Marketing is not what it was a short ten years ago. Some of the methods that people who have acquired degrees in marketing have quickly become outdated and are all but useless. The primary mode of advertising today is in the utilization of the Internet. The Internet is a powerful resources that connects a business with their target audience. For the dentist, that target audience is probably every single living American (unless of course one specializes in children’s teeth, in which case, the target audience is still very large). Of course, a dentist does not necessarily have the expertise in digital marketing. It is, after all, a complicated intellectual, academic discipline in which people can acquire graduate degrees. Fortunately, after years of trial and error, other dentists have found methods that successfully market their brand.
Pay Per Click
People do not open the yellow pages to find businesses anymore. They use the Internet. If somebody wants to find a local dentist, they will turn to Google, as it is the most convenient option that is available. However, there is no guarantee that the practice of any particular dentist will be first in the results. There are several factors that are at play. That is what Pay Per Click advertising is for. It will put a company at the top of the search engine results, so that anybody in the local area who searches for “dentists” or related terms will find that office.
Why should people choose one dental clinic over another? There are more factors at play than there were a few years ago. A dentist may have been able to publish a helpful pamphlet, but it would probably not be published very widely. Today, blogs are much more helpful. Patients want to know that the dentist that they are seeing is an expert. The industry is always changing and updating to provide optimal healthcare, and people want to know that their dentist is staying up to speed. Further, they want to learn news and information about the latest into dental technology. Blogging is helpful way to keep patients interested in a dental practice and develop a relationship that transcends doctor-patient. The dentist who puts information out there is an educator who is established as an expert.
As Dr. Lou Shuman, DMD pointed out, “A blog can be used as an extremely effective channel to promote new dental technology and cutting-edge products and services sold in your office, share in-depth information about specific treatments performed, or promote community events.”
Everybody uses social media. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter are probably the easiest way that a company can connect with their target audience. Sometimes, individuals will find unexpected fame because they posted a video or a thread that many people found enjoyable. While one would probably not expect to develop viral content overnight, it is still necessary to use social media. Many dentists create a fan page dedicated to their practice. On this page, they will share helpful content, funny material, and anything that will keep the audience interested. Then, when somebody needs a dentist, the one who they see on Facebook all of the time will come to mind.
Search Engine Optimization
A website owner needs to focus their effort on two things. First, the quality of the content. Second, and equally important is the website’s search engine optimization (SEO). The search engine will be the primary method through which most traffic will come. They will be searching for good answers to difficult questions and come across something that the dental practice has published on their website. There are several important and always evolving criteria for SEO, and those criteria are different for different search engines (Google, Yahoo, and Bing). Many dentists have considered downloading a helpful plugin through their hosting platform (WordPress, Blogger, et cetera) that will guide them through the process.
Interact With The Audience
Responding to critics is a necessary part of any business. As Bill Gates famously said, “A dissatisfied customer is a learning experience.” If one customer is dissatisfied with some aspect of a business, one could expect that others might be dissatisfied as well. They would just be less vocal about their displeasure. The same principle applies to the dental practice. When somebody has a complaint or a negative review of some practice at the dental office, the wise dentist will listen to this individual and adapt accordingly. If the dentist receives a message on social media, they should respond to that message in a timely manner (even if the message is full of criticism). After all, 71% of consumers who receive a response to a complaint say that they would recommend that brand to others. While it may be unpleasant to read and respond to one’s critics, it is a necessary evil and will encourage potential patients.
Websites for dental practices need to have an aura of professionalism. The design will dictate the first impression that people have. If it is not crafted very well, is sloppy and difficult to navigate, people are going to have a low opinion of that dentist and will probably not want to be his or her patient. There is nothing compelling about the website. However, if the website is crafted well, professionally designed, people will think that this dentist is a professional and is worthy of their time.
There are several important considerations for designing a website. One needs to optimize the desktop background. They need to optimize the mobile background. Mobile browsers are becoming more prominent, especially with the popularity upscale mobile devices, such as the iPad. A good and functional website is necessary for dental marketing. It could define a brand in a very negative way.
Marketing can be a difficult endeavor. A dentist is not an expert in marketing. They are doctors. But with effort and research, many dentists have used the Internet to successfully brand their practices.