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    Online dental marketing 2.0

    How to build on what you already know to create a more dynamic online strategy.

     

    The practice website

    Current approach: If it has been awhile (read: three years or more) since you last updated your website, it might be overdue for some much-needed attention. Statistically speaking, consumers (i.e., your patients) now access the internet more often from mobile devices than from computers, so if your site isn’t optimized for mobile, or if you are still employing a separate mobile site, converting to a responsive website should be your number-one priority. 

    Branding and contact information needs to be easy to find on all pages. Links to active social media profiles should be included. Photos of the doctor, staff and practice are important visual components, and online appointing features are what patients crave most today. 

    Next steps: Start a blog. This isn’t a new concept by any means, and many dentists have long-abandoned blogs on their websites, with a couple of posts dated a few years back. But sporadically blogging won’t generate any meaningful results. Instead, commit to posting regularly, whether that means weekly or monthly—whatever best fits your busy schedule. And remember, a blog post can be a quick 250-word blurb; it doesn’t have to be a feature-length article.

    Blogging will help organically build a content library on your own website that will be useful for patients to reference. Blog posts also build what Google calls “authority”—essentially giving your website more gravitas, which positively affects your search engine rankings. 

    If you’re unsure of what to blog about, start with what you know best. Blog about the five most common procedures performed in the practice. Then blog about the after-care instructions for each of those procedures. Then blog about the five procedures you’d like to do more of. 

    You can also use topics previously covered in your new patient brochures or past newsletter articles. And perhaps most importantly, ask your front desk team, financial coordinator(s), assistants and hygienists what questions they most commonly get from patients. Turn each one into a blog post that will be helpful to patients and search engines alike, and soon you’ll have a blog with true authority. 

    Trending article: Boosting your online reputation: 10 hacks every dentist should know

    Social media engagement

    Current approach: Setting up a Facebook page for the practice is a great way to stay connected with patients of record while sharing a more personal side of the practice with the greater community. Uploading the logo and branding scheme, entering the practice contact information and mission statement, and linking to the practice website are important steps in building the profile page. And taking the time to create a social media calendar for the practice (i.e. mapping out 30-90 days worth of posts ahead of time) helps to keep things on a consistent schedule without being disruptive or distracting.

    Next steps: If you’ve done all of the above, here are a few ideas to go even further. First, enable reviews on your Facebook page so that patients can rate their experiences. True, as always, there is the potential for negative comments, but you can counteract any negativity by working proactively to encourage a steady stream of positive reviews. 

    Second, start a YouTube channel for your practice. Patients naturally fear the dentist; why not use the power of online video to showcase your practice, your team and your overall office personality to put their minds at ease? Share the videos to your Facebook and other social media profiles. Include them in your blog. Videos are rich content sources that can be helpful in gaining valuable online traction for the practice. 

    Related reading: 3 ways to set social media goals that work for your dental practice

    In summary

    At the end of the day, marketing is an ongoing process and a perpetual challenge that dentists shouldn’t expect to accomplish all alone. Quite frankly, in most cases, the doctor shouldn’t even be involved in the day-to-day responsibilities that running an online presence for the practice requires. Outsourcing these efforts is a smart way to ensure your online reputation is upheld and up to date, particularly for dental offices without a dedicated marketing staff member. Choose a partner like Sesame Communications, ProSites or My Social Practice, companies that have proven experience and success within the dental industry niche.

    The online marketing landscape is in a constant state of change. As a dentist, your job is to staying informed on the latest marketing trends so that you know who to hire to execute on your behalf to keep your online presence and reputation as dynamic and engaging as your practice is in real life.

    Naomi Cooper
    Naomi Cooper is President of Minoa Marketing and CEO and CEO and co-founder of Doctor Distillery. Naomi is a respected dental marketing ...
    E-BOOK: The Dentist's Definitive Guide to Investing in 2016 - Download now!

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