In the highly competitive world of dentistry, standing out is more important than ever. With numerous practices vying for patients' attention, you need to know exactly where to focus your marketing efforts to drive practice growth.
It's not enough to just be a great dentist anymore; you need to make sure prospective patients know you’re going to be a great dentist for them! That's why we’re diving into five proven strategies to help skyrocket your patient numbers in 2024.
1. High Converting Website: The Cornerstone of Your Online Marketing
First impressions are everything. Your website is the first point of contact most potential patients will have with your business, so it needs to make an immediate positive impression. How effectively your website turns visitors into enquiries or bookings will have a massive impact on the number of new patients flowing through your door.
If your existing website only converts 5% of visitors into new patient bookings, by upgrading to a high-converting site that instead converts 10%, you instantly double the number of new patients walking into your practice.
For a website to be high-converting, it needs to help visitors answer the question “are you the dentist for me?”, and then guide them into booking an appointment. This means having clear calls-to-action, easy navigation, authentic professional photography, and engaging, informative content.
And don't forget about mobile optimization. In a world where up to 80% of patients are viewing your website on their phones, a mobile-friendly website is a must.
Remember every click counts, so understanding your website's current ability to convert traffic into appointments is crucial. Regularly monitoring and optimizing your conversion percentage is not just a strategy, it's one of the keys to your online success.
2. Free Traffic: Leveraging SEO for Organic Growth
Once you know your website is effective at turning visitors into patients, your next priority is to drive quality traffic to it. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is your golden ticket to making sure prospective patients nearby find you online when searching for a dentist.
Despite what some SEO agencies will try to tell you, you don’t need to rank highly for 50 or 100 different keywords. The majority of patients will find you by searching for "Dentist [YOUR AREA]", or via a specialty service search like "Dental Implants [YOUR AREA]." By focusing your attention on ranking 1st, 2nd or 3rd for these core keywords, you’ll get in front of the vast majority of people locally searching for a dentist.
If your site isn't ranking well, take stock of your content:
- Does it contain your primary keywords throughout in a natural way?
- Is your content organized clearly with headings and subheadings?
- Do the titles and descriptions that show up in search results appeal to prospective patients AND Google?
- Does your content load quickly on desktop and mobile?
If you’re unsure of how good your SEO set-up is, run a quick 60 second comprehensive SEO audit on your website using our free tool here.
3. Paid Traffic: Amplifying Reach with Google and Social Media Ads
While SEO is crucial, it has its limits. Google wants to show the most relevant results, so if a person located a couple of suburbs away from you is looking for a dentist, and there are a dozen other practices closer to them, Google’s not going to put you at the top of the search results…. not unless you’re utilizing Google Ads.
If you've maximized your organic reach, but still need more new patients, then paid advertising might be the way to go. Platforms like Google Ads and Facebook/Instagram Ads allow you to reach potential patients who may not find you otherwise. You can pinpoint your ideal patients based on demographics, interests, or even their search behavior.
But throwing money at ads without a clear strategy is like trying to fill a bucket with a hole in it. Track your results, tweak your campaigns, and watch as your patient numbers grow. Paid ads when done right, have the ability to take your new patient numbers to the next level.
4. 5-Star Google Reviews: Building Trust and Credibility
In dentistry trust is non-negotiable, and online reviews are one of the single most powerful ways to quickly build that trust. They’re the online equivalent of word-of-mouth recommendations.
Encourage your happy patients to leave reviews and make it easy for them. And when they do leave reviews? Respond to them. It shows you value patient feedback and are actively engaged with your patient community (unless you’re located in Australia or New Zealand, due to AHPRA regulations it’s usually better to not respond).
The key to growing your reviews is to have the right systems and processes in place to encourage a regular flow of 5 star reviews. Consider implementing a simple review request process, such as sending a follow-up email or text after an appointment with a direct link to your Google review page. Personalize these messages to show your appreciation for their business.
Incorporate asking for reviews into your patient check-out process. Train your staff to gently remind patients about leaving a review if they've had a positive experience. Having in-office signage or cards that explain how to leave a review can also be effective.
Another strategy to consider is utilizing review automation software, which can automatically send out review requests to your patients, making it effortless for you and your team to gather consistent, positive feedback.
5. Email Marketing: Keeping Your Practice Top Of Mind
In a world where a patient might only visit your practice twice a year, email marketing is a vital tool to keep your practice top of mind outside those visits. It's an excellent channel for reactivating existing patients and reminding them of the value your practice provides. For example, a regular monthly e-newsletter filled with oral health tips and advice not only provides ongoing value, but also keeps you connected with your patients year-round (and even if they don’t read it, they’ll see your practice’s name in their inbox and that acts as a subtle reminder).
Promotional email campaigns are a treasure trove of opportunity. Engage your patients and book more appointments with emailed offers like: complimentary Invisalign scans to reveal their perfect smile potential, no-charge consultations for life-changing dental implants, or exclusive discounts on in-chair whitening services. These promotions add value to your patients' experiences while encouraging them to explore a wider range of your more profitable services, significantly enhancing your practice's revenue stream.
As you step into 2024, remember that the growth and success of your dental practice are in your hands. These top five strategies are more than just tips; they are the keys to unlocking your practice's full potential. From creating a high-converting website to mastering the art of Google reviews, each step is an opportunity to outshine the competition and establish your practice as a local leader in dental care.
And if you need help strategizing and executing these methods, our expert team at Smile Marketing is just a free 30-minute strategy session away. Let's make 2024 the year your dental practice thrives!