According to Dental IQ, you will lose about 10% of your patient base through normal attrition. Statistics seem to back up this claim. The number of individuals seeking dental treatment in Ireland has been on a gradual decline in the last few years. Only about 390,000 people sought treatment from dentists in 2018 compared to 413,133 in the previous year. This means that competition for patients among dentists is even stiffer.
Dental IQ suggests that you should grow your patient base by 15% if your practice is to grow. But how do you overcome such stiff competition and grow your patient base by that rate? A strong online presence can make it possible. Most people today rely on the internet to find new healthcare providers after all. Read on to learn about digital marketing strategies you can use to attract new patients and keep the current ones happy:
- Claim your local business listings
Google My Business is one of the best tools you can use for your online dental marketing. It goes hand-in-hand with local SEO and helps to put you above your competition, attract new patients, and grow your practice. Patients within your geographical area can easily find you. Setting up your Google My Business profile is quite easy. You’ll only need to provide the following information:
- Business name
- Business category (indicate as dental clinic or dentist)
- Complete business description including services offered
- Physical address
- Primary phone number
- Hours of operation
You can also include images of your facility. It helps with optimizing your Google My Business Page and increases chances of appearing on the Google Local Pack. Other local directories that you can get listed on include Bing, Yelp, and Yellowpages.
- Get more patient reviews
Dental healthcare is a very sensitive field and patients want to get it right the first time. This means that they are more likely to rely on what your past patients say about you to make a decision to book an appointment or not. Implementing an online reviews program will get you more patients walking through your door. Besides that, according to Google, reviews also contribute to your SEO strategy and ranking.
Most dentists shy away from implementing a reviews strategy for fear of getting negative reviews. It really shouldn’t worry you. Only about 5% of businesses receive ratings of below 3 on Google, with 61% getting a rating of at least 4. Even if you get negative reviews, you can leverage them to build your brand and grow your business. You can read more on how to turn around negative reviews here. Some of the platforms you can use to publish your reviews include Google, Yelp, and Facebook.
- Get on Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
SEO is a long-term strategy that takes time before you can see the return on investment. Honestly, dental practice is not one of those fields that give you so much time to get things running. Even as you work for the future, you need results now. Search engine marketing is the perfect strategy to use if you’re looking for immediate results.
Platforms such as Google Ads allow you to target specific geographical locations and demographics for immediate traffic.
- Improve your SEO
Higher ranking on search engine results pages means more organic traffic to your website and, therefore, improved lead generation. You should pay attention to on-page SEO tactics such as optimized web copy, titles, and headings among others. Don’t forget about off-page SEO tactics like backlinking too. Other factors that will play an important role in your SEO ranking include:
- Site speed
- Website responsiveness
- Website security certifications
- Have a presence on social media
As of January 2020, Ireland had 3.2 million social media users. This represents an increase of 5.2% from the previous year. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram provide a great opportunity to build a community around your brand and engage your audiences. Use the platforms to build awareness, engagement, and trust among your patients. It also enables you to generate organic traffic back to your website.
Having a social media presence enables you to take charge of the online narrative around your brand. You can also share content with your followers and establish yourself as an authority in the dentistry field.
- Activate voice search
Voice-activated technologies make up a big part of our lives today. Voice assistants such as Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant are revolutionizing how people search for things online. According to PwC, 71% of consumers prefer using voice assistants when searching the internet instead of typing. Google also says that 41% of people get the feeling of directly engaging a fellow human being when performing a voice search.
It is time to optimize your website for voice search. But keyword utilization for voice search isn’t the same as that of SEO. Voice searches utilize natural language more and people talk into their devices the same way they would to another person. The keywords shouldn’t only be long-tail but also conversational.
- Start a dental blog
You don’t need to be selling your services 24/7. You will scare away patients when you always sound salesy. Instead, feed them information and provide them with tips on how to improve their dental health. It will go a long way in establishing trust in your brand. You will also be seen as an authority in your field and get more visits when people need to see an actual dentist. Some of the topics you can cover on your blog include:
- How to care for sensitive teeth
- Does activated charcoal help in teeth whitening
- Different dental problems and how to take care of them using home remedies
The topics are endless. You can also debunk myths on dental healthcare and dental visits to make your audiences more comfortable with booking an appointment. The content should be of high quality and regularly updated.
Above all, ensure that you have a dynamic website. All your marketing efforts will count for nothing if your website is outdated and static. Ensure that your website has these 12 features that will enable it to perform optimally. If you don’t have the budget to upgrade your website to a smart website, you can get a website grant for that.
Connecting with people in the digital world is very important for a dental practice to be successful in this age. These tips will help you to get started. Since digital marketing is just as intense as taking care of your patients, it is advisable to hire an experienced digital marketing agency to handle your online marketing needs. You don’t have to burn yourself out.