As a practice develops their dental marketing strategies, they may first turn to traditional media and advertising outlets, such as newspaper, television and radio ads. These methods can be costly and do not provide the return on investment that other strategies can offer. Websites can expand the reach of a dental practice. However, in dental website design, dentists may find that their website is so easily accessible that people who view their site live in far flung regions. It is just as easy to view a site in Japan as it is the city where the practice is located. This, too, can limit the return on what the dentist has invested in a site. In medical marketing, it is important that any site employ good, solid search engine optimization (SEO) practices. A site that employs proper SEO techniques will use effective keywords and frequently refreshed content that is optimized around those keywords. That encourages search engines, such as Google, to frequently re-crawl the site. Ultimately, a site that uses good SEO techniques will rank higher is search engines. This makes the dental practice’s site much easier for potential clients to find. This is still only part of the puzzle. Geo-targeting plays a big role is creating an effective mix of marketing strategies for dental practices.
So what is geo-targeting? Geo-targeting is delivering specific content to a particular geographic area. It is well documented that potential clients will search for medical practices in their area. They are unwilling to travel great distances for medical or dental care unless the practice has a reputation for exceptional care or specialized services. So for a dental practice to broadly market their services to what is a worldwide base doesn’t make the best practical sense. Sure, information about the practice will be shared widely but the additional of highly targeted marketing techniques based on the geographic location of the practice will ensure that potential clients find the practice and receive valid content based on their location.
Why Geo – Targeting
When patients are seeking a medical provider, the first place they turn to is the internet. In fact, Pew Internet Research conducted a study in which they found that 77% of individuals seeking health care providers began with an Internet search. They may run searches to locate dentists in their area. They may also ask their friends and family for referrals. Based on these referrals, they will most likely turn to the internet for more information. Through online sites, they can read reviews for other past clients and seek more in depth information about a particular practice. This information, both formal and informal, helps them decide if a dental practice is right for them and will meet their needs. This is why it is very important for dentists to actively illicit referrals from clients. It is also vital that staff follow up with any client that leaves a negative review so that their issues can be quickly addressed. If the problem is addressed quickly, there is the potential that the dentist may retain the client.
Using Adwords to Target Local Market
Geo-targeting in dental marketing goes a little further than traditional media. For instance, when you purchase an ad in the Dallas Morning News, you can feel confident that the dental practice’s message and information is being distributed directly to potential clients in the Dallas area. As mentioned, this is not the case with dental websites. Another way that a dentist can ensure that their website content is reaching potential clients in their area is through an AdWords campaign through Google. In the world of SEO, the dentist’s website will be competing with other sites that have experienced SEO professionals working on them. These experts employ a wide variety of techniques to drive their client’s websites higher in the search engine rankings. They have worked for years developing the knowledge of how to achieve this goal. Also, because they work in SEO daily, they remain aware of the continually changing search engine algorithms and make adjustments so that their clients’ sites retain their high positions in search rankings. For a local dental practice, this can seem to be a daunting challenge. How can they compete among the many other sites a search will turn up? Most potential clients won’t look beyond the second or third page of search results. Google AdWords offers one way to level the playing field by offering targeted ads. These pay per click ads are the ones seen down the right hand side of the search engine results. Through AdWords, a dentist is able to carefully craft a targeted ad that will appeal to potential clients in their area. While the dentist will pay for these ads, they are free to create and post. The dentist only pays when someone clicks on the ad and goes directly to their website. These ads not only allow the dental practice to have a presence on the first page of search results, it also allows him or her to define the specific area where the ad is seen. When the ad is created, the dentist is given the choice to select when an ad is displayed in the search engine results. The options include “broad match”, “phrase match” or “exact match” to the keywords that they have defined. By including geographic locations in the keywords, this allows the dentist to make sure that when a potential client searches using those terms, the practice’s website ad will be displayed in the results. For instance, if a Dallas dentist includes the words “Lakewood Dallas dentist” in their keywords, when someone runs a search for Lakewood dentist, the practice’s ad will be displayed. A broad search will yield the greatest number of results. However, there is the potential that the ad will be displayed during a search unrelated to the practice. A phrase match search parameter limits this and will only display the ad when certain keyword phrases are searched. An exact match means that the ad will only be displayed when someone searches for the exact keyword phrase. This can limit the number of individuals a dentist can reach.
Adding a geographic element to the dental marketing process will yield the greatest number of potential clients. While there are many marketing ideas for dentists, professionals need to focus on the ones that will be the most cost effective and provide the greatest return on investment. As people look for medical providers nearby to their homes and offices, it is prudent to include geo-targeting in the marketing plan for successful campaigns.