In the traditional marketing age, flyers, brochures, billboard and coupons used to be the most popular means of promoting a product or a business. However, since the birth of the Internet and other technologies, these methods were eclipsed by digital marketing. With the rapid growth of people using the internet and the change in their behavior when looking for services, many businesses have decided to explore online marketing.
Both methods have the same objectives: establish a brand image and get customers. Which of these two can help your dental business the most?
Traditional Marketing vs. Digital Marketing
When it comes to marketing your services – is going digital an imperative in this day and age?
Many local businesses today, including dental offices, still rely on conventional marketing methods to attract customers. They give out flyers and place ads around their area, hoping that people who read these materials will remember them when they need their services.
Is this enough?
According to a study, Seventy-two (72%) of internet users say they looked online for health information within the past year. Seventy-seven percent (77%) of these people say they began at a search engine such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo to look for information. Eighty percent (80%) have looked online for information on health topics, such as specific diseases or treatments. Thirty-four percent (34%) have read about someone else’s experiences with their health or medical issues in an online newsgroup, website, or blog. And twenty-five percent (25%) have watched an online video about health or medical issues.
These numbers are growing steadily year after year.
Nowadays, when potential patients realize they have a dental issue, they will look for a solution online. They will have to find you as their friendly and accessible local solution.
In contrast, when you distribute traditional marketing materials like flyers and brochures, you “hope” that someone will remember and call you or visit you when they have finally acquired a dental issue.
Traditional marketing still helps, but with changes in consumer behavior, now is the best time to integrate online marketing into your dental practice.
Why? Simply put, online marketing can help your dental office be searchable and more visible to people who are actively searching for and considering a dentist right when they need one.
For this to happen, the first step would be to get familiar with how online marketing works, and for that, you might have to sit in front of a computer and do some learning. If you’re not so handy around computers or haven’t used the Internet much, now would be a good time to start.
A basic requirement is a stable and reliable Internet connection for your office. That way, you can begin your online marketing endeavors without having to wait for someone else to do it for you. There are a number of providers who offer Internet packages to suit varied needs, like Cox and Earthlink. Comparing cox internet prices and packages with others before you get a connection might help you make a better decision.
Once that’s taken care of, let’s see what else you can get started with to improve your digital presence.
Put some Teeth into your Online Marketing with these Tips
The reality of the situation is that search engines and local directories have taken the place of the Yellow Pages. As a dental practitioner, it is your responsibility to ensure you invest the majority of your energy into new marketing strategies that can benefit your business.
Here are six major ways you can maximize your online marketing efforts:
1. Have a Great Dental Website. Your website is where your online marketing efforts should start. Usually, potential clients will have a quick look at your website before considering your services and if they find your site boring and outdated, chances are, they’ll quickly navigate away from it. When websites are designed well, clients can acquire the information they are looking for without much trouble. That’s a plus for you and your office!
To guarantee your website’s efficiency and accessibility, be sure to include the following:
- Access to your contact information as well as directions to your clinic
- Details and pricings of your services
- Links to your blog and social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.)
- A corner where customers can place and read reviews about your services
- Your website must be mobile-friendly, employing a responsive web design architecture
2. Learn the Basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). You’ve probably heard a lot about search engine optimization practices such as optimizing keywords, or publishing relevant, useful and fresh content. But are you aware that there’s more behind your website that can help too? Things like headers, alt texts and meta descriptions can help search engine crawlers rank your websites higher in search results.
Here are some other tips that can help your website achieve better rankings:
- Provide useful and fresh content like articles, videos, infographics, reviews, etc.
- Integrate promos into your content
- Optimize your URLs, titles, descriptions, alt texts
- Improve your website’s loading time
- Register your website with Google and Bing webmaster tools
3. Invest in Local Visibility. Did you know that search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo! offer local listings for businesses? By listing your dental office with these search engines, you increase the possibility of being visible to people looking online for dentists within their area and coming across yours. There are other local directories and internet yellow pages such as Yelp, City Search, SuperPages, and many more.
Here are some ways your local visibility can be boosted:
- Publish your promos on local listings and directories
- Bolt on your SEO and Social Media to your Local Buzz strategy.
4. Utilize the Power of Social Media. A strong presence on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms is essential nowadays, since most of your current and potential clients are probably active social media users.
What should you do to keep up with this growing trend? How can you use social media to market your services? Here are some quick pointers:
- Include testimonials and reviews from past customers
- Have a regular discussion about good dental practices
- Include a quick link back to your website and blog
- Share engaging photos (like pictures of happy clients, quotes, etc.)
- Post announcements of special offers
5. Online Reputation Management. In the digital era, no one and nothing is protecting you from criticism anymore. Such is the case for dentists, whose practice can be hit by negative online reviews once in a while. Do you know how powerful online reviews can be? According to research, fifty-two percent (52%) of those who searched online for referred businesses looked for reviews or ratings. A separate study also showed that eighty percent (80%) of consumers can change their purchase decision after reading a negative review.
What can you do to spare your dental office from the effects of bad reviews about you if ever there are? How can you maintain the good reputation of your office? Here are a few tips:
- Look for in-depth reports detailing where you stand against your competition and what actions you need to take for your ORM campaign
- Publish genuine consumer reviews only in relevant websites
- Optimize your social media accounts
- If you don’t have a blog yet, set up one and start posting content that can push down negative reviews about your services
6. Make use of PPC (Pay per Click) Advertising. When you need traffic, PPC advertising is a great way to get it. In a nutshell, PPC is pretty simple: Search engines have features that allow businesses to buy ad placements in their search results. These listings appear above, below and alongside organic, non-paid results. If someone clicks on your listing, they will be redirected to your website and you, in turn, will be charged the amount you bid. These ads can be a bit expensive, but if you’re looking for immediate results, PPC advertising can offer a guaranteed solution.
Aside from appearing directly on a search engine’s results pages, you can also run ads through Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.
7. Tracking, Analytics and Reporting. Making sure your website looks good is one thing; knowing if you’re actually getting traffic is another. You need to have a traffic and analytics system that does the following:
- Allows you to see the total traffic your website is getting, including the breakdown of data from organic, referral, direct, paid and social sources
- Allows you to analyze which of your campaigns are working or not
- Allows you to know if visitors are engaged in your content or if they leave right away
- Alerts you if there are crawl issues on your website
- Allows you to know how often your web page appears in a search query and how many times it has been visited, as well as its average ranking
- Automatically detects every new search query or keyword that a user types in search engines that your web page shows up for
The marketing of your dental practice can quickly become costly and so if you’re struggling to manage the financial side, you can have a look at enlisting a dental consulting company such as Eide Bailly. We also know you need to focus on doing what you do best, and that is to maintain the overall oral health of your patients. Studying and exploring online marketing strategies on your own can be very time consuming, and that’s why we are here. We can help you in all of areas of online marketing – it’s what we do best!
We provide Responsive Web Design, SEO and Website Audit, Local Buzz, Social Media Optimization, PPC, Online Reputation Management and Online Presence Tracking and Analytics to grow your business.
Send us an email or call us so we can schedule a free consultation with you today.