Online Marketing Tips For Your Practice: Enhance Your Patient Relationships and Help Build Your Business

Social Web -- Online Marketing

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Let’s face it. The dental business can be a very competitive industry. You are often vying for patients with a handful of other offices in town and if you are located in a large city, you are competing in an even tougher environment with more practices, and large chains with bigger marketing budgets.

It is difficult to build your brand from referrals alone and the yellow pages is not the golden book it used to be, so I figured why not offer some ideas and tips surrounding the important, very relevant topic of online marketing.

I noticed that my post, “Enhance Your Doctor-Patient Relationship with Tablets and Apps” garnered a lot of hits, so I’d like to expand on that technological topic by sharing the benefits of going digital and growing your online presence.

If your dental practice is not online, it may be time to build a website. Your site does not need to be a digital powerhouse built by a coding pro – it just needs the basics to start to build your web presence.

Many domain hosts charge a small fee for purchasing your preferred domain address and often offer inexpensive hosting packages that come with free website building tools and templates that can help you build a custom website in just a few hours.

Patients are using the web to find dentists more and more, including baby boomers and younger generations embarking out on their own.  If you are not showing up by popular search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing your chances of being found are slim to none; unless they drive by and see your sign next to the road.

It is important to include key words in your website copy to improve your search engine optimization (SEO) or your web ranking – where you appear in the search results. Incorporating key words in your website copy like the office location, dentist or dentists’ names and common dental procedures can help improve your chances of being found by the patients you want to reach; whether they are new in town, looking to switch practices or an expanding family ready to start up care again.

Building a blog on your site can also help with SEO and establishes your practice as a thought leader and helpful resource for your patients and the industry. It provides a constant stream of new content that will keep visitors on your site longer and provide material to share on your social channels.

If you have a website and blog, it’s time to get social.  According to a recent social media study by Forrester Research, “59 percent of online consumers are active on social media sites weekly and one-third have become a fan of a brand on Facebook or Twitter.” Connecting with your patient base online can be an invaluable tool to enhancing your doctor-patient relationship.

Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter provide a way for dentists to take their professional relationship online in a more comfortable setting for the patient. It provides an easy way to engage in important oral health topics, receive feedback, serve as a gentle reminder for patients to keep up with their oral care, and an outlet to promote specials on in-clinic services to increase ancillary revenue.

By taking a few simple steps to expand your online presence you can help provide an extra boost to your daily appointment schedule and you may notice your existing patients becoming a little more active.

If you are looking for more marketing tips, be sure to visit my post “A Boost to the Bottom-line – A Roundup of Marketing Tips and Hints for the Dental Practitioner.”

Have you had success in setting up social channels, building a blog or expanding your digital dental presence? Share your success below – I would love to hear from you!

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6 comments so far

  1. TheDentalWarrior on

    Hi Keith! Good post! You said it “may” be time to get a website. I would suggest that if a dentist doesn’t have a web presence, it IS time… right now! Yesterday would be better. 🙂

    My website is my primary source of new patients. I’ve written a number of blog articles about various aspects of website marketing, including SEO, copywriting, and photography. Content is KING!

    My best advice to dentists is that they MUST be involved in creating the content. They cannot delegate it 100% to the web master and expect to get unique and compelling content. In fact, if they do that, they will get canned content with “insert name here” quality. It’s bad for SEO (duplicate content) and it’s bad for conversions (compelling visitors to make an appointment).

    • 3M ESPE on

      Hi Mike,

      You are absolutely correct. I was treading lightly…..
      A web site for a practicising dentist is a must. As usual , you make great points in your comments.
      Thanks for posting and helping the conversation.
      Best regards,
      Keith

      • TheDentalWarrior on

        haha.. yeah… I don’t tread lightly very often. More of a bull in a china shop. 🙂 Today, I had a patient experience that relates to this topic:
        http://thedentalwarrior.com/2012/05/15/answer-your-ing-emails/

        Mike

      • 3M ESPE on

        Mike,

        Just read your patient experience post. Great timing and absolutely relevant to the topic. Incidentally, I beat you on the emails per day front – about 200 😦

  2. Darryl Tay on

    I second the motion for putting up a website! We’re living in the digital age, and almost everyone is online now in some sort of capacity. Word of mouth has basically turned into “word of website.” The best and cheapest way to advertise one’s business is to get it online through a website. SEO companies can definitely help in making the website more visible on the Internet. SEO services include graphic and textual content creation and social media promotion, to name a few. They know best how to make sure that a company’s website makes it onto the front pages of search engine result pages, and get more traffic from potential customers.

    • 3M ESPE on

      Darryl,

      Thanks for joining the conversation. SEO is critically important to anyone that is serious about website optimization.


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