In the past, many dental practices have relied on established marketing techniques to communicate with their existing customers and solicit new ones. These methods include mail marketing--as well as mail reminders for appointments--, phone calls, and ads in local newspapers and magazines. While these techniques can still be effective, the internet has become such an inextricable part of people's lives that anyone who does not have a robust digital marketing strategy is missing out on a lot of potential business. But where to begin? Dentists are medical professionals, after all, not marketeers. Let's explore some of the ins and outs of digital marketing.
Why is Digital Marketing Important?
According to this Pew Research Center study from March, 31% of American adults are almost constantly online on a given day. 48% meanwhile use the internet several times throughout the day. That's a market of over three-fourths of US adults that a practice can tap into. Granted, most practices are locally focused, but that doesn't mean they should neglect their digital marketing.
Any digital marketing strategy needs to start with a basic web presence. The seed of such a presence is an informative, easy-to-find website that is updated regularly. Still, having a good website is the bare minimum when it comes to leveraging the internet for more business.
Digital Marketing Strategies
There are several things any business can do to build their online marketing presence. The first and perhaps most effective is email marketing. There are several technological platforms an office can employ to accomplish this, including Mailchimp, Constant Contact, and HubSpot among others. These platforms allow you to easily craft and push out newsletters, promotions, and other marketing material to large groups of people. It's also incredibly easy to add new customers to these platforms, often with just the push of a button. Compare this to the time it takes to design, print, and physically mail out brochures. What's more, these platforms often come with built-in data analytic capabilities, so you can measure the rate at which recipients open and read your communications.
Next, you'll need to have a solid strategy for marketing on social media. There are several channels a practice can use to market to new customers, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. With all the different social media platforms out there, it's understandable if the scope of such an endeavor would cause headaches. Fortunately, there are numerous programs out there to centralize social media marketing. Many online platforms, like Hootsuite and HubSpot can link to multiple social media accounts at once, allowing you send out ads and communications from one place, rather than juggling a million different accounts.
Lastly, every practice needs to continually work on its search engine optimization or SEO. SEO refers to the ways a web page appeals to a search engine's algorithm, the program that searches the internet and generates pages of results for a user. The higher a page's SEO, the higher it will appear on the results page of a particular search query. While there are programs to aid businesses with this, SEO requires a lot of planning and discipline when it comes to generating content. You'll need to employ the right combination of key words, links, and geographic information to improve it, and even then it can take a while before you start to see results. Still, search engines are such an integral part of internet life that many marketing firms now have entire SEO departments. As such, businesses neglect it at their own peril. There are other methods of digital marketing; such as pay-per-click banner ads, sponsored content, and native ads; but these often require more up-front investment--not to mention a good deal of expertise--in order to be effective.
All of this can seem overwhelming to a practice owner who prefers to focus on patient care rather than sales. Luckily, there are numerous resources out there for people who want to develop their online marketing strategies. HubSpot, for example, has a free, downloadable introduction to digital marketing for small businesses. Even so, marketing in general can be expensive, time consuming, and stressful. Titan Tech can help determine which marketing platforms would best suit your practice. They can also help develop a marketing strategy, advise on ways to improve your SEO, and even manage the platforms themselves, so you can focus on what's important. Feel free to reach out to them to schedule a consultation on building your online brand today.