Are you paying over $500 per month for an SEO strategy that isn’t producing new patients? As a dentist, you are a local specialty service provider. A complex and expensive SEO strategy isn’t needed to drive local new patients to your office. Even if you practice in multiple locations, local search needs to be set up, effectively, for each market. Google estimates around 73% of all, yes all, online activity are from customers looking for local businesses in their area. This is advantageous for your dental practice and should be a cornerstone of your new patient strategy. The best part… you can do this yourself. Here’s what you need to know to get new patients in your practice.
Own Your Google Business Listing
Optimize your Google Business listing. I mean really knock it out of the park. First, claim your listing. Verify it. Next, go through and thoroughly complete your Google Business Listing. This will serve two purposes:
- One, it will help patients find you.
- Google will rank you higher if your listing is complete versus one that is incomplete. *Make sure that you select specific categories for your business.
Own Targeted Local PPC
If your plans for your practice include global conquest, that’s great. Most likely though, your ads don’t need to be seen by everyone all over the world. By setting up targeting, your ads will only display in a certain location or set of locations as specified. We recommend a 5-mile radius around the practice location. However, in more rural/urban locations, the radius may fluctuate.
Own Call Tracking
Your practice needs a solution to track and measure phone calls. Setup a call tracking phone number for every new patient source like Facebook, Google, radio, etc. This will help you to see which sources are producing new patients and which are not. Thus, you can optimize your advertising budget to profitable channels and make your marketing dollars much more intentional. This call tracking number needs to be connected to your Google Business Listing so that AdWords will pull the number into ads through it’s “location extension” feature. This allows more phone calls to generate on local searches and improve your AdWords quality score.
That’s it! That’s the “secret sauce” of effective local search. Sounds easy right? Not necessarily. You can do this yourself. However, we can make it easy by providing solutions to create, implement and manage all of the above for you. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy the stream of new patients.
Is social media working for your practice? I know it can be extremely confusing to know what to post and when to post it. We can get more into that as we discuss branding later, but for now, let’s just get you in the habit of posting regularly and at the best times. Let me preface this blog with a disclaimer, this data may not be exactly accurate for your particular dental practice. Every practice is different. Every patient base is different. This blog is meant to provide some initial best practices so that you can monitor and adjust your social media plan for your specific audience as it performs. Social media is not set it and forget it.
Think of each social media platform as a different television channel. You may watch ABC, ESPN, HGTV, MTV, etc. and all for very different reasons. You get different content on different channels and in different formats. That’s social media. You will not want to engage your Facebook followers the same way you engage your Instagram audience, Twitter followers, etc. Spend some time with your team and decide on a strategy for each channel. Less is more here. Focus on becoming really good at one or two platforms versus trying to do everything. For example, you don’t need a Snapchat, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. Just pick a couple and do them really, really well.
Based on my experience working with dental practices across the country, these are the trends I have seen in various social media strategies. I like to encourage offices to focus on Facebook and Instagram first. If you can blog too that’s great!
Facebook is still the top dog when it comes to DAU or daily active users. The best day of the week to post is usually Thursday. Weekdays from 10am to 6pm tend to perform strongly as well. Typically, when people are on their breaks or lunch break, engagement will go up. Weekends aren’t super strong for patient engagement, but it can be a great time to work on your blog! PS: Join my Free Facebook Group here!
Instagram is a platform that a lot of dentists still don’t take advantage of. In my experience, it’s the hesitation to learn another social media platform and to find the time to hassle with the technology, but it is so worth it! Instagram is a great place to share before/after photos, photos of the office and the team, patient engagement and having fun, etc. Buy props and make a photo booth in a private corner of the office. Have a caption contest! Bottom line is to have fun and show your patients that your office has some character. This is great for your brand!
I have not really jumped on the “dental practice marketing on Pinterest” train, but don’t let that dissuade you. Some of my clients have and they enjoy it very much. As far as I am concerned, any place that you can engage with more people is good! So go for it! Saturday night is the night for Pinterest activity. Be sure to put some thought into your board layout and use smart names for your boards so they are searchable and relevant to the audience (use great keywords here). Try to save pins consistently. Pinterest is different in that as your content starts to build, more people will find you (it’s a lot like blogging). Be patient and be persistent.
In my opinion, Twitter is the most overwhelming social media platform out there. You feel like a literal needle in a haystack. Multiple haystacks at that. An ocean full of haystacks. Even so, your brand can benefit from an active Twitter handle. Twitter is great for sharing articles of curated content, photos, infographics, and links to other local businesses. Typically, Twitter activity stays pretty strong in the later hours of the day, but don’t force yourself out of family time by constantly trying to gain followers. I set three instances in my calendar every day for Twitter. Each session is 15 minutes. For that time period, I focus 100% on tweeting, re-tweeting, responding, reacting, creating and scheduling. That’s all it takes for me.
Connect with GPG by clicking on the links in the headings above. You can also get a high res copy of the Best Times to Post on Social Media infographic at the link below. Hang it up in the office and use it as a guide! I hope you find these tips helpful and that you start to use social media to document and tell your story. Build and invest in your brand and connect with people. Focus on building your tribe and watch the shift in your practice profitability. Referrals will always be your strongest new patient source. Cultivate them by engaging with your audience on social media. The juice is definitely worth the squeeze!
What if I could predict the future? What if I could tell you the next “big thing” in social media? You’d hire me in a second to get your practice involved immediately, wouldn’t you? Well, there is good news. First, you don’t have to pay me. I will freely give you the information. Second, there is a social media platform that is growing rapidly and your dental practice needs to stop (finish my blog though) and sign up immediately. What is this incredible, awe-inspiring new digital amazingness? It’s a little place called Nextdoor.
Have you heard the name? Like any overnight success, Nextdoor is already six years old with over ten million users. The company is expected to have more users than Twitter in 2018! That’s a lot of people. The idea behind ND is a new, digital platform where actual neighbors can connect. A place to discuss events, lost pets, happenings, crime, home service recommendations, community outreach, etc. There is also a place to discuss specialists such as, you guessed it, dentists. Nextdoor is the place to bring a community together in the modern, digital age. It’s as if Facebook, Angie’s List, Craigslist, and your neighborhood watch program all slammed together into an engaging, easy-to-use digital platform.
The platform has a built-in validation protocol that ensures each and every user does, in fact, live at the address they claim. Claiming your page is very similar to how you would on Google or Yelp. The platform, when used properly, can really bring local awareness to your dental practice much the way an expensive mailer campaign would have in the past. If you’re going to have events or community outreach during the year, put it on Nextdoor. Verify your practice. Engage with people and watch the local neighborhood start to engage you immediately.
Your active patient base is always going to be your best referral source. However, new Apps and social media platforms are a great way to stay ahead of the curve and continually keep your practice engaged with the local community. Keep your page up to date and start to share the culture of your practice with the rest of the world. Pairing the right social media with effective content, especially video, is a recipe for success in today’s modern digital marketing realm.