Digital Dental Advertising
As practiced by dental advertising experts
For a dental practice to be successful, it needs to engage in a robust digital dental marketing plan. Relying on word of mouth and hoping to be the only dentist in town will only work in very rural parts of the country.
Chances are you not only have other dental competitors, but they are also engaging in digital advertising. Digital dental advertising specifically means “placing ads for your dental services on digital mediums”, however, many dentists and dental practice managers, use this term loosely, what they mean is “How do I get more dental patients” . So we will use this definition.
According to ADA (American Dental Association) Annual income of $204K for general dentists and $343K for specialists, However this can be much higher if you employ dental marketing and advertising techniques. If you plan to grow your dental practice, digital dental advertising can not be ignored. Below are six critical areas that a dental practice should focus on to promote their business to acquire new patients. They include:
Table of contents:
- Content Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Pay Per Click Search Engine Marketing
- Medical Engagement Chatbot
- Text Message Review Requests
1. Dental SEO
Short for Search Engine Optimization, SEO is crucial to your website being correctly presented as a relevant result by search engines to its users. The goal of Google, Bing, and all other search engines is to provide their users with the most relevant results when users use keywords to search. If a search engine returns results that are not helpful to a user, then they are less likely to use that search engine in the future, hurting the overall business. So, the easier you make it for a search engine to understand your website, the more likely you are to reach your target audience!
First, you need to develop a list of keywords and phrases for your website. These keywords and phrases need to be the words your target audience most likely uses when looking for dental services. It is unlikely new patients are going to know the name of your practice. While you probably will rank very well for your name, it is not a keyword many new patients will use. A list of words and phrases patients use while looking for services needs to be developed. It is essential to include the medical names for teeth, symptoms, treatments, and other everyday names. Most of your patients are not going to be familiar with the technical terms used by dentists. Including everyday terms and phrases for things will help get your website listed in organic results. With that said, do not entirely ignore medical terms. Adding them also adds to a website’s domain authority.
When placing SEO Keywords in the content of your dental practice’s website, do not pack in as many as possible. Search engines disapprove of this practice, and your organic rankings are likely to suffer. Sprinkle them on your content pages and on pages where they are the most relevant. While it often takes up to 6 months for you to see results from this work, it is a very cost-effective way in the long term to promote your dental practice. Learn more about dental SEO and healthcare SEO.
Example of dental SEO – A potential dental patient searching for a “family dentist”. Patient located in Toledo OH.
2. Content Marketing
Often working hand in hand with SEO work is content marketing. While it may be unsurprising to learn this, content plays a significant role in your organic rankings. The phrase “Content is King” is not just some clever saying that gets tossed around. The content of your dental practice needs to be several things:
For content to accomplish these goals, it needs to be a certain length. In many cases, dental practices should aim for at least 500 words, if not 1,000 words, for each page of their site. The amount of time an owner of a dental practice spends on a website is a factor in organic ranking. Two hundred words are going to be read faster than 1000 words. The more time someone spends on a dental practice’s website, the more authoritative they look. If someone clicks on a dental website and then quickly clicks back to search results, that indicates a less relevant website to the keywords being used.
Another aspect of content marketing is the constant updating of a dental practice’s website. An owner should always be adding, refining, or updating content pages of their site. This work should be done throughout the year and not all at once. Continuous content marketing work on your site will show search engines that your website is as up-to-date as possible. Content pages should be reviewed at least once a year to see if improvements need to be made. If you can not find anything meaningful to add or update to your website, consider starting a blog. Make it easy and commit to writing one post per month to update the blog. Content marketing, working with SEO, can significantly help the organic rankings of your dental practice’s website.
Example of promotional content marketing. Patient located in Dallas DFW area of Texas.
3. Social Media Marketing
Social media continues to play an essential role in a dental practice’s digital dental advertising efforts. It is a great way to keep in contact with current patients and reach others in the area. Social media channels have now become as common as having a business card. At this point, it is a little strange not to see some social media presence for a dental practice. While not all dental practices utilizing these social media platforms, the top ones you should consider creating a profile on include:
- Google Business Profile
Some dental practices also find it helpful to have profiles on:
As for what to post on social media channels, do not make the mistake of assuming that every piece of content needs to promote your dental practice. If you are always trying to sell something to your patients, they will quickly tune out your posts, or worse, unsubscribe from your social media channel. While promoting your services is essential, it should be mixed with other health stories and local news. Ideally, posts should also include pictures of doctors, staff, and the facility with updates. Any sort of pictures or videos highlighting the dental practice and those who work there generally perform better than other posts.
Consider subscribing to a posting service that allows you to post to multiple accounts at the same time. This will save you time, so you do not have to log in and out of three or more social media accounts to post the same thing over and over again. These posting services do not allow you to access all of the bells and whistles of each social media channel, but they are very effective at posting an update with an optional picture, video, or link. This is usually sufficient for the majority of your posts.
Finally, social media channels have a robust advertising platform. While it does not have as extensive a reach as search engine advertising, also known as pay per click, it allows you to refine your targeting. Most social media channel will enable you to advertise to their users and narrow the target audience by:
All in all, the cost per click of social media ads is generally lower than pay-per-click ads. However, since most patients who click on your ads on social media, have more time than money, so overall quality of leads from social media is less than that of Google PPC ads (see next topic below). If targeting is used correctly, your ads can show a valuable target audience that is more likely to click on your ads. Social media channels each have their unique advertising platforms, so take time to look at what each one can provide you before putting your money into promoting a post. Ads on social media consistently outperform just boosting a post. We do not recommend spending money on boosting social media posts.
Example of social media content post. Before and after image of a patient treatment. Dental practice located in Dallas DFW area of Texas.
4. Pay Per Click Advertising on Google
Pay-per-click ads, also known as PPC ads, are a great way to quickly get your dental website in front of your target audience. It is widely used when a dental practice has just opened or offered a new service on their website. When anything is newly pushed online, be it a new website or a page, it does not have a lot of SEO value. It will take time for it to start to show up in organic results. While waiting for that to happen, paid search ads can fill that gap to get that content in front of a target audience.
For paid search campaigns, you need to bid on keywords. When someone searches online and uses those keywords, you have a chance for your ad to appear, assuming you are bidding enough money for it. Your competitors are likely bidding on the exact words so that their ad will appear as well. There is often one to three paid ad spots, so your bids need to be enough to secure one of them. The budget for your ad campaign also needs to be big enough to last throughout the day. If you only have enough budget allotted for enough clicks for 2 to 3 hours, you should temper your expectations. You do not need to run ads 24 hours a day unless you run a 24-hour emergency dental practice. You also do not need to advertise every single hour your dental practice is open. Instead, aim to cover most hours of the day. If your budget usually runs out 2 or 3 hours before you close, that is generally good enough. Be mindful if you are closed for the weekends, other days of the week, or holidays. Save your budget for a day where you are open and do not run ads on those days where a practice is closed.
Example of PPC ads on Google. You will notice that “dental implant” has an extremely successful campaign. Overall the practice is flourishing with new patients every month.
5. Dental Practice Engagement Chatbot
Dental practice engagement chatbots are relatively new to dental practices but have been successfully used by the retail industry for years. The goal of a chatbot is to mimic human conversation with someone visiting your dental practice’s website. It is programmed to provide answers to a series of prewritten questions or help website visitors accomplish simple tasks. The benefit of using a dental practice engagement chatbot is that it should cut down on the number of phone calls and emails patients and potential patients make or send to your front desk. If programed with the most popular questions a front desk receives day in and day out, you should see an impact. This frees up the front desk staff to handle patients who need more attention for more challenging problems.
When developing a list of questions to program into a chatbot, many owners find it valuable to engage with the staff to who often answer them. Talking with them will give you an obvious idea of what questions they most likely have to answer throughout the day. For any questions a chatbot can not answer it will take the name and contact information from that website visitor and store it in a HIPAA secured dashboard so staff can review these questions and contact these patients. This is much better than going through a general email box, fishing questions out from general spam, or listening to voice mail messages trying to understand and write down the questions people ask.
Another great benefit of a dental practice engagement chatbot is that it is always on duty. It does not go home at night, go on vacation, or help others because of inclement weather. The most common things a chatbot does are direct people to web pages for specific information, help them make an appointment, or provide contact information and directions. Dental practice engagement chatbots can be updated at any time to address new medical issues, challenges, or situations that may cause patients to ask the same question many times.
However, all dental or medical ChatBots are not created equally. For example, it must be HIPAA compliant, by adding a dental or medical ChatBots your website should not become slow. We have seen this on many websites, which leads to longer page loads and hence, lower SEO rankings per Google’s pagespeed rankings algorithm.
Example of a dental practice chatbot. This app works 24×7 on your website (mobile, desktop, ipad) and converts potential patients to new paying patients and helps existing patients with common questions and answers.
6. Text Message Review Requests
Reviews of your online listings are critical for the success of a dental practice. When a new patient discovers a dental practice, one of the first things they will look at is the reviews. If a dentist has too many negative reviews, that potential patient will look elsewhere. If a dentist has good reviews, but only a few reviews here and there, a rival dentist with more positive reviews stands a chance of getting that business. A dental practice will want a healthy listing with an increasing collection of positive reviews. There will undoubtedly be a few negative ones here and there, but the positive ones should vastly outweigh the negative ones.
The best way to get a review from a patient is to ask and make it as easy as possible to leave a review. Front desk staff asking patients to leave a review as they leave generally is not practical or effective. Sending an email for a review request can work, but there will be plenty of emails that end up in a spam or a promotional folder. Texting has proven to have a very high open rate and conversion rate compared to emails. Thank a patient for coming to your dental practice, and then provide them with a link to leave a review. Ideally, a single click should all it should take to leave a review. The fewer clicks a happy patient has to make, the more likely they will leave a review.
7. Facebook advertising case study
Practice: 2 location dental practice. Has been in practice for 16 years. Located in south west USA, with medium-high competition.
Objective: Get Clicks To Website (Traffic)
When You Get Charged : Link Click (CPC)
Landing Page : Targeted page for specific dental services
Call to Action : Contact Us
Age: 18-65+ Gender : All Genders
Geo Targeting: 15 mile radius
Detailed Targeting : People who match: Interests: Cosmetic dentistry, periodontitis, teeth cleaning, braces, Invisalign, implants
Monthly Budget: $1500
Total Link Clicks : 1,811
Cost Per Result: $0.82
Average Monthly Spent : $1485
Overall Campaign Results:
13 conversions / new patients
8. Case study dental advertising: Google ads vs Facebook ads
Compare: month of March $2200 advertising budget on Google PPC ads. Generated 242 leads.
Compare: month of April $2200 advertising budget on Facebook ads. Generated 176 leads.
Results: Although Google ads are more complex to setup and manage, they generate more leads and patients for dental practices, given the same budget.
The experts at PatientGain.com can help your dental advertising. Call our experts today and let us show you what we have done for other dentists across the country. We look forward to working with you!