Advertising For Dentists : Traditional VS Digital
Dentists in Today’s Competitive Environment Need to Invest in Advertising if They Want to See Their Dental Practice Succeed and Grow.
In advertising, there are two types of marketing they can consider: Digital Advertising and Traditional Advertising. While some marketing experts will tell you that a dentist will not have any use for traditional advertising in today’s digital world, that is not exactly true. While it is accurate to assume digital advertising will take the lead in most marketing plans, traditional advertising plays a role if appropriately used. The experts at PatientGain.com can help a dental practice navigate both digital and traditional advertising methods to support a dental practice so it can grow and succeed.
How can pay-per-click advertising help a dental practice attract new clients?
Pay-per-click advertising is very literal when it comes to the concept of this advertising method. A dental practice will pay for every click someone makes on one of their online ads. These ads will appear in search engine results when potential patients use specific keywords to search for dental health solutions. Pay-per-click (PPC) ads have an advantage over organic results because they are the first thing someone sees in their search results. Many search engine users will explore the paid ads first before moving on to other areas of the returned results. If a dental practice can get their name front and center first before anyone else’s, they have a competitive advantage.
For a PPC ad to be effective, the ad copy needs to catch their attention. For example, if someone is looking for a dentist that gives root canal treatments, the words “Root Canal” definitely need to appear in the ad copy. With the remaining space in the ad, a dental practice can choose to promote the cost savings, how easy it is to make an appointment, or how pain-free the treatment is, among other things. The goal is to catch their attention and make a click before a potential patient explores more results. The destination of that click also needs to be relevant. A practice will see higher conversion rates for their ads if people are sent directly to a page connected to the ad copy, like a root canal service page. They will see fewer conversation rates for ads that send visitors to a generic landing page or an utterly off-topic page.
Some dental practices choose not to run PPC campaigns if their organic rankings are excellent and appear high in search results. However, if the budget allows, it may be a good idea to continue to put some money into PPC ads. If a dental practice does not, it gives up space for competitors to move in and advertise without any competitive pressure. It is also a powerful message to advertise if a dental practice appears in paid ads and organic results. With that in mind, if a dental practice can no longer accept any new patients, then it is wise to pause any PPC campaigns, perhaps until additional capacity for new patients is available.
How can social medial help dental practices increase their patient count?
Social media is now a part of just about everyone’s life. It has grown tremendously over the last 20 years, and it is much more uncommon today for someone to have no social media profile. Businesses, including dental practices, should have a presence on social media. Today, having no social media accounts is like not having a business card. Yes, a business can probably function without them, but many people will find it odd that they do not have one. While there are many social media channels out there, most dental practices will be best served by having accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and a Google Business Profile. These accounts are also the most common accounts that social media posting services will connect to so that someone can post the same thing across several accounts without logging in to each of them.
When posting content on social media, it is essential to remember that current and potential patients do not want always to be “sold to” when they log into their accounts. With that in mind, limit posts that are just promoting a service at a dental practice. That is undoubtedly different if a new service is offered or a new aspect to a previous service is available. However, avoid making a daily post covering a few different services. Include posts about local news, local schools, regional health stories, and national health stories. A social media channel should be seen as a source of reliable medical information. Other posts that often get excellent traction and shared are pictures and video posts from the clinic. If these posts feature staff and providers, they are often commented on by patients who have had positive experiences with them in the past. Theses posts may even be shared across different profiles!
Social media channels also have a powerful marketing platform that dental practices can promote their business to local audiences. While the reach of social media advertising is smaller than search engine advertising, it can still be quite effective. While social media advertising and search engine advertising allow someone to target an audience by location and keywords, social media platforms will enable a business to refine it even more! Social media ads can target someone by their gender, age, and interests. If used correctly, the target audience will be very receptive to a marketing message.
How can managing online reviews help advertise a dental practice?
When a potential patient sees a listing for a dental practice and explores its website (maybe even before exploring it), they will look over the past reviews from patients. Reviews can often make or break a dental practice and make it very expensive to acquire new patients. As such, it is in their best interest that these be monitored and managed. Since most of these reviews are posted on Google and Yelp, the first step is to claim or create listings in these directories. While it does take a few steps to verify a claim of a listing on a site, it should not take too long for a dental practice to access its reviews.
One part of managing online reviews is to respond to them. A simple thank you for their visit is more than enough to acknowledge their kind words for positive reviews. Extra care needs to be made when addressing negative reviews. If possible, try to contact the upset patient before posting a reply to a review. A dental practice may be able to resolve their issue and have them change their review. If they do not, the response can thank them for talking to them one-on-one about their experience. If the identity of the bad reviewer can not be determined, ask them to contact the practice so they can discuss their visit. Regardless if the review stays, is changed, or is taken down, the goal is to show potential patients that feedback is taken seriously. It will show that the owner wants to offer the best service possible. Ignoring bad reviews or attacking them in responses often does not paint a dental practice in a good light.
The other part of managing reviews is to cultivate new, positive reviews. Often the best way to deal with negative reviews is to outnumber them with positive reviews vastly. Many potential patients expect to see a few 1-star reviews in a sea of 5-star reviews. The easiest way to get a good review from a patient is to ask them! Provide them with a link to leave a review. Ideally, it should be as few clicks or steps as possible. For each additional step, there is to leave a review, more and more patients will abandon the process. Preferably, one click should be all that is needed to start the review process. When sending a review link, many practices either use email or text messages. Email requests are cheaper than text messages, but text requests have a much higher conversion rate. Some dental practices use both to ensure they get as many good reviews as possible!
Is dental SEO (Search Engine Optimization) considered digital advertising?
Technically, dental SEO is not considered to be advertising. However, majority of dental providers and practice managers of dental practices, consider dental SEO of their website as one of the most important part of their advertising plan. Basically 100% of the dentists and dental practice managers want high SEO rankings for their company. So it is “advertising”.
Based on our years of experience, search engine optimization for a healthcare practice has the highest ROI (Return On Investment). The only issue is that it takes time, and it is not easy.
How can direct mail marketing help a dental practice get new patients and promote brand awareness?
Unlike many other forms of traditional marketing, direct mail marketing has a degree of targeting. If using Radio or TV advertising broadcasts to a large area, a dental practice is spending money to promote their practice to someone who may be too far away to drive to it for services. This is only advantageous if a dental practice is in the middle of a highly urbanized area or has a chain of practices over a broadcast area. However, a dental practice can determine where their advertising will be sent to in a direct mail marketing campaign. They can target communities and neighborhoods with relative ease.
Mail volume today is 50% less than it was 20 years ago, according to the United States Post Office. A dental practice has to compete with far less in a mailbox than it did two decades ago. Even with that to consider, a mailer needs to be designed to stand out among the other bills and mail someone receives. Many birthday cards are sent out in color envelopes that are different shapes from a standard envelope for that very reason! A dental practice should experiment with different brand colors, shapes, and even the paper texture they use when sending out their marketing mailers. The goal is to have a household pin up the mailer onto a fridge or corkboard to advertise to them every day.
The United States Postal Service also has some tools that make it easy for a dental practice to advertise in a community if a certain amount of volume is being mailed. They have tools that allow a dental practice to map out where exactly they would like to mail to arrive. If marketing mail is sorted and prepackaged by the prescribed methods, a dental practice may qualify for cheaper, presorted mail rates. To ensure a mailer is as effective as possible, it needs to have:
- Name of a dental practice
- Address, including any suite or office numbers
- Website URL
- Hours of operations
- Phone number
- Call to action
Can a newspaper be an effective way to advertising a dental practice?
Overall, national and regional newspapers will not be very cost-effective to advertise a dental practice, much like it is for advertising on the radio or TV. Again, this may be more appealing if there is a regional chain of practices, but it may not be cost-effective even then. However, a dental practice should keep its eyes open for local, community, or neighborhood publications. These very small publications generally cover local community events, news, and concerns. While their footprint and readership are very small, it can be a very cost-effective way to promote a brand if a dental practice serves the same community. A dental practice will not be advertising to households that live too far away from the facility. Many of these smaller publications have a subscription to which the paper gets mailed, or stacks are left at local businesses. These papers generally publish a weekly or monthly edition of their paper.
Advertising in one of these papers that can appear in several ways. A popular method is to buy traditional ad space to promote the dental practice and service. Depending on the amount of space purchased, a dental practice will need to be creative in promoting themselves. An ad should including a phone number, and a URL so a potential patient can learn more about the available services. Another way is to pay to have an in-depth interview with a dentist or a provider to appear in the paper as an article. It may be possible to get this for free if you send them a press release and pitch a story to them, but if that does not work, you may be able to purchase some space for an article.
While not true at every small publication, there is sometimes a digital version of the paper. Be sure to have these publications include a link to the site for additional SEO value. A dental practice can also send a link of the article over social media channels and even as part of an email marketing message.
The experts at PatientGain.com are standing by and ready to help your dental practice succeed. Call us today and let us show you how our team has helped other dental practices with their digital and traditional advertising campaigns. We look forward to working with you!