Internet Dental Marketing Strategies – Part 1
Creating A Plan To Promote Your Practice Online
The key to a successful practice is a steady stream of new patients. In times past marketing for a dentist consisted of placing a listing in the yellow pages and taking out an ad in the local newspaper. But we live in the digital era now, and old school practice marketing techniques are no longer effective. When you consider that many young professionals and parents get their news online and most millennials have never even used a telephone book, it is obvious that relying on outdated forms of advertising is a losing proposition.
But for many dentists – even those that regularly use the Internet – how to tap into that growing pool of potential new patients online remains a mystery. They spend a lot of thought and resources on building an exceptional dental office, and assume those efforts will carry over to the search engines. There is nothing more frustrating for a dentist than seeing inferior practices showing up for a variety of dental searches, while their superior office languishes in search engine obscurity.
The solution to that problem starts with a practice marketing plan. The maxim “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” is definitely true when it comes to dental Internet marketing. In this series of posts we’ll give you an outline to follow in crafting a successful blueprint for attracting new patients online.
Step 1: Define Your Goals
The first step in your game plan should be to identify your targets. Clearly stating what you hope to achieve will give you a way to both evaluate tactics and also measure success. Asking “Does taking this step help us meet our objectives?” is a great way to weed out extraneous approaches. And quantifying which metrics have improved will help you calculate the ROI of any tactics you implement.
In most cases, a good online marketing plan will have the following goals:
- Increase Website Traffic
– Whether you are talking about dental SEO to improve your rankings, ads on Facebook or Google, or email campaigns to existing clients, the goal remains the same – bring more visitors to your site. The primary goal of your practice website is to encourage visitors to schedule an appointment, so the more qualified visitors you have the more new patients you will receive.
- Increase Visitor Conversions
– Just getting visitors to your site is only half the battle. Any money spent encouraging potential patients to come to your website is wasted if they bounce without picking up the phone. Successful online marketing for dentists will include conversion tuning to maximize the number of visitors that become patients.
- Sell Additional Services
– The easiest people to market to are your current patients. Their existing relationship with you makes them much more likely to take advantage of additional services you offer – if they know about them. Using email and social media to promote other treatments and specials is a great way to increase dental practice revenue.
Stick To The Target
Once you have identified your goals, all of your subsequent steps should align under one of them. Search Engine Optimization and AdWords advertising will help increase website traffic, a website redesign or using an online review service can help improve conversion rates, and promoting social media posts or building an email list can help sell additional services. Keeping your targets in mind will keep you from chasing ideas that sound good but ultimately will not help increase your bottom line.
In our next articles we’ll look at how to build a budget for your marketing plan, including valuing new patients and also identifying which procedures to promote. We’ll also look at short, mid, and long-term goals in your campaign, and how to construct a timeline and set reasonable expectations. And we’ll touch on things like taking inventory of your website and social media pages, understanding how online reviews play into your marketing efforts, and ways to measure success.