As a dentist, you know that digital marketing is essential for your dental practice. But what are the best strategies to reach your target audience?
Traditional advertising has its place, but today we will explore some of the most effective digital dental marketing tactics including how you can use social media, search engine optimization, and content marketing to drive traffic to your website and increase awareness of your brand.
The most important thing is to be sure to communicate your message across the digital platforms where they spend their time online.
Below we’ll introduce 8 of the most effective dental digital marketing strategies and or platforms that can be utilized to help your practice increase patient acquisition and improve loyalty:
Local SEO (Google Business Profile Manager)
Google Business Profile Manager (GBPM) is the new name for “Google My Business” (GMB) which is a free business listing that Google provides to all local businesses and can bring a ton of free traffic when set up correctly.
Organic search traffic from Google will in most cases still drive the most traffic to a local dental office, but the Google Business Profile Manager will more than likely be the next biggest digital marketing traffic driver and is the best converter of prospects into patients.
Below are the initial steps to getting your Google Business Profile Manager page activated. Note that this isn’t a full tutorial on optimizing a Google Business profile, but it is the initial steps to set up your free business listing.
1. Perform a search in google for “Google Business Profile Manager” and click on the link in the search results.
2. Click the “Manage Now” button.
3. Find and Manage Your Business: Start typing your business name in the first field and if your business already exists on Google it will appear in the drop-down box and you can simply select it.
If Google has already created your free listing then provide your Official Business Name and submit it to go to the next step.
4. Start building your Business Profile: If a new listing, the next step will be to again enter your official business name and then the “primary” business category. This is critically important. Your business name falls into more than one category and you can add secondary categories later. For now, pick the category that is the best match for your business.
5. Do you want to add a location customers can visit, like a store or office?
The answer here is most likely YES for dentists, as a dentist typically has a physical location – unless you’re a traveling dentist!
6. Fill in the address of your dental practice.
7. Is this your business? If your business shows up in the drop-down list select it. If not, select NONE and go to the next step.
8. Do you provide deliveries or home and office visits? The answer here is NO. Move on to the next step.
9. Add contact info for your business in this step. If you don’t currently have a website URL then there is a box to select in place of adding a business URL.
10. “Stay in the know” is getting on Google news notifications relating to Google products. Yes or no is a personal choice.
11. Add your contact name to get a postcard sent to your business address. That postcard typically takes 2-5 business days to arrive. The next time you log into your new Google Business Profile Manager account you’ll have an option to enter the code found on the postcard which you then enter to verify your business.
12. The remaining steps are things like business hours, messaging options, business descriptions, and more. These are very important, but you can skip them for now or choose to add them as part of this setup process. The choice is yours, noting that you will want to add that information later if you don’t add it during setup so that your listing has as much information about your business as possible.
Congratulations, you’ve completed the initial setup of your Google Business Profile Manager listing, and once verified your business will be eligible to show up in Google’s Map-pack listings.
Depending on how competitive your niche is this may be enough to rank in the top three map results. If, however, you’re in a more competitive niche, more work on your listing as well as offsite work may be required to make your listing comparable to that of your competitors.
Note that Back40 Design does offer local SEO services when you’re ready to go to the next level. Initially, though, you should use the steps above to set up your listing as you’ll want to be the owner of the GMB listing first.
Social Media Marketing
Social media has become an integral part of digital marketing for dentists and offers several benefits including word-of-mouth referrals from friends and family. A few social media tips are:
- Create social media profiles for your dental practice and populate them with engaging content.
- Connect with local bloggers and ask them to write about your dental practice to share with their social media audience.
- Run social media contests and giveaways that will generate interest in your practice.
Below is a list of social media marketing channels that work well for marketing a dental practice online.
With over 1.4 billion users, Facebook (Meta) is the world’s most popular social network and has become a great digital marketing platform for businesses. Dentists can create a business page to showcase their dental office, provide updates on what’s happening in the office, and share dental tips and events. Many dentists also use their page to create a community and increase their digital outreach by having patients ‘like’ the page.
Facebook Tips for Dentists
- Create a business Facebook page and fill out all the information, including your website and contact info.
- Upload high-quality photos of your dental work – make sure they’re well-lit and showcase your skills and workmanship.
- Post interesting and engaging content regularly, such as blog posts from your website, news about the dental industry, or funny memes that are relevant to dentists.
- Use Facebook ads to target prospective patients in your area who might be interested in your services.
- Respond to comments and messages promptly, whether it’s to answer questions or book appointments.
- Utilize Facebook groups for dentists to connect with other professionals and share advice and ideas.
LinkedIn is a popular online network for professionals, including dental industry workers such as dentists, assistants, and hygienists. Dentists can create a professional profile on this site and share relevant updates and news related to tooth care (e.g., interesting dental studies), which will be viewed by your connections who are also working professionals in the dental field. This digital platform allows you to expand your digital reach by staying connected with potential new patients or those looking for tips on oral health or looking for advice on how to take better care of their teeth at home.
LinkedIn Online Marketing Tips for Dentists
- Connect with other like-minded professionals in your field.
- Share content that is relevant to your audience.
- Use keywords and hashtags in your LinkedIn posts and comments to reach a wider audience.
- Join groups related to dentistry and answer questions.
- Connect with potential patients on Linkedin.
- Make sure your profile is up-to-date and complete including your business name, address, and phone number.
Takeaway: These Linkedin tactics that dentists can use will help you grow your brand and build your dental practice on Linkedin.
Twitter is another social networking site that can be used to promote dental practices. Dentists can share tips and advice on dental health care, such as which foods cause tooth decay or whether sugarless gum is suitable for those with xerostomia (dry mouth). You can also use this digital platform to keep your patients informed about what’s going on at the practice and post photos of events. Do not be overly salesy here though. It’s best to use this social platform to build an audience and thus your personal brand.
YouTube is the second most popular search engine in the world, so digital marketing for dentists cannot be complete without it. Dentists can use this digital platform to share helpful videos about dental health care and oral hygiene. This digital space will allow you to increase your digital reach by being able to connect with a larger audience since anyone who searches for ‘dental health’ or any related keywords are likely to click on these videos.
If you’d like to see a channel that does a great job of building a following then we’d recommend studying how Dr. Berg has built his YouTube channel. Dr. Burg is not a dentist, but his strategy to give information away freely has made him very popular. That trust and goodwill he’s built up over time now allow for him to recommend products as an affiliate or even sell some of his own, all of which becomes a revenue stream for him beyond his physical location.
According to Pew Research Center’s latest study, nearly half of all American adults (40%) now report using Instagram. With over one billion active monthly users, this digital marketing platform is a great way for dentists to reach a wider audience and expand their digital outreach. You can use this digital space to share pictures of your dental practice, your work, or events at your office with the dental community.
Pinterest is an online digital pinboard where users can “pin” visual content from across the web that inspires them in categories called “boards.” This digital platform has over 430 million users and has the power to drive more referral traffic than any other social media site except YouTube (Moz). Since this digital site gives you a variety of ways to promote your brand beyond traditional ads, it is an effective digital marketing strategy for dental practices as well as other businesses.
Pinterest Patient Acquisition Tips for Dental Practices
- Create a board specifically for your dental practice.
- Pin images of healthy teeth and smiling patients.
- Pin quotes about oral health.
- Pin tips on how to maintain healthy teeth.
- Pin before-and-after photos of dental procedures.
- Use hashtags in your pins and descriptions.
- Promote your other social media channels, especially YouTube once you’ve got enough content there worth sharing.
Snapchat is a digital multimedia messaging app that allows users to send short videos and images to their friends. Snapchat’s ‘story’ feature, which keeps each post available for 24 hours before it disappears, has made this digital platform a popular destination among digital marketers as well as younger demographics. You can use Snapchat to share dental industry-related posts with your connections daily. This digital space will allow you to increase your digital outreach by connecting with other dental professionals and patients who are looking for dental advice at any time of day.
Snapchat Dental Marketing Strategy Tips for Dentists
- Showcase your work: Share before and after photos of your dental work to show off your skills.
- Offer exclusive deals and discounts: Give Snapchat followers a special deal that they can’t find anywhere else.
- Educate your followers: Share tips and tricks for keeping teeth healthy and looking good.
- Host a contest: Encourage followers to submit photos of their smiles for a chance to win a prize.
- Make it personal: Add a little bit of personality to your snaps to make them more engaging.
(Search Engine Optimization) Organic SEO for Dentists
The use of SEO (search engine optimization) for dentists is important, as 92% of searchers select a business that is shown on the first page of Google (Source: SEO Tribunal) using various search engines such as Google, Bing, Duck Duck Go, and others. If your online marketing strategy is not up-to-date and in line with current digital trends, then you will be missing out on opportunities to reach prospective patients.
Below are a few SEO tips to keep in mind:
- Make sure that your website is using HTTPS which is a secure socket layer that Google requires of websites these days. This can be activated at your web hosting company.
- Make sure each page is optimized for a primary keyword or phrase. Use SEO techniques to generate inbound links from other sites.
- Digital marketing companies can help assist with online marketing.
- Hiring a digital marketing agency that specifically works with dental practices, helping them increase their digital presence and overall revenue through online marketing solutions.
- Dental SEO isn’t difficult, but mistakes can happen, such as duplicating content on your site. Content is king when it comes to search rankings, so make sure you have unique pages optimized with unique keywords for each landing page.
- You can improve your position and your results in the search engines by optimizing the website URL (use a keyword in the URL if possible), page title, meta description, image alt-tags, and page structure (H1, H2, etc) for each page.
- Make sure your website is easy to navigate and provides all the information dental patients would be looking for.
- Use digital surveillance services such as Google Alerts, Talkwalker Alerts, and Social Mention alerts to stay on top of digital conversations about dentistry in your area.
- Link to trustworthy external sources (websites) as well as insert internal links within the body copy of your website to other internal pages when it makes sense to do so. Make sure that when you do link to other sites the link opens in a new tab so that the user still has a tab open on their browser to your site.
- Monitor what people are saying about the competition and share some top articles with your followers.
Email Marketing for Dentists
Applying modern online marketing strategies to your practice will help you build and retain a strong follower base that should decrease your dependence on traditional print advertising while giving you a significant return on investment. Email marketing is one of the best ways to do this.
- Collect email addresses from prospective patients on your website or at your office.
- Send out regular email newsletters with information about upcoming events, new services, or special offers.
- Use email marketing to create a sense of community and build trust among existing patients.
- Include links to helpful dental resources online.
- Promote your website or social media profiles on email signatures.
- Offer exclusive deals that can only be redeemed through digital coupon codes sent via email.
- Create videos providing helpful dental tips for healthy teeth and publish those on YouTube and other streaming sites. Then promote those videos to your subscribers (email list) to send people to those videos to increase viewership and subscribers.
Online Advertising for Dentists
There are numerous online advertising options for dentists. Some will be a better fit for your dental practice, while others may not. The following digital marketing strategies are intended to help you determine which you should pursue and how to effectively use them.
Online Marketing Strategies
- Place banner ads on websites that are relevant to dentistry or health care.
- Target Facebook users who have indicated an interest in dentistry or oral health care.
- Mobile Marketing for Dentists: Design a mobile-friendly website or app specifically for dentists.
- Use QR codes in print advertising to direct new patients to download your app or visit your website.
- Video ads can be placed before videos play on YouTube and can be set to only show on relevant local video topics so that your ads are only shown to people in your local area.
Increasing Brand Awareness
Branding is a marketing strategy that contributes to the recognition, recall, and perception of your product or service, your business name, and over time your personal name as well (Dr. X). Branding for dentists is important as it’s the business name of the dental practice that will gain traction on Google and other online platforms first.
Young dentists, it’s time to learn what old dentists already know, which is that branding – your business name – is important. So important that Google, which makes over 90% of its revenue from advertising (Source: Investopedia.com), has said that, “branded or trademarked search terms drive more than 10x the number of clicks vs. non-branded terms in the same category.”
The Branding Process in Digital Marketing for Dentists Involves
- Business Name Selection
- Personal Branding (Over time the names of the dentists at a clinic build up their brand which will drive organic search traffic to the dental website.)
- Domain Name Selection (Having a business name that includes a keyword helps in a big way for that website to rank locally.)
Google Ad Manager (Pay Per Click Advertising – PPC)
Pay Per Click advertising can greatly benefit local businesses like dental clinics as the ad spend can be controlled and the target audience and target area are also under the control of the business owner as well.
Google uses machine learning algorithms to predict which ad units will have the highest impact on specific demographics within a given location.
Other Paid Advertising Benefits Include
- Google Ad Manager helps to manage Google ads from a single Google interface, increase your sales leads, and boost customer engagement through Google Analytics integration.
- Google Ad Manager also includes Google AdMob, allowing businesses to reach out to even more users via their mobile devices.
- Managed placements allow advertisers to create custom “placements” – such as browser homepage, sports section, or news feed – which lets them target users in different ways. Publishers can then enable these placements on Google Ad Manager.
- Google also offers users the ability to schedule ads, view reports on ad performance, and track website traffic using Google Analytics reporting.
Online Reviews For Dentists
Online reviews could fit into Local SEO and Branding as well as Google reviews which are a big part of ranking your Google My Business page for targeted keyword phrases people use to find your dental practice. Your personal and business brand names are also frequently mentioned on online review sites and help build your reputation, but if you’re not careful and don’t pay attention to the reviews people are leaving for you, you could have your reputation destroyed online without even knowing it.
Some Online Review Sites Include
Using Google’s search results to find dental practices is what most people do to find a dental office close to their home. But location isn’t the only thing prospects look for. They also want to make sure that the dentist they’re going to visit has a solid reputation and to do that most people turn to review sites to see what other people are saying about the quality of care that a dental office provides.
Not only are Google reviews from real patients important from a reputation standpoint, but if you’re trying to win the local search results ranking battles (Google Maps) then you’re going to need to match if not exceed the number of reviews of your competitors as well as the star rating.
Custom Dental Website
The importance of having a custom dental website can not be understated. This digital marketing for dentist guide and all the tactics mentioned above are a moot point without a professional and high converting website being the center point of your online marketing efforts.
Your website serves as the virtual front door to your company. Customers will form opinions about your company based on how your store looks. The adage “you only get one chance to make a first impression” is true when it comes to websites. Potential patients who are looking for a dentist in their area will visit your site to find out more about you, your team, and your dental services. Creating a strong first impression is essential to making sure that they continue to browse your site and eventually contact you to schedule an appointment.
If you need an experienced digital marketing agency, a website upgrade, or even your first website then Back40 Design’s Web Development & Design Services would be a great place to start!