Here's What You Need To Know To Get Your Money's Worth.
Just imagine this: Your dental practice has become so popular that you're asked to make the rounds on all the daytime talk shows where you get to show b-list celebrities how to whiten their teeth using baking soda, strawberries, and a charcoal briquette. Pretty awesome, right?
OK... well you might not want to be a celebrity dentist but I'm sure getting more leads and more patients is probably pretty high on you list to grow your dental business.
Dentistry is a hugely competitive field no matter what state you're in. Cities like Los Angeles have well over 10,000 listings of dentists just on Yelp. There's a dental office on every block and in every strip mall in every major city. That's a lot of competition to go up against and if you're not equipped with the right marketing tools you're going to end up with their scraps.
I know you've probably already tried to hire a marketing firm or SEO company to help grow your dental practice and they promised you big returns but couldn't deliver. They made everything sound so confusing that you end up basically cutting them a check and had no clue what they were actually doing for you.
The madness is going to stop right here.
You need to make yourself knowledgeable on what dental internet marketing strategies ACTUALLY work to help grow your practice. Once you understand these dental marketing tactics you can ask your SEO company specifically how they are doing these tasks and make them show you reports on how they accomplished these goals. If they can't, it's probably time to kick them to the curb and look for someone new.
Here's What your SEO Company SHOULD be doing for you:
Optimizing Your Website for SEO
Monitoring your AdWords Daily and Making Good Adjustments
Claiming and Managing Your Local Listings and Review Sites
Managing Your Dental Office's Yelp and Actively Helping You Push to Get Good Reviews
Creating New and Engaging Content About Dentistry on Your Website
Promoting Your New Unique Content Though Article Share Sites and Social Media
Building Strong Backlinks with Reputable Sites to Your Website
Auditing Your Dental Office Manager and Making Sure They are On Task
Helping You Build a Good a Good Sales Funnel So Your Leads Turn Into Patients
Give You Easy to Understand Reporting and Statistics
Building Strong Backlinks
In order for your dental website to rank well on Google you will need to build a good reputation on the internet. How do you do this? You need to gain trust with Google by building strong backlinks from other dental related websites. When Google sees that a reputable dental related website or blog links to your website it basically says to itself, "Hey, this trustworthy site thinks that this dental website is worth mentioning. Let's bump it up a few ranks." With enough strong backlinks, over time your dental website will move up to the front page for the keywords you want to rank for.
Managing Your Yelp and Review Sites
You might really hate Yelp but the fact is it is the first thing most people will see about your dental practice. You can't hide from Yelp because it's the users who drive your listing even if you didn't create one for yourself. A good dental internet marketing company will be constantly pushing you to get good reviews and helping you develop new strategies on how to get happy patients to leave reviews. There are also other review sites like Google My Business, Yellowpages, Superpages, Manta, and many others that they should also be managing for you.
When you do get a bad review (it's inevitable, there's always a person that leaves one) your dental marketing team should notify you of it and coach you on how to draft a helpful response. Many times a customer will increase their rating of you or if they don't, other patrons will see that
Optimizing Your Website for SEO
Your dental website needs to be optimized for SEO in order to rank well on Google. There are many things Google looks for such as mobile responsiveness, meta tags and descriptions, webpage load times, proper HTML and CSS, etc. All of these issues need to be addressed in order to build a good foundation for your dental internet marketing. Your website needs to work well and convert well in order to maximize your investment.
Claiming and Managing Your Local Listings
If you want to draw patients from outside your city or just from your local competitors you have to start somewhere. Your dental internet marketing company should make sure you first dominate the city your office is in and then expand from there. A big part of this is making sure all of your Local Listings and Review sites are claimed and well reviewed. The more presence you have in your local areas the better you will show up on maps and Google searches. Eventually your website will start ranking for other surrounding cities and if your SEO team is doing their job you'll be pulling in patients from all over the state.
Creating New and Engaging Dental Content
Google loves new, fresh, and engaging content. The more interesting and genuine your dental content is, the more Google values your website. Many dental marketing companies claim to write unique content for your website but actually just cut and paste articles from other places. Make sure your SEO company is actually researching and providing share worthy content that engages your visitors. Take some time to read the content your dental SEO company has been writing for you. If it's junk to you then Google probably also thinks it's junk and won't care about it.
Promoting Your Unique Dental Articles
Just creating articles doesn't work anymore. An old outdated SEO strategy was to create tons of meaningless content and stuff as many dental related keywords as possible (e.g. Dental Implants, Cheap Dental Implants, Low Cost Dental Implants, etc.) into an article in hopes Google's robots pick it up and rank it well. This is bad blackhat practice. Google wants to see people talking about your article, linking it, referencing it, and discussing it. A good dental SEO company will focus less on creating mass amount of content and instead allocate resources into promoting the good engaging articles they have written for you.
Managing Your Dental AdWords
Many of you have probably already tried AdWords for your dental practice and haven't seen a good return. Sometimes it feels like you're just throwing money away every month. AdWords is very tough space because you're constantly competing with hundreds of other dentists and companies with budgets that might just blow yours away. Some dental companies spend between $10,000 - $60,000+ a month just on AdWords. If you're managing your own AdWords yourself it is very unlikely that you have the man hours to properly use its features to the fullest to get the most out of your budget. With keywords costing between $2.50 - $8.00 a click you need to be very careful and adapt new strategies quickly. The same concerns go along with having your website designer or IT profession who aren't experts at AdWords managing it for you.
Here's are some basic questions to ask your AdWords manager:
What is an Auction Insights report?
Answer: A report that shows how your campaign is performing vs. your competitors.
What Ad Extensions are you using?
Sitelink - Additional links in your ad
Callout - Additional descriptive text below your ad
Structured Snippits - Extensions that highlight specific aspects of your services
Call - Shows your phone number in your ad
Location - Shows a map with your ad
Review - Highlights third-party reviews on your ad
What top sites are our ads showing up for our Remarketing campaign?
What negative keywords are you using?
Answer: Your manager should be looking through your search terms and exluding keywords you do not want to show up for (e.g. Gold Teeth, Free Dental Implants, Dental Schools)
There are also some potential problems when a large SEO firm manages your dental AdWords. Since a large SEO company has so many clients, your account gets passed down to a junior AdWords manager who has very little experience which can possibly lead to you losing money on your campaign. They usually work on volume and offer cheap prices but rarely produce good results.
Auditing Your Office Manager and Tracking Their Performance
It's fairly easy to come up with tailored strategies to help your dental business generate leads and convert them to patients but it's another thing to implement them into office's daily routine. A good dental marketing company will work closely with your office manager to make sure they are managing your staff correctly so everyone is executing the tasks needed to make your dental marketing successful.
There are certain things your office manager needs to on top of like making sure your staff is actively asking happy patients for reviews, calling back leads in a timely manner, or making sure to record important data like the location and conversion rates of your leads so your marketing campaigns can be adjusted to get the most return on them. Your dental marketing company should be auditing your office manager on a weekly basis and making sure that all tasks are being completed.
Building a Good Sales Funnel
You can spend thousands on SEO and AdWords and get hundreds of leads but if you don't have a good sales funnel, you will end up losing them. A good dental internet marketing company will create a process to help convert those leads into patients. This is done by using a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software that manages and analyze customer interactions through the sales funnel.
In plain English it means if someone fills out a form on your landing page asking you about a dental implant, you have a process that increases the likelihood that they convert from a lead into a patient even if they cancel appointments, don't answer the phone, or ask to be called a few days later because they will be out of town. A good sales funnel will remind you team and force them to be persistent with these leads so they close and turn into paying patients. Every interaction is tracked so you will know where the leak in your funnel is.
Creating Easy to Understand Reports and Statistics
Many SEO companies give their dental clients complicated automatically generated reports to show how "good" their statistics are but many of the metrics simply don't matter.
Statistics Important to Your Dental Marketing Campaign
Website Unique Visitors - The amount of New Visitors to your website
AdWords Clicks - The amount of clicks your AdWords campaign is getting
CTR (Click Through Rate) - How likely a lead will click your AdWords advertisement after seeing it.
Total Phone Calls - How many phone calls are being generated through your website and landing pages
Total Leads - How many leads your Dental Internet Marketing company is generating through SEO and AdWords
Lead to Appointments - The percentage of leads that turn into appointments
Appointments to Shows - The percentage of appointments that actually show up
No Shows - The percentage of leads that make appointments but never show up
Patients - The number of leads that turn into paying patients
Cost Per Patient - The amount of marketing dollars that need to be spent to get a lead and convert them into a paying patient.
With accurate and useful reporting and statistics you and your dental internet marketing team can make educated adjustments to your advertising campaigns to help you spend less money to get more patients.
Whether your goals are to become a world famous dentist to the stars or if you just want to increase your income enough to become profitable, you need to invest in dental internet marketing. Once you've found the right company to work with you'll need to make yourself knowledgeable in what SEO and AdWords practices are most effective so you can audit them and make sure you're getting your money's worth. When you and your dental marketing team are working in complete harmony you can then begin to fine tune your campaigns and eventually expand the reach of your business and hopefully open up more practices to start the whole wonderful process all over again.