10 Tips To Grow Your Dental Practice
Most dentists I talk to have a strong desire to grow their dental practice. Many have even hired so-called SEO guru’s, website designers, local ranking experts, and consultants, but with very little success.
With the competitive landscape for most business niches, dental is no different. You can’t have a piece meal marketing approach. You must have a strategy (plan) that is all-encompassing, covering all facets of both online and offline marketing, that work cohesively together, to get more new patients.
Below are what I consider the top 10 critical marketing elements you must have in place and work on consistently to grow your practice and be the leader in your locale.
1. Lead Generating Website
Notice how I didn’t just say website, I said “lead-generating” website. There’s a big difference. Of the hundreds of dental websites I’ve reviewed, I can only count a handful that are truly designed to attract new dental patients.
Unfortunately, web designers are not marketing experts. They are building their portfolio to attract more design or creative customers, not businesses that truly need leads. Unless they have a internet marketing background, it’s not wise to spend the $3,000-$10,000 on a website that does not convert.
2. Dental Blog
This could be part of number 1 above, but I am making it a separate category, as it is a crucial piece of your marketing pie. You see…a blog allows you to produce and publish valuable content that both your visitors, and the search engines love.
This will result in higher search engine rankings, and a perceived leader (authority) in your special niche of dentistry, whether it be veneers, invisalign, braces, implants or any other high transaction value cosmetic procedure.
3. Video Marketing
Youtube is the second largest search engine in the world, and more people are choosing to search and watch videos as opposed to reading text. This, as a dentist, gives you a huge opportunity to implement a video marketing strategy that will position you as the expert, making the decision to hire your much easier.
The only problem I see is many dentists who have a youtube channel, but have not optimized it, or any of the videos to get more eyeballs. This ends up being a waste of time and money. Allotting a budget to have a video marketing company or consultant come in and do this for you is a wise business decision.
4. Reputation Marketing
This is an area that is exploding online. More and more people are making their buying decisions on social reviews. You’ve seen these before. You do a search, and google shows local business listings.
Right in the listing, you’ll see a link to reviews. This is where people go immediately to read about the business. Are there any reviews at all? Are they positive or negative.
There is an entirely separate service for cleaning up bad reviews, and gaining new ones. As time goes on, businesses are going to be investing large amounts of money into their online reputation.
5. Local Listings And SEO
More and more people are searching for local services. If you don’t have a google+ local page that is optimized with images, videos and offers, your competitors are going to easily outrank you and get all the phone calls.
Focusing on local seo and business listings is a wise decision of both your time and money. If you’re not found when your potential patient is looking for you, you lose!
6. Mobile Marketing
Take a look around you. Everyone is buried in their mobile phone. Texting, talking, skyping, you name it! Mobile marketing is exploding! Did you know that over 60% of local searches are done on the cell phone. Next year that number is expected to grow to 80%; and the following year (2014) it is said, mobile search is going to exceed desktop search.
With those types of numbers, you better “get mobile”.
Again, there is a specific marketing approach that you must take if you want your mobile marketing investment to pay off.
7. Email Marketing
They say “the money is in the list”, and I tend to agree.
It’s standard now to get patient email addresses, but what most dentists are missing is getting the email addresses of their website visitors. This is a massive lost opportunity that I would say 90% or more of the online dental websites are missing out on.
There is a specific strategy to maximize this approach. It can be a time consuming, time-sucking method, and one that I would recommend most dental practices hire out to the professionals who have experience in this.
8. SMS Text Marketing
Above we already mentioned mobile marketing, and text messaging is a close second. In fact, many marketing professionals would say text messaging goes in the same category as mobile marketing, but I beg to differ.
There are companies now that only offer SMS marketing. You may or may not need a separate company to achieve the results you’re looking for, but just imagine the ability to send appointment reminders for example. Very powerful stuff!
We all know how big facebook is. Over 1 billion active users! If you do not have a Facebook marketing strategy, you are losing out on a huge potential goldmine of prospective patients.
This is another area I’ve seen with hundreds of dental practices who are doing it all wrong. There are so many strategies you can implement just with Facebook, that it would take 5-10 hours per week just for this.
10. Social Media
Social media is evolving all the time! With Twitter, Pinterest and now Instagram your demographic (teens) are there. They are tweeting to their friends. They are uploading to Instagram. Pinterest is the fastest growing social network in the world, and it is a fantastic opportunity for you to pin your before and after pics, as well as any other event you have going on in your practice.
But…the key to all this is to optimize what you’re doing for the best SEO results. If you don’t, you’re wasting time (and money) doing it, as you won’t see results.
These 10 tips (strategies) I’ve listed would take easily 40 hours or more a week if implemented completely. That is why you should consider a marketing firm, or consultant to do it, as we are the professionals, and can get you a better ROI than if you had a staff member “try it”.