Digital Marketing for Dentists

Peter A. Liefer II | Posted: October 28th, 2020 | Updated: November 26th, 2020

Dental practices need to attract new patients and grow. Dentists must provide convenient and quality services at competitive prices, supported by a solid marketing plan that utilizes all the marketing tools available.

The recent economic crisis and the competition in the dental services market have led to a significant increase in dentists’ interest in digital marketing for dentistry. This is because digital marketing, also called online marketing or Internet marketing, is much more effective than traditional marketing.

Digital marketing refers to any media delivered online through digital channels such as social media, mobile applications, email, search engines, and websites. It allows your dental practice to interact with customers in real-time and engage with them in a meaningful way. You have a much wider field of contact with potential patients.

When customers find out that your online presence is interactive and open to complaints, queries, etc., they automatically develop a sense of trust and compliance. Expanding customer outreach with digital marketing helps maintain a friendly relationship with your customers.

With digital marketing, you can choose what type of patient you want to reach. It’s a waste to reach out to a broader audience that you can’t or don’t want to serve, which occurs in traditional marketing.

Online marketing allows your dental clinic to target an audience in terms of age, interest, geographical location.  Internet marketing can be highly targeted. Offers can be personalized based on customer profiles, and other consumer behaviors targeted audiences’ exhibit.

The times they are a-changin.’

There has been a significant shift in how consumers purchase products or services. As business owners, Dentists need to know how to provide patients with the experience they are looking for to capture their attention. Patients are only looking for one or two dentists, and most don’t have one in mind. They can be influenced.

Nowadays, people practically live online, going through a series of digital moments in many different places. This is a fundamental shift that some older folks have a hard time getting their heads around.

We can call this going from place to place, these multiple touchpoints online, “the customer journey.” This is not just random surfing the internet but also looking for a solution to a problem or answering a question.

A person who has problems with their teeth may be searching first for – “what is a dental implant?” for example. You need to make sure you’re there at every stage of the customer journey. Touchpoints on this journey include:

  • Social media like Facebook and Instagram
  • Live chat or chatbot
  • Online advertisement like Google Ad
  • Customer reviews
  • Email
  • Your website

Early on, during the research phase, generic keywords are used. Other sources are referenced, and the searcher is touched in myriad different ways, and finally, toward the very end, a very specific or brand-focused search will be done. It is essential to be there with your potential dental patient every step of the way.

Touchpoints of the customer journey

Your Website

Creating your online presence starts with a website. While most times, those searching for dental help may not start on your website, they will end up there. The design of your website significantly impacts how a site visitor perceives your dental practice.

From color choice to style, many different elements add up to create a first impression. Make your website accessible, engaging, and user-friendly with a unique brand and personality that sets you apart from the others.

One of the biggest influences on marketing is that so many potential patients are using mobile phones. Our smartphones are always at the tip of our fingertips. It is now common to access websites from the convenience of devices with varying screen sizes, so it is vital to have a mobile-friendly website.

Every website should have a blog. A blog gives you the relevancy and recency that is needed. A successful marketing program includes relevant content that is targeted to the people you want to be patients. You need to publish that content frequently.

Search Engines

Search is a significant touchpoint, as this is where the customer journey often begins. Four factors must now be considered for you to be found in search, and notably on the first page of the search engine:

  • Recency: How often you publish content, change keywords or touch directory listings.
  • Relevancy: How relevant the things you publish are to your dental practice.
  • Proximity – Google wants to deliver the best search results and also the ones that are the closest.
  • Prominence: Be in many different places. Scale activities to be everywhere on the internet.

PPC / Google Ads

Use Geotargeted Google Ads campaigns to target potential local customers. Google Ads is an excellent way for patients to find you in search.

Email

Email programs are a method of communication that’s an essential component of a healthy digital marketing program. Send promotional messages to your customers or people in your database. Email is a very inexpensive and responsive way to get additional business.

Directory listings

Directory listings are a critical Google ranking component of your website. Ensure your company name, address, and phone number (NAP) are consistent across all directories. Updates may include changes to a photo gallery or adding a new review.

Social media and social advertising

Social media is a vital part of digital marketing. Engage with creative messages and marketing campaigns: share photos of your office and services.

Facebook is the most targeted form of advertising, giving you the ability to reach your exact audience and engage them. You can advertise to patients by age, interests, behavior, and location.

Reviews and Ratings

When you maintain a good reputation, respond to your customers, and say they have a good experience with you, Google sees your reliable partner to somebody and directs traffic to you. Every 1-star increase, a business gets in their rating, and sales revenue will increase from approximately 5 to 9%. 22% will not purchase a product/service after reading just one negative review.

Google Maps

Have your dental office listed on Google Maps, a web mapping service. It offers satellite imagery, aerial photography, street maps, 360° interactive panoramic views of streets (Street View), real-time traffic conditions, and route planning for traveling by foot, car, bicycle, and air (in beta), or public transportation. Patients will be able to find your office easily as well as give you an improved online presence.

Google My Business 

Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool for your dental practice to manage your online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. It can help customers find your business, tell them your story, and verify your business.

Content Marketing

When defining digital marketing, it can be just a simple Ad about your dental clinic and a list of what services you offer. However, to deliver the maximum results, “content marketing” is the path you should take. Content marketing differs from digital marketing, although they both fall into the same category.

“Content Marketing is the process of providing consumers with information that is interesting, useful, problem-solving, and entertaining. Content that is beneficial to the consumer rather than AN ATTEMPT TO SELL a product or service.”

Content can be any media that provides something informative or entertaining to the consumer. These could be videos showing a dental procedure, educational blogs, anything that will engage potential patients.

Making your presence known on all these touchpoints will bring you more dental patients. However, it is much work, and as a dentist, you won’t have the time and expertise to manage a successful digital or content marketing campaign. For that, you should turn to a professional digital marketing company.