How To Get Your Dental Practice Seen By New Patients
"The phone just isn't ringing enough."
"If you look for a dentist online, my practice doesn't show up."
"We roll out the red carpet for our patients, if we could just get more in the door, I know we could keep them."
Do any of those concerns sound familiar?
You're not alone. We hear a version of these statements from nearly every dentist who comes to us for help with dental marketing. They feel like their practice is "invisible" and they're just not showing up.
In this blog post, we're going to share the 5 key building blocks to a highly visible dental practice, enabling you to create massive exposure and attract more new patients.
However, this is a lot of information and we can’t condense all of it into one blog post.
If you’re ready to dive in deeper and get the tools, templates, dental marketing strategies, and expert tips you need to get your practice found by more new patients, click here to download the complete guide as a PDF.
The 5 Key Building Blocks That Create Your Dental Practice's Online Presence
1 - Use Your Website As A Strong Foundation
Think of your dental practice's website as the foundation of your practice’s online presence. It is the support structure keeping your online presence strong.
While a foundation is essential, it isn't enough. For example, you wouldn't be able to live or work in a building that only has a foundation with no roof or walls, right?
At Firegang, we often see dentists make the mistake of assuming a visually “pretty”, “creative”, or "modern-looking" website is all they need to get more new patients.
Why is this not the case?
Competition. According to the ADA, there are currently 199,486 dentists actively practicing in the United States. That means there is an average of 61 dentists for every 100,000 people in the United States.
According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of practicing dentists will continue to increase by 19% by 2026, much faster than the average for all other occupations.
Because dentistry has become such a competitive field, your dental practice’s website can easily get lost in the crowd.
The truth is, even the best-looking modern website won’t be enough to attract the dental patients you need. Your website is important, but it’s only one piece in the bigger picture of your practice’s online presence. As the foundation, it will support every dental marketing strategy and campaign you “build” on top of it.
Download our latest guide, 12 Reasons Why Most Dental Websites Fail, where we reveal how you can improve your website to generate up to 158% more new patient phone calls over your existing website.
Below you can see the dramatic conversion rate improvement Dr. Guy Burk experienced after Firegang optimized his website using the 12 points we reveal in the guide above. Additionally, you can click here to learn more about Dr. Burk's experience with Firegang.
2 - Make Your Practice Visible Using Dental SEO
Like we mentioned earlier, a beautifully designed dental website won't benefit your dental practice if patients can’t find it.
Once you have your practice’s website set up to be a strong foundation for your online presence, you can use dental SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to make your practice visible to patients in Google’s search results.
What Is Dental SEO?
Dental SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a dental marketing strategy that can be difficult to explain clearly and often causes confusion. A bare-bones explanation of SEO is the process of making a website appear higher in Google’s search results.
However, that explanation doesn’t clearly explain how SEO works and why it is so important for dentists, so let’s look at dental SEO through the lens of a metaphor.
Think of the internet as a library and every single website published there as a book.
Now, think of Google as a librarian within that vast library.
A librarian’s job is to make sure a wide variety of books are available to anyone who comes into the library. The best librarians work hard to make sure any book they recommend to someone meets their needs and answers their questions.
Now, think of your dental practice’s website as one book in that giant library.
With all that information available, how can a person who is looking for your “book” find it?
Let’s say the person searching is looking for “a dentist near me”. In order for them to find your dental practice, the librarian (AKA Google) has to believe your website is the best way to answer their question.
If you think about SEO within the confines of this library metaphor, SEO is the process of writing, arranging and updating your “book” to better match the “librarian’s” strict criteria for recommending your “book” to anyone searching for a dentist in your area.
It’s time to see if Google recommends your dental practice to patients searching for a dentist in your area.
Try the simple test below to see if your practice is showing up in Google search results.
- Open an “incognito browser window” to search Google
- Search for the keywords Dentist + [Your City]
- Press enter and view the search results
Do you see your dental practice at all?
More importantly, can your dental practice be found on the first page of the results?
If your practice isn’t on that first page of search results, you could be losing huge numbers of potential patients. Patients can’t book appointments at a dental practice they can’t find.
Now that you can see where your dental practice is ranking in Google search results, you can take the next step to improve that ranking. The goal is to make sure your practice appears on the first page of Google’s search results.
Google uses information about your practice that it finds across the internet to determine if your dental practice will meet the needs of the person searching for a dentist.
Google looks for business names associated with your practice, the names of the dentists who work at your practice, phone numbers, physical addresses, office hours, and more.
Verifying that your practice's information is listed correctly in online business directories is the best way to ensure Google finds the correct information it needs.
At Firegang, our citations team builds out hundreds of online business directories to make sure all of our client’s information is included and listed correctly.
Information found on these business directories accessed by search engine databases like Google and Bing. This information about your practice is the backbone of your practice's dental marketing strategies and plays an important role in making sure patients can find your practice online.
If search engines like Google find information about your practice that is inconsistent or incorrect online, the “trust” they have in your practice’s website is damaged. This can cause your website to rank lower in the Google search results.
Lastly, SEO is not "set it and forget it" marketing. Your rankings need to be actively monitored and worked on over time. Otherwise, you'll find yourself losing ground to competing dentists in your area.
3 - Make Sure Patients Know You’re The Best Dentist In Town
When you look for a reputable business online, what’s your go-to search method?
I guarantee your answer isn’t a third-party review site like Rateabiz or Healthgrades.com.
The same is true for people looking for a dentist. No matter their location, people aren’t going to those third-party sites to look for your practice, so why spend time having reviews posted there?
Online reviews are the third vital element that will help your dental practice build a strong online presence and make you more visible to new dental patients.
Getting positive reviews from happy patients is always a coup for your practice - but remember, It’s not only about getting those 5-star reviews. It’s about making sure you can use those reviews to attract new patients.
The best way to make sure your online reviews are being seen by people searching for a dentist is to ask your patients to share their reviews on Google.
63% of people searching for businesses online use Google reviews to decide if they should trust a local service provider. Google is where new patients are searching for dentists—and that’s where you need to show that you’re the best dentist in town.
We’ve made asking your patients to leave a review on Google easy. Click here to download our new guide that includes an email template your office staff can use to get more Google reviews.
4 - Use Facebook Ads To Attract New Patients Looking For A Specific Dental Service
Once you have:
- Built your foundation with a dental website designed to convert clicks to new patients;
- Improved your dental SEO by making sure your practice is appearing on Google’s first page of search results; and
- Proved you’re the best dentist in your area thanks to positive Google reviews;
you’re ready for the fourth key to improving your practice’s online presence: Facebook Ads.
Worldwide, there are 2.3 BILLION monthly users on Facebook.
This isn’t an argument over whether Facebook is a relevant place to advertise. We know it is. The number of users alone makes it an online space ideal for dentists to attract the new patients they need.
Facebook Ads offer a unique capability for targeting specific patient demographics.
This means you can show ads to the exact type of new patient that you want.
For example, if you want more dental implant patients, you could easily target people on Facebook who are most likely to be in the market for a permanent solution to their tooth loss. The same with Invisalign, dentures, sedation, etc.
One thing to keep in mind is that Facebook Ad success doesn’t depend on how often you post on your practice’s Facebook page. In fact, you could never post a single update to your page and still attract more of the new patients you want using Facebook Ad campaigns.
Below is an example of one of the successful Facebook Ad campaigns we recently ran for a client of ours as part of their dental marketing strategy.
Over 3 months we spent $448 and this client received 20 leads for patients who wanted to learn more about Invisalign. Those leads only cost our client $22 each.
This ad was also shared by people who liked it on Facebook and 11 positive comments were made about the practice itself in the comment section of the ad, providing a boost to the practice's online visibility.
Running Facebook Ads properly can actively improve your practice's online visibility and expose your dental services to potential new patients. Click here to get the exact Facebook ads we're running for our clients to attract new patient leads for dental implants, Invisalign, dentures, and sedation.
5 - Use Google Ads To "Cut To The Front Of The Line"
One thing all dental marketing strategy experts agree on is that improving a practice's online presence and visibility can take time.
Even if you put the first 4 of these key elements into effect today, it can take months for Google and other search engines to catch up and start ranking your practice higher in search results.
The best thing to do while you wait for your dental SEO and practice’s overall online visibility to improve is to start running Google Ads.
Have you ever noticed the ads that appear at the top of the search results on Google?
If you have, then you have seen Google Ads, a form of “pay per click” advertising. Advertisers pay a small amount each time a user clicks on their ad.
Because this type of ad appears at the top of Google’s search results (above the map), it allows you to "cut to the front of the line" and appear ahead of your competitors who are competing for rankings in organic search results.
This method of advertising is effective because potential new patients will see your ad first when they search for a dentist in their area.
Because of this, Google Ads are an important part of making sure your dental practice can be found online.
Is your dental practice running a Google Ads campaign? Click here to download our guide and make sure your Google Ads aren’t wasting marketing dollars and are instead designed to attract the patients you need!
Stop Being Invisible To New Patients
If you find yourself unable to get enough new patients, your online visibility may be to blame. At the end of the day, no matter how great your service is, and no matter how well you treat your patients, if they can't find you online you'll continue to struggle.
For doctors who want to implement all this themselves, click below to download our step by step guide to improving your online visibility.
However, if you'd like a more hands on approach, I invite you to scroll a bit further down and click "Request Free Practice Assessment". This is a 30 minute call where we'll deep dive into your practice and your online presence to identify where your biggest areas of opportunity for growth exist. I look forward to speaking with you soon!