Digital marketing is indispensable for just about any business. And the dental field is no exception.
Most dentists who dabble with online marketing quickly grow dismayed due to campaigns that produce lackluster results.
You could spend $10,000 on a new website, post the occasional blog, fiddle around with social media marketing – and after two months, still, see no new patients.
Read below to see if you’re guilty of some, or all, of these common dental marketing mistakes.
1. Not Having a Website – That Converts
The majority of dentists have their own practice website. And the majority, of this majority, don’t have a website that converts new patients.
They hire a designer to build some fancy-looking website, which turns out to be little more than digital art. They have flashy stock photos, detailed service pages, and a contact page where patients can book an appointment.
What are they missing? A conversion-friendly design that sets their website apart from the potentially dozens of other dentists in their area.
Describing your dental services in detail may seem like a good idea. But admire the clinical details all you want. In reality, boring readers with an exhaustive description of dental dams will only detract prospective patients.
Data we’ve gathered from thousands of client websites has revealed some glaring conclusions. For instance, the pages every dentist should have on their website. Our research dictates that the five most important pages are your homepage, doctor[s] bio, contact us, about us, and services page.
Our data further concludes that the mission of your website is to answer one simple question: “Why are you the right dentist for me?”
If your site is like most dental websites, then your content is dull, uninspiring, and unlikely to convert new patients. You don’t have custom photography. You don’t illustrate why you got into the profession. And you don’t call readers to action at the right time.
When it comes to designing a website that converts, think about what the patient desires. Not what you desire.
2. Avoiding Your Online Reputation
In this day and age, online users are paying closer attention to the opinions of their digital peers. And there’s a growing number of outlets where patients can express their gratitude, or vent their frustrations with your practice.
Keeping tabs on your online reputation is more important now than ever.
Think it’s not? Consider this: A whopping 88 percent of consumers trust online feedback as much as personal recommendations.
Poor online feedback can be a stumbling block even for a word-of-mouth referral. After all, what’s the first action a prospective patient takes when they’re referred to you? They search your name on Google.
Don’t think that 30 Google reviews, half of which are appalling, will go unnoticed. Believe it or not, feedback compiled from dozens of digital strangers oftentimes trumps the recommendation from a personal acquaintance.
For more on how to manage your online reputation, check out this blog from our archives.
3. Ignoring Measureable Data
Many dentists, particularly new to digital marketing, use the same approach they used with traditional advertising. That is, they dish out thousands of dollars unknowing to what is and isn’t working.
Measuring successes and failures is critical to the long-term achievements of your online ventures. And assuming you have the right tools in place, you can see exactly how your campaigns are performing.
First, you can use tools like Google Analytics to analyse the general performance of your website. How many visitors your site attracts, where they are coming from, and how engaged they are with your content. These are insightful metrics.
Still, the most important metric of all is often discarded: That is, the number of new patients your website produces.
A small percentage of dentists measure this. Why? They can’t. New patient tracking requires third-party software that connects your website to your patient database.
Technology like Smile Marketing’s New Patient Tracker supplies the proof that a client’s website is returning their investment. By adding a new patient to their website dashboard, they can see just how impactful their online presence is.
Check with your current or prospective provider to see if they have these capabilities.
4. Expecting Overnight Results
When it comes to online marketing, having unreasonable expectations is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. With exception to paid advertising, like Google AdWords and Facebook Ads, there are no overnight digital marketing solutions.
If you expect to generate 20 new patients in your first month of marketing, you might abandon the effort altogether.
SEO, content marketing, email marketing, and social media can all take time to ramp up. You have to build a strong foundation and build from there.
That being said, a long-term marketing strategy can give you quality and long-lasting results that steadily grow your practice for years to come.
Remember, direct mail campaigns start and stop. Your website works 24/7, 365 days a year.
Warning: Beware of any website provider that guarantees instant SEO results.
5. Leaving Your Website to Rot
The shelf-life of a website is only three to five years. The world of online marketing is constantly changing. And if your website has crossed the three-to-five year threshold, then your competitors are most likely passing you up.
The first, and most obvious, reason to keep your website updated is aesthetics. A dated website design can reflect poorly on your clinical skills. Subconscious or not, when people stumble across a dated website they immediately think, “Hmm, this isn’t someone I can trust.”
Beyond mere aesthetic appeal is usability. User behaviours are always changing. Attention spans are shorter. Rising online competition requires a more persuasive strategy.
You can post daily on Facebook. Write four blogs a month. But if your website doesn’t cater to the modern user, the time and money you devote will be fruitless.
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