Imagine hiring one integrated online marketing service that actually produced new patients.
It’s possible…if you know what to look for.
Most services take a narrow approach. Meaning, they focus only on a specific dental marketing initiative (social media, search engine optimization, website design, etc.).
Some, however, take an all-inclusive approach, where all your marketing is housed under one roof. So how do you determine what’s best for your practice? First, you have to understand your options.
Below are the top five types of dental marketing services you may encounter:
1. Website Designers
All your online marketing efforts should feed back to your practice website. Your website is where the magic happens. It’s where prospects are converted into new patients.
The cost of hiring a website designer can vary, and can include anyone from a local contractor who has little experience with dentistry to a large provider who specializes in dental website design. Some designers charge per project, while others charge for initial development plus a monthly retainer fee.
Be sure that you hire a website designer that has experience in the dental industry. After all, your website should be designed for dental patients, not for clothing shoppers or mattress buyers.
2. SEO Contractors
If your website wasn’t optimized right off the bat, you might’ve hired a search engine optimization (SEO) consultant after your site went live. While it’s ideal to have your website optimized before launch, it’s never too late. Most consultants will perform an initial site audit, and then either make suggestions or do the SEO on your behalf. Some consultants charge per project, while others charge a monthly retainer.
Be sure to thoroughly vet your prospective vendor. The SEO industry has transformed over the years, due to more rigorous search engine guidelines. It’s important to hire a consultant that knows and understands the latest SEO trends and best practices. Some consultants might be tempted to produce short-term results that violate Google’s terms of service. With this approach, however, your website could incur a penalty – which means hiring a new consultant to repair the damage.
3. Social Media Agencies
Posting regularly on social media is a great way to cultivate your community of patients. This leads to improved patient retention and more referrals. But it can take time out of your schedule. That’s why many dentists outsource their social media to a third party. Some agencies will post for you, while others provide the content to manage your pages yourself.
Depending on the vendor, you might pay an initial setup fee plus a monthly retainer (contingent on the frequency of posts). Be sure that your provider has experience in the dental industry so your content appeals to prospective patients looking for dental care.
4. Freelance Writers
Content is one of your website’s biggest assets. Your content should encourage visitors to learn more about your practice so they will be inclined to schedule an appointment. In addition to the initial content created for your website, blogging regularly is a great way to establish yourself as an authority.
Due to time constraints, many dentists outsource their blogging to freelance writers. These writers might charge per word, per page or article, or a monthly retainer for ongoing content.
Be sure that any writers you hire have professional experience writing for a patient audience. If you hire a dental professional who does freelance writing on the side, you might end up with content that goes over the heads of the typical patient. On the other hand, if you employ a writer who doesn’t have any experience with the dental field, they won’t be able to write content that is appropriate for your audience.
5. PPC Services
Dental pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can expedite your website’s new patient performance. But success is determined on how well your campaigns are optimized. If your campaigns are not properly optimized, you could blow through your budget very quickly, with little or no result.
Most PPC agencies will charge an initial setup fee and then manage your campaigns on a monthly retainer. How much you spend will largely depend on the level of competition in your jurisdiction.
There are countless PPC providers out there, ranging widely in their experience. When vetting a prospective provider, confirm that they have experience advertising for dental practices. It couldn’t hurt to request a few client case studies to gauge their success rate.
Multiple Dental Marketing Services: The Complication
Outsourcing your marketing services here and there might seem like a good idea. But it can be problematic for two main reasons:
- Besides managing your practice, you have to manage multiple vendors
- Because each vendor has their own agenda, they can inadvertently sabotage other vendors to save face. When your new patient numbers drop, there can be a lot of finger pointing – and you get caught holding the bag.
If your online marketing efforts lack synergy, the system fails, leaving you with a host of questions: Are the content writers engaging my website visitors? Did the SEO consultant properly optimize my site for Google? Is the PPC agency running through my budget without much result?
If your website is still underperforming, despite having all of these marketing pieces, you’ll be tasked with finding the weak link.
An Integrated Dental Marketing Solution
Before outsourcing your marketing activities to multiple providers, find a website provider to see if they offer all-inclusive dental marketing solutions. An integrated approach is not only convenient. It’s much more efficient. In addition, it builds cooperation among all your marketing initiatives. For instance:
- Your website has a clear purpose, designed in a way that it will convert new patients.
- Your content is crafted with a consistent voice, including proper SEO principles implemented before site launch.
- Your social media profiles align with your website’s look and feel, ensuring a consistent brand.
- Your PPC campaigns are optimized to produce patients through conversion-friendly landing pages.
- Greater accountability for making sure your online marketing is successfully producing new patients.
When different providers manage these initiatives, each one works in isolation. An integrated plan is critical to ensuring all initiatives are working toward achieving one common goal: produce more new patients for your practice.