Find and Keep New Patients: Online Marketing for Dentists

senior_02aDentistry is a business, and like any other business, practices need a reliable core of existing patients and an influx of new ones. The trick is finding and attracting those new patients, especially when there are plenty of practices for people to choose from.

The best way to do this is to have an online presence. As with so much else today, most people use the Internet when they’re looking for something, whether it’s a pizza place or a dental practice.

All of us find new things on the Internet by using search engines like Google and Bing. We enter our search terms and scroll through the results. In the case of dentistry, determining factors include the physical location of a practice, the services it provides, and the insurance it accepts.

You can influence search results with Internet marketing, a general term that is designed to put your practice before as many potential patients as possible.

laptop_03The foundation of any modern business is its website. That’s where people will find out who you are and what you have to offer them. But how do they find the site, if they’ve never heard of you? A technique called search engine optimization, or SEO, means using the words and phrases that people enter on the search engines, so that your practice ranks as high as possible in search results.

Once people find your site, you want to keep them there. You do that by providing the information they’re looking for, like whether your practice provides certain services – orthodontics, for example.

They’re likely to have general questions about dentistry, too. They view you as an expert. You can leverage that in your favor by making your site a go-to resource for dental information, with blog posts about a wide range of dental topics.

It is critical that your site is designed to look professional, be easy to use, and stocked with valuable information. If it isn’t, site visitors won’t hang around; they’ll go back to their search engine results and visit the site of one of your competitors.

ProspectaMarketing specializes in online marketing for dentistry. We use best practices to find our clients new patients. Our unique and thorough approach provides visibility, financial accountability, and ongoing refinement and improvement. To find out more, contact Lane Anderson toll-free at 1-877-322-4440 Ext 101, by email at landerson@prospectamarketing.com, or online at www.ProspectaMarketing.com

Trends in Dental Practice Marketing

laptop_02There are more than two million blog posts published every single day, according to industry observers. (Before continuing, we’d like to thank you for taking the time to find and read this one.)

Website content (like this) is a staple of marketing on the Internet, and that certainly includes dentistry. It influences not only how new patients are drawn to your practice, but how practices complete and evolve.

The rules are constantly changing. So we’re going to gaze into our crystal ball and see where dental practice marketing might be, just a year or two down the road.

Content Remains King
Providing useful information and engaging posts on your practice site has been essential for a long time. That isn’t going to change anytime soon. In fact, it is going to be more important, because there is going to be a greater need than ever to have a loyal client base that values the services you provide.

One big reason for this is, quite simply, fewer and fewer people are expected to have comprehensive dental health care. Seeing the dentist every six months may become more optional than essential. Therefore, it is critical to build that loyal client base and demonstrate that what you provide is essential.

Your Online Reputation
This follows from the previous point. Reliance on social media – to find your practice, and find out about it – is increasing, and with the steady growth of mobile devices, is easier and more important, than ever.

That means that you cannot overlook your internet reputation – the way your practice is seen online. Social media, and review sites like Yelp and Healthgrades, are how most potential new patients will form an opinion about your practice. You need to get your current patients to provide positive, and honest, feedback about their experiences with your practice.

Be Mobile
More than ever before, your practice website must be mobile device-friendly.

As we described here in February, more Internet users are choosing their Smartphones and other mobile devices over laptops and desktop computers. Before much longer, an ever-larger segment is expected to be using mobile devices almost exclusively.

Have questions or want help?
ProspectaMarketing specializes in finding new patients for dental practices using the Internet. Our unique and thorough approach provides visibility, financial accountability and ongoing refinement and improvement. To learn more, contact Lane Anderson toll-free at 1-877-322-4440 Ext 101, by email at landerson@prospectamarketing.com, or online at www.ProspectaMarketing.com

 

Reputation Management in Dentistry

smartphone_01When people search for a new dentist, they first turn to customer review websites. These sites, such as Yelp, provide the real opinions and experiences of real people. Good or bad, past patients will rate a practice based on everything from dental services provided to interactions with the office staff; even to the appearance of the office itself.

The totality of these customer reviews – what they’re saying about your practice online – represents your online reputation. One bad review can have long-lasting implications. All those interconnected customer review and social media sites can magnify a single negative review; how you react to it is critical.

Reputation Management for a dental practice takes information from your practice’s website, from social media, and from patient comments on review sites and other message boards. This data makes up your online reputation profile, which drives the reputation of your practice with a positive narrative.

smartphone_01It’s a complex strategy, with the objective of enhancing your online reputation and bringing new patients to the practice. Fortunately, there are numerous software platforms that provide reputation management. While that means yet another business expense, it has become a necessity in today’s plugged in, 24/7 online world.

Most patients will have an opinion about your dental practice, even before they have their first appointment. Properly marketing your practice is essential. Prospecta Marketing specializes in using the Internet to find new patients for dental practices. To learn about what Prospecta Marketing can do for you, call Lane Anderson toll-free at 1-877-322-4440 Ext 101, by email at landerson@prospectamarketing.com, or online at www.ProspectaMarketing.com.

Thinking About Offering Rewards For Reviews? Think Again

They seem innocent enough. Signs in local business windows offering a free drink or a few bucks off your purchase in exchange for a review. Customers get a little something extra and you help boost your visibility online. Reciprocity is a great thing, right? Not if we are talking about online reviews.

Incentives For Reviews? Nope.

In 2009, the Federal Trade Commission published a set of guidelines regarding Truth in Advertising, which states that any company must disclose if they have compensated people giving online testimonials or endorsements in any way.

While Yelp and Google clearly state in their Terms of Service that giving coupons or incentives for reviews is a violation of those terms, many practices still think that this isn’t really an issue as long as the coupon is for a nominal amount or the reviews aren’t required to be positive in order to receive the incentive.

In recent years, multiple settlements involving the FTC have helped to clarify how this application works regarding online reviews and underlines the fact that incentivizing reviews is illegal.

For example, in 2013, the Attorney General fined 19 companies in New York for buying, faking or incentivizing reviews, ordering them to pay a collective $350,000 in fines. Blumenthal of localu.org mentions: “An under-reported aspect of the settlement was a $10,000 fine levied on a tooth-whitening company in New York City that had been offering a no-strings-attached $10 coupon off a future whitening in return for any review, good or bad. I spoke with the owner of the company and, while he thought what he was doing was OK, the cost of a defense was substantial AND the NY State Attorney General had targeted him so his chances of prevailing, even at great cost were small.”[1]

As recently as February 27, 2015, the FTC entered a settlement with a car shipment broker based in Georgia who was offering discounts and incentives for their online reviews. This company had over 500 reviews on Google+. There was no monetary settlement but company was forced to stop incentivizing reviews and must agree to follow that cease and desist order for the next 20 years.

If you or employees in your practice are offering anything at all in exchange for reviews, you are violating the law and run the risk of fines or litigation from the FTC. It’s not worth it.

Let your incentive be great customer service and excellent care. This will speak volumes and your patients will be happy to let you know about their experience with your practice.

[1] http://localu.org/blog/do-not-incentivize-reviews-not-even-a-little-bit/

ProspectaMarketing Blog

Welcome to the ProspectaMarketing blog.  This blog has been established to provide information and insights into internet marketing, particularly for dental practices and businesses seeking to reach consumers. I hope you will find it useful.