There is no shortage of ways to market a dental practice. Dental marketing ideas are all over Google searches, in blog posts, in emails, and more. There’s a lot of noise out there when it comes to dental marketing and I want to cut through some of it for you.
Not Just A List Of Dental Marketing Ideas
Instead of sharing a laundry list of dental marketing ideas that would leave you more confused than inspired, I want to focus on the 3 major components of dental marketing strategy that will work for any dental practice.
At the end of the day what dentists need are enough patients in their chairs. I want to talk about the 3 things each dentist needs to do right in order to meet that goal every single day.
A 3-Part System For Profitable Dental Marketing
In our experience, if a dental practice is excelling at each piece of this system, they’ll experience what we call “The Firegang Effect”. That effect results in massive growth for the practice, a positive return on investment (ROI) from their marketing, and the ability to dominate their market.
However, too many dentists fall into the trap of thinking they need that “one new dental marketing idea” to get the new patients they want.
The problem with this line of thinking is that profitable dental marketing isn’t a result of doing one thing right. It’s the result of correctly executing on these 3 areas of the Firegang Formula (visibility, differentiation, conversion).
To get the patients you need, and to maximize ROI, you need a comprehensive dental marketing strategy instead of focusing on one or two dental marketing ideas.
Ready to get the results you need from your dental marketing?
The last 10 years have dramatically changed how we shop for the services we need. Including how patients find a dentist. Think about it: what’s more convenient for you - driving around looking for stores that are available in your area or using your phone or computer to find exactly what you need?
How much time do your patients actually spend online? According to Google, 97% of consumers search for local businesses and services online. What I mean by visibility is simple. Is your dental practice showing up where new patients are looking? If not, you might as well be invisible.
How Do Dental Patients Find Your Practice?
It’s not enough to simply have a website for your practice. Your dental practice needs a well-rounded online presence that includes:
Each one of these dental marketing ideas can be its own complex topic and we have content on our website that explores each one in depth. I don’t want to get too deep into each one, but instead give a brief overview of how these work together to ensure a dental practice is visible to new patients.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO refers to steps you take to make sure your dental practice shows up when people search for dentists in your area online.
Most people use Google to search, so that’s where you need to start. Patients find your practice online by searching Google, but Google also has to verify that your practice is the best match for that patient.
So what makes all of this work?
If you look at the diagram below, the #1 way you can get your dental website to rank high in Google searches is by making sure your practice’s information is correct across every online directory.
Think of online directories as digital phone books. Imagine if someone pulled out 2 different phone books and looked up your dental practice. One of the listings says you’re open from 8am-2pm on Saturday but the other listing says you’re closed on Saturdays. The person searching for a dentist has no idea which is correct because they have conflicting information.
Think of Google as that person searching for information about your practice. The difference is, Google isn’t thumbing through a few phone books, it is looking at hundreds of online directories and business listings.
What Firegang wants to do for our clients is make sure that information is accurate across every online directory. From Healthgrades to doctor.com to LinkedIn and more - that way when Google is looking for your practice it gets the same, correct information over and over.
Google will rank websites higher in search results when it trusts them more than their competitors. If Google is 100% sure your dental practice will match what the person searching is looking for, you will appear on the first page of search results.
Having your practice’s information 100% correct and consistent across hundreds of online directories is the best way to make sure new patients find your practice on search engines like Google.
Advertising using Facebook has become an important tool for dentists because they can target the exact type of new patient they need. Want more dental implant patients? Facebook’s algorithms make it easier to target people already looking for that service and show them your ad.
Google AdWords is different than Facebook advertising because instead of targeting potential new patients demographically, it does it by keyword. So if a dental patient in your area types in “dentures near me” and you’re running an ad campaign for that service, it will show up.
A significant percentage of potential new patients will only click on ads in the Google search results. If dentists aren't running ads there, they miss out on that entire group of new patients.
A Google AdWords campaign is a great way to start getting your practice in front of new patients while you wait for Google to catch up with all the SEO improvements you make over time.
The second component of profitable dental marketing is what we call differentiation. Simply put, what does your practice do that makes you different than your competitors? Why should a potential new patient book an appointment with you instead of the dentist down the street?
Showcasing what makes your practice better than others in your area is done in 3 ways:
We depend on online reviews and rankings for almost everything we purchase and experience. For example, if you’re looking for a new set of speakers on Amazon, what do you pay attention to as a consumer? You look at price, reviews, and whether the listing has 5 stars.
These 2 speakers are basically the same, have almost an identical price, but one is listed as “Amazon’s Choice”, has more than 29,000 reviews, and a special offer discount. That’s the speaker most people would choose.
It works similarly for dentists. If someone is searching for a dentist in Coral Springs, Florida and they see results like this:
Which dental practice will they choose? The one with nearly 5 stars and more than 600 ratings will get that new patient call over the practices with 3 and 4 star ratings with only a handful of reviews.
We see it happen every day for dentists, which is why making sure your practice stands apart from your competitors is so important.
Your Dental Website
Firegang helps dentists discover what their main differentiators are that separate them from the “pack” of dentists in their area. Then, we highlight them clearly and prominently on their website.
What Patients Want To See On Your Website
- Financing options
- How you perform specific services
- Extended weekday hours
- If you have weekend appointments
- Special offers
- An easy way to book an appointment
- Staff photos/information
Patients often mention these positive differences in the reviews they leave a practice on Google, Facebook, Yelp, etc. and help continue to showcase what makes a dental practice different.
Are you starting to see how these large concepts of Visibility and Differentiation connect and overlap?
One can’t be successful without the other.
We’ve had dentists come to us just wanting to run Google Ad campaigns. They want to keep their existing website, don’t want to worry about online reviews or any other pieces of marketing.
There’s a reason we don’t operate that way. It doesn’t matter how great a dentist’s Google Ad campaign is. The purpose of Google Ads is solely to drive traffic to a website.
The job of the website is to turn that traffic into calls for the practice. If the website is not designed for conversion, those potential new patients will simply click the back button and consciously choose to not call you.
You’ve lost that potential new patient AND wasted valuable marketing dollars on an ad that isn’t going to get new patients in your chair.
This final component is arguably the most important. Still, a dental practice can’t convert leads to new patients without generating the leads in the first place. So don’t make the mistake of only focusing on this piece of the puzzle. Again, dentists need all 3 working in harmony to get the best ROI from their dental marketing ideas.
Why Is Conversion So Important?
At Firegang, we use the term “conversion” to refer to the ability of a dental practice to convert calls and web leads into actual appointments. Once a potential new patient decides to call your practice, your staff needs to be able to turn that call into a booked appointment.
Why do we care so much about conversions? Improving conversion rate is the best way to increase your bottom line. In the By using a combination of website conversion elements and proper phone training, our clients are able to increase their ROI without increasing their marketing budget.
When we partner with dentists, we want to increase their conversion rate on their website and on the office phones. Our baseline goal for our clients is to consistently see a 6% website conversion rate and an 80% conversion rate on the phones.
Below is a conversion model which shows how increasing conversion rates across the entire new patient journey can yield a dramatic ROI increase.
Website Conversion Elements
When a potential new patient visits your website, they'll will be asking the following questions:
- Do you answer my questions?
- Why should I call you instead of the other dentist down the street?
- Do you take my dental insurance?
- When are you open?
- What experience do you have?
- Can I trust you to take care of my family?
- Do you have any special offers?
- Do you offer any kind of financing options?
- What are other people saying about you?
Answering these questions effectively is known as adding "conversion elements" to your dental website.
For example, adding a review to your homepage will increase the likelihood a visitor will call you. The same is true for adding awards, photos of your staff, your contact information, special offers, and much more.
Most of our clients advertise special offers on their websites and make sure their staff know about them. It could be as simple as a promotion for a free Invisalign consultation with a new patient appointment. Or some clients want to attract more dental implant cases so they offer a free consultation.
One of our clients advertises complimentary sedation to their pediatric patients as a special offer. Another offers free sedation with 2 or more dental implant placements.
Each special offer is customized to that specific dentist and their goals. If a client wants to increase their new patient numbers, we often recommend offering a new patient special. If they want to increase a specific type of case (Invisalign, dentures, implants, etc), then special offers can be tailored for those as well.
Front Office Phone Conversion Training & Tracking
Once conversion elements are in place on your website, the focus needs to shift to your phones. Dentists can improve their marketing ROI by training their staff to convert phone calls to appointments and consistently tracking results.
It sounds simple, but many dentists don’t do it. The best way to discover if your dental marketing ideas are working is by tracking the calls coming into your office.
Which ones are from your Google Adwords campaign, which ones are referrals from existing patients, which ones are coming in from Facebook or because they saw a positive review on Google?
If you don’t track the calls coming into your practice, how can you tell which pieces of your dental marketing are working and which need adjusting?
Call tracking is also vital to discovering if your front office staff has the training they need to convert those calls to new patient appointments.
Where To Start & What To Track Each Month
- Who is coming to your website?
- Where are they coming from?
- Are they staying or just clicking and leaving?
- Do your calls go to voicemail or are they being answered?
- Are your calls being converted?
- What is your front office saying on the phone?
- Are callers compelled to come in?
Call Coaching & Training
This is similar to call tracking, but it’s 100% focused on your front office staff. How can you know if you’re converting calls to new patients if you’re not listening to your phone calls?
At Firegang we partner with our clients to provide specific phone scripts and training for the front office. Everything from how to convert a price shopper to a new patient to how to make sure your staff knows how to explain dental insurance coverage is covered during call coaching and training.
Remember, you need all of these elements to work together for a successful dental marketing strategy. As a dental practice you need to:
- Be Visible - show up where potential patients are looking
- Be Different - separate yourself from the competition to give patients a reason to book an appointment
- Convert - one a potential patient calls your practice or lands on your website, you need to be able to convert them from a click or call to a patient.
If you try to only focus on one piece of the process or just an isolated dental marketing idea, you’ll fall into the trap of struggling with:
- High marketing spend, but too few new patients
- Low volume of phone calls
- Being invisible to patients searching online for dentists in your area
Until you embrace a more comprehensive dental marketing approach, the way I’ve outlined here, you’ll continue to keep struggling with one or more of those problems. You’ll be stuck in the trap of chasing dental marketing ideas in hopes of finding that “one thing” that will work for your practice.
Need help figuring out what the 3 components of dental marketing look like when they’re put in place at your practice?
Click below to schedule a no-obligation dental marketing assessment call with our team today!