Stand Out from the Crowd: Market Your Practice

There are more than 200,000 dentists currently practicing in the United States, which averages out to about sixty dentists for every 100,000 people. Not only that, more dentists open new practices each year than retire.

dentist_29aSo there is no shortage of dentists in the U.S., and that’s good for patients. But how does your dental practice stand out in the crowd?

The answer, in a word, is marketing. Marketing your dental practice is the most effective way for you to bring new patients into your office, especially if it’s a new practice, and it has never been more important.

How do you know the best way to get your name, and your practice name, before the public? It’s a huge task. Some of the issues you’ll need to consider are:

  • Branding
  • Website development
  • Advertising
  • Digital v. print
  • Referral techniques

dentist_32aAs you begin to figure out how to market your practice there are some things you need to consider, such as the strengths and weaknesses of your practice.

  • Strengths. What is it that sets you apart from other practices? Is it particualr services you offer, or areas of specialty? Your background and experience? Your office hours?
  • Weaknesses. No practice is perfect, and it’s important to recognize any obstacles that may stand in your way. Have you had a lot of bad online reviews from disgruntled patients?

It’s also important to identify your target audience. Researchers tell us that women make, by far, most of a household’s dental decisions – more than ninety percent. Furthermore, they don’t make these decisions hastily. There is a lot of research involved, and plenty of dental practices to choose from.

With that in mind, you’ll need to give some thought to how you present yourself: everything from your logo to the appearance of your website. Things things and more combine to produce the image of your practice.

If it seems overwhelming, rest assured you don’t need to go it alone. ProspectaMarketing is an experienced Internet marketing firm that specializes in dental practices. We use all of the tools of Internet search marketing to help you reach key prospects who are looking for what your practice has to offer. Our unique and thorough approach provides visibility, financial accountability, and ongoing refinement and improvement. You can find out more by contacting Lane Anderson toll-free at 1-877-322-4440 Ext 101, by email using the form on our Contact Us page, or online at ProspectaMarketing.com.

Market Your Dental Practice

For your dental practice to thrive, you need to get its name out there where the public can see it. That is how new patients find you. In the digital age, marketing your practice means using the Internet.

dentist_30How do you go about doing that? There is no one right way; in fact, there are a number of strategies available to you. Combining several of them is likely to be the most effective approach.

Have a strong and well-designed website. In this day and age, a website is a given. But is it a good one? A good website does more than list your services and contact information.

  • It must be well-organized for easy navigation.
  • It must be thorough, so visitors find what they’re looking for.
  • It should offer value, like an informative blog.

Use social media. This is a highly effective way of reaching potential patient, and current patients.

  • Your practice name is out there, year-round.
  • You can provide updated information.
  • You’re able to collect al-important patient reviews.

Concentrate on Local SEO. SEO is search engine optimization, and localizing it is effective in drawing in new patients.

  • Local search terms target your audience.
  • It works in voice search (i.e. Siri or Alexa)

tablet_03Rest assured, these ideas are just the tip of the iceberg. Not sure where, or even how, to begin?

ProspectaMarketing is an Internet marketing firm specializing in dental practices. We use all of the tools of Internet search marketing to help you reach key prospects who are looking for what your practice has to offer. Our unique and thorough approach provides visibility, financial accountability, and ongoing refinement and improvement. You can find out more by contacting Lane Anderson toll-free at 1-877-322-4440 Ext 101, by email using the form on our Contact Us page, or online at ProspectaMarketing.com.

Your Dental Practice and Local Listing

When you visit any online review site you’ll find reviews for every type of business, from plumbers to dry cleaners.

dentist_29aYou’ll find lots of dentists and doctors, too. Health care providers are among the most-reviewed businesses on the Internet.

Online reviews relate directly to the success of a practice, because most patients or would-be patients decide whether to try one based on the reviews they find. A practice with lots of good reviews will always be the first choice. Studies have shown, time and again, that most people give as much weight to online reviews as they do to personal recommendations.

The reviews your practice gets, and that includes any star ratings, affect your website’s click-through rate (CTR). Click-through-rate is a measure of how many people click on the link to your website when it comes up in search results. More people visiting your site  means more of them becoming your patients.

5_star_01aGood reviews and multiple stars equal high CTRs. Research has shown that businesses that improve their star ratings get a big boost in clicks – up to twenty-five percent more when they go from three-star to five-star ratings.

Another study compared the reviews and star ratings for dental practices during periods when they were not using reputation management, against periods when they were. Positive reviews and overall star ratings increased significantly during the time that practices used reputation management.

Manage Your Reputation

A critical step in managing your practice’s online reputation is establishing an account on online review sites and local online directories. This is known as a local business listing.

A local business listing is how potential patients in your area find you. Among other things it includes the physical address of your practice, a phone number, and its location on a map.

There are certain healthcare-specific review sites where your practice must be listed, such as Vitals and HealthGrades. Other important sites include Google My Business and Yelp.

Professional guidance will always get you the best results. ProspectaMarketing is an Internet marketing firm that specializes in helping dental practices reach their audience. We use all of the tools of Internet search marketing to help you reach key prospects who are looking for what your practice has to offer. Our unique and thorough approach provides visibility, financial accountability, and ongoing refinement and improvement. You can find out more by contacting Lane Anderson toll-free at 1-877-322-4440 Ext 101, by email using the form on our Contact Us page, or online at ProspectaMarketing.com.

Fierce Competition: Setting Your Practice Apart

The American Dental Association says that over the next fifteen years, we’ll be seeing a surge of new dentists in the United States. That means competition for patients is going to be more intense than ever, and dental practices are going to have to make an effort to stand out in a crowded field.

There are already about 200,000 dentists in the United States. Patients and would-be patients have a lot to choose from; it’s not enough to provide them with excellent services.

practice_01Your day-to-day operations already consume most of your time. So what can you do to attract new patients, and keep your current ones? Here are a few things you can do to set yourself apart from your competeition:

Highlight the services that make your practice unique.

Maybe your office is more than just nine-to-five. Do you stay open later to catch the after-work crowd? Are you open on Saturday? If you answer yes, then that information should be prominent on your website: on its homepage, on its Contact page, and wherever else it fits.

Maybe you offer urgent dental care 24/7, or specialize in orthodontics. Whatever it might be, idenitfy what makes your practice unique, and put that information front-and-center.

Put a lot of testimonials on your site.

Study after study has shown that people trust the opinion of others. That is as true of online patient reviews as it is standard word-of-mouth.

Compile as many patient testimonials as you can. You should have a page of them on your website. Not only that, you can print and frame some of them for display in your office.

patient_02In keeping with the previous point about demonstrating what is unique about your practice, at least some of the testimonials you select should include that.

Sometimes dentists don’t feel comfortable asking for reviews. You can query your patients on social media; you are likely to be pleasantly surprised at the response. You can even ask them while they’re in your waiting room. Most are going to have a smart phone with them, and can do it right then and there.

Have a good logo.

You should have a memorable, professionally-designed logo for your practice. Put it on everything: your sign, marketing supplies (those free toothbrushes you hand out), and in your office.

Logos help people remember you and your practice. Whenever they see that logo in the future, they’ll think of you.

Invest in Digital Technology

Investing in digital technology means more than having a fully-optimized website (although that is essential).

There are plenty of digital technologies available that you should take advantage of. They’ll benefit you and your patients: automated appointment reminders and scheduling tools, for example.

Keep an eye on technology, too. New tools are always becoming available. Your patients are going to be aware of them, and expect you to keep up with the times.

Of course, you have a practice to run, and you went to dental school, not business school. Professional guidance will always get you the best results. ProspectaMarketing is an Internet marketing firm specializing in helping dental practices reach their audience. We use all of the tools of Internet search marketing to help you reach key prospects who are looking for what your practice has to offer. Our unique and thorough approach provides visibility, financial accountability, and ongoing refinement and improvement. You can find out more by contacting Lane Anderson toll-free at 1-877-322-4440 Ext 101, by email using the form on our Contact Us page, or online at ProspectaMarketing.com.

Google Snippets and Your Dental Practice

Google snippets are short pieces of information (snippets) you sometimes see in Google search results. They’re usually shown at the top of the results page, and answer specific questions.

Most of these snippets come from pages that rank in the top ten of search results. By improving the content of your dental practice website you increase your chances of appearing in a snippet, and boosting your site’s traffic.

google_02a_tabletRight now there are three types of snippets that apply to dental practices:

  • Review snippet. This appears with a person icon. Review snippets are drawn from online reviews left by your patients.
  • Website mentions. These appear with a globe icon. The snippets appear when a service your practice offers is part of a user’s search terms.
  • Post snippet. This type is marked with an exclamation point icon. This snippet appears when a search term is found within a Google post.

We have described the importance of online reviews to your practice elsewhere on this blog. If you’d like to increase your ranking for teeth whitening, for example, you can ask your whitening patients to share their experiences. Research has shown that asking a patient for a review will give you a higher rating.

There are several ways to ask your patients to leave you a review:

  • Put a review form on your website, and let patients know about it
  • Add a review widget to your site
  • Use a review request email template
  • The direct approach – ask for reviews in person

Remember, though, that it is not ethical to offer incentives for reviews, and is also against Google policy.

For website mention snippets and post snippets, professional guidance gets you the best results. ProspectaMarketing is an Internet marketing firm specializing in helping dental practices reach their audience, including with Google snippets.

We use all of the tools of Internet search marketing to help you reach key prospects who are looking for what your practice has to offer. Our unique and thorough approach provides visibility, financial accountability, and ongoing refinement and improvement. You can find out more by contacting Lane Anderson toll-free at 1-877-322-4440 Ext 101, by email using the form on our Contact Us page, or online at ProspectaMarketing.com.

Internet Search: More than Search Engines

Google has been the search engine of choice for years, and there is no understating the importance of getting a high ranking in its search results. But there are other search functions out there, and they too are important to the marketing of your dental practice.

smartphone_11a_vidAs a case in point, consider YouTube. As we have described elsewhere on this blog, video embedded into your dental practice website is an essential part of its content. To put it plainly, most of your site visitors will prefer watching a short video than to reading.

YouTube is by far the most most-used video site on the Internet. Industry observers say it is searched three billion times each month, making it second only to Google in search traffic. Your videos may be embedded on your site, but they should live on YouTube. They need to be properly optimized so more people will find them when they search there.

Your videos should be built around a keyword, an informative word that indicates what content is about, and that search engines identify. Did you make a video about teeth whitening? Then “teeth whitening” should be its keyword. It should appear not only in the video’s title, but in its filename and its description.

laptop_06a_vidProperly optimizing a video is probably more important than the video’s appearance. A do-it-yourself video shot on your smartphone, and uploaded with minimal editing, is fine. After all, you have an excellent subject matter expert: yourself. Video is the driving factor between most Internet search traffic. So draw on your expertise and make informative videos. Embed them on your practice website, and share them on social media, too.

ProspectaMarketing is an Internet marketing firm specializing in helping dental practices reach their audience. By using the tools of Internet search marketing we help you reach key prospects who are looking for what your practice has to offer. Our unique and thorough approach provides visibility, financial accountability, and ongoing refinement and improvement. You can find out more by contacting Lane Anderson toll-free at 1-877-322-4440 Ext 101, by email using the form on our Contact Us page, or online at ProspectaMarketing.com.

Texting: An Ideal Communication

We still call them smart phones, but they have become much more than a mobile telephone. In fact, text messaging has emerged as the most popular form of communications – not just among teenagers, but all Americans. If your dental practice isn’t using text messaging to communicate with your patients, you’re not taking advantage of cost-effective technology.

text_01aTexting is a highly efficient way to communicate with your patients. At your end, there are texting apps that run from a laptop or desktop computer. It’s a simple way to make things a little easier on everyone involved.

One of the best uses of texting in dentistry is an appointment reminder. It’s an uncomplicated strategy: send a patient a brief text reminding him or her of an upcoming appointment – when it’s, say, one week away. Request a reply: the letter Y for Yes, confirming the appointment, or N for No, indicating a need to reschedule.

Simple and effective, right?

Alternately, you might text a patient to say you have an earlier slot on the same day of a scheduled appointment. “Would you like to move your appointment to 2:30?” you might ask. Once again, request a Y or N reply.

text_02aWhen it comes to text messages and your practice, though, there is one catch: be sure to get the consent of your patients before adding them to your text list. Legally speaking you don’t need permission to text something like an appointment reminder, but you do need it before texting marketing or billing messages.

It’s a good idea to keep texting etiquette in mind, too. End any exchanges with a polite thank-you. And send your text messages during normal business hours. Who wants to get a reminder of a dentist appointment at 10pm?

ProspectaMarketing is an Internet marketing firm that specializes in helping dental practices reach their audience. We use the tools of Internet search marketing to reach key prospects looking for what your practice has to offer. Our unique and thorough approach provides visibility, financial accountability, and ongoing refinement and improvement. You can find out more by contacting Lane Anderson toll-free at 1-877-322-4440 Ext 101, by email using the form on our Contact Us page, or online at ProspectaMarketing.com.

Your Dental Website = Online Presence

Not so long ago, business websites weren’t much more than electronic pamphlets that listed contact information, the goods or services a place had to offer, maybe a picture or two – and not much more.

code_02aThat all changed in the early 2000s, with the advent of Web 2.0. The Internet became more dynamic; website design could seamlessly integrate audio and video along with text. Sites became more visually exciting, and – perhaps above all – placed a greater emphasis on the user experience.

But the web has continued to evolve, and today many small businesses, including some dental practices, wonder whether they even need a website anymore. This is largely due to the influence of Google. Search results today include its Knowledge Panel: those boxes on the right side of results pages that include a business’s address and phone number, operating hours, and other basic information.

Some have gone so far as to call Google the new home page for small businesses.

We heartily disagree: you still need a website for your dental practice. Google’s Knowledge Panel can be useful, but there is a complete lack of content that is relevant to your practice and to your patients. And you need to have good online content.

under_construct_02aYour dental practice website remains the center of your online presence. In most cases it is the first impression that potential patients get of what you have to offer, and the place where you set yourself apart from every other dentist in town.

Equally important: the more site visitors you get (what is called traffic) the higher you’ll rank in search engine results, which in turn means more patients.

Your website is also your most important tool for networking with other local businesses, which further establishes you online and in your community. As we discussed in a prevous blog post, your online reputation is critical to the success of your practice.

Relevant, fresh content is essential, and you must keep your dental practice website up to date. With search engine optimization, your site’s content is written and presened for maximum efficiency in localized search results. People who find and visit your site become interested in your services.

Modern websites are faster and better than ever. They are designed with the industry’s best practices, meaning your patients have a better online experience browsing the site and booking appointments. They are also less vulnerable to security breaches, so patients feel better requesting sensitive information.

ProspectaMarketing is an Internet marketing firm that specializes in helping dental practices reach their audience. We use the tools of Internet search marketing to reach key prospects looking for what your practice has to offer. Our unique and thorough approach provides visibility, financial accountability, and ongoing refinement and improvement. You can find out more by contacting Lane Anderson toll-free at 1-877-322-4440 Ext 101, by email using the form on our Contact Us page, or online at ProspectaMarketing.com.

Improving Your Online Reputation

The vast majority of your dental patients and potential patients trust online reviews as much as they do a personal recommendation. Before any of these would-be patients call your office to schedule an appointment, chances are they’ll look on the Internet for reviews of your practice, and use what they find to assess your standing as a dental professional.

dentist_25aThat means it’s essential to devote time to crafting your online reputation.

Positive Reviews

Research shows that forty-eight percent of consumers who find positive reviews of your practice will go on to visit your website. The more positive reviews and high ratings also translates to more patients.

The online reviews left by existing patients have a big impact on where your practice appears in local search results on Google. As we have described elsewhere on this blog, it’s important to have current positive reviews from your patients. How do you get them? As they leave your office you can ask patients if they had a positive experience, and whether they would mind sharing their views online. This has two advantages: it will help you get more positive reviews, and allow you to identify and address any negative experiences before they are written up in a negative review.

social_media_01aSocial Media

A lot of your patients are already active on social media; the younger they are, the more likely it is. Some of them will probably follow you, and start asking questions. These may be specific questions about your practice or general questions about dentistry.

Don’t hesitate to respond to these questions. By answering them, you’ll humanize yourself and your practice. People will, in turn, trust you and relate to you more. It’s an excellent way to boost your online reputation and attract new patients.

Share Information

As a healthcare professional, you have a lot of valuable information at your fingertips. Sharing some of it online is an excellent way to win the trust of visitors to your website.

Share some of your knowledge on a blog attached to your practice website. You can write about anything from dental health issues and dental techniques, to your insights into the profession. You can become a go-to source for valuable information – something your site visitors need and can use. This too will raise your online reputation and win you new patients.

Drawing new patients to your practice is never easy, and it’s a never-ending process.  ProspectaMarketing is an Internet marketing firm that specializes in helping dental practices reach their audience. We use the tools of Internet search marketing to reach key prospects looking for what your practice has to offer. Our unique and thorough approach provides visibility, financial accountability, and ongoing refinement and improvement. You can find out more by contacting Lane Anderson toll-free at 1-877-322-4440 Ext 101, by email using the form on our Contact Us page, or online at ProspectaMarketing.com.

Attracting New Patients

Everyone should see the dentist in order to maintain healthy teeth. Ideally, they’ll be in your office for a cleaning and checkup every six months. Yet nearly half of all Americans say they don’t see the dentist as often as they should.

patient_02That’s not a good way to approach dental health. But look at it another way: there is no shortage of potential new patients for your dental practice. What can you do to attract their attention? In this blog post we present three tips you can use to grow your patient base.

Mobile first
When people are looking for a new dentist they’re going to do their homework. Unless they’ve got a strong recommendation from a family member or friend (see below), that means turning to the Internet.

smartphone_10aMost of us reach for our smartphones before our laptops when we’re looking for quick information. But websites are not created equal. Mobile first means your site is optimized for the small screen. Its content fits comfortably (and automatically) onto those smaller phone and tablet screens. Just as important, its content must be optimized with terms that attract the attention of the search engines.

Use Online Patient Reviews
Reviews written by actual patients carry a lot of weight with potential new patients. They’re the new word-of-mouth – probably more important than recommendations from friends and family. Asking your patients to write a review you can use on your website can give your online reputation a real boost.

How big a boost? Most of us read online reviews before deciding how and where we’ll spend our hard-earned dollars. According to one study eighty-two percent of adults read them at least occasionally, and forty percent rely on them most of the time.

One little hitch: people don’t always take the initiative. Don’t hestiate to ask them. You can do it via email as a follow-up to an appointment, for example. One word of caution, though: don’t offer anything in exchange for a review. It isn’t ethical, and it’s also against Google policy.

Take Advantage of Social Media
More than three-quarters of all Americans have some kind of social media presence, so it’s critical that this is part of your overall marketing strategy.

By using sites like Facebook or Twitter you can bringing your marketing message to a wide audience. These can, and should, include links back to your practice website, where visitors will find essential information like available services, location, and office hours. Bearing that in mind, make sure everything on it is updated regularly.

Attracting new patients to your dental practice is an ongoing battle – but the battle doesn’t have to be uphill. ProspectaMarketing is an Internet marketing firm that specializes in helping dental practices reach their audience. We use the tools of Internet search marketing to reach key prospects looking for what your practice has to offer. Our unique and thorough approach provides visibility, financial accountability, and ongoing refinement and improvement. You can find out more by contacting Lane Anderson toll-free at 1-877-322-4440 Ext 101, by email using the form on our Contact Us page, or online at ProspectaMarketing.com.

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