With more and more dental practices popping up around the United States, it can be difficult to make yourself seen above the competition. So how can you run your own small dental practice and continue to attract and retain customers in an aggressive dental world?
Develop your online presence with dental marketing.
Really? But wouldn’t it be better to utilize traditional marketing methods with billboards and fliers? It may surprise you to find out that there are other, more productive marketing tools you can use, which include:
Think back to a time you may have been seeking someone’s services by looking online. Were there times when a company had a beautiful website and it drew you in immediately? Or perhaps the website looked shabby and under-maintained. Believe it or not, your website can be a huge indicator of whether or not someone will utilize your services.
To create a reputable website, you’ll need:
This is your time to shine! After all, first impressions are everything and many times, potential customers get their first impressions from your dental marketing website.
This doesn’t mean constantly and unnecessarily providing content for your website, especially without a plan. After all, sloppy or needless content can hurt your business. What this means is after you create your core pages, the content doesn’t stop there. In fact, websites that have a blog and consistently update that blog can rank better on search engines in order to make your website more easily seen.
What’s the point in even having a website if potential customers can’t even find it? Exactly. Here are some facts that help show why utilizing SEO is in your best interest:
Increasing the SEO of your website can bring in far more leads to your business vs. traditional marketing methods such as fliers and newspaper ads. In a growing digital age, dental practices must also get with the times. Get on the first page of Google by focusing on SEO! You’ll be glad you did!
Did you know that in 2016, 68% of United States adults were Facebook users? On top of that, 76% of those Facebook users check in at least once a day. Add to that the amount of people who use Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media outlets, and you find yourself with a large online customer base!
So how can you tap into the online world in a way that will benefit your dental practice?
You have the potential to reach so many more customers for your dental practice by following these four actions. For the most optimal results, don’t hesitate to reach out to Integrated Digital Strategies!
Most small businesses understand the power and importance of Search Engine Optimization. These businesses normally fall into three categories: 1: They have a budget and will hire an outside firm that masters SEO. 2: They get their “cousin Vinny” to do it. Or 3: They try to manage it themselves, which in turn allows their competition that is most likely doing #1 to bypass them in the search results. Most small business owners who think they’re good at SEO rely on the knowledge they may have learned years ago or from one-off articles that are read from time to time. True SEO practitioners are needed nowadays to truly understand the intricacies and changes that have come down the pipeline over the past two years.
Because we know that most small businesses either practice #2, #3 or do ZERO SEO, we are providing 5 Local SEO Mistakes that we have seen many businesses make recently. Avoiding these mistakes can pay off dividends… so here they are….
Over 33% of all searches on Yahoo, Google, and Bing have local intent. Mobile searches have also dominated the way people look for local businesses (represents over 27% of all searches) which only drives home the importance of being optimized locally. In order for local businesses to be found and chosen by searchers, there are several strategies that need to be in place. Some include:
The time and effort spent on creating optimized content for local searches will be well spent.
Many small business owners ignore social media due to “being too busy” or “not knowing the true ROI”. Others think its too frivolous or their potential customers would never make buying decisions being active in it. Well, none of this is true. You CAN measure the ROI of your social media and social media DOES have an effect on the bottom line…..only if you have a strategy in place.
Businesses that aren’t on social media are missing out on awesome opportunities to expand their search engine visibility. Putting out strategic, fresh content is not only friendly for your users, but the links associated with shares are becoming increasingly more important for search engines.
Afraid of getting into social media full force? Don’t know where to start? Do research on your competitors. See where they are active socially. Most importantly, find the channels your customers are active on. Focus on one channel at a time, updating it with fresh content, interact with customers and potential customers then add more social channels as you see fit.
Content marketing, while a huge buzzword right now, is something every business should master if they want to appease the search engines and transition their business according to how people make their buying decisions now. Many larger corporations have taken full advantage of content marketing by hiring editorial teams, adding continuous blog content and engaging their customers over time through nurturing and creating “Youtilities“. Some smaller businesses may see this and get discouraged as it takes time, dedication, resources and a complete understanding of WHY you’re doing it in the first place.
For those small businesses, a common practice might be to duplicate site content that was well written or well optimized for the search engines. This may increase the size of the website but its frowned upon by the “All Mighty” Google and makes for a bad user experience. Duplicating content is a focus of Googles recent algorithm change called Penguin 2.0. This change finds unethical search engine optimization strategies/ tactics and will remove the website itself from being able to rank well. Duplicate content may seem like the easy way out but it causes more issues than it does benefit your local or national business.
Posting duplicate content on your site can also be as bad as not posting any content at all. Not understanding the benefit updating your site’s content or blogging causes many small business owners to be sporadic or not create fresh content at all. Studies have shown that having consistent, fresh content on your site, increases organic search rankings and keeps people coming to your site which is important for Google’s ranking factors. There are several easy ways smaller businesses can create fresh and unique content in conjunction to social media. A couple tactics include…
Just because you’ve done keyword research and a little bit of competitive intel, doesn’t mean you’re able to stop. Search Engine Optimization is a long-term strategy that includes continuous tweaking and changes. The previously mentioned tactics are a great first step to launch your small business marketing campaign but they aren’t the end all be all. You should always be looking to generate new content ideas, build links to your site and to make sure the user experience on your website is top notch.
As Google’s algorithms change, businesses that answer the questions their local prospects are looking to get answered will become more and more relevant in the search engines. The importance of keywords will always be there, but major search engines are growing further away from needing only keywords to know what your website or brand is all about. Starting around 2 years ago, your business is an accumulation of all of your earned and owned media. Wanting to “be #1 on Google” in a short period of time may happen but the tactics used to get there will end up hurting you. Take your time, be strategic and be consistent with search engine optimization.
There’s no one size fits all local marketing tactic that will help your practice outrank your competitors. Sorry to break the bad news. However, there are many best practices.
At our local marketing agency, we have more of a focus on online marketing strategies (vs offline) to help all of our dental and medical clients gain market share in an ever increasingly competitive landscape. Not to say that we alienate anything offline! We do coordinate many of our strategies and tactics between online and offline and you should too. Which brings me to this….
Marketing your practice locally online, in our opinion, comes down to 3 main things.
1. Knowing who your target market is. (Are you really sure?)
2. Knowing who your competitors are. (What seems to be working/ not working for them?)
3. Understanding the biggest pain points of your prospects. (What kind of non-branded value can you provide them?) (You should read the book “Youtility” by Jay Baer if you haven’t already)
Once you fully understand this, you can then start to develop a local marketing strategy online to outshine your competition. This can be as basic as starting off with a new inbound marketing focused website or claiming your local listing on Google. Or as complex as using marketing automation software to send out persona based content to push your prospects further down your sales funnel.
Recently, our CDO Joseph Mohay put together a presentation entitled, “Integrating Local Internet Marketing into Your Business." See the slides below.
As the owner of a healthcare practice, you might be new to a different type of practice: creating or managing content for a blog on your website.
Blogging lies at the center of an inbound marketing strategy and is the most important step you can take to attract new patients to your practice and invigorate your bottom line—while positioning yourself as an industry expert.
If you know the type of content your prospective patients want and need from your blog, you’re already one step ahead of your competitors. But before you begin creating content for your blog, be certain that you’re optimizing the content you create.
While inbound marketing holds the promise of bringing new patients in your door—unlike direct mail pieces that go out your door—optimizing your content could mean the difference between landing on the first page of an organic search and the sixteenth page. And you know that people rarely dig that far.
As proud as you might be of your website, if it’s not optimized, it’s ineffective. Follow these content optimization guidelines and to boost your blog’s ability to bring new patients in your door:
Just as you probably do when searching for something on the Web, your prospective patients look for information by inputting keywords. But when you’re creating or optimizing content rather than searching for it, you want to make the best possible predictions of the keywords those prospective patients will choose.
This is where Google Adwords can direct your efforts so that you can make the best choices. Type in a keyword, and this content optimization tool will tell you how many people are using it—and similar keywords—as they conduct a search.
At this juncture, it’s vital to remember that content optimization is about marketing to the masses. It’s not about invoking your healthcare education to come up with the keyword “extension of the incisal ridges.” You’ll find that most people search for “overbite” instead. Likewise, it’s not about assigning your aspirations. This mistake could lead you to come up with a lengthy keyword, such as “the best dentist in the DuPage County area of Illinois.” Most people prefer to stay close to home, so they will likely include their community of residence in a short keyword, such as “Naperville dentist.”
Assumptions about keywords can backfire, so you cannot afford to skip this crucial exploratory step.
With your choice keywords in hand, build each page of content on your website around one keyword. This may feel restrictive, but a well-optimized page is centered on one keyword only. The page can include some words closely related to your chosen keyword. If you’re brimming with keywords, the solution should be obvious: create more pages.
The search engines will reward your restraint and sense of purpose. Each time you create a new page of keyword-centric content, they react by elevating your ranking. And the higher your ranking, the easier you’ll be for prospective patients to find.
While the search engines reward focus, they favor high quality equally. Google is well known for closely guarding its algorithms, but it clearly articulates its definition of quality.
Before you write or approve content for your dental practice blog, be sure you understand where Google sets the bar on the issue of quality content. Reading its standards, expressed in the form of questions, is worth every minute of your time.
A WordPress tool called SEO Yoast can assess how “SEO friendly” your content is. But you don’t need to create your content in WordPress to heed three other small but important details to fully optimize your content.
These details include ensuring that each page of content:
Following these “content cues” gets easier with practice, but if you want to bring dynamism to your practice’s content, reach out to the experts at Integrated Digital Strategies. As our name implies, we integrate all the content optimization objectives for your practice, and we can catapult your blog’s ability to bring new patients in your door.
As a health care professional, you’ve probably debated the same two questions with your colleagues as with your peers: Are we in the business of making money, or are we in the business of helping people?
With any luck, you’ve concluded that these two questions are not mutually exclusive; you can be profitable and steer people to the road to better health at the same time.
As you look for ways to accomplish both objectives, put blogging at the top of your to-do list. It is the most important step you can take to attract new patients to your practice and invigorate your bottom line—while positioning yourself as an industry expert and valuable source of information. Consider the ways that blogging makes this happen.
The journey begins with your website, which is arguably the most effective marketing tool you have at your disposal. It could be visually stunning—a source of pride for everyone in your practice. Still, you must ask yourself: How are people finding it among hundreds of other websites, particularly those of your likely competitors?
Typically, people call up a website in one of three ways:
In these terms, your visually stunning website might appear to be a risky enterprise. But it doesn’t have to be. You can negate this risk by blogging—the engine driving the inbound marketing strategy that should be the cornerstone of your practice.
Inbound marketing enables people to find you and your website with ease. So rather than send expensive postcards, flyers, and ads out your practice door, create content on a blog linked to your website that brings new patients directly in your practice door.
Blogging makes financial sense because:
In addition to financial benefits, blogging can bring you a sense of personal fulfillment because:
Developing and writing blog articles that achieve two objectives—enhancing your bottom line and helping others—requires skill, experience, and a deft hand. Call Integrated Digital Strategies for a consultation before you blog about your practice, and find how we can integrate all of your objectives.
Advertising seems like it's losing its appeal. Many dental content marketing consultants say that all you really need is a solid inbound marketing program and new clients will come streaming in the door. Well, I'm here to say that it's not true.
If anyone is a firm believer in Inbound Marketing, it's me. I also believe that most dentists need to have a supplemental paid media budget set aside for their advertising program. Simply creating content and throwing it up on your blog isn't enough now. A well thought out dental content marketing strategy needs to be in place before you start investing your time and money into any sort of marketing. Seeing that search engines such as Google are constantly updating the strategies associated with inbound marketing, it's important for you to be up-to-date on the latest practices.
There are three ways that can improve the results from your current dental content marketing:
For more information about how you can target more customers for your dental practice with dental content marketing strategies, reach out to the inbound marketing experts at Integrated Digital Strategies and find out what we can do for you!