There are 60.79 practicing dentists in this country for every 100,000 people, which creates a deficit of more than 20,000 dentists overall to fit all needs, according to the American Dental Association. So, there’s a lot of cavities to left to fill.
Furthermore, there are a lot of people who do not get the dental care they need. Past reports indicate approximately 17 percent of children within an age range of 5-19 do not receive the dental care they need. Approximately, 27 percent of adults, 20-44, have the same lack of service. With this kind of definitive need for dentists, it’s just a matter of letting people know where your practice is located.
Now, in the early 21st century, online marketing is the best way that a dental practitioner can maintain his professional calling. If your competition is putting money into this venue, there is probably a reason – more than one, in fact: raising public awareness, generating new leads, and bringing them new patients. In short, online marketing is very profitable. In fact, the way it’s trending today, this may soon become a necessity in the marketplace, much like television opened up new streams of business revenues about the middle of last century as it began to outstrip print advertisement in some industries.
Marketing indicators show more people (especially, the upcoming cell-phone generation) are doing business through the internet, including increased searching for services on mobile devices, such as smart phones, while in the process of their daily work and schooling. Increasing your online marketing increases your chances of drawing their attention to your practice when they need a cavity filled or a cleaning; thus, you will you glean the rewards – more patients and more revenue.
Two reasons that dentists (or any other professional) should jump onto the online marketing train is social media referral and search engines. Social media outlets such as Facebook or Twitter is the new “word-of-mouth” advertisement; for example, friends will ask their online friends who is the best dentist for a painless-as-possible root canal. Then there are the search engines, like Bing or Google, which are growing in popularity as reliable information sources. Utilizing every source of internet marketing is in your best interest.
We have compiled a few key tips to give you some ideas of how internet marketing can benefit your practice.
1. Pay Per Click (PPC) Google
PPC advertisement has popularized in recent years and has proven to be an effective way to advertise your practice with several benefits.
Highly targeted website traffic – When a dental practitioner creates a variety of ads using specific keywords, the quantity of website traffic generated tends to increase. Also, advertisements timed to run for a specific geographic location at specific times, as at peak traffic times, is effective: for example, 5-7 pm, Atlanta GA.
Speed to Market – PPC ads are a more reliable way than SEO to bring targeted traffic and patient leads to your website.
Fast results – A dental practitioner wants fast response time. A PPC gives nearly instant results. You only need to create your own AdWords account, especially if you already have a working website, then run them on Google and watch you’re the traffic on your site increase; remember, every hit is a potential patient.
Measurable – PPC ads are all about objective targets. Most anything stemming from a PPC is measurable: profits, views, visits, clicks, costs, and more. Even before setting up your first PPC, you already know how much you have in the budget and whether you are profiting or losing. All the key performance indicators and reports show very important information pertaining to your goals.
Less dependence on SEO – Right now, nothing replaces the profitable impact of a good SEO campaign. In fact, these are extremely important for your long-term success as a dental practitioner. But the SEO algorithms of ranking change periodically. As a result, your practice can get bumped from the top of the list on a search results page down to page 5 without warning. With a good PPC campaign, you have less need to worry about these frequent alterations.
2.Pay Per Click Yahoo/Bing
The Yahoo/Bing Network may have a few extra advantages AdWords does not.
Advantages not found in AdWords – Some ads on Yahoo Bing Network (YBN) were lower – sometimes significantly lower than AdWords , as much as 37% to 77% of their rival – compared to several vertical industries. A dental practitioner would have to pay a premium to gain access to the click-through rates for local searches in the robust search traffic of AdWords
There is less competition on YBN than on its rival’s network because YBN has a lower cost PPC for the initial Search Engine Results Page ads, about 76% to 90% lower than the average of what it would be to do the same on their competitor’s network. AdGooroo studied 6 verticals and with 25,000 paid search advertisers receiving at least one top rank SERP ad results on YBN, they contrasted the 39,000 advertisers with top results on AdWords for the quarter. This stat shows 36 % fewer active search marketers on YBN to compete against than the other top search engine.
What this means for your Ad campaigns – As a dental practitioner, you make the choice for which search engine works best for your ad campaign: Google or YBN. The latter offers a lower cost per click (CPC), cost per impression (CPM), and less competition for ad ranking; whereas, Google offers better click-through rates and remarkable impressions. This allows better opportunity to reach more potential patients by maximizing your profit to cost ratio as you advertise.
3. Facebook PPC
Facebook is one of the leading social media outlets, and if handled well it can be valuable advertising resource – emphasis on “if handled well.”
Familiarize yourself with FB ad guidelines – Advertising guidelines on Facebook are very strict, and violations will likely be rejected promptly. If you abide their rules, you can be assured that a number of potential patients will see your ads, which will be a plus for your campaign. Some of the rules include no get-rich-quick schemes, no audios that play automatically, and the ads shouldn’t be repetitive.
Avoid “annoying” texts – Facebook has a feature that their competition does not; users can close any ad by clicking a grey box located in the top right hand corner of the ad. When this happens, FB prompts the user for reasons why they closed it. If an ad is closed too many times, it is pulled altogether. Obviously, you want to be seen as a reputable dentist, not pushy or offensive. Choose your text carefully or the ad may last only few days – or a few hours which is worse.
Choose your audience – You can be as selective of your target audience as you like when advertising. Geographic proximity is one factor. Obviously, you want to appeal to an audience that lives within reasonable driving distance of your dental practice. If your office is in Chicago, you’re not likely to draw in a Texas customer base. Your preferred audience profile might include an age-range, education level, marital status, political affiliation or other factors. You can be very selective of who sees your advertisement.
4. Responsive Website
A “Responsive” website carries a great many advantages and comes highly recommended.
Super flexible – Just as a dentist should be flexible with patients, a website design should reflect the same, letting content fill in space while being consistent with its initial look. The fluidity of a “responsive” web design allows content to move freely across all screen resolutions and devices, allowing both images and grids to be fluid.
Give your users a great experience – A Responsive design allows your visitors (potential patients, all) a first-class experience with no concern for the type of device they are using whether it’s smart phone, smart TV, laptop, or tablet. Whoever the viewer is – a professional looking for a dentist at work, or a college student searching late at night – each has common need: accessing your site at their convenient time on any device. No matter which device they choose, with this kind of site, scrolling and resizing should not be an issue.
You only need one site – Even for a dentist serving local patients only, having one website that responds to the needs of a mobile device is better than paying someone to develop and maintain two sites. Having one website tends to be more conducive to stronger profit margin.
Google recommends a responsive website – When someone with a 67% market share makes a recommendation on websites or internet marketing, prudence demands you listen to them. They state that a responsive website is one of the industry’s best practices, and it is their recommended mobile configuration. The design uses only one URL, and the HTML coding is the same no matter what device is used, which makes it more efficient for Google to organize the content of the ad.
5. Write to be mobile-friendly
Mobile devices may be at least as common as laptops nowadays, so as a serious dental practitioner you must be sure your website is compatible with these devices if you want a secure litany of patients.
Users want a good experience – According to some reports, when a user has problems browsing a website, 67% of them never return to that page. A professional dentist must inspire their potential patients, make them feel good about their experience if you want them to become trusting and loyal patients. Nobody wants to see a string of incoherent garbage on their hand-held device when they try to connect to a site. You have to make sure they receive clean and readable text.
Time has more value than before – The cliché “time is money” is true even in the internet age. The average visitor has a very short attention span, so your website must put more stuff in front of their eyes quickly if you want to convert them into a new patient. Since many people surf when they are out and about, it stands to reason they will be on a mobile device. You will increase the chances if your pages and content are written in a mobile-friendly way.
Gain the competitive edge before someone else does – Any competing dental practitioner with a mobile-friendly site already has the advantage over you, so you need to get to work if you want to stay in the market. A survey showed sixty-eight companies out of 200 (1 out of 3) do not have a website compatible to mobiles. The numbers may be different for industries which are more internet progressive. To gain a better perspective of your competitive landscape, visit other dental practitioner’s websites.
6. SEO helps get you noticed
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is very important in getting your practice noticed on the Internet. If you’re not on Google’s page one, you might get lost in the crowd. However, having a user-friendly website is at least as important.
Make your website user-friendly – Don’t think that SEO is just about optimizing websites for search engine rankings. It’s just as important – perhaps, more so – to make sites focus on improving the user’s experience. A clean, uncluttered web-site encourages visitors (potential dental patients) to stay on your site a little longer, which improves the bounce rate and page views.
Keeping your content fresh and vital with interesting articles and sales pages will improve the viewer’s experience and encourage them to view it longer. Search engines are designed to give preferred ranking to websites that seem to be user-friendly. If you can make your viewers happy, then the search engines will prefer your site. In turn, you are more likely to be on page one when someone searches for local “dentists.”
Bring me the patients – It is important to understand that primary reason to have a website is to gain that competitive edge over the competition by increasing your customer base (patients). Otherwise, what is the point of investing money into internet marketing. Your chances of growing increase with an SEO website.
Better conversion rate – Websites that have undergone SEO are easier to surf and read, will load faster, and will tend to be mobile-friendly. Websites that will attract and keep the attention of more visitors are user-friendly. These sites tend to attract return visitors.
Building your practice – Building brand awareness for your practice is one of the big benefits offered by a higher ranking on the SERP. Competitors that don’t invest in a strong web presence are not as likely to be trusted by customers; therefore, they will not rank well enough to be on the first page of a search results list. If you want to build greater public awareness of your practice, it would be advisable to invest in a strong SEO to gain a high ranking. Search engines can play a major role in making or breaking your identity. If you want to keep ahead of the competition, contact Gary at (770) 872-8115 or [email protected].