There is so much buzz surrounding the online marketing industry these days, but basic principles of this business discipline are not so hard to understand.
You’ve heard all about it by now – exciting stories about innovative promotion schemes, case studies of overnight success, instant celebrity brought about by the social networking revolution… and most of what you’ve heard is true. But it is also true that dentists can benefit from online marketing in a big way without having to become computer geniuses overnight. In fact, crucial advantage can be gained simply by sticking to “bread and butter” strategies that have been already tested in practice, only with an original twist. Here is a quick overview of the most important steps every dental professional must consider in order to remain competitive in the modern market:
YOUR WEBSITE IS A VIRTUAL EXTENSION OF YOUR OFFICE
Gone are the days when simply having a website was considered a serious online marketing move, as modern web programming offers many great possibilities that were not so commonplace a decade ago, from multimedia contents to interactive features such as online booking and payments. The best dental marketing campaigns start with a realistic assessment of the existing web presentation and possible upgrades that can be made with the available funds. Most patients are accustomed to visiting websites to learn more about the dentists before trusting them with their health and their money, so it makes no sense to dissuade the customer with an outdated or poorly constructed website.
Each dental practice has its unique advantages and the website needs to reflect that from the first moment. Each visitor must immediately be directed to the content of his interest, which can be done with a good navigation system and clear, unambiguous design features. Most importantly, the website needs to be constantly updated with different types of fresh content, from the latest offers to testimonials of real-life patients. Much like a dental ordination is maintained every day to meet the acceptable standard of service, the website requires constant attention to remain an effective tool for promotion of your business.
As the promotion of your business increases, you will find that your business will be ranked at the top of search results – simple keywords will place pages and homepages at #1, local search results will bring customers to your doorstep, and generated AdWords will attract new customers. It is only beneficial for your business to continue to bring positive online attention.
CONTACTS, CONTACTS, CONTACTS – GROW YOUR NETWORK SYSTEMATICALLY
Even the best dental marketing campaigns can fall short of their objectives if they are unable to reach large enough audience, so building a database of contacts is paramount for success. In addition to traditional ways of acquiring new leads, different online platforms can be used to boost your visibility and initiate contact with new customers. There are many different ways to do this and most of them require modest investments to get started, allowing even start-up dental companies to compete in the marketplace. A combination of social media presence, SEO efforts to boost Google ranking, active participation in the blogging community and industry circles, and purchased online media space is sure to have a positive long-term impact on business fortunes.
Once the contact network grows to sufficient size, it will tend to expand further spontaneously due to positive reviews and personal references posted by happy customers. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to animate the network from time to time with a small gift, loyalty program or any other type of interaction with customers. It is unbelievable how effective a display of genuine care about your patients and online marketing tools give dentists a new way of outreach that completely changes the game.
THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX AND EXPERIMENT WITH NEW MEDIA
In the online marketing world, it is fairly easy to track your results. Precise control of the effectiveness of each marketing idea allows business owners to take a much more relaxed stance when it comes to unusual promotional concepts. There are countless new platforms that allow dentists to take the initiative and actively search for new leads, providing a variety of options for creative business minds. The best marketing ideas don’t have to be gimmicky at all, quite often they are just simple things that nobody dared to try before, either because the means were not available or because the financial risks involved were too great. Online marketing statistics can be used to direct the campaign and ensure it can be stopped at any point if the key parameters start pointing down, removing key obstacles to carrying out tests.
There are plenty of places where it is possible to get an early tip about new possibilities, so it doesn’t take much to find inspiration for a controlled probe. With mobile technologies booming at an unprecedented pace and software industry reaching new heights, it is beyond doubt that opportunities will present themselves for the most diligent innovators. Keep in mind – a great idea doesn’t have to rely on the latest technology just to find a smart new application for any technology that can be realistically employed by a dental business.
MONITOR THE COMPETITION AND STAY A STEP AHEAD AT ALL TIMES
It goes without saying that others are attempting to take advantage of the web marketing channels as well, so staying informed about the latest efforts by the closest competitors is even more important than before. A lot can be learned by following what leading dental practitioners are doing to prop up their business, which is helpful even if some of the acquired knowledge can’t be immediately acted upon. Staying in touch with the latest global marketing trends unrelated to dental practice can also be very informative and lead to new insights.
Of course, local competition should be even more under the microscope. Immediate survival comes first, so it’s important to keep pace and closely monitor the situation in your neighborhood. For all the fantastic global perspectives that online communication opens, its most powerful impact could still be its transformation of the local markets. The patients are aware they can easily find the best dental practitioners in their area and will require nothing short of perfection when it comes to level of service, which benefits the industry as a whole.