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Rethinking SEO for Orthodontists: How Making It About Existing Patients Is The Best Approach

When it comes to finding customers, orthodontist marketing is at a disadvantage.

You have two pools to fish from:

  • Adults who have had untreated orthodontic issues for a relatively long time
  • Children of parents who are familiar with orthodontics and willing to use it

Although lots of orthodontist marketing is aimed at parents, you can only access a fraction of potential business here. Many parents are not aware just how early in life their children can benefit from seeing an orthodontist. It’s hard to blame them: they have lots of things to worry about.

And it hardly needs to be said that marketing to younger people is a challenge. When they reach age 18 and start making their own decisions, jumping into orthodontic care is the last thing they have in mind.

Where does that leave a local orthodontist and their orthodontist marketing strategy?

It’s a truism that marketing to someone who has already bought from you is easier than attracting new customers. That goes double for orthodontists. Since you need to make a connection with your younger patients through their parents, your goal should be to encourage a family tradition of orthodontic care.

You do that by focusing your attention on your current patients.

There are two major keys to this approach:

1. Prevent Your Existing Patients from Lapsing

Once someone has committed to orthodontic treatment, they generally need to see it through – at least for a while. Over the months or years that someone has braces, for example, they will need to follow up regularly. But it is still possible to lose the attention and patronage of these patients.

Most patients do not want to start over with a brand new orthodontist, but they have the option. They can pick up their treatment plan with someone else, and they have plenty of alternatives. But this is not the most common outcome. Instead, current orthodontic patients simply get distracted.

They assume that since the braces are there in their mouth, it doesn’t matter if they miss appointments by a week, two weeks, or a month. And over time, that attitude significantly reduces the chair time they spend with you. That essential barometer of your doctor-patient relationship evaporates.

With search engine optimization (SEO), you have many opportunities to stay “top of mind.”

Search engine optimization for orthodontists helps you stay visible and relevant. Searches pertaining to your business are more likely to highlight your website. And you can use additional marketing tools, like retargeting, to zero in on current patients and others who’ve interacted with your brand before.

One of the most valuable resources for preventing patients from lapsing is an email marketing list.

With email marketing, you have a patient’s consent to contact them on a regular basis, usually once a week. You can provide helpful, informative content – not the least of which would focus on why it’s so important for them to maintain their treatment schedule once they get started.

2. Encourage Referral Business from Patients

By the time someone sees lasting results from their – or their children’s – orthodontic care, they are well aware of who you are and what you can offer. The idea of using a different local orthodontist fades, but you need to be proactive if you want to leverage their goodwill and grow your business.

Orthodontist marketing shouldn’t end with the final appointment about braces or retainers.

Instead, you can continue extending the relationship by:

  • Moving your past patients to a new “segment” of your email marketing list
  • Actively requesting referrals for their family and friends who need your care

A segment is like a sub-list within your email marketing list. Instead of hearing about special offers (as a lead might) or about braces (as a current patient might), a completed patient gets information relevant to their needs. This helps open the door to future communication, including follow-on services.

Of course, there will come a time where everyone in a family has gotten all of the orthodontic care they need. This is why it’s so crucial to perfect the art of following up for testimonials and referrals. You can request a testimonial right away, while referral requests should be communicated periodically.

In orthodontist marketing, results aren’t guaranteed – but they’re not random, either.

With help from a Central Florida marketing agency, you can put an end to the marketing guesswork. A professional marketing team will use your data to achieve consistent growth in your marketing impact, using search engine optimization and other methods.

Contact New York Ave today to learn more or get started.

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