The good thing about online marketing is that dentists have many strategic options to choose from. The bad thing about online marketing…is that dentists have SO MANY strategic options to choose from. You see our point.
Creating an online marketing plan that works can be downright overwhelming and without expert help, it’s hard to know which strategies are right for your unique practice. Online marketing can include online visibility efforts (SEO and link building), social media activity, branding, website design, pay-per-click advertising and reputation management; and that’s just scratching the surface.
You should avoid investing in the latest marketing fad simply because you don’t want to be “left out” or “behind your competition.” In fact, there are many strategies that you should avoid for two reasons; they can be expensive and simply won’t give you a good return-on-investment. Here are three online marketing strategies that dentists don’t really need:
Put this online marketing strategy in the “expensive” category. Hiring a developer to create an app for your practice can cost upwards of $20,000. But regardless of cost, some dentists just think they need an app to appeal to a technologically savvy patient base. But, as we’ve said in a previous blog post, we think dentists should consider this very important question before building an app: What would your patients do on an app that they can’t do on your mobile website?
Before we answer that question, here is some data to consider:
- Google says that we are searching for local information nearly 40% of the time we use our smart phones.
- When we use our smart phones to find information, 90% of local searches result in an action, usually calling to make an appointment.
Data like that tells us three things about the behavior of your patients when they are searching for a dentist in their area:
- They usually find you via a Google search.
- When they do find you, they want to view your website and call to make an appointment easily; usually within the native OS click-to-call application.
- Most importantly, they really aren’t looking for much more than that and they certainly aren’t going to take the time to search for and download a specific app to connect with you.
Our research and design team at Bullseye Media recommends that if you want all of the benefits that an app can give your business, you simply need a responsive website.
A Dedicated Mobile Website
Just a few short years ago, if a dental practice wanted their website to load properly on a smart phone or tablet they needed a dedicated mobile website. That meant dentists had two separate websites to build, maintain and market. Not ideal.
For dentists today, a dedicated mobile website is usually not necessary. However, when you are planning your website development and design, mobile friendly considerations should be at the very forefront of your marketing strategy. To make sure patients can easily view your website on any device, all you have to do is make sure your website is responsive. According to Google:
“Responsive websites use a flexible grid framework that “responds” to screen resolution so that the grid (or blocks of content) is positioned respective to the user’s device. Responsive sites automatically change and realign themselves so that they are optimized for legibility, navigation and fast display on mobile phones, tablets, laptops, or desktops.”
For more on how Bullseye develops responsive website for dentists and dental specialists, check out our previous blog article.
Changing your Strategy with EVERY new Technology Advancement
Have you heard of Siri yet? If you own an iPhone 4S or newer, chances are, you have. Siri is a voice-activated personal assistant available to help its user do anything from sending a text message, to scheduling a meeting, to searching for a top notch orthodontist in their area…all without using any buttons or finger taps. While the sleek TV commercials Apple produces touting the “coolness” of Siri could lead you to believe EVERYONE is using this new technology, only about 11% of users choose to use Siri when searching on their iPhone. Definitely not enough market share to radically change your online marketing plan.
However, it is important to note that Siri doesn’t work exactly with traditional and mobile SEO strategies. According to studies, results that Siri brings up don’t have much to do with your organic or pay-per-click rankings. The good news is to appeal to Siri, you don’t need to change much of your traditional online marketing efforts. Here is what dentists should do:
- Go Local – To become one of Siri’s suggested answers, make sure you are listed on local listings and review websites like Yelp, CitySearch and Google+ Local. It’s important you’re on as many as you can be and your information is as accurate as possible.
- Reviews Matter – Online customer reviews have shown to be very influential to Siri’s SEO, in particular Yelp.com. Ask your best patients for positive reviews and post them online! We suggest you make it easy for them by reminding them as they are checking out at their appointment.
- Responsive Websites are Best – Siri wants to be able to grab your location and contact information quickly for anyone who asks her to bring up search listings. By ensuring your website is responsive, the mobile version will deliver Siri what she wants in the way she wants it and your website will be more likely to come up.
Choosing the right online marketing strategies for your practice can be a daunting task. It doesn’t have to be! Contact our experienced online marketing team for some guidance today.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/needoptic/3897752433/