In 2020, many routine care visits were canceled due to COVID-19 precautions, including dental visits. The good news is that in 2021, dental practices report that over half of patients are looking to resume dental services. Will dental marketing strategies help your practice recovery? Digital marketing is an effective solution for the following scenarios:
- Ongoing communication about COVID-19.
- Rebounding from dips in patient volume.
- Recruiting more staff to cope with an influx of returning dental patients.
How to market your dental practice effectively is to utilize several marketing channels at once, including an optimized website, active social media accounts (especially Facebook), pay-per-click advertising campaigns (also referred to as Google Ads), and online reputation management. All of these work together to amplify the online presence of your dental practice that attracts new patients, recruits new staff, and communicates important updates to current patients.
In this article, we’ll share how iHealthSpot is helping dental practices continue to rebound in 2022.
We Already Send Mailers, So Why Do We Need Digital Marketing for Our Dental Practice?
If print advertising is bringing in new patients for your dental practice, that’s great news. But as far as building awareness about your dental practice, it’s difficult to measure the impact and effectiveness of print advertising.
Sophisticated digital marketing tools track how many people have seen your website, ads, social media posts, and more. On the other hand, mailer performance is not easy to gauge – as many postcards and community newspapers can end up in the waste bin without so much as a glance.
Dentist marketing is quantified when it is digital, and measurable results paint a clearer picture of the return on your investment.
Effective Dental Marketing Strategies Start with a Modern Website
What is “modern” website design? Whereas site structure used to be logically organized, user experience (or UX) now drives web design. Today, websites have been rearranged for frictionless user navigation and with in-demand features readily available.
The vast majority of websites are now built with responsive design. This means that a visitor browsing with a mobile device will be able to use a website with the same ease as they would on a full-sized computer screen. In fact, this is becoming a requirement, as the lion’s share of internet users now browse via mobile devices.
Mobile users have come to expect websites that are built for the handheld experience. So, if your website is not mobile-friendly, prospects are more likely to abandon your pages, and look to a competitor’s site instead.
Is it Easy for Dental Site Visitors to Become New Patients?
One of the drawbacks of the old style of web design is how buried contact information was – the visitor is ready to book an appointment now, and must take the time to hunt around for a phone number.
iHealthSpot web designers solve this problem by placing the phone number at the top of every page. The phone number also has click-to-call enabled, so that when the user clicks the phone number on mobile, it copies over to their phone instantly, prompting the user to call or text.
One of the dental marketing strategies our team implements is to place the HIPAA– secure contact form in a prominent place, right at the top of the home page of the website. This makes the new patient acquisition process frictionless as the form is right there to capture their contact information.
Keep in mind that your website is your dental marketing hub. Traffic comes from Google, Bing, pay-per-click ads (when applicable), online directories, social media, and more. An easy-to-use website makes a positive first impression on potential patients. Compare that with your current site: what impression might visitors be forming based on your current web presentation?
Dentist Marketing on Social Media
Market research finds that 76% of respondents believe that dentists cannot be successful without one form or another of social media. Here is the breakdown of survey responses:
- 35% Facebook
- 18% Instagram
- 11% YouTube
- 7% TikTok
- 5% LinkedIn
This same survey also reveals that dental practices that engage in social media are viewed as innovative and caring. On the other hand, dental practices with no social media presence are perceived as traditionalist and focused on face-to-face encounters – not really a positive in today’s digitally-driven world.
Social media for dentists allows you to continue conversations with happy patients any time, day or night, as they react positively to posts and leave heartfelt comments. Social media helps attract new patients and new talent, as onlookers notice the positive presence of your dental practice.
Social media is also highly effective at distributing time-sensitive communication. This is especially important as COVID-19 variants remain a safety concern. Internet users may check their email once or twice per day, but they are likely to check social media feeds much more often. If you want to ensure more people get your message, posting on social media helps.
When patients and employees share posts from your social media page, this widens your audience. For example, if you’re needing to fill a job vacancy, your followers can share your “Now Hiring” post with other local Facebook users.
In addition, leveraging Facebook ads can help you get the word out about an enticing new patient offer, and Facebook ad tools allow you to mold your own digital audience consisting of those most likely to be in search of a new dentist.
How to Market Your Dental Practice Through Google Search
Google is the most-used search engine on the planet, and to be found when prospective dental patients are looking, your website must be in optimal shape. We call this level of search visibility SEO (or search engine optimization). This means that the website must be easy to crawl by Google’s automated bots, and the right keywords in web content helps Google understand what the website is about, and to whom it is relevant.
Another critical factor to consider is local search. Since dentistry serves the local community, it’s to your advantage to be found in local search as well. Claiming your Google My Business (GMB) directory listing, updating other popular dental practice directories, and building up your Google reviews is how you can dominate in local search.
That prospects are searching for dentists local to you is a safe bet. Terms like “dental practice near me,” “affordable implants near me,” or, “sedation dentistry near me,” are more than likely searched every day, and if they aren’t finding your practice, they are finding your competitors instead. SEO for dental practices helps your services be found in such searches.
How to Secure Online Presence and Website Traffic Through Google Ads
Though SEO (also referred to as “organic visibility”) is a sustainable dental marketing strategy, it takes time to establish. A faster option is pay-per-click (or Google Ads) paid search campaigns. Our digital marketing experts have found PPC ads for dentists to be highly effective in driving traffic to websites.
Paid search is how dentists stand out in a crowded market. For example, if someone searched for “low cost dentist near me” ads for dental specials are likely to come up. Or if they Google “pediatric dentist near me” this would narrow down all local dentists to those who care for children.
Online Listings, Ratings and Reviews – and What a Dental Practice Can Do About It
Maximizing the online presence of your dental practice can be as simple as having all of your directories claimed and updated. Consistency between directories also helps Google make connections between sites to improve your online visibility.
While ZocDoc and Rate MDS do include dentists, there are directories for dentists only. Below is a list of some directories dedicated to dental listings management.
- American Dental Association
- Dentist Directory
- The Dentist Hub
- Every Dentist
- Smile Guide
- Super Dentists
Why Ratings & Reviews Are a Big Deal for Dental Marketing
More and more, consumers read online reviews to vet services. Feedback from strangers helps patients know what to expect when they come in for a visit. If a prospect is deliberating between a few dentists, online reputation is highly likely to be a deciding factor.
While these reviews are published by patients and not of your own doing, you can still have a role in online reputation management for dental practices by:
- Responding to both positive and negative reviews with a friendly and professional tone.
- Replying to negative reviews with empathy, and encouraging the reviewer to move the conversation to a private channel to further resolve the issue.
- Ask happy patients to leave reviews for you online.
As mentioned earlier, your practice is competing with other dentists in the area to appear in online search. Localized results are a limited list known as Google’s “local pack.” To be picked for this shortlist, it helps to have a stellar rating from Google users as well as a healthy number of published Google reviews.
Rebound in 2022 with iHealthSpot’s Proven Dental Marketing Strategies
If you’ve ever thought about branching out with your digital marketing, there is no better time than now. iHealthSpot is here to help dental practices attract new patients with a modernized dental website that converts site visitors into loyal patients.
Your 2022 dental practice growth goals are in reach with iHealthSpot’s all-in-one dental practice marketing solutions. Your dental marketing strategies will be supported by our experts in dental website design, SEO, dental content writing, pay-per-click, social media, and online reputation/listings management.
Take the first step toward your 2022 dental practice recovery with a free online presence assessment, or call us at (877) 709-0999 to go over your dental practice growth goals with zero obligation.