The marketing landscape has evolved drastically, and so have dental marketing strategies. Traditional dental marketing strategies still have their place, but no practice can expect to grow without a proper digital marketing and advertising strategy.
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Contrary to popular belief, modern dental marketing is mostly digital. Using online platforms and tools, social media, and some traditional techniques, dental marketing allows your practice to reach a larger audience, forge lasting relationships, and reach those who need your services the most.
In the past, an awareness campaign consisted of a newspaper ad, billboard, flyers, and word-of-mouth. In today’s digital landscape, dental marketing is unrecognizable when compared to what it was several years ago.
With internet and smartphone usage at an all-time high, dental marketing evolved to meet the needs of the people. Although billboards and direct mail still have their place, a well-rounded, effective dental marketing strategy also includes blog posts, research pieces, and social media pages. Not only do these channels provide a better return on investment (ROI), they enable your practice to reach the right people using targeting and audience data.
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Modern dental marketing is nearly synonymous with digital marketing. Like digital marketing, successful dental marketing requires a multi-channel approach that utilizes all the web has to offer and beyond. Although dental marketing is always evolving, there are several prime components that each play a vital role.
A website is the cornerstone of any modern practice. It gives you a place to host content, offer information on your services and residents, and send the right signals to Google for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes.
Not only this, a website can play a huge role in your practice’s local SEO. Having information about your local practice(s) on your site, coupled with the right copy, can increase the chances your practice comes up when people search for certain terms.
Developing and maintaining proper social media pages, especially a Facebook page, allows your practice to stay in constant contact with current and potential patients. You can answer questions through the messenger feature, which can be an added bonus for patients shopping different practices.
Having a Facebook page also gives your patients a quick way to review you, which can be a great signal to those struggling to decide on a new dentist.
Lastly, social media is a great place to both show the human side of your office and host contests or giveaways. If your practice has a fun costume party or festive gathering, sharing pictures can be a great way to humanize your practice even more and help your patients feel closer to your staff.
Creating quality content and sharing it on your practice’s site is a great way to show your expertise. Not only this, it’s an essential part to SEO and will help your site rank higher on Google, increasing your chances of being found by those in need.
Proper content marketing can also result in organic traffic growth, which can help reduce your spending on any paid campaigns.
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A Google My Business (GMB) listing is essential to being found locally. With a GMB listing, you can ensure your practice’s address, phone number, and additional details are all accurate and readily available. A listing also gives people an easy way to review your practice. When people search for dentists in the area, your practice and those of your competitors will all come up along with their Google rating, making this a very important signal.
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There are many benefits of digital dental marketing. Besides the obvious of providing more business, digital dental marketing offers numerous perks.
Proper digital dental marketing can help your practice and brand stand apart from the competition. With nearly 200,000 practicing dentists in the U.S. alone, establishing a name for your practice is essential to capturing an audience.
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Content marketing, such as blog posts, articles, and social media, allow you to build meaningful relationships with your patients and potential patients by creating content that answers their questions.
Through social media, you can also reply to questions and concerns, humanizing your practice and brand even more. This is also a great opportunity to show your expertise in your field, giving you more credibility and increasing your chances of people choosing your practice over another.
Digital dental marketing can open many doors for your practice and create new opportunities for growth.
If you’re regularly posting original, insightful content, you will quickly become recognized as an expert in your field. Not only can this lead to an influx of patients, it can also turn into speaking engagements, which are another great way to spread the word about your practice.
In dental marketing, there are several emerging trends on the horizon.
Social media is already a large part of digital dental marketing, but many analysts predict it will play an even bigger role. Part of this is due to the younger generations getting to the age where they’re independently searching for dentists. With many of the younger generations more social media savvy, having a practice that’s active and effective on social media will be key to securing new patients.
Creating original video content can be expensive and time consuming. Yet many digital marketing experts predict video content marketing will continue to grow in upcoming years. A part of this is due to internet users spending one-third of their time online viewing video.
Not only will video marketing grow, but the type of videos will continue to grow as well. Rather than general promotional videos, users will expect to see “meet the staff” videos, informational videos on various conditions, and so on. Much like content marketing, the videos will have to do more than market your business; they’ll have to showcase your expertise and the people powering your practice.
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Many practices, whether in dentistry or otherwise, offer tools and pieces of interactive content. These assets can help visitors determine potential causes of their pain, estimate insurance costs, or get recommendations on diet.
As more and more practices continue to adopt interactive content and tools, it will become expected that every practice has their own offerings. Investing the funds necessary to create interactive content now could pay off even more, as you’ll be ahead of the curve and stand out even more while your competition catches up.
Although the above strategies are focused primarily on organic marketing, there are times when paid advertising should also be incorporated into your dental promotions efforts. Paid advertising can cut straight through the competition and get your practice in front of potential patients’ eyes right away.
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Dental advertisements in local community newsletters are a great way to reach local patient prospects and establish your presence in the community. Associating your brand with community publications and sponsoring community events will raise awareness and position your practice as a community-minded business. Balance advertisement costs against circulation numbers and proximity.
Google Paid Search is a great way to target both highly specific and broad search terms. Although organic marketing efforts can eventually get your site to the top of Google’s search results, paid search advertising, when used effectively, guarantees that anyone local to your area searching for your services will see your brand and be able to link to your site.
Paid social is different from paid search in many ways, though both work by displaying ads to your target audience. Although paid search works with search queries, Facebook ads work by targeting defined audiences with specific online behavior. So, while potential patients might not be actively searching for a dentist, they can become familiar with your brand.
A great way to look at Facebook ads is to think of them as advertisements in community publications, though with much more granular audience targeting. Did you know that 80 percent of healthcare decisions are made by women, according to the U.S. Department of Labor? Facebook ads allow you to specifically target females to conserve ad spend and increase the likelihood of conversion.
In the dental industry, direct mail still has a place. Dental brochures, postcards and newsletters can be very effective in acquiring new patients, especially patients who do not own smartphones or are not internet savvy. Though direct mail can be expensive, its conversion rate will likely offset costs. Even in cases where there is not an immediate ROI, it still proves an effective dental advertising tactic, especially for new practices, by bringing in a first wave of patients who then spread the word, engage on social media, and submit online reviews.
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