So you’re a dentist, and you start your own dental office in order to do what you love; improve the oral hygiene of the people in your area. While some may walk by the office and come in for an appointment, chances are you will need to do some marketing to grow your patient base. People aren’t psychic and there are many other dentists in your city, so how can you make sure they come to you?
We turn to online marketing. You know, that SEO, PPC, Social Media stuff. It’s not as complicated as it sounds. Get a website built. Create your social media pages. If you cover the basics you’re in good shape right? How can you make sure your assets work for you and not against you?
There are many things you can and should do, but to avoid over-complicating the process we would rather share the things you SHOULDN’T DO. Avoid these common dental marketing mistakes and enjoy a dental practice where potential patients COME TO YOU.
MISTAKE #1 – NO WEBSITE
The focus of this post is ONLINE MARKETING. Nearly every patient that finds you will search the internet first. How will they even know you exist without a website? On average, a new patient will search 12.6 different resources (including your website) before making a decision. With today’s technology, making a website is extremely easy through the use of Content Management Systems (CMS) such as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, and others.
MISTAKE #2 – NO SOCIAL MEDIA
To go along with your website, you need to have at least a Facebook page representing your practice. Encourage patients to like and follow you (a little like can go a long way!). A strong web and social media presence will instill trust in your potential patients and let people know you are real and open! Also, Google’s newest search algorithm includes social signals in their ranking process.
MISTAKE #3 – IGNORING MOBILE
Now things are getting a little more serious. What if I told you a significant chunk of your potential patients are searching for you on their smartphones? Now what if I told you someone searching on their phone is more likely to take action right then and there? I would assume you would make sure your website is mobile optimized. If navigating your site is a painful experience on a phone, people will click the back button and forget about you.
MISTAKE #4 – BAD GEOGRAPHICAL TARGETING
For those of you doing PPC (and not everyone does, many do just fine without it), it’s important to pay attention to the area you advertise to. People don’t want to drive far for their dental appointment, and your efforts to get new patients from a few cities over may be futile as there are probably other dentists who are closer. Why waste your time and money? Data shows the sweet spot for general dentistry is a radius of about 5 – 8 miles around your location. However, people may be willing to travel farther for specialized services, so keep that in mind.
MISTAKE #5 – NOT TRACKING RESULTS
Now we get into one of the most important factors of online marketing: TRACKING. Tracking means you know where people are visiting your site from, you know which visits turn into leads, and you know which leads turn into patients. How do you validate the success of any marketing initiative or campaign if you don’t know how much business it actually generated? Track results and use them to improve your marketing. You need to know what works and what doesn’t work before you go changing things.
So there you have it, some things to think about and mistakes to avoid. Online marketing is not a onetime thing. There’s no set and forget (and if there is it won’t last long). Bringing in a continuous stream of new patients is going to take some work, but the rewards will be sweet. Doing (or not doing) the things mentioned in this article will get you on the right track.
As long as you close this article with at least one new thought or idea that will help your dental practice, then I achieved my goal. Thanks for reading, see you all next time!