Whether you have recently started your dental clinic or you are an established one if you want to make the most out of digital marketing, then you have landed at the right place. In this article, I will briefly explain about different branches of online marketing, and how you can expect noteworthy results by applying these tips in your online marketing strategy.
First of all, you must understand different scopes or types of online marketing. So I have broadly divided this article into distinct sections, each talking about every specific branch of digital or online marketing. While reading, you will notice that some of the marketing tactics are inter-connected. This is how it generally happens with online marketing; most of the elements are connected and affect the efficiency of other marketing efforts. So, let’s dive in.
Starting with the URL and domain name of your dental clinic’s website, you need to have a domain name that describes your dental practice, any specialization, or your dental clinic’s name. You need to have an URL that can be easily read by both users and search engines. For the homepage, you can choose your dental clinic’s name, and that will be the best URL. For other web pages, you can use the keyword of the page content after the forward slash in the URL. You can also use the page title instead of the keyword. For instance, if your web page is about the root canal treatment, you can craft your web page URL as “www.xyzclinic.com/root-canal-treatment” Such URLs are not only easy to memorize but also tell your online users what the web pages. Talking about the length, shorter URLs are generally preferred. The URLs should be limited to 50-60 characters only. Shorter URLs are easier to memorize, to copy and paste, to share on social media, and to embed.
Keep It Simple
The website design and structure should be simple and easy-to-navigate for your audience. Inaccurate and unnecessary information and a complex dental website structure will only overwhelm your online users. Some may even leave your website if it is difficult to navigate. If a site has too much information, it overloads the mind, making it unable to retain the new information. Make a balance of text and graphics that present a clean page so that your online users can use your website. Place only the necessary content on your website. Think what content will be the most useful for your online users and keep the content limited to it. Talking about the website architecture, it is best to limit the top-level navigation menu to five clearly labeled tabs with related pages organized under them. For instance, if you provide different cosmetic and restorative dentistry services, you can have two main pages for Cosmetic Dentistry and Restorative Dentistry. Describe all the services under each of these pages to make your dental website look uncluttered. Also, have a clear and simple way to get back to the home page no matter where your audience is on your website. A search button on the website is also a good option to make things and web pages easily available for your online users.
Make Contact Details Visible
Several businesses miss out on putting their contact details easily accessible on their website. Therefore, their audiences have to search through the entire website in order to get in touch with the business owners. Your phone number, address and email address should be displayed prominently on the website and, if possible, at the top and bottom of every page. And doing so becomes even more essential for you as people looking for dentists need instant assistance. You can also have a ‘Book Your Appointment’ button on the top of your website. By clicking on this tab, your existing and potential customers will be taken to a booking form. If you use social media to connect with customers, then be sure to put links in the header or footer, where they are easily found. Apart from this, you can also have a separate Contact page which includes not just the contact numbers but email address, the physical address of the company, and a map, along with directions to your clinic and hours of operation as well.
Reduce the Page Load Time
Having a fast loading website is another important aspect in order to make your website more useful and also SEO-friendly. If your dental website takes too long to load on any device, ideally more than 10 seconds, your potential patients may leave it immediately, and this can increase your bounce-back rate. According to the surveys done by Akamai.com and Gomez.com, about 30% of mobile users expect a web page to load within 6-10 seconds. The easiest way to reduce your web page load time is by compressing the multimedia content you use on your website, or avoiding them completely. Heavy videos, images, animation, and graphics slow down your website’s loading speed, even on desktops and laptops. The next way to reduce load time is by minimizing the server response time. The mobile web page loading speed is determined by your web coding and the tech tool known as your server. The longer your server waits to respond to a request from a browser, the slower your page load time. You can either improve your web server software or configuration or enhance the scope of your web hosting service to regulate the speed.
Make Your Website Mobile-friendly
Your potential patients will be accessing your website via desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. And if your website looks great on a desktop or laptop, but not on mobile devices, it can be a huge loss for your dental practice. It is essential for your dental website to be as easy-to-navigate and visibly appealing as possible to give your audiences the same experience as they get on desktops and laptops. Thus, focus on optimizing your website for mobile users. First thing first, create a website design with responsive web design so that all the elements (graphics, images, videos, text, white spaces, etc.) of your website can be fluid and adapt to any screen size and orientation. Secondly, create mobile-friendly content and larger call-to-action buttons that people can read and skim through effortlessly, even while they are on the go. Next, limit the welcome forms and pop-ups as these sudden pop-ups can prevent your audiences from surfing your dental website and taking the desired action.
Talking from the SEO point of view, in November 2016, Google started the mobile-first indexing and stated that it would crawl the mobile version of websites before the desktop version. This implies that optimizing your website for mobile users is something that you simply can’t overlook.
Email Marketing 101 for Dental Clinics
Build Your Lists
Before you connect with your current and potential patients, you need to build your email list. There are a number of ways to build your email list for a successful email marketing campaign.
The easiest way to get emails is by having a sign-up form or pop-up on your dental website. So, whenever people visit your website, they will be greeted with this form where they will have to fill their name and email address, and they’ll agree to receive newsletters and updates from you.
You can use your blogs as email address magnets too. If you have a great blog post, you can offer a better, more informative version of that same content. So when your lead signs up for the newsletter, you can provide them with additional information.
Give discounts or hampers to your existing customers either on social media or ask them to fill a subscription form in return where they mention their email addresses.
You can offer your existing patients some attractive discounts if they refer a friend or family member to your email newsletter.
The best way to ask for emails is when your receptionist asks the patients to fill a physical subscription form.
Once you have the database of email addresses, you must divide them into various lists based on their age, gender, and the services they seem to be most interested in.
Have a Compelling Subject Line
Your email subject line is the first element that your recipients will see when they receive your email. According to the Invesp infographic, 47% of email recipients open email based on the subject line whereas 69% report email as spam based on the subject line. Therefore, it is vital to pay special attention to your subject lines. Keep your subject lines simple, concise, and free from any technical dental-related terms. You can personalize the subject lines by using your recipient’s name to make them feel that the email is sent specifically to them. This increases the chances of them opening your emails. If you don’t want to use their names, you can consider other tricks to increase your open rate. You can ask questions such as ‘Are ready for your dental check-up?’ or include ‘X’ numbers in your subject line such as ‘5 signs you need to extract your tooth.’ There are several other effective subject line ideas that you can consider for your email marketing campaigns.
Another thing that you must keep in mind is to avoid your emails from appearing spammy. Several reasons such as suspicious formatting, disproportionate text-to-image ratio, missing address and sender information, missing unsubscribe options, incorrect code, etc. trigger the email spam filters. Your emails might end up in the spam folders of the recipients. To prevent your emails from ending up in the spam folder, use ISnotSPAM and Postmark to scan your emails and determine if they will be considered as spam or not.
Work On the Email Body
Your email body consists of various elements such as the content, call-to-action buttons, and links, multimedia content, etc. Talking about the content, keep it simple and easy to understand. Keep the font, font size, color, and style readable and consistent throughout your email body. Be as informative as possible so that your readers read the entire email. Avoid using any dental-related complex terms that your recipients won’t understand. Moving on to the multimedia content, including pictures in your emails can be tricky. Although pictures, videos, GIFs, etc. look attractive and appealing, they may take time to load on various devices. Your recipients might need a high-speed internet or WiFi to view your emails. If you wish to use these type of multimedia content in your emails, make sure you compress them and only then add them. Lastly, include well-stated directions on what to do with the help of a CTA button or link. Your call-to-action should be clear and visible so that your recipients can easily scroll and click on the buttons or links on various devices.
Include a Link to Unsubscribe
While it may not seem like an appealing option from your business point of view, including an Unsubscribe link is necessary. While many patients do want to receive your emails, sometimes they decide they don’t. That’s why it’s essential and also legally necessary to include a link to unsubscribe in every email you send. At the end of your email, include a small unsubscribe link, and be prepared for people unsubscribing to your emails. You can even offer recipients the option to choose which emails they wish to receive. Often, patients feel overwhelmed by the number of commercial emails they receive, but still want to get your informative newsletters or tips. By giving them an option to choose between unsubscribing and signing up for a select type of emails, you are retaining your email marketing list as well.
Image source: pixabay.com
Select the Right Platforms
Identify which platforms have the maximum number of your target audience and which channel can help you in achieving your goals. The most common platform for running PPC for dentists is search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo. Creating PPC ads on these search engines will provide the maximum exposure to your advertisement whenever a person searches for a dental service or clinic in your region. When you advertise on these search engines, your ads automatically appear on their maps as well. For instance, if you advertise your dental clinic or a particular service on Google, the same ad will be visible on Google Maps as well. Apart from search engines, you can also run your PPC ads on social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram.
Bid On the Right Keywords
This step is important for the success of PPC for dentists as they provide a higher ROI when you target the right audiences. You must first focus on your keyword research strategy, or find the right set of keywords for your PPC ads. When you use Google AdWords for creating your PPC ads, the tool gives you a list of the trending keywords used by users. You can also think from your patients’ point-of-view and think about search terms you would type if you were looking for specific dental service. In order to maximize your results, choose keywords based on the services you provide. If your goal is to promote a particular service or product, say Invisalign, you can use specific keywords such as ‘buy’ or ‘purchase’ to grab those on the verge of purchase. Bidding on keywords like “emergency” or “urgent” is an easy way to get clients with immediate needs. You can even include the location of your dental clinic in your keyword list and build more specific, longer keywords such as ‘emergency dentist in Toronto’ to grab the attention of potential local patients. Along with the keywords, you should also make a list of negative keywords to block any irrelevant combinations of keywords and prevent unwanted clicks. Negative keywords allow you to choose words that won’t show up your ad for other search queries.
Compelling Call-to-action Buttons
Your call-to-action (CTA) buttons should be strong, clear and concise, and should tell exactly what your prospects should do next after they have viewed your ad. Therefore, with every interesting PPC ad you design, you must also focus on designing a compelling CTA. Use fonts, bigger text, and colorful buttons that can be easily read and clicked on all the devices. Give up on the traditional and old CTA texts like ‘Book Now’ or ‘Contact Us,’ and be a little more creative like ‘Did You Book Your Appointment Yet?’ Creative and innovative CTAs with an appealing theme and design can compel your audiences to click your ad immediately.
Focus On the Landing Page
Creating an appealing and effective PPC ad isn’t where your efforts should stop. You need to make sure that the ad is designed well and the goal is achieved. In simple words, you need to make sure that your potential patients are directed to the right landing page, and they can take a favorable action and convert into your customer. For instance, if your ad is about a particular dental service, say teeth whitening, make sure that when the potential patients click the ad, they’re directed to the teeth whitening page on your website that gives more details about the service. You never want to link a dental PPC ad to your basic homepage if the ad is advertising a specific service. Also, ensure you provide sufficient information about dental services so that your prospect will contact for the same services without any hesitation. Therefore, prepare a good landing page with a strong call to action features for your potential patients.
Social Media Advertising and Marketing for Dentists
Create Quality Content Regularly
It is obvious that you must maintain the quality of your social media posts. Create more and more valuable content on a daily basis. You can either post every day on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. or 3-4 times a week. Try not going below this limit, or your followers may start feeling that you aren’t very active on social media and they may even unfollow you. While creating social media content, don’t just stick to the textual statuses, captions, and tweets. Be creative and experiment with other types of content such as images, Infographics, videos, GIFs, etc. These types of content generally tend to perform better than plain, textual content. You can even share the blogs or other details such as special discounts or introduction of a new dental service on your social media profiles. If at all you fall short of innovative ideas for social media, you can take inspiration from your competitors and other renowned dentists around the world. Make sure you don’t copy their strategies or plagiarize their content; just get inspired. Also, you can share and repost others’ content on your profiles. By others I mean influencers, renowned dentists, and other dental-related social media accounts, and not your competitors. Just keep one goal in mind, you have to keep your social media profiles updated with helpful, innovative, and creative content.
Advertise on Social Media
Social Media advertising is considered to be a cost-effective way of advertising. You can either advertise your entire dental clinic on social media, a particular dental service. You can select your target market based on their demographic details, behavior, interests, and other aspects using the inbuilt advertising tool of every social media channel. In return, you get complete in-depth insights of every ad campaign. And all this can be done at a daily budget of as low as $10. Social media advertising, on the other hand, uses images, videos, carousels, etc. that are displayed on the sidebar (for Facebook and Twitter) or between the posts on social media feeds for all channels. You can refer to HootSuite’s free social media advertising guide to understand different media advertising options and a step-by-step method of advertising on each of the leading social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, etc.
Use Social Media Calendar
A good social media page for any dental clinic requires planning and organization. Several social media calendars assist in both these processes. While treating several patients during the day, you might miss out on sharing something on your dental social media profiles. You might forget or not get sufficient time to keep them updated, especially on certain days and occasions. But with the help of various social media calendars, you can plan your social media posts and strategies well in advance, and schedule them so that you don’t have to spend time daily. These social media calendars help you maintain consistency across all the channels as you can plan and schedule same or different content for multiple channels at one place. You can choose from different free, paid, and freemium social media calendars available. Some of the popularly and widely used social media calendars include Buffer, HootSuite, ContentCal, CoSchedule, etc.
Use Helpful Tools
The most popular social media platforms provide several inbuilt features and tools that make various social media processes simpler. However, for several added processes, you can use numerous third-party applications and software. To be precise, you can use tools for designing visual and graphical content for your social media profiles, for planning, organizing, and scheduling them, and for tracking and monitoring the engagement on every post. HootSuite, Buffer, CoSchedule, ContentCal, Sendible, and Sprout Social are my favorite planning, organizing, and scheduling tools, and strongly recommend these tools to marketers. Talking about tracking and monitoring, apart from the inbuilt tools such as Facebook and Instagram Insights and Twitter Analytics, HowSociable, Buzzsumo, Crowdbooster, TweetDeck, SumAll, etc. are some other effective tools that provide additional features. They also provide information about what’s trending on social media. If you use these properly, these tools can make social media management and marketing simpler for you.
These aren’t the only types of online marketing for dental clinics. Content marketing, mobile marketing, advertisements on various platforms, blogging and guest blogging, video marketing, affiliate marketing are also a part of digital marketing. For any online marketing strategy, you need to identify your target audience, set your goals, plan and execute your strategies based on your goals, and monitor the performance of your marketing efforts constantly to get the most out of digital marketing.
Ali Salman is an online marketing strategist who have worked with Coca-Cola, Extreme Pita, Mucho Burrito, KIA, Honda and other Fortune 500 companies. Ali Salman now heads Rapid Boost Marketing - Canada's fastest growing search marketing agency. RBM clients include Fortune 500's and medium size businesses across North America. Ali as RBM CMO leads his team in building and managing quality, high-performing and cost-effective interactive campaigns and programs for our company's customers and partners. In his career, he has significantly improved campaign performance for large brands such as Government of Alberta, Liberal Party, Workopolis, Cathay Pacific, as well as medium to large retailers and high-tech B2B-enterprise niches.
Ali and his team develop online promotional concepts that spark viral growth through search and social media for RBM clients, devising strategies that use search engines and more to reach key demographic segments in the ways they're most likely to be receptive. Ali Salman also oversees corporate marketing initiatives for Rapid Boost Marketing, including strategic communications counsel, public and analyst relations and client education programming.