More than half (64%) of US adults aged 18 and older visited a dental office in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This number rises to 84.6% for children ages two to 17.
Clearly, the demand for dentists is strong. So, if you’re having trouble attracting new patients, your online presence could be to blame. Here are some reasons why your current dentistry marketing tactics may be falling short.
Your online footprint is too small
Once upon a time, people consulted the Yellow Pages when searching for a dentist, but online directories have since taken over. If profile information for your practice is incomplete on popular directories, this is hindering new patients’ ability to find you.
Local citations (i.e., any online listing of the name, address, and phone number of your practice) can have a positive or negative effect on local search engine rankings. The number of citations, accuracy of data, and quality of platforms on which the information is listed impacts rankings. Accurate citations help patients find and contact your practice, whereas inaccurate citations confuse search engines and negatively affect your rankings.
If claiming and optimizing your practice and provider profiles isn’t part of your current dentist marketing plan, it’s time to change that. Your approach should include Google and other search engines, maps, and key health-care and local directories.
Your dental website is not optimized
More than one-quarter (27%) of consumers searched online for a local business every day in 2018, according to BrightLocal. To be found, you need an optimized practice website. If your dental marketing approach doesn’t include an SEO strategy for your website, it’s time to change that. Here are a few steps to creating an optimized website:
● Conduct keyword research.
● Use the primary keyword in the page title, URL, and meta description.
● Publish unique, quality content.
● Use internal links on each page of your site.
● Make sure your website loads quickly.
You don’t have many online patient reviews
Most (86%) consumers read reviews for local businesses, according to BrightLocal. Therefore, your dental marketing plan must include gathering patient reviews. Not only will online reviews assure new patients that your practice provides quality care, these can also boost your search rankings. In fact, Google has stated that high-quality, positive customer reviews will improve your business’s visibility.
To gather more online feedback, distribute post-visit patient satisfaction surveys. According to PatientPop research, fewer than half of dentists and other health-care providers ask their patients for feedback. If this includes your practice, note that 70% of people who are asked to leave reviews go online to do so, according to BrightLocal. All you have to do is ask.
You’re not active on social media
Most (79%) of the US population uses some form of social media, according to Statista. If your dental practice isn’t on social media or you don’t maintain an active presence, this is keeping new patients from finding you. Since Google’s algorithm is kept under lock and key, the amount of influence social media has on SEO is unknown. However, it can play a role in several indirect ways. This includes linking potential, raising brand awareness, and promoting your business.
Create a robust social media presence for your practice by completing your profiles and publishing original posts on a regular basis. Maximize your reach by offering a mix of organic and sponsored content.
Your dentistry marketing strategy does not include blogging
Blogging positions your site as providing relevant answers to customers' questions, thus enhancing SEO quality. Blog posts written for SEO can bring more opportunities to rank in search engines. Despite the fact that blogging can bring new patients into your practice, there’s a good chance it’s not part of your dental marketing plan. If so, you’re not alone.
Nearly half of participants in a small PatientPop survey revealed they weren’t currently blogging. Most (40.3%) blamed this on not having enough time to create content, followed by 35.1% who said they don’t have enough ideas for fresh, regular posts.
If you’re having trouble figuring out what to write about, use these best practices to get started.
● Write about specific services you offer.
● Tailor content to meet the needs of local patients.
● Answer patients’ frequently asked questions.
● Post new content on a consistent basis.
A dental marketing strategy aimed at growth makes your practice easy for new patients to find online. This will put your practice on the map and help fill your waiting room.
Jared Jost is the vice president of marketing for PatientPop, an all-in-one technology solution empowering dental and health-care providers promote their practices online, attract new patients, and retain more patients for life. Jared has 15 years of digital marketing experience with expertise implementing integrated marketing campaigns and helping businesses achieve their revenue goals.