Competing for business in the modern dental world requires more than just hanging up a sign and opening your doors. Dentists are always looking for new ways to drive customers to their practices, and the digital world seems to be at the forefront of dental marketing.
If you’re at a loss regarding where to start with your digital marketing campaign, or if you’ve struggled to find any success, here are a few ideas that have proven successful for other dental practices.
1. Location-based marketing
Dental offices are location-based businesses that plumb their local areas for new customers. If you’re attempting to rank for keywords such as “dentist” or “toothache,” you’re in for a lot of work. Focus your digital marketing campaign on local, topically relevant links. For example, if you were a dentist in Salt Lake City, you might want to target the area in one of the following ways:
• Create a local community resource — For example, you could create a list of the best family-friendly restaurants. This opens the door for people to use your list as a resource and link to your website. Make sure it’s something useful that the community is likely to engage in.
• Get listed on local resources or directories — Do some research and find city websites, newspapers, radio websites, chambers of commerce, local associations, and more. If you can get listed and get a link in one of these places, potential customers are much more likely to find you online.
• Get listed on sites such as Yahoo Local, Merchant Circle, and Google Places — If you’re easily accessible on Google Places, you’re more likely to get noticed online when people search for dentists in your city.
2. Mobile marketing
How are people in your neighborhood most likely to find out about your business? Through referrals, a website, or via their smartphones. The digital revolution has gone mobile, and people often search for local businesses on their smartphones. Make sure you have a mobile-friendly website that includes the option to convert a customer with a “Schedule an appointment” option on the home page.
After you’ve created a mobile-accessible website, make sure you’ve claimed your business on platforms such as Facebook Places, Google Places, and Foursquare. This way, potential customers in your area who are looking for dentists on these social platforms can see your practice as option.
3. Using marketing data efficiently
Domo conducted a survey of marketing experts that concluded only 55% of practiced marketers admit they have access to all the marketing data they need to be successful. According to Domo, about 44% of marketers need more time to collect data, and even when they do have that time, the majority can’t see it all in one easy-to-access place. If you’re still reporting and analyzing data through laborious emails and spreadsheets, step up your marketing analytics game with a business dashboard. Find a system that allows you to pull real-time marketing data. There are different dashboards that your marketing team can test to see which platform works best for your practice. Whichever you choose, make sure you have an actionable marketing plan in place for success.
4. Smart promotions
If you plan to do promotions on Facebook or on your site, get smart about it. Set up digital marketing campaigns that meet your customers’ needs at the time of their biggest concern. Use keyword data to pinpoint customers who come to your site searching for toothaches, broken teeth, or bleeding gums. Then, offer specials that give discounts on those particular services. Find out what dental services your customers are coming to you for most frequently. Use that data to create specials for them on your website and social media.
If you’re planning on giveaways or other specials, try using a tool to improve the efficiency and reporting of the giveaway. Two that have worked great are:
• PunchTab – The free version of PunchTab is easy to use and offers transparent reporting. It offers users points for sharing your giveaway on social platforms. It also offers in-depth reporting, such as which social media platforms your entrants came from.
• GroSocial – Known for their custom Facebook tabs, GroSocial helps you generate more followers and leads through custom Facebook giveaways. Their software can also help you plan and schedule updates on major social networks.
Crafting a successful digital marketing campaign for your practice is no easy task. The suggestions offered her are a great start, but the pay-off comes in the consistent application of each of these strategies.
Bryan Phelps is the owner of Big Leap, a digital agency that provides online marketing services to dental practices around the country, as well as major dental suppliers and dental software companies.