Chas Crawford

Top 7 ways to get more new dental patients to your practice

June 4, 2013
One of the goals of marketing is a positive ROI

If you’re a dentist, or marketer who focuses on helping dentists, you’re probably on the lookout for the cutting edge marketing tactics that actually work and provide a positive ROI. You’ll appreciate these tips, because all of them have been tested and have worked every time. That’s because all of these methods have the correct goal, and that is to provide value to customers and to make it easy for them to do business with you.

Here are seven strategies that you should apply if you’re serious about getting more new patients. Nearly all of the tips are related to the Internet. That’s because Internet marketing works, and with the rise of mobile device usage, it’s even more important to be available digitally. Traditional methods such as direct mail can still work, but it’s all about how you approach it and who’s writing your copy.

1. High converting website
Most dentists and marketers overlook this aspect. You could be getting 3,000 clicks per month on your site, but if you’re conversion rate is less than 1%, you’re doing something wrong. Your conversion rate goal should be at least 3%, and that’s because 3% is a realistic number. Now imagine going from a conversion rate of 1% to 3% virtually overnight. You just went from getting only 10 new patients per month to getting 30 new patients per month. How much did that cost? It may $1,000 for a high-level firm to design a new site for you. Not a bad ROI. The first couple of patients will easily get you your investment back.

2. Regular Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
There are different strategies for SEO — local, regular, and international. Here’s a screenshot that I took to show you the difference between Adwords, Regular, and Local results on Google. The same applies to other search engines. Click here to watch a great video that explains the differences between regular SEO and local SEO tactics to rank higher in Google for both.

3. Local SEO
As you can see from the above photo, the local results are the listings with the A and B pins and addresses on the right hand side. These are very important, especially since Google displays local results higher on mobile browsers. That’s because when people search for something on their smartphone, they are most likely looking for a regular listing. Click here for a great video that explains Local SEO in great detail.

4. Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)
The biggest PPC platform is Google Adwords. In the above photo, you can see that the Adwords ads are the ones displayed first with the pinkish background. When people click these ads, you pay. For dentistry, the cost per clicks are pretty high, generally around $2 to $15 per click, depending on how competitive it is in your area. However, when you have a firm that knows what they’re doing, you can get very low CPCs and high conversions … which means you come out with a very nice positive ROI.

5. Social Media Marketing (SMM)
Social media marketing is very powerful when done properly. Notice the keyword is properly. You need to do more than just automate posts on Facebook every other day. Do something unique. Have a personable background image, and be sure to use the different tabs that you can have on your page, such as photos, links, and more. The main goal with social media is to actually be active on the accounts you have. Don’t create a Twitter account if you’re never going to post on it. Make sure you optimize your Google+ page. Google authorship is the next big thing, and it matters a lot. Many times, your Google+ can rank on the local results, which is huge! When you search for someone’s company, notice how your Google+ photo and map display on the top right hand corner of the results page. This is simply amazing.

6. Retargeting
The idea of retargeting (also called remarketing) has been around for almost 10 years, but it’s only become more viable to the public in the last three years. Retargeting is this — you visit a website, cookies are then placed on your browser, and when you are on other websites such as Facebook, relevant ads are shown to you on those sites. Notice when you browse that many of the ads are from websites that you’ve visited. That’s retargeting in action. It’s very powerful because of the relevancy. People were already somewhat interested in you, and now you have a chance to show them an ad that can bring them back to your site.

7. Quality patient management
The best customers come from word-of-mouth marketing. Your goal should be to provide such great service that satisfied customers will not be able to wait to tell their friends about you. Having said that, you need to help foster that growth and sharing. Here are a couple of things you should be doing.

1. Reviews — Getting reviews on your Google+ and Yelp listings definitely helps to boost them. Ask your patients to provide reviews, and ask them either through follow-up emails or while they’re in the office. Some dentists even offer their patients $5 giftcards for reviews. This is actually OK — the key is that you don’t pay people for positive reviews only. That’s technically against Google and other directory’s terms of service. But most people who would take the time to leave a review will probably make it positive.

2. Testimonials — Ask your patients for written or verbal testimonials that you can put on your website and other online verticals. Testimonials build trust, and trust is what sells. That’s the goal of a marketer — to build trust and add value.

3. Patient reminders — There’s a debate as to whether software such as Demandforce, Televox, and Lighthouse 360 actually give you a positive ROI. I think the biggest question is, how many cancelations do you get in any given month? It it’s greater than 10, then one of these software programs might be worth it. The biggest value that many of these programs have is the ability to text message your patients a reminder to come in for their appointment. That decreases the probability of them forgetting. These programs can also help you send out emails and ask for reviews.

If you want to take your dental practice to the next level, then definitely apply all these tactics or hire a firm that knows how to do it right. These methods work, and if you don’t think they do, then you either hired a firm that didn’t know how to do it properly, or you tried doing it yourself and gave up after 30 days. All the above methods take a lot of time to apply properly, and if you do it wrong, your website could end up on the bottom of page 100 or worse — de-indexed. Take the time to make sure it gets done properly, and you will be more than glad you did.

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Charles Crawford is a high level marketer who helps dentists dominate their niche through applying marketing tactics that work. He cofounded Crawford and O’Brien LLC, a Phoenix SEO Company, in 2012. Connect with Charles on Google+ or on twitter @chazcrawford.