Finding new patients is a competitive business, but essential to keeping your dental practice active and healthy. Dentists face stiff competition, many locations and communities are saturated with dentists, and let’s be honest, when Joe Public thinks about the dentist, one cleaning and check up seems much the same as the rest. However, we know that isn’t true and is even more erroneous as more complicated dental procedures are needed. So, how do you make your practice stand out from your competition? How do you demonstrate to your community that you are, in fact, the best dentist in town? You will use the internet including your dental website, online marketing tools, and social media, that’s how.
Online presence is everything
In this day and age, it might seem redundant to state this, but it is essential to have a website. According to research from Pew, 72 percent of adults used the internet to look for healthcare information in the last year, including searching for new providers. If you don’t have a website and maintained social media profiles, when patients search for a dentist, they won’t find you.
Make sure you have an effective website
If you have a website, there are certain best practice guidelines to follow to ensure its effectiveness. First, your website and content must follow search engine optimization (SEO) best practice. This includes using keywords, including your practice name, location, and service keywords appropriately. Google and other search engines scan web content to find the websites that best match search queries. However, search engines are also particular about the amount of keywords included in the content. If there are too few keywords and your site won’t be selected but if there are too many, the search engines will consider it keyword stuffing and won’t pick up your site either. A good website makes use of meta descriptions, meta tags, and appropriate H1 and H2 headings to garner the attention of search engines. These headings also help visitors to navigate your site and find what they are looking for.
Readability is essential for SEO and for visitor engagement. Your website must also be interesting and useful to potential patients. Most patients want to see that a dentist is conveniently located, that the services they are looking for are available, that you are taking new patients, and that you accept their insurance. Bearing this in mind, your website should showcase your expertise, but using language and images that a non-medical person will understand. This sounds like common sense, but many medical providers use language that is too technical to first include the appropriate keywords for SEO but also to keep website visitors engaged.
Use social media
In addition to having a great website, you should also make the use of social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Yelp, ZocDoc, Healthgrades, and more. Research also shows that adults rely on social platforms for reviews and referrals to health care providers. You can harness the power of these platforms to showcase your work and expertise, host patient reviews, and boost SEO. Yes, your social media profiles support SEO for your website. Search engines will see that you have consistent information about your practice on several sites, which boosts the authority and therefore usefulness of your website.
Pay per click advertising
Pay per click advertising is another useful tool that you can use to make sure that your website gets the attention you need to attract new patients. When you operate in a saturated market, it is important to use every tool in your marketing arsenal to make sure that your practice website appears at the top of the first page of search engine results. Pay per click advertising will put your website at the top of the list while also allowing you control over how much you are willing or able to pay for advertising. One your site has achieved the designated amount of clicks from unique visitors, your website will go back to relying on organic and local search engine results. If your website is engaging, useful, and provides ample opportunities for visitors to respond to your call to action, to book an appointment, the pay per click should guide visitors to your website who will respond.
Make the most of the referrals
Many people rely on the referral of friends and family to find healthcare providers and with the high usage of social sites such as Yelp, Zocdoc, and other sites where patients can leave reviews, there is a whole new world of reviews available. According to research from Pew, 20 percent of people use these social reviews when selecting a provider. To make the most of online reviews as well as traditional word of mouth referrals, there are a few guidelines to follow. First, you should keep providing your best services and offering a professional and friendly service. Second, when you get a referral or positive, thank the patient who provided it and ask them to share it on one or more social media sites. If you happen to get a negative review, you should reach out to the patient to follow up on their experience and see if there is a way that you can improve their impression of you. By communicating with your patients in both positive and negative situations, you can show them that you value them as patients and take their needs seriously. Again, this might sound like common sense, but happy patients who feel valued will provide referrals and reviews.
Always keep your end goal in mind
You are reading this article because you want to attract new patients. Your online presence should encourage every visitor, every potential patient to recognize you as the best dentist in their community and to book an appointment with you. Make sure you have online booking or appointment request option. You can also include a click to call option so that people who are searching on their smartphones can contact you with the click of a button. Follow website and social media best practice to make sure that your practice gets the attention it deserves and converts visitors to patients.