10 dental practice marketing tips to make 2016 your best year yet

The start of a new year brings with it a time for reevaluation and improvements. Marketing for your dental practice and your website can be improved with some pretty simple steps, and with this will follow an increase in new patients.

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Online marketing for dentists is an ever-evolving industry. It’s also one that isn’t going away anytime soon, which is why staying on top of best practices and new trends is so important for success.

If you’re ready and willing to make 2016 your practice’s best year yet, you might need to adjust your strategies in a few key areas—design, social media, andsearch engine optimization (SEO).

Design with the user in mind
Get ahead of your competition in the new year by adjusting your website design to optimize user experience. Because 2015 saw mobile searches from smartphones and tablets surpass desktop computers, shifting the focus of your website design to reflect this can greatly improve conversions.

Achieve this with the following:
1. Personalization
—Web visitors came to your site for one reason and one reason only: to learn more about you. Make this easy for them by highlighting real photos of you and your staff instead of stock images.
2. Simplified design
—Trade in unnecessary features on your website such as auto-play videos, pop ups, and other annoying aspects for attention-grabbing call-to-action buttons, and be sure to showcase your contact information.
3. Patient proof
—Do you have patient testimonials on your website? Make sure they’re transcribed on the homepage. Incorporating the positive experiences of current patients can help sway the decision of potential patients.
4. Change it up
—When was the last time your site had a facelift? The shelf life of a website design is between three and five years. If your design is older than that, it’s time to update it.

Get social
Improve your social strategies in 2016 by making a resolution to post more frequently (at least once a day) on outlets such as Facebook and Twitter. Check out these tips to learn how to take your posts from ordinary to extraordinary by using engagement techniques such as questions, hashtags, and a call to action.

5. Ask questions—Generic post: We hope everyone has a great weekend! Engaging post: We hope everyone has a great weekend! What are your plans?
6. Invite interaction
—Generic Post: Flossing each day improves your oral health. Engaging Post: #FunFact: Flossing once each day lowers your risk of gum disease. ‘Like’ this post if you floss everyday!
7. Include a call to action
—Generic Post: Don’t forget to get your teeth cleaned every six months! Engaging post: Time for your next cleaning? Call us today and ask about our New Year special.

Say goodbye to black hat SEO techniques
This year, focus on growing your website with white hat techniques instead of black hat, or unethical, SEO. Set your rankings up for stability and your website for success by doing the following:

8.Blogging—Consider adding a blogroll to your website with weekly posts to help steadily improve qualified traffic (Google loves new content!).
9.
Update keywords—Revamp your target keywords and old content with updated on-page SEO that can naturally improve your local rankings.
10.
Get rid of duplicate content—Check your site for duplicate content using the free online tool SiteLiner. Simply copy and paste your website’s URL and click Go. After your site has been scanned, you’ll be redirected to an analysis page.

ALSO BY STEPHEN ANSON: 3 questions to ask a website provider before getting a new dental practice site

Stephen Anson is the cofounder of the dental website service Smile Marketing. He is a new patient marketing specialist who has been helping health-care professionals generate new patients from the Internet for over 10 years. Steve can be reached at steve@smilemarketing.com.

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