In marketing there are some strategies that you should use…and definitely some you should lose. Internet technology is a stunningly fast-paced and ever-changing industry and consequently, so is online marketing.
For dentists who want to get more patients who are searching online, a proactive online marketing plan is a must. But which strategies are best? Choosing where to spend your marketing budget can be a little intimidating, especially when there are supposed “gurus” saying you have to do certain things to get a larger share of new patients from the Internet. Yes, there are definite must-do steps in effective online marketing, but it’s important to remember there is no silver bullet. The truth is that online marketing can be fickle; one month something works and the next, it doesn’t. The best online marketing firms are always doing research and performing consistent testing to stay on top of trends.
While what works in online marketing may change frequently, what doesn’t work is a little more obvious. To give you some guidance, here are four online marketing strategies that dentists should stop doing:
1 – Giving in to “Too good to be True” Tactics
With the advent of any new industry, the door opens for scammers looking to make a quick buck. Dental online marketing is no different and dentists should always be highly aware of who they trust with their digital marketing efforts. It’s rare that one online strategy can yield huge results right away (although pay-per-click advertising does have the capability), and if a marketing agency promises that, be on guard. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Here is an example:
- Search Engine Submission Services – If a marketing firm ever tells you that they will submit your website to 1,000 (or more) search engines so your website will rank high in a search…Run! Run away fast! In reality, there are only a few search engines that are important and once your website is indexed on them, the rest usually pick it up over time.
TIP: Instead of worrying about little-used search engines, make sure your website is submitted to niche directories, like Dr. Oogle and Healthgrades.
2 – Choosing Just One Strategy…and Sticking to it Forever
Once something works well, it will work forever, right? Sure! If that were the case, we’d still be using typewriters and telegraphs. Kidding aside, online marketing is fickle. In fact, Google is known to change their search algorithm between 500 and 600 times a year! If your website’s online marketing strategy doesn’t adapt to at least the most major of these changes, your rankings can fall significantly.
TIP: Don’t put all your marketing “eggs” in one basket. A diversified approach tends to work best and can include; Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Blogging, Social Media (particularly Google+), Pay-per-click (PPC), video marketing and Responsive Website Design.
3 – Ignoring Online Reputation Management
You may have read our recent article that explains how much just one bad review can cost a dentist. Here’s a hint: It’s more than just a few hurt feelings. An unprotected online reputation is an unsatisfied patient or ex-employee’s playground. Real damage can be done to your practice if it’s left unprotected and to a dentist, reputation is everything.
But, it’s easy to ignore something that hasn’t even happened yet. Your reputation may be pristine now and you can do everything to keep it that way, but that doesn’t mean bad reviews don’t happen. Patients give less than stellar reviews about their dentist for many reasons and in some cases; they can be incredibly one-sided and unjustified.
Do more than just defend your reputation; go on the offensive. A solid reputation management program involves many steps. Here are two to keep in mind:
- Claim your Space: Claiming and optimizing your social media and local listings profiles (Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yelp, City Search, etc.) Make sure it’s optimized by adding photos, keywords and customizing your description.
- Create Content: A dentist should control as much real estate on the first two pages of a Google search as possible. A key way to do this is by creating consistent, high quality content, including blog posts and having a strong presence on the prominent directory and social media sites.
4 – Social Media Overkill
We don’t think we’re shocking anyone when we say that social media is definitely a buzz term right now among dentists. After all, social media activity contributes to your search engine rankings and it’s a great opportunity to connect with your patients. Many dentists know their practice should participate but aren’t sure where or how to begin. Here are three things that dentists should definitely not do when crafting a social media strategy:
- Create a Profile on ALL of Them – Silicon Valley produces a new social network that is sure to be “the next Facebook” almost daily. Don’t bother with any of them. We recommend dentists stick to the Big Three; Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
- Oversharing – Creating an effective social media business profile really is an art form. Research and experience shows that if a dentist is too “salesy” or “clinical” on social media, their patients tend to disengage, particularly on Facebook. To succeed on social media, you should post regularly (ideally once per day), and try to make 80-90% of your posts entertaining (and only a max of 20% promotional or clinical).
TIP: Never pay for Twitter followers, Facebook friends or reviews. Don’t forget your potential patients are smart. They usually know if a comment, review or Twitter account is authentic or not.
We understand that dentists may not know where to begin when creating an online marketing strategy. Your options are overwhelming! Contact our skilled and experienced digital marketing team today for help in creating an online marketing plan that works for you and your unique dental practice.