November 1, 2016
by Naren Arulrajah
In the age of digital disruption, the rules of success in dental marketing have been re-written. Growing local competition has led to a situation where providing outstanding dental care alone is no longer a guarantee to enjoying an outstanding business. With easy accessibility to digital marketing tools, it is the best marketers and not necessarily the best service providers who usually win.
You can scale the peak of success in dental marketing when you combine your ability to deliver high quality dental care with the ability to communicate about it from the ‘digital’ rooftops. Your local patients are highly connected, and they typically explore their needs and make their decisions in their micro-moments of online search.
These micro-moments are the new marketing battleground where your dental practice must be present in top form to win their hearts and minds. Here are some of the cutting-edge digital strategies to help you perform beyond your own best expectations.
Maximize the Power of ‘Five Stars’
A BrightLocal survey released in July 2016 asked consumers why they click on a particular business from among the top-listed Google search results. Forty-seven percent of the respondents said that they picked a business because it has positive review stars. Only 16 percent picked a business because it was the topmost entry in the search results.
Having an online review and rating strategy clearly makes compelling business sense for your dental practice. Remember that patients do not hate giving reviews – as long as you ask right. To begin with, approach patients who have verbally expressed satisfaction about your services and are happy with your practice. The more satisfied they are, the higher are your chances of gaining a positive review.
Be genuinely appreciative of their support to your practice while asking for their comments. Make it as easy as possible for them to provide a review. Create a format where they can rate your services on a scale of 0 to 10 and leave comments about relevant aspects of your service. If you want them to review on a third-party website, make sure to provide a direct link to the review form on that particular site.
Create 360 Videos
Online videos are the single most effective way to provide an experience to your target audience about a new dental procedure, service or product. You can distinguish yourself from your competition by creating 360 videos, which is the latest online video technology creating waves on Google, YouTube, and Facebook.
A 360 video is created with a camera that simultaneously records all 360 degrees of a scene. Viewers can pan and rotate a 360 video’s perspective to watch it from different angles. These immersive videos are viewable on both desktops and mobile devices. YouTube supports uploading and playback of 360 spherical videos and Facebook lets you share them.
Viewers can enjoy these videos with spatial audio on their mobile phones. Spatial audio enables listening to audio from all directions just as in the real world. According to Google, 360 videos can dramatically boost your engagement levels with your viewers and drive them to desired action.
Use Real Time Call Tracking
To make smarter business decisions for your dental practice, you need real time call tracking software. It will help you to identify areas where new potential patients are lost – it could be due to missed calls, callers who hang-up before voice mail pickup, lack of voice mail, or inadequate response from your staff in handling the calls.
Call tracking will also help you to increase the effectiveness of your online and offline marketing based on actionable statistics such as caller location or most frequently requested procedures. The software will let you send friendly automated text notifications to mobile callers and integrate text into your patient communication to improve caller engagement levels.
Another useful feature in call tracking is Dynamic Keyword Tracking. It will help you to find out what is working and what is not in your current marketing campaigns such as local SEO, Google Adwords, social media, and Yelp. You can also integrate it with Google Analytics to track phone calls that are received via Google Search.
Choose Responsive Mobile Web Design
Your dental website must now fit the needs of patients on all screens, from desktop displays to handheld devices. According to Google, mobile is still the biggest missing piece in the multi-screen puzzle – and this is where you can outperform your local SEO competition.
Responsive web design (RWD) is a clever design technique that makes use of a single HTML code-base across all platforms. This means that all viewing devices read from the same code on the same URL. Your dental site content will resize itself to fit the screen that a patient may be using. RWD requires professional upfront planning, but once your design strategy is in place, maintenance will require minimal resources.
The advantage of RWD is that a single URL will make it easier for your patients to interact with, share and link to your content. The search engines will find it easier to discover and index your web pages. The user experience is streamlined, load time is reduced and performance is enhanced. You can focus on offering a consistent website experience and plan holistically for all devices with a single website manager. RWD can be expanded to fit new devices as they emerge.
Drive Engagement with Facebook Plugin
Facebook Page plugin was launched a year ago to let you easily embed and promote your Facebook account on your dental website. Visitors to your website can like and share the Page without leaving your site. Facebook recently introduced two innovative features for the Page plugin: messages and events.
With the integration of Page plugin with messages, you can bring the conversations you have with people on Facebook to other places on the web and on mobile. If a potential patient wants to send a message to you or start a dialogue on your Facebook Page or on your website, they can do so via the messages tab.
When you organize a unique promotion for your practice, you can create a public event on Facebook. With the events feature in the Page plugin, your target audience can discover and interact with your event from your Facebook Page, right on your website.
The Story is Everywhere
These innovative digital strategies require a shift in thinking before you can implement them. You must be prepared to embrace change before it becomes commonplace. That attitude can you put you light years ahead of your local competitors. As Google’s principal Virtual Reality filmmaker Jessica Brillhart puts it, the story is everywhere. Everyone has a story. The difference lies in how you tell your story and win the empathy of your target audience.
About the Author
Naren Arulrajah is President and CEO of Ekwa Marketing, a complete Internet marketing company which focuses on SEO, social media, marketing education and the online reputations of dentists. With a team of 140+ full time marketers, www.ekwa.com helps dentists who know where they want to go get there by dominating their market and growing their business significantly year after year. If you have questions about marketing your practice online, call 855 598-3320 to speak one-on-one with Naren.
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