Dentists don’t learn much about marketing in school unless they purposely enroll in marketing courses. After graduating with a doctorate, most go on to either join an established dental practice, purchase a dental practice, or start a practice from scratch. Fifty years ago, if a dentist invested in good signage and became an active member of the community, his practice thrived. Enter the internet. Life’s a little different now than it was back in 1993 (and yes, sadly 1993 was 30 years ago). Dental marketing is different, too.
Digital Dental Marketing Is Born
Google was founded in 1998. Much of what we knew about marketing before 1998 remains true. People are people, after all. But with Google, a new global hub–the World Wide Web–was born and everyone flocked to it. Enter digital marketing and, for dentists, digital dental marketing.
Websites. Search engine optimization (SEO). Social media marketing. Content marketing.
–BOOM– And here we are.
Not only are there more people and dentists in the world today, but nearly all dentists have to advertise to keep a full schedule. According to the Pew Research Center, 80% of Americans aged 55+ are online. I know my 90-year-old grandmother keeps her phone close at hand and uses it daily to connect with friends and family.
Overall, a 2022 report tells us that 307.34 million people in the US use the internet. The US has 338 million people, and 74 million are children. This means that from young kids to our eldest citizens, people are online.
In regards to digital dental marketing, PR Newswire released a survey stating that Americans between ages 18 and 65+ choose dentists based on online reviews, location, search engine ranking, fee schedule, and “the best-looking website”.
Welcome to Identiwrite Creative. I’m Shauna Duty, and I founded Identiwrite in 2014. My career in the dental marketing niche spans two decades. In that time, digital dental marketing has expanded and flourished, bringing patients through the doors of dentists who market well online. According to the research I shared above, a savvy dentist’s first questions should be, How do I get online reviews, high search engine ranking, and a great-looking website? I’m going to answer these questions in today’s blog and give you to-do lists with each answer.
How do I get online reviews?
Online reviews are the number-one thing prospective patients look at online, so where are these reviews and how can you get some of your own? When we use the broad term “online reviews,” usually the reference is to Google Business. On your free Google Business listing, patients can leave reviews with up to 5 stars, and if you claim (or created) your listing, you can respond to those reviews.
Let’s back up and ensure you understand a Google Business profile. Google basically has a modern phone book. At no cost, you can claim your existing profile or set up a profile for your dental practice. When someone searches for dentistry-related keywords in your region, your Google Business profile may show up in the Map 3-Pack. This refers to the map and correlating 3 business listings that sometimes pop up when you conduct a Google Search.
Complete your Google Business profile as thoroughly as possible. Add photos. Publish weekly notes. Collect reviews and respond to those reviews. Place your Google Maps link on your website’s contact page. The rule of thumb is, if you flood Google with information about your business, you’ll do well in the 3-Pack. One of the primary factors for being listed in the 3-Pack is reviews. The number of reviews, whether they originated in your region (to filter out fake reviews), the quality of the reviews (up to 5 stars and text), and whether the owner responds are all important factors for making the most of your Google Reviews.
Facebook, Yelp, Health Grades, and other sites accept reviews, as well. However, Google Reviews are more relevant to SEO because Google owns most of the online search market.
Your Dental Marketing To-Do List: Patient Reviews
The question, however, was How do I get online reviews? The answer is simple. You and your staff members ask for reviews. Make it easy for patients to leave reviews. You can do these few things to prompt more reviews from your patients:
- Ask every patient if he or she will review you online.
- On your website, add a quick link to your Google Business profile.
- In your office, post a QR code to your Google Business profile, so patients can write a review in the moment, before leaving your office. It’s easy to forget to leave a review!
- Respond to reviews. This will show Google and potential patients that you engage with your patients online. (For advice on how to respond to a negative review, call me or contact your dental consultant.)
How do I get a high search engine ranking?
Google is a business–a very successful business. Its product is information. The model hinges on regular people participating in information submission by creating websites, chat rooms, social media profiles, etc. Google collects all this information for free, from people like you, dear dentist, who want to leverage Google Search to find patients or clients.
In return for you supplying interesting, accurate information about your business, Google will index the information and deliver it to searchers (potential patients) looking for the keywords found in your website’s or blog’s content.
“Content” refers to the words, images, audio files, documents, and video on your website.
Original, accurate, informative content contributes to how high a dental website ranks in Google Search for relevant terms.
Your Dental Marketing To-Do List: SEO
To get a high search engine ranking, you need:
- An optimized, responsive website that functions properly across all devices and browsers and also looks enticing to your target patients.
- A blog to deliver “news” for quick indexing on Google, and to build up your library of indexable, optimized content.
- Good quantity and quality of online reviews, preferably Google Reviews.
- Identical NAP (name, address, phone) on all your profiles, accounts, and listings so that search engines connect the dots.
- Solid online presence (local listings, backlinks, social media, etc.).
- Competitive research and ongoing revisions to an editorial calendar. This, in short, means that you have a finger on the marketing of other dentists in your service area and you know the keywords that potential patients are searching for in your service area. You revise your content creation and SEO plan accordingly.
- To call Identiwrite Creative for help! 972-679-6885
How do I get a great-looking website?
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, BUT as dental marketing experts we look at the habits, preferences, and data of consumers. We know the best time to send an e-newsletter or make social media posts, based on when users are most active. We know which pages of a website are most popular, who engages on your social media accounts, and which graphics, navigation, and interactive components are most popular with potential dental patients.
When it comes to graphic design, a great-looking website balances whitespace with content. It has pleasing colors and lines. Visual movement is introduced by way of images appearing upon scrolling, videos in banners and alongside content, or the parallax effect in which various elements move in different directions to create a 3D effect.
In addition to looking nice though, I strongly suggest you consider functionality and user experience (UX).
We used to say “user-friendly” but the idea behind a website being user-friendly requires that the graphic designer, content composer, and web developer create a meaningful and relevant experience for the user. This requires planning and teamwork.
Identiwrite Creative used to build websites, but we now focus mainly on SEO and copywriting. We work with a few clients who design and produce great-looking websites with solid UX. If you’d like a referral, shoot an email to [email protected].
Your Dental Marketing To-Do List: Website Design
To get a great-looking dental website, you need to:
- Find a reputable dental website agency.
- Write down 3 websites you like and why you like them.
- Think about the colors you find most preferable in the advertising around you. Choose your colors. This blog can help you understand the psychology behind colors used in marketing.
- Discuss content, design preferences, and UX with the agency’s creative team.
- If you need an outside consultant to help, email [email protected].
- Make sure your website incorporates original text optimized for search and a weekly blog post, for best visibility in search.
Dental Marketing Consulting and Copywriting
Our dental copywriters and SEO experts at Identiwrite Creative want to help your dental office create and execute an effective digital dental marketing strategy, so give us a call. You can schedule a consultation with me, Shauna Duty. Just reach out to Riese Duty, our business development director, is always available to chat. Call or text 972-679-6889 or email [email protected].