A situation like this is perilous for everyone in the market. Dentistry entails lots of overhead – rent, equipment, and staffing costs are higher than in many other medical and allied wellness practices. And with about 42% of Americans not seeing dentists often enough, a slow spell could lead to closing your doors.
In an ADA survey, more than 20% of those surveyed had not seen a dentist “in the last few years.”
The main reasons given were:
- Cost of dental procedures
- Fear of going to the dentist
- Inconvenient appointments
We’ve already written about how dental marketing can help you wow anxious patients and get more repeat customers. To get there, though, you need to first be sure you are not falling into the commodity trap – that is, being compared to your competitors based solely on price.
Even with the best of intentions, searching for the lowest bidder is a risky way to choose dental services. With the right dental marketing in place, you can redirect consumer attention to other differentiators they also value:
- Caring customer service that sets patients’ minds at ease and helps them feel comfortable in the chair
- Dental technology, such as medical lasers, helping to make common procedures far faster and easier
- Your variety of procedures, from preventive dentistry to cosmetic dentistry and restorative dentistry
All these points can be showcased by marketing for dentists. To be truly effective, though, you need to implement that marketing in a structured way. The best approaches keep your dental website visitors reading and get them sincerely interested in you before they start comparing you to their other options.
Stake Out Your Territory With Local SEO For Dentists
SEO – search engine optimization – is a toolbox of best practices for achieving your dentist website goals. It encompasses techniques for designing your website, managing its technology, and providing helpful content like blogs and videos. By following SEO guidelines, your website becomes a far more powerful marketing tool.
In particular, SEO will:
- Provide an easy, fast, convenient experience for current and future patients using your website
- Enable your website to get more traffic when locals search for terms relevant to your business
Of course, nobody wants to go on an hours-long journey to visit the dentist. Dental marketing must take into account the fact that most of your customers will live within about 30 minutes of your office. Done well, this means you’ll never waste dentist marketing resources competing with brands outside of your service area.
That’s where local SEO comes in.
Local SEO is a subset of SEO that emphasizes winning website visits from nearby search engine users. You might never rank in the first page for the phrase “cosmetic dentists,” for example, but local SEO can help you capture hundreds of monthly searches for a term like “cosmetic dentist in Austin TX.”
Likewise, local SEO is crucial to taking the spotlight off cost and putting it on what makes you excellent.
Here are the local SEO fundamentals all dentist marketing should incorporate:
1. Local Landing Pages For Each Community You Serve
What happens when someone adds a geographic qualifier like “Walnut Creek CA” or “Kansas City MO” to their search? It signals to search engines like Google that they are looking for an answer within about 20 miles of that location. The Google Local Knowledge Panel kicks in, listing four relevant results on a map.
You’ll notice that these usually feature three “organic” (unpaid) results and one advertisement. Users who click on “View all” can scroll through many more results, including more ads. While paid traffic is a fit for some dental firms, it’s more cost-effective to make sure you wind up in the organic results.
Having local landing pages is a big step in the right direction.
For the example above, a local landing page might discuss everything to know about dentistry in Walnut Creek:
- Which procedures are in demand, what they’re for, and how much you can expect to pay
- The common dental concerns that people visit you for according to their age and gender
- Any worries or misconceptions about local dentistry that you’d like to dispel immediately
Naturally, dentistry itself won’t vary too much from one place to another. From coast to coast, everyone needs to brush and floss! But it’s still vital to be granular with your content. That helps you win patients’ trust and take advantage of the “near me” effect, helping them at the moment they are most interested in your insights.
2. Description Pages For Every Dental Procedure
How does a search engine really know what your website is about?
It’s a misnomer that AI-driven software like Google “reads” your website. Google can’t actually read – it needs a lot of contextual clues to work out what content is about and who would benefit most from seeing it in results.
At the same time, users can be imprecise in the way they search for information. Someone might know about “gingivitis,” but odds are slim that they also know the term “root planing.” Conversely, they might not be exactly sure what “gingivitis” refers to, but they know that they have “bleeding gums.”
Describing every procedure in detail helps to ensure you can connect visitors to your content no matter what kind of terminology they use. What’s more, it gives search engines context – like related terms and synonyms – that they use to categorize and rank websites like yours.
3. The Correct Local Signals Throughout Your Website
Local signals are simply the little “tells” that show a website is associated with a certain locale.
From a technical perspective, the indispensable ones are:
- Your office’s full mailing address and phone number
- Your operating hours
- A Google Map configured with your location
Many dentistry firms place their mailing address and phone number in the footer that appears at the bottom of every page. Operating hours can be added as well, or might appear on your About Us or home page. A Google Map is an optional but helpful perk for the About page, terrific for first-time visitors planning their trip.
These signs help search engines register your location and present you to the users who need you most.
4. Patient Reviews And Testimonials
No dentist website should be without a collection of your best reviews and testimonials.
Although the two are similar, there is a difference. Reviews can be left by patients on a variety of websites, with Yelp being the most popular. You have limited control over these reviews; you can respond to any of them, but you cannot remove them. Fraudulent reviews are an occasional, but serious problem.
Think of testimonials, on the other hand, as a review you have a bigger part in. You should request testimonials from patients you already know are very happy with your services. While most platforms have a rule against offering an incentive for a testimonial, there is nothing wrong with just asking for one!
Most testimonials take the form of a quick quote with a photo of the patient beside it. Every once in a while, though, you may come across someone willing to do a video testimonial. This is an extremely persuasive form of video storytelling, and a dentist marketing agency can help you make the most of it.
5. Your Google My Business Page
Google My Business is a free directory of local companies. By going through a verification process with Google, you can take control of your GMB listing, update it with accurate information, and respond to reviews you receive on the Google platform. Verification involves paper mail and takes a few weeks, but it is worth it.
Research shows that taking over your Google My Business entry can lead to a rapid boost in local SEO. Plus, full control means you are less likely to have any incorrect information associated with your business in the future.
Fueling Your Local SEO Through Proven Dentist Marketing Tactics
Once you’ve built a solid foundation of local SEO, it’ll be much easier to establish your online brand. This is where you start to build enduring competitive advantages by drawing more visitors to your website every month. The more effort you devote to dentist marketing, the greater your results as they compound over time.
You can partner with a dentist marketing firm for these essentials:
1. Start Your Own Dentist Blog And Post Weekly
Did you know that many Millennials brush their teeth only once a day? It might feel like everything under the sun has been said about dentistry, but adding your own perspective is important. Helpful, informative articles are a potent preview of the expertise your patients can expect if they choose you. When they read about symptoms or other concerns they recognize, they are much more likely to feel that you understand their needs.
2. Improve Your Blog Posts With Videos
Not everyone is comfortable in front of the camera, but it’s worth getting some practice. Content that comes straight from a doctor is more compelling and believable. It helps you build rapport with visitors who are on the fence – and a page with video is much more likely to rank prominently in search results than plain text.
3. Amplify Your Videos With Social Media
It’s easier to remember and act on content learned from a video, so it’s ideal for dentists. Video is also some of the most popular content on any social media platform, making it possible to fast-track your marketing. Shares and “likes” can translate into new appointments when you conclude with a strong call to action.
4. Accelerate Your Results With Advertising
Pay-per-click advertising isn’t a match for every business. A streamlined, highly targeted ad campaign can bring you online traffic overnight, but your website needs to be ready for it. Don’t go it alone: If you’re interested in ads, get perspective from a digital marketing agency that knows the ropes.
Dentist marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. Want to start the race off strong without shifting the focus away from what you do best? Our team helps dentists attract a vibrant customer base in their own backyard. To find out more, contact New York Ave today.