Table of Contents
- Marketing for Dentists: Essentials of Digital Dental Marketing
- Marketing for Dentists Has Changed
- 1. Get More Out of Video Content Marketing
- 2. Update to a Modern Dental Website Design
- 3. Optimize your Dental Website for Technical SEO
- 4. Rank Higher on Google Maps
- 5. Attend the Digital Dental Marketing Conference
- 6. Take Advantage of Dental Social Media Platforms
- 7. Blog, Just do it!
- 8. Get More Google Reviews than your Competition
- 9. Do Good with Charity Dental Marketing
- Implementing All Four Strategies Into A Comprehensive Marketing Campaign
- Need Help? We’ve Got Marketing For Dental Professionals Covered
- Frequently Asked Questions
- How can a dentist get more customers?
- Do dentists need marketing?
- How much does the average dentist spend on marketing?
- How do you do dental digital marketing?
- What marketing tools are used in dentistry?
- How can I grow my dental business?
- Why is marketing important for dentists?
- What is dental marketing?
- How do I market my practice on social media?
- How do I advertise a new dental practice?
- How can a dental practice increase sales?
- Are You The Last To Know About Dental Local Service Ads?
- Instagram for Dentists: 2023 Success Strategies and Ideas
- Google Just Announced Local Service Ads for Dentists
Marketing for Dentists: Essentials of Digital Dental Marketing
Attracting new patients and being found online is competitive in today’s digital world. It’s not about attracting any kind of patient; you want to attract patients for big cases. It’s a complex task!
Successful digital marketing for dentists requires time and effort, which most practices can’t spare. To save as much time as possible, the team member in charge of dental marketing needs to understand the digital marketing landscape and how the online opportunities work together to create a cohesive dental marketing strategy.
Marketing for Dentists Has Changed
Dental social media tactics have changed significantly in the past several years, especially with privacy issues related to Facebook advertising. During the pandemic, TikTok dental marketing blew up.
The dental SEO strategies used last year will need some tweaking with the new Google helpful content update.
If a dental practice needs to increase new patient flow, up-to-date digital dental marketing strategies should be part of its overall marketing plan.
No time to waste; let’s get started learning about ways to improve your dental marketing campaign.
1. Get More Out of Video Content Marketing
You can create all the photos and articles you want, but if you’re not venturing into dental video marketing, you’re only scratching the surface of what online marketing can do.
Consider this: about 68% of online consumers prefer watching a video about a new service or project over learning about it any other way. The amount of online video content that people view has almost doubled since 2018. And 92% of marketers say that video content is an important part of their strategy.
Now, what kind of dentist video content you produce can change from one practice to another. Just remember video content can have numerous applications across your dental digital marketing strategy. Here are a few ideas just to start:
- Pair video with your email marketing. Some research shows that adding a video link to a promotional email can increase your click-through rate by up to 80%. This can be especially useful if you’re featuring a new service, or sending personal holiday greetings from your team.
- Create brief informational videos on Instagram reels, TikTok, and/or YouTube. In these videos, you can answer frequently asked questions, show a demonstration on cleaning, provide close-up views of equipment that makes your patients’ lives easier, or show off the features of your examination room.
- Use video on your dental website and/or a marketing landing page to familiarize visitors with your team and bridge the gap between online research and that first visit to your office.
- Share short fun videos on social media that help people feel like they’re in touch with your team.
- Invest in professional video production to create a beautiful introduction to your practice. Utilize the footage in numerous ways, and produce a full-length video as well as short promos that you can use in ads on YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook.
- Encourage and incentivize user-generated content. This could be a campaign that challenges patients to submit their own moments, or you could set up a hub in-office. Here, in addition to taking fun pictures, you can ask brief questions to patients or enable client testimonials.
- Feature a smile makeover. Utilize the power of visuals to illustrate your restorative and cosmetic services.
If you are nervous of being on video, you’re not alone! Even people who comfortably lecture in an auditorium full of professionals can freeze up as soon as they know a camera is focused on them. Here’s the good news: It gets easier the more you do it! If you can create a habit of dental marketing video production, you’ll notice less and less resistance each time. That’s why a series can be so useful.
2. Update to a Modern Dental Website Design
Approximately 20% of all dentists need a website. Seriously! That was a stat I found early last year. Hopefully, the dentists that didn’t have a site have come to light since then.
A modern, comprehensive website is the cornerstone of any dental practice’s digital marketing plan. First impressions matter tremendously; if your dental website design looks like it came from the stone age, you will need help building trust in your website’s visitors.
A website can create a perception of your quality of care. If your website is modern and well-designed with top-of-the-line design and aesthetics, a potential patient visiting might think the same of your dental skill. Perception transfer is called transference, a psychological phenomenon where feelings about one thing transfer or are redirected to something else.
Don’t let transference ruin your dental practice growth. Update your website with a new modern design.
Beyond aesthetics, a dental website should be organized and function technically well, which improves visitor experience and translates to higher rankings and conversions.
Your dental website holds all of the information about your practice. It offers information on your dental services and then goes on to send the right signals to Google for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes.
Adding custom information about your practice, services, resources increases the chance of your practice ranking higher on Google maps.
Consider the following when redesigning or upgrading your website:
- Custom design and photography
- Videos, more videos, and more videos
- Blog posts that feature the team and dentist
- Current ‘Meet the Dentist’ and ‘Meet the Team’ profiles
- Live Chat
- Integrated social media accounts
- Virtual consultation integration
- Online scheduling
- Mobile optimization
- Display of 5 star reviews
3. Optimize your Dental Website for Technical SEO
The technical aspects of a dental website are often overlooked, but not by Google.
Google wants the consumer experience to be flawless. If your website loads slowly, has bad links, is not secure, or mobile optimized you’ll be punished with lower rankings in the search engines. Grade your website to see if it’s technically proficient.
All great marketing for dentists campaigns require that the technical aspects of a dental website are up to snuff.
Check the speed of your dental website: In today’s fast-paced world, website visitors have zero patience. If a page loads too slowly, visitors bounce. Your bounce rate impacts search rankings positively or negatively. First impressions count, and unfortunately, being sluggish is not a good one. You only have three seconds for a page to load before 40% of your potential patients click the back button.
Make sure your website is secure and HIPAA compliant: Security is a no-brainer in healthcare. If your website isn’t secure, you expose the practice and the clients to a significant future headache. Being fully secure is also a requirement for HIPAA especially if you have online forms and payments through your website.
Confirm your dental website is mobile optimized: More people use mobile devices to search online than searches on a desktop. Web design that is mobile optimized is a must. Searching through a website that is not correctly set up for mobile is frustrating and will drive patients away. And with Google’s mobile first index implemented, you’d better make sure your site is mobile-optimized otherwise you’ll be punished with lower rankings.
Is your website coded properly for SEO? The most successful dental practice websites are correctly built and coded for SEO. SEO is a digital marketing strategy that helps Google read and rank your website for the search phrases (keywords) that are most valuable to your practice.
Getting into SEO is close to opening pandora’s box. It’s feels like a never ending graduate mathematics class where the basic rules of math change willy nilly. Well, maybe not that bad, but close.
But don’t let me scare you from moving forward with and SEO strategy. SEO is one of the least expensive and most effective ways to be found by patients who are ready to schedule. To learn more about dental SEO read SEO dental industry articles and follow SEO online publications.
4. Rank Higher on Google Maps
A Google Business Profile (GBP) is required for local dental online marketing. A GBP listing is what shows up in the Google maps section of SERP’s. When you rank higher and in a wider radius on Google maps, local potential patients will find you on the front page of Google.
Your practice GBP is free to set up. If you’ve never accessed your GBP profile you can learn how to with this dental SEO training video.
When searching for a dentist on Google, a map location is generated with all the nearby dentists.
Most information a new patient needs is listed on the Google map. Each practice listing has an address, business hours, phone number, website, reviews, average review rating, main service, etc., making it easier for the person searching to find answers and become your newest patient.
+90 percent of worldwide searches are on Google. An optimized Google Business Profile is a huge new patient opportunity that most dentists are not aware of.
How To Rank Higher on Google Maps?
When a potential patient searches for a dentist online, they’ll get the Google Map 3-Pack in the search result. The Google Map 3-ack are the top three listings on the Google map.
It’s a big deal to be listed in the Google Map 3-Pack. Our own dental marketing case studies have shown that it can double and sometimes triple your new patient phone calls.
Optimization of your GBP will help it to rank higher in the search engine and also at a wider radius. What this means is that your GBP will show up for patients searching further and further away from your practice address. Essentially you’ll be out-ranking practices that are located closer to the person searching.
I created a marketing video explaining how this happens. Check it out here.
What Happens If You Don’t Optimize Your GMB Listing?
You’re going to get your lunch eaten by your competition.
Patients will search for a dentist near them and even if you’re the closest practice from where they are searching, you won’t be on the first page of search results. It’s true. Your practice could be just down the street from patient who is searching “emergency dentist near me” and practices that are actually further away will show up higher in the map.
It’s not that your practice listing isn’t there, it’s just buried deep in the results.
Thousands of consumer online search studies have shown that more than 90% of people choose a result on the first page on SERPs. The practices listed on the first page are the ones that get the lion’s share of new patient phone calls.
Recently we recorded a dental marketing training video that will help your dental marketing manager get through some of the most difficult parts of Google maps optimization. You can watch the dental marketing video here.
5. Attend the Digital Dental Marketing Conference
When you start feeling like you’ve exhausted all your own ideas and you’re not really sure what step to take next, maybe it’s time to do what dentists have done for decades to expand their skills, explore what’s possible, and cement new professional connections: go to a dental marketing conference!
You can find resources for marketing and business management at many dental conferences. You can also attend a general small business marketing conference and translate those suggestions into action items for your practice. Conferences, seminars, and networking events that are local can be especially useful as you expand your community connections and resources.
However, we highly suggest looking into a conference that is specifically tailored to digital marketing for dentists. As you know, dental practices occupy a unique business position, necessitating small business know-how and professional medical expertise. As such, your marketing needs, techniques, and considerations aren’t the same as other small businesses. A dental-focused marketing conference will zero in specifically on your concerns and maximize your ability to make the most of every hour.
Benefits of attending a dental marketing conference:
- Meet other practice managers and swap practice tips and tricks.
- Attend seminars which allow you hands-on experience with everything from photography to dental Instagram marketing, smoothing the hurdles of figuring things out for yourself the first time.
- Get inspired and revived in your attempts so you can go back to work with fresh eyes and new enthusiasm.
- Stay up to date on the latest advice. Digital marketing moves fast and investing your time in outdated approaches simply won’t get you the results you need.
How to prepare so that you can get the most from a dental marketing conference:
- Come with specific questions and pain points.
- Don’t be afraid to strike up conversations with dental marketing experts who attend.
- Come with another person so that you can discuss the new ideas you learn.
- Take notes, pick up fliers and books, and even record when appropriate so that you can bring what you learned back to the rest of the team.
- Keep an open mind! The whole idea is to learn something new.
Curious where you can learn about upcoming dental marketing conferences? We participate in this one each year. You may also learn more from staying connected to state and national dental associations.
6. Take Advantage of Dental Social Media Platforms
All digital dental marketing campaigns should include setting up and maintaining active social media accounts. Social media helps your practice stay in ongoing contact with current and potential patients in your community.
Social Media Improves Local Awareness
If you learn how to produce good content that gets lots of engagement, you’ll find over time that it will become one of the most valuable aspects of your dental marketing plan.
Leveraging social media tools doesn’t require big budgets like traditional advertising or online paid advertising. However, it does require some time and training to understand how to create effective and engaging content.
The best place to go for social media ideas is to subscribe to My Social Practice’s blog. We are constantly coming up with super-cool ideas that you and your team can easily do. We also provide case studies that show dental practices succeeding at social media marketing.
Which Social Media Tools Should A Dental Practice Use?
After helping thousands of practices runs effective social media campaigns we’ve learned that it’s important to use the right tools.
Leverage Instagram in your Social Media Campaign: Instagram is owned by Facebook and was built as a mobile photo sharing app. Over the years it has added tons of functionality, to the point that it’s one of the best ways to advertise and market a dental practice.
The average age demographic of Instagram is younger than Facebook. So if you’re trying to reach mothers with small children, Instagram fits that demographic.
Instagram also has a unique marketing opportunity with influencers. Instagram influencers are people who have followers that trust their opinion about brands and products.
I know how some people feel about Instagram influencers, keep reading. When it comes to dental social media marketing, we’re not talking about influencers with millions of followers. Influencers that big have followers scattered across the world.
Dental practices do extremely well with micro-influencers. These are people on Instagram with less than 10,000 followers. When you look at where followers of micro-influencers are located you’ll find that a much larger percentage are located in your community. And, that is what you want.
Use Facebook in your Social Media Marketing: Even though Facebook seems ancient in the social media world, it isn’t going away. If anything, it’s evolving.
You can’t forget that Facebook has more people using the software than any other social media platform. If you’re trying to reach your local audience, Facebook needs to be part of your marketing plan.
One of the benefits of Facebook is the direct messaging function. There should be someone on your team that mans the direct messages from Facebook. Direct messaging is nearly as important as your practice telephone. If you don’t have a team member to do this you should seriously consider hiring someone to do it for you.
Humanizing your practice can help your patients feel closer to you and your staff. This creates feelings of trustworthiness, kind of like being part of a family. And isn't the ultimate goal to have a large dental family?
Start a Dental TikTok Marketing Campaign: TikTok has taken the social media world by storm. It’s grown faster than any other social media application and it doesn’t look to be slowing down.
If you haven’t been on TikTok I’m encouraging you to do so. But, before you get started make sure to get an accountability coach. A person who will take your phone away when you’ve crossed the way-too-much-TikTok-for-today-line.
Once you’re on TikTok follow some of the dental TikTok mavens. When you see how other dentists are using TikTok to grow their practices you’ll get ideas about how to implement it into your own digital marketing campaign.
7. Blog, Just do it!
I just heard the air leave the room.
I know that you’ve probably heard this over and over again from dental marketing experts. Blogging is more valuable than you can image as a digital marketing strategy. No one, I mean no one wants to write blog posts. Actually there is one guy up in Minnesota, but he’s the only one.
For those of you who hate writing or simply don’t have the time, you should invest in a copywriter. New custom articles are one of the most important content marketing strategies. That goes for everyone, not just dentists.
New content will feed your website, help your blog to be found by search engines, be the basis for all your email marketing, improve your dental SEO exponentially, and helps you to refine your practice mission and purpose.
One of the best ways to start a blog for a dental practice is to write posts that answer your patients most frequently asked questions. Second in line to that idea is to write posts that highlight your team members and your most valuable patients, especially patients with great stories.
But before you begin randomly blogging, you’ll want to do proper research. Marketing for dentists with a blog includes identifying your target audience, which includes geographical and service related items. Once identified you’ll want to include these in your posts to help optimize the blog posts for search engines.
If you don’t have the time, get some help with blogging. A dental marketing agency will have the expertise and experience to speed up blog content creation for an effective campaign. It’s typical for a dental marketing team to have at least one professional copywriter on staff. Here at My Social Practice we currently have 3 professional copywriters.
When making a decision on hiring a copywriter make sure that you get a sample of their work. You’ll want to make sure that the tone and quality of their writing fits within your dental practice brand.
8. Get More Google Reviews than your Competition
If there were only one dental digital marketing strategy that you could do, you’d want to start here. Google reviews have become increasingly important to a dental marketing campaign because the reviews are attached to your practice Google Business Profile (GBP). Your GBP shows up in search and is likely being viewed by more than 2/3rds of the patients before they schedule with you.
Your GBP reviews can destroy your entire marketing campaign. For example:
A dentist spends $20,000 on a print mail campaign, a billboard, a television ad, professional photography, or a website. It doesn’t really matter what marketing initiative it is. A potential patient sees the marketing, and where’s the first place that patient goes to validate your marketing and see if you are who you say you are?
To Google, where the patient checks out the practice’s Google review profile. If the review profile is not great, there is a fairly high chance that the review profile will undermine the $20,000 marketing campaign.
For those practices out there that have not been working on acquiring 5-star Google reviews, your review profile is likely destroying all your marketing initiatives, including referral programs. If you’re going to do one thing, start by getting more Google reviews.
9. Do Good with Charity Dental Marketing
One of the best ways to generate buzz and get your whole team involved in a new marketing initiative is to do good. Everyone wants to join in on an effort to build up a good cause. Humanitarian drives can be surprisingly easy to make happen (especially if you utilize one of our campaign kits) and can generate numerous benefits for your dental practice. These can include:
- Positive brand image. Patients and potential clients perceive you as generous, community-minded, and proactive. It makes you the type of business that they feel good about being a part of.
- More team unity. It’s easy to get members of your team on board with charitable efforts, even those who feel hesitant about marketing. Setting a goal together can strengthen bonds.
- Patient referrals. Patients who might not otherwise share your content online will join in on your awareness efforts by sharing your message with their friends, giving you exposure to a new pool of potential patients, once the charitable campaign is over.
- Attract local media attention. Everyone loves a feel-good human interest story and it can give you opportunities for press exposure you wouldn’t have otherwise.
So how do you start with a humanitarian initiative? We have some pre-packaged campaign ideas and materials that you can try out. For example, a charity whitening day can introduce new and existing patients to an exciting service from your team, while raising money for a great cause.
You may also think about sponsoring a smile makeover, running a Toys for Tots campaign, fundraising for a dental-focused organization, or build awareness about causes close to your heart.
In the end, it’s not just about how your own practice could benefit… it’s an opportunity to remind everyone that the work we do is about so much more. Charitable giving infuses our days with purpose.
Implementing All Four Strategies Into A Comprehensive Marketing Campaign
When it comes to promoting, advertising, and building a brand, social media, great website development, digital marketing for dentists strategies, together with SEO are life changers. Digital marketing for dentists is very inexpensive compared to traditional marketing and far more effective at building your dental practice.
So, the benefits are enormous for your practice to invest energy in, social media, SEO and content web marketing for dentists. Google Maps SEO helps you move up to the first search engine page on the Google map. Beyond that, there are several other benefits:
Greater Brand Awareness: When you have all four of these digital marketing for dentists strategies running on 6 cylinders you’ll stand apart from the competition. There are upwards of 150,000 practicing dentists in the U.S. alone. Branding your practice and establishing a name are essential to capturing an audience and attracting attention.
Improved Patient and Community Relationships: Consistent blog posts, articles, social media, and content marketing for dentists will create a powerful dental marketing campaign. Not only will more people in your community find you online, these potential patients will have confidence in your practice because you are creating content that answers their burning questions. You can reply to questions and concerns through social media, which humanizes your practice and brand even more. It is an excellent opportunity to show your expertise in your field, giving you more credibility and increasing your chances of being chosen.
New Ways to Grow Your Practice: Digital marketing for dentists can open many doors for your practice and create new growth opportunities.If you regularly post original, insightful content, you will quickly become recognized as an expert in your field. It can lead to an influx of patients and even turn into a speaking engagement, which is another excellent way to get the word out about your practice.
Need Help? We’ve Got Marketing For Dental Professionals Covered
If you are ready to take the next step to attract new dental patients but don’t know where to begin or simply don’t have the time to get going, My Social Practice is here to help. Fill out a form to get a personalized no-obligation dental SEO summary and quote. An SEO and marketing strategy can be one of the best investments you’ll make for your dental practice. We can’t wait to get you started.
Frequently Asked Questions
Attracting new customers can be done with traditional advertising and/or digital marketing.
Examples of traditional advertising would be print mail, post cards, brochures, letters, trade shows, local events, television ads, referral programs, radio advertising, and billboards.
Examples of digital marketing are website development, Search Engine Optimization, reputation management, Google maps optimization, social media management and online paid advertising.
Both traditional and digital marketing strategies will work to find new customers.
Marketing has become essential if you want your practice to thrive and grow. The marketplace is highly competitive and patients are able to research multiple options within seconds.
Dental marketing strategies will ensure that your practice can be found via search engines, social media platforms, and in paid advertising.
It’s important to remember that being found is only half of the battle when it comes to growing a dental practice, you also need to be chosen.
In a recent survey more than 50% of dentists reported spending a minimum of $1,000 a month on marketing. Just over 20% reported spending more than $5,000 per month. 5% of those surveyed reported spending zero.
As a general rule dentists should try to maintain at least a 40% profit margin and of expenses marketing should not exceed 7% of total costs.
Dental digital marketing involves a four phase process known to expert marketers. The four phases are; Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action and the acronym that most marketers use is RICE.
First, you must reach your audience. Reaching your audience an be done with several strategies including, social media marketing, email marketing, paid advertising, SEO, and blogging.
Second, you interact with the audience. Interaction includes a well designed website, live chat support, internal website and social media channel linking, calls to action, and custom photography and video content creation.
Third, you convert your audience. Conversion involves exclusive offers, landing pages with calls to action, schedule now buttons and options, and copywriting focused on conversion.
Fourth, you engage with your audience. Engagement involves some of the action items listed above but are repeated with a focus on nurturing. These tactics include email marketing, organic social media posts that allow for personal interaction, and remarketing strategies.
Once a digital marketing campaign is created ask yourself the following questions:
- Are we reaching the correct audience?
- Are my patients interacting with my practice through the platforms in my campaign?
- Are potential patients converting to scheduled patients?
- Are we seeing any repeat business from previous patients?
Some of the most used marketing tools in dentistry are:
- Automated email systems
- Lead generation website tools like OptinMonster
- Web chat
- Text reminders
- Paid advertising
- Paid social advertising
- Display advertising
- Retargeted advertising
- Directory submission tools
- Lead pages
- Buyer persona tools like Hubspot
- Google analytics
- SEO tools like SEMRush
About the Author: Adrian Lefler is a dental marketing expert and a key member of the dental marketing team at My Social Practice. My Social Practice is located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Adrian is passionate about helping dental practices grow. If you’d like to book one of the members of My Social Practice’s speaking team, you can do that HERE. Interested in learning more about the benefits of dentist SEO or our dental SEO service, please schedule a complimentary consultation. And, don’t forget to read our Google reviews.