Many dentists approach their online marketing haphazardly, having no design to their strategy. Starting from the top level, what are the most important areas that are essential to have a plan in place? Take a look at the checklist below and see if you’re online marketing is headed the right direction.
It should be no surprise to any of us that more than 60 percent of people use their phones to locate and research businesses. Not only will poor website design make a user immediately hit the back-button, but now Google’s algorithm hits you where it hurts (in the search ranking) if your page is determined to be mobile-friendly. We recommend that you get a fresh website (or at least a facelift) every three to four years, as sites can quickly become outdated.
SEO – Search Engine Optimization
You might have a website, but is it optimized? Your site is being evaluated not just by visitors, but by the complex, math-wielding algorithms of our search engine overlords. Headings, images, footers, links, and URLs should all be optimized so that the robots evaluating it know exactly why your website would be beneficial to their users.
Content is the reason people turn to the internet in the first place. In the old Wild West days of the internet, low-quality content could be churned out strictly for SEO purposes, essentially tricking search engines into delivering users to a website. However, Google has become remarkably good at determining content quality off of a variety of factors, reminding everyone of the purpose of the content in the first place — to attract, inform, and entertain online visitors of your site. Your dental website should have unique, quality content to inform patients about the kinds of subjects they want to know about, as well as to help search engines identify you as the go-to dental practice in your neighborhood.
Social media is a factor where it can be hard to identify exactly what the ROI, but we know it’s worth it when done right. Social media keeps you plugged into your local community, keeping you top of mind and giving people a platform to talk about how great you are. Users often turn to social media to learn more about a company, and a strong presence there enhances trust. Additionally, a strong online presence also enhances the trust that Google gives your practice.
Directories and Citations
A citation is any online mention of the name, address, and phone number of your practice. Citations will occur on business directories, websites, and on social platforms that help users find your practice, and they also impact local search rankings. While there are hundreds of important places to build citations, as a minimum make sure your Google My Business, Facebook, Yelp, and Healthgrades pages are perfectly accurate.
Even the best marketing campaign can’t replace the value of a good review. According to BrightLocal, 92% of new patients read online reviews before choosing a dentist. It’s a mistake to focus on getting reviews to platforms users don’t see — focus on Google, Yelp, and Facebook. As an online reputation expert, I can usually tell at a glance which practices have a plan in place for obtaining more positive reviews and those who don’t.
It’s not usually practical for the dentist to tackle their online marketing by themselves — doing it yourself is not a good ROI. SEO and website design are two areas that should be managed by professionals. If you don’t have a qualified marketing coordinator in-house, get recommendations for a reliable third-party to outsource the work to.