Updated: January 3rd, 2024
‘Dental digital marketing is the future,’ ‘No business can survive without digital marketing’ – we are sure that you have heard or read these statements time and time again.
You might be thinking that a dentist’s success depends on his/her knowledge, skills, and ability to perform dental procedures. That is true, and we all agree on that. But when most of your target audiences are attached to digital platforms, your online presence also defines how successful you are.
As a dentist, you probably have invested in dental marketing or are still debating whether to do it in 2024. But if what we have observed during these COVID-19 times is anything to go by, dental practices with a robust digital presence will find it easier to survive and thrive than those that don’t. Look at how this pandemic has changed shopping behaviors, helping you understand the current trends and preferences.
Online shopping increased by 53 percent owing to self-isolation and the new work-from-home policy. Customers’ increasing reliance on the internet to interact and transact with businesses is a testament to digital platforms’ growing inclination.
Are you wondering what a dentist has to do with online shopping? You must know that the healthcare industry has also embraced digital technology to make patient care safer, reliable, and convenient. Patients have become more tech-savvy, and COVID-19 has forced even those opposed to technology to go digital.
From exploring dental care options near their locality to booking an appointment, patients prefer communicating just by clicking a few buttons on their mobile. Digital technology will gain momentum in the coming years, and dental practices like yours must seize this opportunity to stay in tune with your patients’ evolving needs.
Attracting new patients in 2021 will require you to revamp your marketing strategy to adapt to patients’ current interacting ways. Dental digital marketing is an ever-evolving concept. You must continuously adapt to the latest search engine algorithm updates, social media trends, design trends, and many such uncertainties. What worked last year may not work this year.
In this article, we have created an ultimate dental marketing checklist for 2021. This checklist contains dental marketing tips that will prime you for success this year. It will help you implement a digital marketing strategy to attract new patients and skyrocket your revenue.
The first step to building a robust dental marketing plan is to determine who is the target audience. The target audience means those who are most likely to benefit from your services. Simply advertising to everyone and everywhere will achieve nothing other than blowing away your marketing budget.
The primary audience of any dental practice is people staying within the dentistry vicinity, as they are most likely to approach you. People won’t travel long distances to visit a dental clinic.
Pinpoint your target audience by showing your ads to people who fall under a particular age group and have specific interests. For instance, if you specialize in pediatric dentistry, young parents aged between 24 and 40 should be your primary focus. If you are a general dentist, you will have to target a wider audience. Depending on the solutions you offer, you must identify groups of people who will find your services useful.
Targeting the wrong audience will result in substantial financial losses in the long run. And it is perhaps true that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The cure to your poor targeting techniques is hiring a dental marketing company that knows how to achieve your goals by staying within the budget.
Now you have some idea about whom to target based on geolocation, demographics, interest, and the type of solutions you offer. But what exactly do you intend to achieve with your dental marketing? More new patients, better ROI, focus on profitable services, and greater visibility might be your answers.
Specific dental marketing goals and objectives result in
more new patients at a lower cost.
Most dentists don’t know what they precisely want. They think that dental digital marketing can achieve numerous goals in one shot. Although it is true, you can only channel your efforts if there is absolute clarity about the desired result. You can’t start your journey without knowing the destination.
Different goals require different dental marketing strategies.
Whether you are a new dental office that wants to create awareness about the clinic or an established dentist looking to expand your presence in more locations, you should have a clear-cut vision and chart down your marketing objectives. Most importantly, allocating your financial resources and planning your marketing budget depends on the marketing KPIs you want to achieve.
No matter how ambitious your goals are, the right marketing strategy with realistic budget planning will determine whether you can achieve those or not. Fix in mind that spending money on marketing is never a loss, especially if you partner up with an experienced dental marketing company to achieve astounding results. But how do you determine whether to increase your marketing budget?
An inadequate budget will stand in the way of attaining marketing objectives. If your previous budget plan has not successfully achieved your marketing goals, you need to revise it.
For example, you might have successfully driven traffic to your website with PPC ads and search engine optimization. However, conversion rates might not be in proportion with the traffic, and there is a massive gap between the number of visitors and the appointment bookings. This could be due to various reasons, such as:
A quick analysis of competitors will help you understand why you are lagging. If your competitors are spending heavily on marketing and your budget plan is nowhere near, you are sure to lose your prospects to competitors.
Competitor analysis is a crucial part of marketing for dentists and needs in-depth research in different marketing areas. You would save a tremendous amount of time and marketing budget if a dental marketing agency conducts market research on your behalf and suggests the ideal marketing plan to you.
As a rule of thumb, businesses that are less than five years old must allocate 12 to 20 percent of their annual revenue as the marketing budget. Established companies with more than five years in the market can invest 6 to 12 percent in marketing. This is applicable for dental clinics as well.
Related: Dental Marketing Budget Calculator
It is vital to have an annual forecast for your dental practice. By preparing a yearly forecast, you answer questions like how many patients you intend to achieve in the next month, the next 12 months, and where do you see your dental practice in the next three and five years, and so on.
Depending on your goals, you can determine the budget to be spent on marketing, operations, and administration. Resource allocation becomes efficient with forecasting since you get a clear idea of where you want to aggressively spend your marketing budget.
An annual forecast will help you stay on track financially while also giving you an insight into your performance. If you lag behind the revenue expectations set for yourself, you can modify your digital advertising strategy to meet targets. More budget can be allocated to some marketing areas like dental PPC ads or improving your dental website conversion. You may ask how to forecast the number of patients?
Analyzing the previous year’s performance will help you set realistic targets for this year. If you managed to achieve 600 new patients in the past year, you could target 720 new patients this year. If you managed to win only 100 patients in the previous year, setting a goal for 720 is impractical since growth happens slowly and steadily.
You can also focus on particular dental services and chart a plan to increase the number of patients availing of specific services. Pick four or five categories of services and make a forecast for each type.
Now you know how to identify your target market, review your dental digital marketing goals, determine the budget, and specify the objectives. Let’s bring your current marketing plan under scrutiny to avoid wasting money and repeating the same errors. Here is how dentists should evaluate their marketing plan:
Do you take time to track and measure your marketing ROI, or are you completely clueless about what is working and what isn’t? If you don’t have accurate statistics to determine the success of marketing, just know that you have been shooting arrows in the dark all this while. If some of your marketing activities have not generated results in proportion to the money spent, it is a marketing waste.
SWOT stands for Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Does your plan capitalize on the strengths of your dental practice and address the weaknesses effectively? Strengths and weaknesses are internal factors, whereas opportunities and threats are external factors that are mostly an outcome of changes in the market, economy, and competition. Your strength is what differentiates you from competitors, and your weakness is what motivates patients to choose competitors over you. Having a SWOT matrix for your dental practice is crucial to create actionable strategies.
The easiest way to determine if the plan was a success or a flop is to check the increase or decrease in new patients and return patients’ numbers. If the patient’s number didn’t turn up as expected. On top of that, if you notice a steady decrease in new patient appointments compared to the previous year, it is an alarming sign that indicates your marketing efforts are harming your business.
Patient survey analysis is invaluable since it indicates whether their overall experience was positive or negative. Analyzing the survey results and taking prompt action to address the patients’ pain points is key to your dental practice’s success.
It is not always the doctor or the quality of treatment that is causing dissatisfaction among patients. There may be other factors like the behavior of staff, hygiene issues, the clinic’s ambiance, or tools used for dental procedures. The entire team must be made aware of the results of patient surveys.
You already have a lot on your plate as a dentist. You have to take care of the patients and keep them happy (the most challenging job in the world), involved in the day-to-day operation of your practice, staffing, and training. Instead of adding the extra burden of marketing on your shoulders, hiring an expert marketing agency will save money and give you plenty of time to focus on the core areas of your dental practice.
However, it is crucial to evaluate the agency’s quality to ensure maximum benefits and optimum utilization of your financial resources. A wrong marketing agency can have terrible impacts that not just wastes money but completely ruins whatever little you had gained over the years.
Finding the best dental marketing company for your practice is a challenging task, indeed. A dentist is unaware of the various criteria that an agency must fulfill to be considered a top-class marketing company. But don’t worry just yet. The following tips serve as excellent, largely accurate ways to help you gauge your current marketing company.
Instead of choosing a general agency that caters to multiple industries, it’s better to hire a dental-focused company with a successful track record in the dental industry. A company that offers digital marketing for dental practices understands the dental industry’s nitty-gritty details and can deliver better results faster and at a lower risk.
Hiring several companies for website design, dental SEO services, paid ads, and other services are not wise since it becomes difficult to manage and coordinate with them. While this process is time-consuming, marketing goals are not attained with accuracy as well.
Dental marketing is an elaborate process that involves the integration of different marketing tactics and constant monitoring. Availing services from a single agency means that all the team members involved in the execution are on the same page, and there is no scope for miscommunication or discrepancies.
Does your marketing hesitate to answer your queries? Do you feel that your doubts always remain unsolved? If this is the case, the agency probably is not as ethical as it claims.
A trustworthy dental marketing company will readily disclose technical details and the methods they implement even if you don’t entirely understand the latest trends and tools associated with marketing. They will explain all the strategies implemented to achieve your goals, measure the results, and present relevant statistics to support their statements and claims.
Watch out for firms that lure you with extremely affordable rates. It is a sure-shot sign of low-quality services or just an indicator of an exorbitant bill on its way under the pretext of hidden charges. A reliable agency offers solutions at competitive rates and never cheats its clients for short-term gains.
The ultimate goal of driving traffic to the website is to increase patient appointments. While you cannot expect all the visitors to book an online appointment, there should be a decent number of conversions.
An optimized dental website contains detailed information about your practice, which aids prospective patients in the decision-making process. A good website provides a great user experience and ranks high on the search results page, leading to more appointment bookings.
Your website must possess the following qualities to be able to convert visitors.
Wrong marketing strategies can prove deadly for your dental practice as you will end up losing even your existing patients, let alone gaining new patients. Every penny spent must fetch substantial results, and each marketing channel should drive good returns on investment.
There is no place for speculation and guesswork in dental digital marketing. Continuous monitoring of channels and testing campaigns is critical to generate positive ROI. That is why dental marketing solutions companies have tools and software that enable tracking for every marketing tactic employed.
Marketing bears results only if it is implemented after a careful study of the market and competitor analysis. Understanding where your practice stands amidst the competition is an effective remedy to cure your dental practice’s stagnant growth. Here are a few proven powerful marketing tactics that have helped dentists climb the ladder of success.
Dental online advertising includes paid advertisements displayed on top of organic search results. A highly targeted marketing technique that allows segmentation of audience, PPC ads have opened up tremendous possibilities for new and established dental practices.
Key benefits of PPC Ads:
‘The best place to hide a dead body is the second page of Google search results page.’
This is a famous saying, and it is not an exaggerated statement. People don’t scroll beyond the top five or six search results, and your dental website needs to be right in front of your target audience if you wish to capture their attention and convert visitors to loyal patients. And Search Engine Optimization is what will take you to those all-important first page positions.
Dental SEO employs several user-oriented and search engine friendly tactics to give your website the requisite traction. With a well-planned and expertly executed SEO strategy, you can grab your potential patients’ attention, earn more qualified leads, and convert most of them into YOUR patients.
Key benefits of dental SEO
Surveys suggest that the top five search results generate 67.6% of clicks.
From watching a movie to buying apparel and accessories, ratings and reviews have influenced our buying decisions to such an extent that we hesitate to buy a product if there are few negative comments here and there. And things are not different for dental practices. Reputation management for dentists highlights positive dental reviews and feedback from satisfied patients and softens the blow of negative comments if any. A dental review company can ensure that bad reviews don’t pop up in front of new patients every time they search you for your services on the internet.
Key benefits of online reputation management
Does this point need an explanation? Maybe yes, because as dentists, you may have thought that social media is just a source of casual entertainment where people post pictures and gather likes, comments, and followers. And this is precisely why social media has emerged to be a favorite among all. It serves as a platform to engage with patients interestingly without seeming too promotional and pushy. You can also run dental social media campaigns and ads on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.
Key benefits of social media marketing
Email marketing helps you land straight in the patient’s inbox with valuable information on dental hygiene, tips, new announcements, promotions, or loyalty rewards. Some reports suggest that emails are 40% more effective when it comes to acquiring new patients.
One of the most significant advantages of email marketing is that mail inboxes are more clutter-free than other platforms. Your prospects will read those emails without getting distracted.
Key benefits of email marketing
“Content is king.” Though you might have heard this several times, do you seriously invest time and budget in content marketing? Content marketing for dentists doesn’t mean that you talk about your accomplishments and promote services all the time. It is educating the prospects and creating awareness to invoke curiosity among them.
Promoting your services is a part of content marketing, but that is not the only aim. Relevant and valuable content that offers value and fortifies your position as a leader in the industry is the only formula to nail your content marketing strategies.
Key benefits of content marketing
The dental market is a competitive industry where most dentists offer the same service, more or less. Dental Branding gives your dental practice a distinct personality and imprints your dental practice’s uniqueness in patients’ minds.
Dentists need to check whether their brand projects its identity and missions by surveying their logo, graphics, design, and other branding components. You might have a cutting-edge dental facility. But it will fetch results only if it reflects in your branding as well.
An outdated logo that doesn’t significantly impact the target audience’s minds and fails to communicate the core values and USPs (unique selling proposition) will hinder your growth in more ways than you imagined.
Put yourself in the patients’ shoes and see whether your existing logo is impactful? Try to evaluate your competitors’ logo and check how your branding scores in comparison with fellow dentists. Understand the current trends and update your logo and brand by incorporating the latest designs to establish your practice as modern and up-to-date and attract your audience.
Key benefits of branding and design
Every marketing tactic can work for a certain period, after which it may become stale and obsolete, except for promotions and special offers.
Giving offers, discounts, and referral bonuses is a strategic move to attract new patients. Any compensation or deals that you intend to offer must be truly beneficial for patients. Don’t end up advertising the same offers that your patients can easily find at ten different dental practices.
Come up with some new and exciting ideas like weekend appointments, a free dental check-up for the first few patients, or any such offers that differentiate you from competitors. Competitor study plays a key role, and blindly joining the bandwagon won’t help.
A patient referral system is an excellent way of retaining existing patients and gaining new ones. You can motivate your current patients to refer your practice to as many people as by promising a discount or giving away a free dental product. In addition to winning new patients, you create a strong base of loyal patients as well.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, everything has shifted to online mediums, and this trend is here to stay. The modern patient gets annoyed and frustrated if bookings don’t happen over a few clicks. As the survey indicates, 62% of people would prefer to schedule appointments online than calling a dental practice to schedule appointments.
Browsing the internet on mobile and making an appointment without leaving the comfort of home is the most significant advantage of online technology. Patients have gladly embraced technology for the sake of convenience, and it is high time that dentists also adapt to these new ways.
If you are still relying on outdated methods to scale your dental practice, it is futile to expect anything other than being labeled as old-fashioned and obsolete. Right from booking an appointment and virtual visits to accepting payment and collecting feedback, you must switch everything to online mediums.
Are you thinking of how to attract new patients to your dental practice by making the most of the latest developments in online dental technology? Check out the methods outlined below to gain a better understanding.
Today’s busy lifestyle demands everything to deliver at the click of a button. For this very reason, you must make provision for online booking. Here is a scenario that happens all the time for dental practices.
A potential patient searches on Google to find the best dentist nearby to make a root canal appointment as soon as possible. As a result of your marketing efforts, your website comes up, and users arrive on your dental website.
But instead of finding an online booking button on your website, s/he sees a phone number to call, which means waiting until the next day or after the weekend to call and make the appointment.
The lack of having a dental online appointment booking means driving the website visitor away, wasting all the marketing efforts, and your competitor’s winning the patient.
Key benefits of online booking
According to the Accenture 2019 Digital Health Consumer Survey, 68% of patients prefer medical providers that facilitate online bookings.
Chatbots are an innovative dental marketing solution that assists patients in real-time and reduces office staff workload. Patients can chat and ask questions about prices, offers, duration of treatment sessions, or any other doubts in a quick, efficient, and error-free process.
According to a report published by Allied Market Research, the global healthcare chatbot market is projected to grow to $345.3 million by 2026, for a CAGR of 14.5 percent.
Call tracking is crucial to enhance the quality of services and the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. Tracking the location and phone number of callers gives you valuable insights into your campaigns’ impact in specific markets.
Integrating phone numbers with Google Analytics is critical to generate accurate call data to optimize your PPC Ad campaigns and reputation management.
Even if you have several phone numbers, having a streamlined website call tracking solution gives you a monthly report of all phone calls helping you understand which marketing channels drive results. Website analytics, combined with call tracking data, can determine the exact source of phone calls.
Patients are the lifeblood of practice, and ensuring maximum satisfaction is the prime goal of every dental business. Conducting patient surveys is a way of letting your patients know that their feedback matters. Asking for online feedback immediately after the treatment session allows patients to leave remarks while the experience is still fresh in their minds.
They might be disappointed with the staff, the clinic’s ambiance, or the long waiting hours. Analyzing patient surveys help fix numerous issues that are otherwise hard to figure out. A survey is how you can improve the quality of your healthcare by seeking genuine feedback.
While you have ambitious plans to gain new patients this year with aggressive marketing, do you have enough staff to support the smooth functioning? Are the existing staff already overburdened? If yes, you need to hire more staff and equip your dental facility to handle an increased patient flow in the coming months.
Merely adding more people to your team is not sufficient. You have to train the newly hired staff and help them get accustomed to the mode of working at your dental practice. Meanwhile, don’t forget to offer continual training to your existing staff. A well-trained dental team is crucial for attaining long-term goals and thrive in this fiercely competitive industry.
This ultimate dental marketing checklist has highlighted the importance of digital marketing for dentists and how to prepare your dental business to attract new patients in 2021. By now, it would be evident that marketing is a never-ending process, and it requires expertise to hit the bull’s eye and achieve targets incessantly.
If you have been sitting on the fence, it is time now to take the plunge and dive into the world of digital marketing. Your ambitious goals require some aggressive marketing, and you can’t merely be a spectator to your competitors taking away all your patients.
Though most dentists have marketing strategies planned out for the year, they are unaware of the various intricacies involved, and seemingly minor mistakes severely hurt the dental practice.
The above all-inclusive checklist empowers dentists with smart marketing tactics and helps them get going with a successful marketing campaign. Only a brilliant marketing plan has the most effective methods required to delight your patients and encourage them to keep coming back to you.
Employing digital tactics like those discussed in this article goes a long way in forging lasting relationships with patients. A well-rounded dental marketing strategy consists of a multichannel approach that includes varied techniques like Dental SEO, PPC advertising, social media marketing, branding, reputation management, and more.
With dentistry becoming a highly competitive industry, implementing a well-designed dental digital marketing campaign is crucial to address the impending challenges proactively.
It’s time to move from being a trend follower to a trendsetter in your industry.
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