Guest post by DoctorHero.
It’s no secret that the medium of print advertising has seen its better days behind it. This includes both the Yellow Pages and direct mailers sent to prospective patients’ homes. This is not to say that these mediums are completely ineffective, but that if we are to ensure long-term success in the increasingly competitive dental market that exists today, then it is critical to keep with the times – and that means several things for your practice – a website, an internet marketing campaign, online reviews, a directory listing, and a social media campaign.
The first step in initiating an online dental practice marketing strategy is having a website. A website is like having a brick & mortar store in the online sphere. It’s difficult for a prospective patient – especially younger demographics – to take your practice seriously if you don’t have a “home” on the web. A website is an important source of information for someone considering visiting your dental office. A website is a dentist’s way of building rapport with a patient before she visits the office. Pictures, testimonials, services offered, and a map are the bare essentials when it comes to a patient finding a dentist online.
Unfortunately building a beautiful website is not enough, an effective internet marketing strategy should be considered to ensure that your website (think your practice) ranks on the first page of Google. Having your website on the first page of Google is akin to your practice being located at the corner of the busiest intersection in town where everyone can see it.
To illustrate the importance of being on page 1 of Google, let’s take a look at a 2010 study by Chitka, an advertising network and research firm. After analyzing data from the Chitka network, they concluded that the #1 spot in Google obtained 34.35% of search engine traffic and all results on the first page received approximately 94% of the traffic. Other studies conducted by MSN (now Bing) and AOL indicate even a higher click through rate for the first spot – a whopping 42%.
People like being reassured that someone has “tested” your office, so to speak. Patients trust other patients’ input. This is their way of ensuring that they don’t have a bad experience. This is quite similar to buying an item off of Ebay. You don’t purchase from someone who has no feedback as you regard them as “untrustworthy”. If you don’t have reviews of your practice, ask your patients to submit a review and add it to your website or have them go to your directory listing where they can add their review. If you don’t have a directory listing, then go ahead and list your practice in prominent directories.
Google, Bing, and Yahoo! are all changing how their search engines operate to keep up with the ever changing internet landscape. Their latest search engine algorithm updates entail placing an emphasis on social media. If your dental marketing strategy does not entail social media, then you need to implement it immediately. Search engines look to see what social media platforms your office is involved in and how active you are. If you aren’t setup with Facebook, Twitter, and now Google +, that’s ok because it is not very difficult to manage once you’ve set them up.
The important thing to remember here is that this process doesn’t happen overnight, but the sooner you begin to implement these strategies, the sooner your website (your practice) will begin showing up on the first page of Google and other search engines. Take control of your dental marketing strategy today!