Today, to connect with new patients you need an online presence and strategy as the competition is high. The initial search for a local dentist usually starts on the website for the insurance they have. Once they have a few names, the search moves to local sites and Google to find supportive information on the individual dentist and the practice where they work. Choosing a dentist is uniquely personal so they are interested in reviews, years in practice, affiliated associations, payment options, insurance accepted, the days and hours they see patients, cosmetic services as well as photographs of their work and office.
Connect with New Patients
Cosmetic services that are usually not covered or have a limited insurance benefit are some of the most lucrative services for a dental practice. The most efficient way to connect with new patients searching for these services is online. Most searches today start with Google and recent changes to Google’s search algorithm make it easier for a local business to have a presence on the 1st page of results for a relevant search.
There are 3 places to appear.
- Paid search ads (PPC)
- Google Places (maps)
- Organic Results (SEO)
Nurture the “Clicks”
The keywords for paid search on Google are expensive and while it’s very targeted, you are paying for a “click” that you hope to convert to a customer. Keywords for cosmetic services can be very competitive and that drives up the cost. Look at longer keywords strings that will have a lower search volume but they will be less expensive. They are specific so very targeted and may convert higher.
Cosmetic Services are typically decisions with a longer buying cycle. If the “click” connects with someone at the beginning of their decision-making process, it’s critical to tag that visitor Tagging your website visitors will enable you to continue to nurture them with relevant branded content and offers. As they visit other web sites and see your ads, retargeting will inevitably drive them back to your website. This doubles your chances of converting the visitor to a lead.
Retargeting is a good practice for all your site visitors but especially important if you are paying for the traffic. If you’re not retargeting the website visitors you pay to connect with, you may lose them to the doctor that is. That “click” is even more expensive to your business if you don’t get the call for an appointment when they are ready to make a decision.
Organic & Google Places
The organic, unpaid search results under the paid listings, is where most of the clicking happens. If you are investing in PPC, work on your web presence too. PPC is like “renting”. You’re paying for every click and when you stop paying, your listings will no longer appear, you’re done. SEO is more like “owning”. You’re more “invested” and the payoff has a much longer-lasting reward. If you do the work, the chance your practice will rank organically on the 1st page of Google moves from possible to probable. Once your practice is showing up in the organic area of the SERP you’re not paying every time someone clicks. With a little effort, you will be able to maintain the position. It’s well worth the time and effort it takes to get there!
A large part of the hard work is focused on content. The content on your website, social pages, and even the business information on the hundreds of local directories and review sites that consumers visit when researching local dentists. Search engines rely on these third-party sites to verify your business will be a good option to include on a SERP. (search engine return page) The intention behind the search is key and how relevant your business is to the search being performed.
If you have few citations that are incomplete, inaccurate, and inconsistent it will negatively impact your ability to be included in search results.
The maps area is similar to organic in that you cant buy this positioning. You do the work to get there. Creating a Google Places page and citation building is a good start to get ranked in the map’s area.
Mobile & Voice to Connect with New Patients
Today, your web site has to be mobile-friendly. According to official Google statements, more than 50 percent of search queries globally now come from mobile devices.
You’re missing a huge opportunity to connect with new patients if your practice is not optimized for voice search. Voice search is on the rise representing 12% of search queries today. Increasingly, a search starts by uttering a command like: OK Google…Hey Siri… or Alexa,…find a dentist near me. Unlike local and organic search results, only one business can win. Alexa will only offer one result at a time.
Don’t Neglect Social and Tracking
A social media presence is a good way to attract and build an audience. Use it to communicate with your patients.
Keep an eye on your site analytics and each visit(or). Test, and continue to work on your pages to attract visitors that convert to leads and then appointments. What;
- pages do they visit?
- content are they reading?
- is the bounce rate of the visitors?
- time is spent reading the pages?
When you know what content people are reading, you’re able to tailor your marketing messages to meet their interests. Crafting marketing content that speaks to your target patient base will keep your site visitors engaged and the waiting room full.