Remember when dentists could open their practices and patients would just stream through the doors on their own? Well, those days are gone, and it now takes more than just word of mouth and a sparkling smile to grow a patient base. With increased competition in the industry, many dentists are turning to digital marketing and online advertising channels to increase the number of sore-toothed people gracing their reclining dentist chairs. So, what is digital marketing for dentists? Does it actually work? What options are there to choose from? How should a dentist go about dipping their toes in the digital marketing waters? You’re about to find out…
What is Digital Marketing?
Before the emergence of the internet, marketing and advertising were carried out in the real world. Traditional marketing involved placing newspaper adverts, handing out printed flyers, erecting posters and billboards, television ads and good old-fashioned word of mouth. While these avenues of promotion are still widely utilised today, the lion’s share of most marketing budgets go to digital marketing efforts.
Digital marketing can be defined as advertising and promoting a business in the digital space. This includes activities such as establishing a business website, setting up social media profiles for a business, sending out informative SMS messages, scheduling regular emails, and advertising on internet search platforms like Google. Digital marketing is comparatively cheaper than traditional marketing, and the results of which are much easier to quantify.
If anything you’re about to read sounds a bit Greek to you, read our Digital Marketing Terminology Explained blog article for insights into the unique lingo used in the industry!
Does it Really Work?
That’s a difficult question to answer in one sentence, because each industry is unique – so too its target audiences. If we asked you how long a tooth crown will last, how would you answer? Perhaps you’d suggest that it depends on the eating habits and oral hygiene of the patient. Likewise, the efficacy of a digital marketing campaign depends on a number of factors:
- How sought after the service/product is in the target area
- How long a business is willing to run the marketing campaign
- How much budget the marketing campaign has to draw on
- The digital habits of the audience being targeted
While no digital marketer in their right mind could predict how much business a campaign will result in, the one thing you can take to the bank is that a digital marketing campaign will attract new business leads. What’s more, digital marketing offers insights that traditional marketing never can. You can see exactly how many people saw your advert, how many people engaged with it, how long they spent considering it, and whether or not they decided to save your telephone number or email address.
Think that only large corporations benefit from digital marketing? Think again! Read our blog on Should a Small Business Use a Digital Marketing Agency?
Types of Digital Marketing for Dentists
We’ve got years of experience marketing companies of all shapes and sizes, including dentists! Through our tried and tested methodologies, we’ve established the ideal mix of promotional activities for healthcare professionals. Digital marketing for dentists should consist of:
Paid Search Marketing
Ever heard of Google advertising? As the name suggests, Google adverts appear when people use the search engine to find information. For example, a dentist’s paid search marketing campaign could be targeting a phrase like DENTISTS IN NEW YORK. Then, when a New Yorker with bad toothache uses Google to desperately search for their nearest dentist, the dentist’s advert will appear – and research suggests that the New Yorker is most likely to click on the paid search advert.
This form of digital marketing for dentists is a great way to get brand exposure should a dental practice be looking for new patients to fill up the waiting room chairs. The marketing agency will design eye-catching images to be used in the campaign. They will select types of websites that appeal to the target audience (sites they are most likely to visit), and these catchy branded designs will then appear on websites – prompting website visitors to click and find out more.
Social Media Management
Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram. Who isn’t on social media these days, right? When people look for information on a brand or business, they turn to search engines like Google. When they want to communicate with a brand or business, they turn to social media. Since dentistry is a people business, it’s very important that dentists remain available for, and engaged with, their patients. With a marketing agency managing your social media, you’re able to share interesting information, update business hours and closing dates, run competitions, and offer advice to your patients – without having to lift a finger.
Not sure which social media channels you should be using as a dentist? Read our blog article on Choosing the Best Social Media for Your Business!
Social Media Advertising
Like paid search advertising or display marketing, social media advertising allows you to promote your business or services at a specific time, in a specific digital space, to a specific audience defined by specific demographic traits. It’s all about reaching the right people at the right times, where your adverts will show up as ‘sponsored posts’ in a social media user’s timeline. What’s more, you can pinpoint exact locations where you’d like your advert to be shown.
Search Engine Optimisation
This variety of digital marketing for dentists requires that a dentistry have its own website. Search engine optimisation (or SEO) is the process whereby a marketing agency tweaks and optimises a business website for maximum exposure on search engines like Google. There are many factors that influence where a website appears on Google once someone types in a search and hits enter. The websites that appear on Google’s page 1 are those that are extremely well optimised in terms of SEO. Those websites that are not optimised fall down to pages 2 through 99 – which means they might as well not exist (since few people ever navigate further than Google’s 1st page).
If you can’t remember your patients’ birthdays, or you’d like to make an announcement to all of them at once, consider marketing automation. This is a process of setting up marketing activities (like sending out emails or SMS messages) that are executed automatically. Other than SMS and email services, a dentist’s marketing can be automated to include automatic social media posting, and even to remind patients of their appointments or when they’re due for a check-up.
A final benefit of digital marketing for dentists and dental practices is that it offers in-depth analysis of both marketing audiences and campaign performance. The keen insights gained from in-depth data analysis will tell a marketing agency what is working well, and what is not. This way, a marketing campaign can be tweaked and adjusted for maximum impact and efficacy along the way.
Leverage Dental Digital Marketing for Increased Business
It’s no secret that we’ve become a population that turns to our devices for answers before visiting a library or reading the newspaper. With so many people using search engines like Google and social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn on a daily basis – it makes sense for professionals like dentists to position themselves in these digital spaces, where attention is guaranteed. If you’d like to test the digital marketing waters, or find out about how we’ve successfully facilitated digital marketing for dentists in the past, speak to us today!