Say goodbye to stale print & radio ads, and hello to digital marketing for your dental practice.
You know how important the world wide web is for generating inbound dental clients, that’s why you’re here.
Here is everything you need to know about digital marketing and how to effectively use it for dentists.
What is digital marketing?
In contrast to traditional marketing methods like magazines, billboards, and newspapers; digital marketing is marketing through the internet. For this reason, digital marketing can also be called internet marketing.
Examples of digital marketing include social media marketing, search engine marketing, pay per click (PPC) advertising, and email marketing.
In today’s world where most media is consumed electronically, digital marketing is an essential part of any marketing strategy – especially for local businesses such as dentists.
What are the digital marketing channels?
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization is the process of enhancing the organic visibility of a website within search engines. It is done by writing your website in a way that is favorable to search engines, developing high quality onsite content, and generating offsite links pointing to your website.
As a dental practice, you probably want to target keywords like “dentist near me”, “dentists in [city name], and so-on.
An effective SEO strategy will get your dental website to the top of Google so that when people are searching for your services online, they find you and submit a booking request.
Pay per click, or PPC for short, is a form of digital advertising where you pay by the click to have your ads displayed on the internet.
The cost of a click can range anywhere from several cents all the way up to $100+. In the dental niche, the average cost per click (CPC) in the US is around $1-$5.
Examples of PPC advertising include social PPC, search engine advertising (SEA), and banner advertisements.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is marketing through social sites such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and TikTok.
It includes both organic & paid social. Organic social entails posting high quality content to these channels for free to generate organic engagement. Paid social (social PPC) involves paying per click or impression to serve your content to internet users.
Email marketing is marketing to current and prospective clientele via email campaigns. It is usually done by generating targeted email lists and using a software such as Mailchimp to submit marketing “e-blasts” or newsletters to that list.
It it can also be used to send individualized and automated marketing material, such as “John Smith, you are due for another appointment”. Email marketing is not only a great way to get new customers, but to keep your existing customers coming back.
The importance of search engines in digital marketing for dentists
With all the different digital marketing options it can seem overwhelming to choose a strategy.
As a dental practice, all digital marketing channels can yield a positive ROI. They are all very important for generating new clients and keeping existing clients coming back to you.
However, the most important digital marketing channel for your dentist’s office is search engine marketing (SEM). SEM is the umbrella term for both search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine advertising (SEA, a form of PPC).
Why is search engine marketing such an important digital marketing channel for dentists? The answer is simple – intent.
Since prospective patients only think about seeing the dentist 1 or 2 times a year (sometimes less), then it’s important to market to them when they are actively searching for your service.
The benefit of search engine marketing is it enhances the visibility of your brand and website for customers who are already searching for your service with search terms like “dentists near me”. They are ready to buy from you, they just need to find your website. That is where SEM comes into play.
How to implement digital marketing into your dental practice
Now that you understand digital marketing and its importance for your dental practice, how do you implement it effectively?
First, you need to decide whether you will conduct your digital marketing in-house or hire a digital marketing agency. Another option is a hybrid, such as having your office manager implement organic social while an agency does your PPC and SEO.
Either way, to implement digital marketing effectively you will need someone who is experienced in delivering results. For this reason, it is suggested to either have a full-time in-house marketing employee or hire an agency to handle it.
How do you hire a good agency? That’s the hard part. You want to ask around for referrals. You also want to check reviews. Last, receive pricing and information from at least 3 different companies. This will allow you to choose the most effective company.
The bottom line
In today’s digital age, digital marketing is an absolute necessity for generating business for your dental practice. Each digital marketing channel, if implemented effectively, has the potential to bring major results for your business.
Of all digital channels, search engine marketing is the most influential one for your dental practice. Either hire a full-time employee to implement your dental SEM in-house or start searching online for an agency today. Once the phone calls and phone submissions from qualified prospective patients start coming in, you’ll be glad you did.