optimization
Insight from local search behavior reveals that local searchers are more willing to take action.
According to studies from search engine journal, “50 percent of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day, and 34 percent who searched on computer/tablet did the same.”
This means ranking in local search has a direct impact on in-store, or foot traffic.
Mobile-friendly websites have overall have seen a 10.8 percent increase in traffic. Since Google’s Mobile-Friendly algorithm update, July 1, 2019.
SEO provided the highest return on spending than all other channels - for dental practices and business alike.
...Things to consider about SEO:
(I've got a checklist here in this blog, if you wish to do this yourself)
1. Complete your Google My Business profile & make sure that all information is accurate
2. Submit your business to local directories such as Yellow Pages, Tru Local, and other dental related ones.
3. Encourage online reviews of your business
4. Put in local keywords in your website, in the URLS, headings, titles, descriptions & page content.
5. Ensure your NAP (Name Address, Phone Number) is consistent across your website, ads & all social channels
6. Include valuable local information on your website such as: opening hours, directions to your store, before/afters
7. Make sure your website passes Google’s mobile friendly test, if not invest in responsive web design.
8. Speed your website up (Mobile users expect fast-loading websites, especially when they are on the go).
Strategy No. 3: Reviews
Why does my practice need reviews?
- 88 percent of your customers read reviews, as social creatures we need social approval. It's kind of like the online version of word of mouth.
- For most people (nine in 10 consumers), an online review as important as a personal recommendation.
What patients say about you — both to friends and online - is a major part in marketing.
(In Australia, your practice and professions in healthcare is regulated by APHRA) What you can do is show your before and after photos of your treatment cases.
People today have platforms of communication meaning they can share their opinions. and useful tip, use it as marketing material for your dental practice.
Things to consider about reviews:
1. Integrate into business processes.
For a business, get your employees and associates make it a requirement and add it to as part of your internal procedures. This may require employee training and perhaps new procedures to be sure that they ask for reviews.
Reviews are like traditional testimonials. Keep them review and consistent so you also keep Google happy and indicate to them your practice is still in business.
3. Diversity of review sites.
Putting your eggs in one basket is never a good strategy so make sure its on your social platforms, google and the directories
4. Plan for the bad review.
Even if you are the best practice in the universe, you will sooner or later get a bad review. Decide ahead of time how it will be handled and who will handle it.
Ending up in argument on the front of the customer is a no-win situation and some thought put it in how you are going to respond will avoid the worst outcomes.
Strategy No. 4: Pay per click
There are several places to buy media and be in front of your patients.
Facebook, and Google Ads is the best for new patients.
There two platforms are used by most Australians and I bet you have these, if not... I can't help you.
Paying for ads might not be want you want to do, I can assure you there is fastest way. It's not about if you're going to do it, but rather when.
With paid ads, you can get your practice in front of potential patients without them looking for you; instead you go to them. You're basically prospecting, so if you're not doing anything to promote your business - you NEED to do something.
Google Ads can help speed up your SEO, increase your geographic reach and start offering your services.
Things to consider about Pay-Per-Click advertising
1. Setting up your PPC Accounts.
Consider hiring a company or myself to help you to set-up and manage your campaigns.
It is so invaluable to get it right the first time (well if you want a long-term business) otherwise you can do it yourself.
(Here I provide a step-by-step guide that shows you how to do it)
Strategy 5: Social media/Facebook
Your customers are social and so your practice must adapt.
Immerse yourself into the conversations. Read consumer commentary on other dental services listed on Yellow Pages or where potential customers may visit.
2. Build your brand, create your own personality and presence online.
Create a voice that others will be interested in following.
People buy from people...
3. Be intentional
Make sure what you post is relevant and engagement posting often.
4. Be relevant.
Social media is all about what will resonate now. Start with topics that relate to dentistry, your business or your customers.
Consider posting things like developments in dental technology that your practice is adopting or a new service. Or identifying issues that people have.
5. Be consistent.
Much like having a website, having at the very least an active Facebook page is essential in presenting yourself as being in business and trustworthy
As a business, you need to have a process to understand what type of return your business is yielding on any one platform.
"What get's measured, get's improved"
Don't shy away from it, or if you need a hand to intepret your data or knowing exactly where your customers are coming from.
If you need a hand, just shoot me a message.