Having the right team and dental finance professionals in place is important if scaling a dental practice is the aim. However, growth will still be difficult to attain if marketing efforts are not up to scratch. Trust me, I have known good practices fail to thrive, mostly because they lacked strength in the area of marketing.
Benefits before brand
Traditional marketing efforts often revolve around promoting the face of a brand. However, in the case of a local dental surgery, many patients are generally more concerned about what care they will receive than they are about the brand itself. This is why marketing efforts should be aimed at promoting the specific benefits that patients will get, if they choose to visit a specific surgery for treatment.
Think about positive aspects of the surgery’s care and treatment that can be promoted, if applicable.
- Easy access to appointments.
- A high percentage of appointment times adhered to.
- Orthodontic surgery available on site.
- Cosmetic dental procedures available on site.
- Children’s dental care specialist available at the practice.
- Specialist care for nervous patients.
Dental patients tend to respond to benefits like these before they respond to traditional commercial branding. Although, the aim is always to create a direct thought path from these benefits to the name of a dental practice. So, there is a certain amount of branding involved.
Making use of Google and Facebook
The best way to promote the benefits that your dental practice can bring is to use marketing tools that are equally as valuable to a business of any size. Doing this means that a single practice can still rank highly online, even if it’s in competition with a group.
There are primarily two main areas to focus online.
Search engine optimisation is all about getting to the top of Google organically, this requires expert help including regular blog posting, back-linking and creating regular interesting and relevant content.
The second area is about using Pay Per Click Marketing, such as Facebook and Google Adwords, in order to increase patient numbers and improve the profitability and growth likelihood of the business.
Focusing on these two main areas means that local advertising can be used which is attractive to the geographic demographic that the practice wants to attract.
We strongly recommend clients focus on both SEO and PPC if they are serious about scaling their Dental brand successfully, our team at Samera Digital can assist with this.
Making a website relevant to prospective patients
Creating a website for a dental surgery is not all about advertising treatments available. It’s also about making the site relevant to the people it’s aimed at attracting; prospective patients in the local community. You might want to take a look at Google My Business, which allows a practice to be listed for free, with information such as opening times and directions.
Remember to include local projects that the practice is getting involved in, to show how it’s integrating with the local community. It’s also a good idea to include video content on the website, to help people see how friendly and professional the team are. Include content such as a virtual surgery tour, or chats with the team, speaking about the work that they do. If potential patients can see the faces of the people who they will be dealing with they are more likely to engage with the dental practice as a whole.
The importance of a mobile responsive website
More people now access online content using a mobile device than do so using a desktop or laptop. This means that any dental surgery which is looking to grow its patient base needs to have a website that is designed with mobile users in mind. Using responsive web design helps with this as it means that content fits to the size of the screen that is being used to view it. There are also other factors to consider including:
- Flash should not be used.
- Links should be easily accessible by clicking.
- Pages should be easy to read without a significant amount of scrolling.
- Page load speed should ideally be 3 seconds or less. According to Google, the bounce rate for a mobile website starts to increase dramatically as the load time goes above this level (4).
It’s a good idea to get professional help with creating a website for a dental surgery. I know from experience that trying to do the work in house can be time consuming, and the end result may not be as effective as it needs to be.
Marketing a dental surgery in the right way is essential, if the aim is for the practice to thrive and expand. Once the practice reaches a level where a major expansion is required, there are certain factors to take into account including how to finance the growth and what physical expansion is required.