For dental offices, digital marketing is essential to staying competitive. Using both an unpaid and a paid digital advertising strategy can be an effective way to stay in the game. “Paid digital advertising strategy” most often refers to internet ads—those ads you see in search results, either on the right margin or as the top 3 search results, also called Google’s “3-pack.”
For example, Google AdWords, a digital marketing platform, is a pay-per-click (PPC) advertising technique, which means you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. By developing a focused PPC ad campaign, you can drive targeted traffic to your website and generate more new patient appointments.
When utilizing digital advertising in your marketing strategy, it’s important to track your ad performance to understand which campaigns are converting—that is, which ads are actually getting new patients in the door. One way to do this is to use call tracking. This feature provides a dedicated phone number, making it easy to track how many calls and new appointments your practice received as a result of clicking on a paid ad.
Another part of your digital marketing strategy should be A/B testing, also called split or bucket testing. A/B testing is the comparison of two ads, landing pages, apps, etc. against each other to determine the highest performer. If you use Google AdWords you can execute A/B testing by making changes to the following factors:
- Ad copy: Headline, URL, call to action, description, images, colors, and ad extensions.
- Targeting: Demographics, ad groups, and devices.
- Final URL (landing page): Test alternate landing pages for specific ad groups.
To enhance your digital strategy and marketing efforts, we’ve put together a list of dos and don’ts for search engine marketing for dental practices.
DON’T: Ignore your target audience
Identify and focus on the target audience for your search engine marketing. For instance, two distinct target audiences for a dental practice are often:
- Adults between the ages of 27 and 39, both male and female, who are concerned about their appearance. Average income is over $45,000 per year and includes professionals but also includes stay-at-home parents who do have a full-time job outside the home. This group is likely to consider cosmetic procedures, but they are also health conscious.
- Seniors have more time and money, and they are also interested in improving appearance. Average income is over $50,000, usually retirement income, and they don’t have the busy schedule of younger adults with full-time jobs.
DO: Invest money and time
Yes, the internet and social media is basically free to use, but gone are the days when it’s easy to get in front of your target audience on the World Wide Web. With all of the competition taking over the web space, investing money will help you not only get eyes on your content but will allow you to streamline and target who you are reaching, where they want to be reached.
Paid investments such as Google AdWords and Facebook advertising allow you to send a strategically-placed message to your specific target market at a time and a place where they are already spending their time.
A dental offices’ paid search strategy might involve targeting patients who are searching for teeth whitening services, emergency dental care, or pediatric dentistry to enhance their search engine marketing efforts.
DON’T: Skip social media
Engagement on social media has an influence on your Google ranking. The number of shares and the usefulness of content on social media can affect this.
People are highly influenced by a recommendation from someone they know, and social media is one of the best ways to leverage word-of-mouth advertising through ratings and referrals. Encourage patients to follow your practice on Facebook or Twitter and check-in by posting reminders in your waiting room or including it on appointment cards. On Instagram, encourage patients to “show us your smile” and tag your practice in their smile photos. Post videos on a regular basis and integrate personal content with dental-related information to increase engagement and help with search engine marketing efforts.
DO: Create quality content
The most important rule for marketing on social media is to create quality content that your followers want to see, matched to clearly defined objectives in alignment with your marketing strategy. If your objective is to find more patients, your content should reflect how your practice stands out from your competitors and utilize great reviews from past clients. On the other hand, perhaps you want to increase interest in your cosmetic procedures. In that case, provide content that makes patients aware of the services you offer. Always keep your target audience in mind your and make sure your content defines how your practice will meet their needs.
Consistent blogging can help to establish you as a thought leader and attract new patients by demonstrating that your practice has the knowledge and expertise they’re looking for to solve their particular problem. Ensure that your posts include keywords—dental practice, teeth whitening, dental impacts, for example—to improve search engine rankings. To find keywords, do a search for words or phrases related to your services. Google AdWords as well as keyword.io provides a Keyword Planner to help you find keywords. Or, you can ask for help. Once you’ve selected the words you like, you can add them to your content, working them into the title, text, and description of the post.
Examples of blog post ideas include dental tips, end-of-year reminders to use insurance benefits, issues your older patients should be aware of, and the different types of dentists and dental specialists, to name a few.
DO: Use a landing page to capture visitor information
A landing page is the destination of a lead that has clicked on your digital ad. Effective landing pages provide the lead with information promoted by the ad, info about your business, and a form where they enter information that your business wants to capture, and an effective CTA, or call to action. Examples of landing pages include:
- An appointment request form
- Contact Us form
- Promotional offers
- Blog or newsletter sign-up page on your website
- Downloadable material, such as a “Guide to Cleaning Your Braces” or “How Invisalign Works”
DON’T: Overlook SEO on-page optimization
It’s important to develop effective marketing strategies for your dental office, including search engine optimization (SEO) to increase your website’s online visibility. Improving your Google ranking is critical. Effective SEO can help you rank higher when people search the internet for your services. When searching for a new dentist, more than 70% of people begin their search on Google, but they rarely look beyond the first page of search results, so you want to make an effort to rank on the first page.
On-page SEO optimization is essential for targeting a local audience. Ensure that your website makes it clear where your practice is located. Include it on your homepage, your contact page, and other pages of your website. Identify and use keywords that will help reveal your dental practice in organic search results. In other words, you might seed your website content and metadata with words and phrases like teeth whitening, cosmetic dentistry, dental implant costs, and cost of braces. However, be careful not to overdo it. “Keyword stuffing” is not necessary
Use variations of phrasing to optimize for keywords. For example:
- Dentist in Virginia Beach
- Virginia Beach dentist
- Virginia Beach, VA., dentist
It takes time and effort to attract new dental patients. Ensure that you are deploying your resources in the most effective way for both organic and paid search by developing a strategic search engine marketing approach.
Get started today!
- Identify your target market.
- Determine your advertising budget and how much you will spend on paid search efforts.
- Establish or grow your social media presence with a focused effort on increasing engagement.
- Identify blog post topics and create an editorial calendar.
- Determine the type of landing pages that will be most effective in helping achieve your specific objectives.
- Research keywords and review existing web content for effective dental practice SEO.
Need help with your dental office marketing strategy? Contact your local Valpak representative today!