Introduction:This week, we bring you eight more marketing strategies designed to help you maintain strong ties with your clients, build your dental practice’s reputation, and boost your bottom line. Remember: marketing matters, but it’s not all about big billboards and flashing lights.
Read the previous article here.
Email marketingFor many businesses, email marketing is still one of the most effective strategies used to connect with customers. For smaller companies, like dental practices, email is a great way to market your services, without having to break the bank.
- Email marketing is an effective tool for promoting new products or services to existing and prospective patients. And, if done right, it can help build customer loyalty and trust in your dental practice.
- Unlike other forms of marketing — like mail outs or newspaper advertising — email is incredibly affordable, and environmentally friendly.
How to get started:
- The first step to effective email marketing is to build (and maintain) an up-to-date contact list. Start by obtaining a list of your existing clients’ email addresses. Then collect names and email addresses of prospective clients by posting a sign-up form on the website of your dental office. If you have a new patient on board, remember to ask for their email address during the initial appointment.
- Once you have an up-to-date contact list, create an email marketing strategy. Consider how often you should be sending email to your clients, and what kind of content is worth sharing. Avoid bombarding them with too many messages — if communication is too frequent, they’ll begin to tune you out and look to unsubscribe from updates altogether.
- With a strategy in place, now it’s time to draft that first email. Consider using email campaign software, like MailChimp, which offers mobile-friendly templates that can be easily customized.
- Remember to make your email as visually engaging as possible — an email campaign containing photos or a video will grab your clients’ attention and keep them reading longer.
- Before you hit send, make sure you’ve personalized your campaign using dynamic tags, which will ensure your clients are addressed by their first name when they open up the message. Also be sure to include a link to your website and all your social media channels to drive readers online for more news and information.
- If you’re already familiar with email campaigns, try taking it one step further: send automated emails to target audiences. Have a client that cancelled their dental appointment? Send an automated email acknowledging the cancellation and reminding them to call or sign up for their next appointment. Or, if you have a client who is long overdue for a teeth cleaning, consider sending them an automated email with a promotional offer. While it will take time to categorize your clients into distinct audiences, automated email marketing can lead to great results and increase customer loyalty, without going over your marketing budget.
Online marketingWhen it comes to online marketing, the sky’s the limit. But, as a dental practice, the most important form of online marketing you can invest in is a strong, dynamic website. Without an online presence, you’re missing out on huge business opportunities.
- First and foremost, having a website makes it easy for your clients to find the information they need morning, noon, or night. And, by placing key details online, like office hours and holiday schedules, you’ll reduce the number of calls to your front desk, enabling your staff to redirect their energy to other office projects.
- Having a website also makes it easy for new customers to find you through a quick search.
- You can also boost customer loyalty and attract new clients by offering helpful information on your website in the form of videos or blog posts.
- Using platforms, like Google Analytics, you can also begin to track key details — like what cities your visitors are based, and what pages are getting the most views. With increased insight, you’ll be able to strengthen your website and continue to boost your online reputation.
How to get started:
- Whether you hire a web designer, or choose to go with a free template, it’s important that your website not only looks professional, but is also mobile-friendly.
- Once you have a design in place, make it easy for your clients to find what they’re looking for using intuitive headings and a clear navigational structure. And remember to make it easy for visitors to find need-to-know information, like office hours, contact information, and service offerings.
- Don’t forget to put your website to work. You can add a lot of value to your site by giving your clients the option to schedule their next appointment online. Or, post a few client testimonials on your site so that visitors can see what makes your practice stand out from the competition.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) marketingConsider the last time you wanted to find out what Greek restaurants in your neighbourhood were open on a Sunday. Where did you turn to? The answer, almost definitely, was online — and to a search engine, like Google, Bing or Yahoo. Everyday, millions of people turn to search engines to quickly find what they’re looking for. Search results are ranked (or listed) in order of what the search engine considers most relevant. And while the results may contain a few paid ads (marked as paid and sitting at the top of the search results), the other webpage listings are generated through an organic search, with top results appearing in order of what’s most relevant based on the user’s search query.
But how do you get to the top of the list of organic search results if you’re one of hundreds of dentists in a city? That’s where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in. Using just a few simple SEO techniques, you can help boost your website’s ranking and get above the rest.
- It’s unlikely that visitors will click through to the next page of search results, let alone scroll beyond the first three websites listed. With a strong search engine optimization marketing strategy, your website is more likely to appear higher in the list of search results, which will ultimately drive more visitors to your site and boost business.
How to get started:
- A key way to boost your rank in search engine results is to add fresh content to your website at least once a week. Why? Many search engines, like Google, give higher ranking to sites that are updated on a regular basis. Don’t know what more you could post to your site? Consider starting a blog, complete with dental health tips, community event listings, and dental promotions or deals.
- Outside of adding fresh content, using keywords is another easy way to boost your website’s rank in the list of search results. Start by identifying keywords used in the industry and incorporate them into your website copy. You may want to check out tools, like Google Adwords: Keyword Planner, to see how popular keywords worked in the past and learn how well they’ll perform in the future!
- While there are a number of search engine optimization agencies that can help you boost your rankings, be mindful of those that promise guaranteed results. Ranking high with an organic search does not come easy.
- Finally, remember to be patient. It will take time for your search engine optimization marketing strategy to pay off, especially in competitive industries, like dentistry.
Local citations marketingCitations are essentially online references. Anytime the name of your dental practice is mentioned, or listed on another website (with or without a link), you've earned a citation. And in the world of search engine optimization, that’s a good thing. In fact, citations are particularly important when it comes to local search rankings. If the citation includes your practice’s full address, phone number and website link, even better.
- Citations are good for your bottom line, as they bring added exposure to your dental practice and can help attract new clients who may not have otherwise heard of, or considered you.
How to get started:
- While an online phone directory, or job listing website, are perfect examples of areas you can earn a citation, there are many other, more creative, and much more effective online spaces to get listed.
- If you've invested in cause marketing and are already supporting a charity, you can gain a quick and easy citation by being listed on their website’s sponsor page.
- Also consider other relationships you have with businesses and suppliers. If you offer a particular product, like aligners, have the company list you on their website as a practice that offers their product.
- Invest the time in setting up social profiles with online search discovery services and interfaces, like Google My Business or Foursquare. You’ll not only gain more citations, but have the power to update your company information and address when needed.
Paid search marketingIf you have the budget, paid search marketing (buying key words and online ad space) can be incredibly powerful and bring your website to the top of search results. With this form of marketing, you’re essentially paying to have your website display for certain keywords. When a potential client runs a search using your selected keywords, your practice’s website will appear front and centre.
- Though it comes with a price tag, paid search is an effective way to get your dental practice noticed.
- In the end, paid search marketing translates to more traffic to your website and ultimately more clients coming through your front door.
How to get started:
- Start small and set a reasonable budget — sometimes even just $50 to $100 set aside for paid search marketing a month can lead to great results.
- After you’ve determined how much you want to spend, choose your keywords carefully. Take the time to investigate which keywords are more likely to drive visitors to your site. Resist the urge to go with broad or general keywords, like 'dentist' or 'root canal'. Not sure where to begin when it comes to selecting keywords? Use sites like SEMrush to see what other dentists in your area are using!
- If you choose to go ahead with paid search marketing, it’s important to monitor the impact using website analytics. If you notice a keyword not attracting as many visitors or producing the results (or conversions) it once did, it may be time to find a new keyword or two.
Retarget marketingA large number of visitors to your website will leave without ever making a call to book a dental appointment. But, using a retargeting marketing strategy, you can help turn that around. How? With retarget advertising, a small bit of code (known as a cookie) is stored on an individual’s device every time they visit your website. Once they leave your site, they’ll begin seeing your practice’s advertisements at the top or side of other webpages they visit. Essentially, with this form of marketing, you’re looking to ‘re-target’ prospective customers and turn them into new clients.
- Retarget marketing is a great way to reengage with potential clients who have already shown an interest in your practice by visiting your website. Simply put, it’s a more targeted form of advertising than other search-based marketing approaches.
- Like all forms of marketing, retarget ads will give your dental practice greater exposure and help you get ahead of the competition.
How to get started:
- The first step is to select a retargeting platform – if you’re new to marketing, consider going with a managed platform (where providers will handle the retargeting efforts for you), rather than a self-service platform. Once you become more experienced, you can move to a self-service platform, which will give you greater control over your results.
- The next step is to establish your targeting parameters. There can be a lot to factors to consider, but start with some of the basics. Select the audience geography, determine the time of day you’d like the ads to appear, and cap the frequency so visitors don’t get bombarded by your ads everywhere they go online (remember: you can turn potential clients away if your marketing efforts come across as too strong).
- When developing a retargeting ad, remember that not all clients are created equal. Use different ad copy and direct visitors to different areas of your website depending on what kind of visitor they are. For example, if it’s a prospective client, consider directing them to an online appointment form so they can schedule their first appointment without any hassle.
Direct-to-consumer press release marketingHistorically, press releases have been used by public relations firms and organizations to get their message to the media. But now, online news aggregators, like Google News, are opening up opportunities for smaller companies and individuals to spread their news (and press releases) with the click of a button.
- With direct-to-consumer press release marketing, there’s no need to remain well connected with the media. Simply post your press releases to your website and let online news aggregators, like Google News, do the rest. It’s syndication at its best.
- And, unlike traditional forms of advertising that come with a big price tag, direct-to-consumer press release marketing won’t require you to write a big check. Simply draft your message and publish!
How to get started:
- If you’re interesting in press release marketing, the key is to start by familiarizing yourself with how to write an effective release. It’s important to make sure you have something worth announcing. For example, will you be offering a new product or service? Just remember to have a clear message — trying to squeeze in more than one or two will only dilute the impact of your release and confuse your clients.
- When you’re creating direct-to-consumer press releases, it’s important to also offer more than just news. Give your clients a reason to read the release and take action. Will they be offered a special deal, or free consultation if they sign up today, for example?
- When using a call to action in your release, remember that all links should redirect to a designated landing page, complete with more information about dental services and products on offer.
- Outside of relying on key terms to help bump your release to the top of the search results, you may also want to consider signing up with a wire service company, like Business Wire, that will take care of distributing your news for you.
Evangelism marketingWhile it may be similar to word-of-mouth, evangelism marketing takes it one step further. Use this strategy and you’ll witness your clients turn into spokespeople (or evangelists) for your dental practice, helping to spread the good news to their friends and family.
- With evangelism marketing, you’ll have an edge up over your competition. Why? Client ‘evangelists’ are not only more likely to come back more regularly for cleaning and try out new service offerings, but promote your work to the wider community and help you attract more clients.
How to get started:
- Evangelism marketing is not something that you can implement overnight. Like word-of-mouth marketing, it relies on strong customer relationships, and these take time to build.
- While your dental office is a good place to start developing bonds with your clients, you may want to invest in a social media platform, like Facebook, that allows you to engage directly with your clients and monitor their feedback online. Having a social media presence will also enable your clients to comment or share news you post with their friends and family, helping to further raise awareness of your practice.
- Remember: like all effective strategies, evangelism marketing won’t work unless you’re listening to your clients and are receptive to feedback. If one of your clients recommends implementing a new service, be sure to let them know you’re listening and are open to the suggestion!
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