Over the last 10 years working in digital marketing for dental practices, a common question I get from dentists is how to get more dental patients. There are over 195,000 dental practices in the United States and every one of them is trying to get more patients, how do you stand out in that crowd?
Many dental clinics fall into the same strategy of hiring a marketing agency to handle their search engine optimization and SEO, but that may not always be the best option. With SEO you can’t measure the ROI of what the agency is doing for you, additionally it’s extremely difficult to know if the agency is going to do a good job because there are hundreds of thousands of marketing agencies to choose from.
There’s a better way to increase the number of new, highly qualified patients at your practice and that’s through a qualified patient referral partner, if you want more patients and want to be able to directly measure the return on every dollar you spend, contact us here.
- Understand Your Market and Customers
- Build a Beautiful and Engaging Website
Before you spend anytime marketing or invest any money into the efforts, make sure you take time to really understand your market. Having a clear indication of who you are targeting makes sure your marketing efforts are worthwhile.
You’ll want to start by making an ideal customer profile, and then really understanding what that means to your business.
In addition to understanding the market, you’ll also want to keep in mind how your customers interact with your business. One of the most important metrics to keep in mind is the lifetime value of a customer, which is the total revenue a custom brings in over the course of their time with you.
For example, if you spend $75 to acquire a customer, and on their first visit they bring in $50 in profit that doesn’t seem like too good a deal. However, if it’s projected that the same customer will visit you 5 times total bringing in an additional $50 each time then it starts to look much better. The key is to understand your market, know how much it takes to acquire a customer, and then how much revenue each customer is going to bring in. Without these metrics it’s difficulty to gauge the effectiveness of a marketing campaign.
Your dental practice website is a 24/7 working employee who should be converting visitors to patients, over and over. Enough cannot be said about how important it is for you to have a high quality & engaging website.
The problem is, how do you choose someone to build a new site or optimize your existing site?
Web design agencies rates are all over the board, you can get a very nice and functional website from an agency in the Midwest for a few thousand dollars, or you can hire a company in Los Angeles or New York City and for the same website they’ll charge you $20,000. I recommend you get quotes from at least 3 agencies and make sure one of them is in a low cost of living city, these agencies are hungry for new clients and will usually go above and beyond what you hire them for, and their overhead costs are lower so they pass those savings on to you.
Your website should include:
- Clear, Easy to Read Design
- Be Designed for Use on Mobile Phones
- Have Clear Contact Information
- Easy to Find Directions and Link to Google Maps to your Office
- Reviews & Testimonials from Patients
- Be Targeted for the Locations You Serve Include City Names & Neighborhood Information
Dental patient referrals come from other dental clinics, your patients, or referral companies like Patient Source USA.
You can encourage word of mouth referrals from your patients by asking them to mention you if they have a friend who needs dental care. Social media works well for this, reach out to your followers and directly encourage them to share their experience at your practice with their friends and family.
Build partnerships with other dental clinics in your area who may not have the same specialty as you, see if you can create a relationship where you refer patients to them and they refer patients to you in return.
Use your marketing dollars to get new patients from a qualified patient referral service like Patient Source USA. We specialize in patients who are seeking urgent dental care, we qualify the patients by making sure they have the right insurance or have the ability to pay before sending them to you, and you only pay when the patient shows up to the appointment at your clinic. There are other options for new patient referrals but most of them will charge you for the patient referral whether the patient actually shows up at your office or not.
If you are focused on your ROI and want to be able to measure the exact amount of money you’re spending to acquire a patient versus how much you’re earning off of that patient, contact us today.
Getting positive reviews is a key way to drive more customers from online sources. When people search for your business you want them to see glowing five star reviews, which it turn lends you credibility. It also helps boost you in local searches as business with glowing, five star reviews are typically shown first.
Start by having your receptionist ask for reviews as customers leaves. It’s also a good idea to put up some signage expressing how much you’d appreciate reviews on the various sites you’re on.
Once you start getting reviews, make sure to reply to them. This is a great way to show your patients how much you appreciate them, and does wonders for building brand loyalty.
Paid traffic through programs like Adwords is another option that can quickly put lots of eyeballs on your site. Adwords is a program through Google that allows you to place ads in the search results for specific keywords. These typically appear either above the results, or on the right hand side. Ads like this are usually PPC (pay per click) meaning you pay a certain amount every time someone clicks on your ad.
What’s particularly powerful about Adwords is the ability to limit your targeting. When building your ads you can drill down to specific cities or zip codes and show your ads to only people in those locations. This helps make sure your ad is in front of the right people.
Adwords isn’t the only option, there are other platforms for similar ads such as Bing’s PPC that are also great opportunities. In a lot of cases these platforms have a lot less competition. While this can mean less opportunities for clicks, it also means that those clicks can be had for much cheaper, great news for those just getting into paid advertising.
It’s also a good idea to consider hiring a company or consultant to help manage your PPC campaigns. Getting started can be difficult, and every mistake means money down the drain. Starting off with a reputable company can both save you money, as well as decrease the time it takes to start seeing results.
Learn more about PPC advertising here.
Branching out from the previous point, there are also a wide variety of local advertising opportunities. This includes places like Yelp, The Yellow Pages, and even social Media sites like Facebook.
These sorts of ads are often PPC like above, but can also be CPM ads which is impression based. In either case, the key is that they allow you to specify local targeting and nail down your specific demographic.
Each site has its own quirks and workflow, as well as budget restrictions so it definitely pays to do a bit of research before jumping in. This is especially the case for those looking to start off slow and make the most of their advertising budget.
Don’t let an SEO agency fool you, you can manage your own google my business local listing – its a simple matter of adding relevant information to your listing and great photos as well as using a service like Brightlocal to manage citations and local directories that point to your office.
Local citation management – what is a citation, what is nap, etc. this is the PRIMARY issue for LOCAL SEO, it’s fairly simple to do it just takes some time. Use a program like brightlocal to optimize your citations.
Seo agencies can be great or they can be horrible, the most difficult part is finding one who has a track record of success. Search Engine Optimization is a profession that anyone can enter and claim expertise in, which means you may be hiring someone with little to no experience.
Make sure you get references and see examples of work done in the past. Ask for detailed information about how much additional traffic they were able to send to their past clients websites and what the conversion rates are for people who visited the site that turned into patients, if they can’t provide this information, find a better agency.
Another great way to get your name out is to sponsor local events. Sponsoring a charity or local sporting event is a great way to get your logo in front of a lot of new eyes.
This is even better if a local news station is covering the event, and you’re able to get additional exposure. It’s also a great way to build good will in the community, people will be more likely to do business with you if they see you as a respected and helpful presence in the community.
Be careful this can be a huge time suck!
Social Media marketing – have someone in your office write blog posts about interesting things that are happening in the office, schedule a kids day or patient appreciation day, have some healthy snacks and coloring books for the kids, write it up and post it on social media. Encourage everyone who visits your office to follow you on facebook.
Interact with the community and take lots of pictures then post those pictures on your website and on facebook/twitter/instagram. Automate social media posting by using..examples – post funny stuff and kind / caring stuff that is what really engages with people on social.
When releasing a press release it’s important to not only have it well written, as well as have it distributed appropriately.
Writing an effective press release is hard, and is better left to a professional copywriter. Hiring an experienced writer for your press release can be expensive, but is well worth it to make sure it’s well written.
It’s also important to make sure that your release reaches the right audience.