23 Marketing & SEO tips for Dental Practices: Ultimate Dental Advertising Guide

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How I Learnt About Dental Patient Marketing

I know so much about Dental Patient Marketing its frightening. This London Digital Marketing agency of ours could have very easily just have been a dental marketing agency.

Why, I hear you asking?

That’s because I’m married to a dentist. And not just a dentist, but a dental practice owner (NHS). So when it came to setting up her website all those years ago, who do you think she turned to?

That’s right – MOI …..

And in the last 8 years, we’ve continued to improve the marketing; we’ve grown traffic, leads, more NHS patients and more leads for private work.

But we’ve always remembered one thing about marketing dentistry. And that is that most people are either scared or hate going to the dentist. It’s ever so rare to see someone skipping down the street as they head to their dentist for an injection in the gums?!

And whilst I found so much of it very easy to do, I took for granted how much I actually knew…

The thought of doing this for another Dental Practice never ever really crossed my mind. But then a few weeks ago, we got an email through….

hey guys, we would like to do some dental advertising and were wondering if you could help us?

Without surprise, that client (potential then but actual client now) – ended up on my desk. Everyone knew about the success of my wife’s site, and wanted me to replicate it for our new enquiry (who owns 2 practices – an NHS one and a private one).

Within minutes I was on the phone to the Dental Practice Principal talking their language; understanding the importance of getting the UDAs done and understanding the importance of lead generation for Private Practices. I could relate.

Dental Advertising..

 

Before you decide to throw yourselves into a solid marketing and SEO plan – there’s got to be a goal.
1) NHS Surgeries are above all most focused on hitting their targets. This means there’s going to be an element of making sure they have enough NHS patients. Additionally, NHS surgeries often offer a number of private procedures. There’s an element of marketing that and getting known for that service, without it affecting the annual UDA targets.
2) Private Practices – these surgeries have to really hustle for leads. They simply don’t have a government contract to fall back on,  and as a result, each and every lead and resulting patient is absolutely crucial.

So knowing this, where do we start?

 

Well, before we talk about Dental Marketing, I wanted to split Dental Marketing From Dental SEO.
Dental Marketing encompasses everything to me; be it offline or online. Dental Marketing is everything that you do to promote your practice, from blogs to leaflets and everything in between.
Whereas Dental SEO is more about techniques that you need to implement to make your website more search friendly.
And as a result of wanting to avoid any confusion, I’ve split the list below into 2 separate lists i) Dental Marketing ii) SEO

Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care. – Theodore Roosevelt

Dental Marketing Tips

 

1) Make sure people can visually see your practice. Signage is often underplayed and undervalued. The last thing you want, especially if you have a main road location, is to miss out on the hundreds of potential patients that drive along every single day.
You are literally leaving money on the table.
The 2 best solutions I’ve seen are i) use a company like Signs Express and get a really good sign made up ii) If that’s out of your budget for now, get a vinyl sign done. Make sure you have a call to action and either a phone number and / or email address.
2) Answer all emails and phone calls sharpish. Someone looking for a dentist, who has been on hold for a while or hasn’t had an email replied to, will very simply contact someone else. Ensure all reception staff are happy and friendly. Think American Customer Service. We live in an on demand culture.
3) Use text message services to confirm appointments and reminders. They are very powerful. The world is going more and more mobile, and more and more dentists are using text message marketing. There are plenty of services out there that you could use like Patient Comms. 
4) Posters. There’s something about visiting the dentist that you sorta know you’re going to be in some sort of waiting room for a while. I suppose seeing the doctor is the same.
And very often, it’s blank walls, and if you’re really unlucky, Fish Tanks?! Don’t ask.
This is the perfect opportunity to throw up some posters that promote a specific deal ; eg discounted teeth whitening over summer, etc, etc..
5) Collect Email Addresses – get all your patients to agree to accepts emails from you. Having deals and offers to be able to send patients as well as appointment reminders via email makes life so easy. Be sure to white label all email addresses. To learn more about this, check out our post on email marketing.
5) Do Leaflet drops in the area. These are quite inexpensive to do and is an excellent way to hyper target the immediate vicinity of your dental surgery. I believe the Royal Mail offers this service.
6) Groupon – whilst I’m not a fan of these, because I can’t imagine how they do it so cheap, but many dental practices use Groupon as a medium of pushing their site to promote offers such as teeth whitening.
7) Toothpick – empty appointments. Get them booked .Much like a hotel booking, Toothpick is successful in helping practices fill empty appointments. Get yourself integrated with them or competitors of theirs.
———————

Dental SEO…

1) Build a great site. Something responsive the works across PCs, MACS and mobiles alike. I tend to love WordPress because it’s easy to use, there’s plenty of support and youtube videos out there if you ever get stuck.
A good WordPress theme will get your site looking professional, and with themes like Elementor you’ll be able to edit and customise each and every part of your site with great ease. A good site is like a good first impression, you never get a second chance.
2) Be sure to use super fast hosting. I would recommend a company like Cloudways. For 10USD / month you get to use one of the world’s fastest and most reputable hosting companies that exists.
3) Get good content. Make sure you hire a good copywriter to do a lot of your wording for you. Having a well worded and crafted site is imperative.
Let’s for a second say that you’re not the best writer in the world. That’s ok…Headover to UPWORK or iwriter and find yourself a good writer. Be sure to give them a VERY specific brief with examples. Pull inspiration from other dental surgeries and be sure to reword and improve things.
Copying and lifting the word’s from another’s site is not just plagiarism, but will get flagged by google and you will be penalised for duplicate content.
4) Now the site is all built, hosted and got content – go live. Make sure you can visit your site from various devices and make sure it looks the part.
5) Add your site to google search console and google analytics. The reason for this is that google will know that you own the site. It’ll help track your ranking for new keywords as well show you your positions on google. This is very important as going forward, you will know what pages to point backlinks to.
6) Get listed on Google Local. This means you will end up on the maps, and have an option for your patients to review your business.
7) Add a blog to the site. Why?
Well the reason for a blog, is it allows a company to have a personality whilst also being able to give good advice. Examples of blogs that you could write are:
how to never use an electric toothbrush.
What you should never do when flossing..
How to encourage Children to brush their own teeth
That type of thing…. And remember, the catchier the headline, the greater the chance people are going to click through and read your piece. I almost want you thinking Daily Mail / ClickBait still titles. There’s a great tool on Portent if you are COMPLETELY stuck. To read more about this, check out our insight into the world of Chocolate Marketing.
8) Make sure it’s easy for people to contact you. Have a great contact form and be sure to reply to people straight away. Especially if you are offering emergency dental work. Chances are someone in pain will contact multiple practices in the hope that a dentist will reply quickly.
9) Use good, smiling photos of all the dentists with their GDC numbers clearly displayed. Most people are already frightened to see a dentist, so a picture of grumpy dentists will further scare (potential) patients.
10) Have a good privacy policy and GDPR compliant wording on the site. Be compliant.
11) From day 1 start collecting email addresses that are white labelled. Get into the habit of emailing all your patients every week. You may even be sending them the latest blog post, but start building the machine that gets them used to hearing from you every week. Even write to patients and ask for google reviews and / or testimonials.
12) If you offer private work, like dental implants, be sure to answer every single question that people may ask. Head over to answer the public and take 10 questions from there, and answer them in an FAQ section on your blog.
13) Get backlinks.
What’s a backlink?
A  backlink is a link pointing to your site from another site. For example, the NHS page for dentists points to the website of each and every dental practice in the country. That link is considered a backlink.
So if you are able to get backlinks from bloggers, the paper, directories, etc – it all helps. It’s all just another indicator that google likes to see. It almost tells them that you are popular because others are talking about you, and more crucially pointing to you.
14) Social Media – be present. You don’t of course have to be on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram AND Pinterest . Just pick 2 social sites and simply dominate those.
Facebook and Instagram or Facebook and Pinterest is a great combination and convert very well in dentistry.
15) Add a sub domain to your site and build out an affiliate part to your site.
Start thinking about earning whilst you are sleeping.

How would that happen?

Well many websites out there make money by reviewing products and pointing that traffic to sites like amazon for a commission. And I mean loads.
Sites out there review toothbrushes and dental floss and all sorts – and don’t even need to stock them to sell them. A good affiliate site can earn between 2K-12K / month.
16) Appointment reminders – via text message or email. These are so powerful in converting. It reminds people that you are there and that they should be getting in touch.
17) Facebook ads / google ads – paid ads if used correctly are very good at building a dental surgery’s brand. Especially if it’s a newly setup private practice. They never convert as well as organic traffic, however, they do work.
There’s an infinite amount of SEO and marketing strategies that will help get you on the map, and whilst this is true, there’s also an element of getting the basics right. And the above is the absolute base you need, before you start building.
There’s no short cuts to marketing.
If some of the above is seeming a little overwhelming, hire us to consult for you or simply give us the contract to do it all for you.

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