Top 2016 Marketing Tips for Dentists

Marketing strategies and techniques are continually evolving. What works well one year might not do the job so well a few months later. To ensure your dental practice remains successful, you need to stay on top of the current trends. Successful marketing requires a lot of dedication and enthusiasm. If it is all a bit of a mystery to you, here is a quick breakdown of the latest trends for 2016 to get you started. Try a few out of these strategies out and give your dental practice a boost this year.

Build a Brand

Building a brand is the most important thing you can do for your business. Your brand is what sets you apart from other dental practices. In a crowded marketplace, a recognisable brand ensures customers can find you.

For a brand to be successful, it needs to be consistent across all platforms. This means that your logo and any other recognisable practice branding imagery must appear online, on all marketing materials, and be highly visible in your practice. 

Your practice website should be unique to you. Some practices adopt generic templates, but this is a mistake. A custom-designed website will do wonders for your brand, so use it to convey your brand message. A customised website engages customers by providing a positive user experience.

Online Reputation

Your online reputation follows you everywhere. The majority of customers will search online for information about a dental practice before they commit to making an appointment. It only takes one or two negative reviews to put people off.

The best way to avoid a trail of bad reviews and negative reviews is to provide excellent customer service. If problems arise, deal with them immediately. If patients leave comments online, respond as quickly as possible.

A positive online reputation is a valuable commodity in the online world. Pay attention to what is being said online about your dental practice. Use software to monitor @mentions on Twitter and Facebook. By being super responsive and available, particularly on social media, you are building trust. It shows you care about what patients think – which matters more than you think.

Be Active on Social Media

Social media is massive. Millions of people – including your patients – use popular social media platforms every day. They share the details of their day in Facebook updates and discuss local and global events on Twitter. If you avoid social media, you are essentially avoiding new and existing patients.

Creating social media accounts for your dental practice gives you instant visibility online. A Facebook page is an easy way to build a brand and interact with patients. It provides an informal platform for patients to chat and leave comments. You can use social media to provide practice updates, let your followers know about new services and clinics, or advise them of a change to opening hours. You can also reward your followers with discounts and special offers.

An active social media account will make your dental practice feel more approachable. Customers often find it easier to engage on social media. Younger clients in particular are more likely to post a message on your Facebook page or send you a Tweet than they are to pick up the phone. As long as you moderate the content on your social media accounts, answer questions in a timely manner, and actively engage with your audience, social media is cost effective marketing technique, so make sure you put lots of effort into building a strong social media presence.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is nothing new, but the way we produce content has suffered a seismic shift in recent years. Google’s Panda update hammered a lot of poorly written websites and blogs. Whereas it was once OK to churn out illiterate content stuffed full of keywords, this is no longer the right way to do it.

Your content needs to be high quality and customised to your readers if you want to generate organic traffic to your website. There are several ways to do this, but a blog is a good place to start.

Blogs are a great opportunity to show off your expert knowledge and recommendations in a more personal way. You can use your blog to provide useful information to your patients. Talk about new treatments or research, or share your thoughts on relevant subjects. Well-written blogs are more likely to be shared with other readers via email or social media, so you automatically gain extra exposure. Blogging is also useful from an SEO perspective, so you really have nothing to lose!

Video is one of the fastest growing forms of content marketing. People love video content. If you post a video, far more people will click on it than if you posted a regular article. Creating videos is more costly than writing a blog post, but do not overlook the power of video marketing, as it is a worthy investment.

PPC Marketing

Pay-per-click marketing is the most popular form of digital marketing for one reason only: it gets results fast. Traditional marketing techniques are expensive and difficult to quantify, whereas PPC advertising is cost effective and can be personalised to specific groups of patients.

PPC advertising is an effective way to generate leads and expand your brand. With PPC advertising, you can create highly customised ad campaigns. To make a PPC advertising campaign work harder for your dental practice, you need to know who your target customers are. Use your client database and website analytics to create target lists based on age, interests or previous search history. This will enable you to target specific customer groups.

Google AdWords and Facebook advertising are simple to implement. Choose the keywords that match your budget, create a branded advert, and optimise your landing page to clients. You don’t need to target the most competitive keywords. Instead, try targeting long tail key phrases in your niche, as you may see better results.

You can’t ignore marketing if you want your dental practice to be a success. Try a few of the above techniques and watch your business grow.

5 Ways to Increase Conversion Rates on a Medical Website

Your website is one of your most important assets. Without a strong website, you are missing out on a significant amount of business. Unfortunately, whilst having a website is essential, unless you have great website design, it will not be converting visitors into patients. So what do you need to do to ensure your website conversion rates are optimal?

Create a User Friendly Website

Websites need to be user-friendly. Most people lack patience when they search online for a medical practice. If the website is difficult to navigate and the information is not readily available, they will soon click away and go elsewhere.

Poor design is one of the main reasons why website visitors do not convert into new patients. Pay attention to the design of your website. Put yourself in a customer’s shoes. Information needs to be well organised and accessible from the home page via intuitive menus. Make sure key information such as the practice’s address, telephone number and opening hours are all there in plain view.

Great Website Design

No matter how user friendly a website is, if it looks ugly and does not fit your brand, conversion rates will suffer. Try to strike the right balance between looks and functionality. Looks matter almost as much as the overall design. There is no excuse for having an unattractive website these days, so if you have a medical practice website that does not match your brand, hire a new website designer.

Mobile Responsive

Increasing numbers of people are using mobile devices to access online content. We still use desktops to surf the internet, but mobile internet is now more popular than ever. Your website needs to be optimized for mobile devices, or it will suffer in the search engine rankings.

Mobile optimisation means the design automatically resizes when it is viewed on a mobile screen. That way, customers can view the information from their mobile or on a tablet screen. If your website is unresponsive on a mobile screen, website conversions will fall.

Keep it Simple

Healthcare websites offer all kinds of information, much of it medical related. This is great because visitors need to know more about the types of services you offer, but you need to be careful to present the information in the right way.

Always keep medical terminology to a minimum. The majority of your visitors will be put off by complex information. Try to use simple words and express the information in such a way that most people will have no problem understanding. This helps visitors find the information they are looking for quickly and easily.

Call to Action

Medical practice websites need a strong call to action on every page. Make sure your contact page is visible on each page, along with other relevant CTA buttons, such as a request for an appointment button. Include a Google Maps plug-in to help visitors locate the practice and make sure your opening hours and telephone number are in full view. It is often helpful to highlight CTA buttons in a different colour, or put them with a separate container. This will ensure they stand out on the page.

Following the above tips will improve the overall design of your medical practice website and increase traffic through the site. This in turn should boost conversion rates.

Top Healthcare Marketing Tips for Medical Practices in 2016

Marketing tends to change and evolve as time passes, so it is wise to stay on top of current practices or you could be left behind. Medical website design is unique in that it requires a very specific marketing approach. Here is a quick guide to marketing your medical practice in 2016.

Customer Engagement

Customer service is extremely important for any medical practice. If your customers don’t have a great experience when they visit the practice, they are unlikely to come back. The same applies to a website.
Consider how well your website caters for customer needs. Successful healthcare marketing is tailored to the individual customer. A more personalised experience will improve customer engagement. There are tools available to measure customer engagement, and by extension loyalty, so use them. This will help you track the effectiveness of your website pages.

Social Media Brand Building

Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter make it incredibly easy to reach customers. We live in a socially connected world, so make the most of the opportunity to showcase your brand. Be sociable, build a loyal community of followers, and build trust. Social media helps medical practices to build relationships with clients, boost traffic to their websites, and improve search engine rankings at the same time. If you don’t engage on social media, you will miss out.

Evolving Search Engines

Facebook is developing its own search engine, so it won’t be long before brands such as yours are benefiting from increased visibility online. In time, customers will be able to buy products and services via social media, so it is essential that you concentrate your efforts on social media marketing, or your healthcare business will be left behind.

Great Content

Content is still a vital part of any marketing strategy. Great content captures the audience and establishes credibility. Make sure your content output is consistently good. Your website needs to be full of keyword rich, well-written, useful content. Anything less is potentially damaging. However, don’t forget to create good content for your social media accounts and email marketing campaigns.

Manage Data

There are so many tools available to help you collect and analyse data that building customer relationships is now easier than ever. Data gives you vital information about how customers interact with your website, your social media accounts, and your email marketing. Use this data to help you personalise marketing messages and target the right people.
The old-fashioned way of creating a one-size-fits-all marketing message will not do. The only way your business will grow is if you take the time to build lasting relationships with customers.

Automate Your Marketing Campaigns

Marketing automation platforms make life a lot easier. Use automation tools to collect data from all channels and use this to inform the type of marketing messages you send out. More targeted messages are likely to result in better conversion rates. Automated software can be used to schedule marketing campaigns and sort contact lists into different segments. This ensures your messages are carefully targeted to the right audience.

Pay close attention to the current marketing trends, as they will help your medical practice stay competitive. Digital and social media marketing is continually evolving and unless you stay in the conversation, you will miss out.

Branding Strategies for Medical Practice Websites

People rely on the information they find on a medical practice’s website. Word of mouth referrals used to count for everything, but not anymore.

The internet is so accessible these days that most people look online for information before they make a doctor’s appointment or schedule a consultation about a new procedure. The information they find there governs what they do next.

A well-designed website is the cornerstone of any marketing strategy, but without a good website, your medical practice will struggle. However, the right marketing strategies are needed to give your website the ‘human touch’.

Branding is an important factor in digital marketing, as it helps you communicate the right message to your clients. Done well, website branding combined with effective social media campaigns will sow the seeds for success, but be careful, as there are pitfalls to avoid.

Here are some tips to help you ensure your medical branding has the right touch.

Meet the Staff

Medical branding should always be about making the practice appear more ‘human’. Visiting the doctor can often be a bit scary. Since your website is effectively a store window for your medical practice, it needs to be welcoming.

Include a page where prospective patients can meet the staff. A short bio plus a photograph enables patients to learn a bit more about staff members before they make an appointment. This will help them feel more at ease. You may also wish to add a bit of information about each doctor’s specialist interests. That way, patients know in advance who to see.

Revamp the ‘About Us’ Page

An ‘About Us’ page is very important. Provide some back history about how the practice started, its ethos, and other relevant information. This differentiates your practice from other ones in the area, which is an essential part of creating a recognisable brand.

Be Consistent

To be effective, medical branding needs to be consistent. Logos and colours should be the same across all marketing platforms. Ideally, employ one person to manage your website and social media channels. This will ensure content remains consistent and professional.

Set up each social channel individually. The main ones to target are Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+. Check each feed looks inviting and features your logo. Be sure to post regular updates.

The Personal Touch

Medical practices need to strike the right balance between professional and approachable. If your practice comes across as too cold and clinical, patients will be discouraged from making contact, which is the last thing you need.

Provide Value

A website can help to reinforce a brand and promote a sense of community amongst your patients. The more valuable your website is, the more patients are likely to return. Fill the site with useful information about everyday health and wellness topics. Do not forget to make sure the website is easy to navigate and user friendly.

Meet Your Patient’s Needs

Put yourself in the shoes of your patients – what are their issues? To a certain extent, this will depend on your patient demographics, so find out more about your patients and build a website according to their needs.

A blog is very helpful in this regard. You can write about important healthcare issues and publicise the latest healthcare news and developments from the medical world. Make your posts engaging and conversational. Avoid too much medical jargon and technical vocabulary.

Regular Updates

Medical websites need to be kept updated. Installing a blog on your practice website is helpful, but you also need to keep other website information updated regularly. If a patient visits your website and the content is clearly well out of date, they will lose confidence in your brand.

Social media channels also need to be kept updated. Social Media is a key part of any branding strategy, for this is where a lot of your patients will connect with you. Be sure to maintain a professional yet friendly persona on social media and avoid getting involved in any discussions that could damage your brand.

Everything you say and do in the public arena has the potential to damage your brand, so think before you speak at all times, particularly on social media.

How to Improve Your Healthcare Website Design

No matter what business you are in, a well-designed website is paramount to your continued success.

For a medical practitioner, a website is a useful marketing tool. Patients will look you up online before they register at your practice.

Our health is a big deal, so we tend to think carefully before we choose someone to take care of our physical and mental well-being. A medical practitioner’s website says a lot about how they work and what type of services they offer. If your website is not up to scratch, you could be losing out on new patients.

If website design is not normally in your remit, check out the following tips to help you create a website that will become a real asset to your practice.

What is Your USP?

What makes your company different? Think about this before you start designing a website – every one of your competitors website is competing against yours. To be successful, your website needs to be better than other websites out there; it also needs a unique selling point, something that makes people want to choose your practice.

Take a look at your competitors’ websites and find out more about them. Your website needs to be as good as, if not better, than those of your competitors.

Choose the Right Healthcare Website Designers

There are probably hundreds of website designers operating in your city alone. Each one will have his or her own areas of specialism, so it makes sense to look for a web designer who is familiar with the unique design requirements of healthcare websites.

Pick the Right Theme

The overall design of a medical website is important. If a website looks cluttered, out of date, or just plain awful, this will reflect badly on your business.

Medical websites work best when a light, bright and simple theme is used. Think of how a clinic looks when you attend for an appointment: the walls are painted in pale colours and the rooms are brightly lit and fresh.

Avoid dark colours and complicated themes on your website. Instead, the information needs to be presented in a calm, professional way without too many distractions.

Make the Website User Friendly

All websites, no matter what niche they are in, should be user friendly. Navigation from one page to another should be easy and intuitive. Remember, depending on the area you specialise in, many of your clients could be older and less internet-savvy. If this is the case, it is even more important that your website is simple to use, or you could end up alienating a significant number of your clients.

Include Professional Photographs

Photographs are important. You need plenty of photos on your website, as these help to break up chunks of text and make the website more aesthetically pleasing.

It is sensible to include photographs of your clinic and staff, as this establishes trust and reminds people that you and your clinic actually do exist. Always use a professional photographer to produce the key images for your website, but other, more generic images, can come from stock photography websites.

Establish Your Brand

A website is useful for brand building as it showcases who you are as a professional. Make sure the final design of your website aligns perfectly with your brand. The site’s design needs to be consistent with other marketing images, or patients will not be certain they are on the right website.

Include your logo and any other recognisable branding materials on the website. Ensure any services you advertise match those offered in your clinic, and do not forget to link social media accounts to the website.

Quality Website Content

A website needs quality content. You could write this yourself, but if you do not have the time, outsource your content requirements to a writer with medical writing experience, as they will have a better understanding of the industry you work in.

Highlight Your Expertise

Use your website to highlight your field of expertise. Write content that informs patients. Talk about your particular areas of interest. If you are passionate about something, let your patients know!

Do remember to write for patients rather than other doctors. If you use too many technical words and too much medical jargon, people will struggle to understand your content. Content needs to be easy to digest, especially if you talk about your services.

Include a Strong Call to Action

Every medical practice website needs a strong call to action. Since your website is basically an extension of your practice brochure, make it easy for patients to contact you.

Include a ‘Contact Us’ form on every page and provide detailed information about the practice’s opening hours and location. Be sure to reply to all messages within 24-hours, or you could lose patients. You may even wish to include an appointment booking system on your website.

It will take time and effort to stand out in today’s internet marketplace. The niche is a highly competitive one, as you probably already know. However, with the right branding, website design, and digital marketing strategy, your medical practice website will have no problem rising above those of your competitors.

SEO Tips for your Medical Website

If you are operating a medical website in the healthcare industry, your potential clientele is out there. By improving your website’s search ranking, you can find clients and succeed.

Google is not the only search engine, but it is the most important. Google is the primary influence for most SEO efforts, so when Google released its Search Quality Raters Guidelines in November last year, webmasters sat up and took notice.

The report contains 160 pages of detailed tips and strategies to help medical practitioners improve their website SEO, so if you want Google to show your website a bit of love in 2016, you had better make sure your SEO is Google friendly.

As any doctor knows, patients come first. If you look after your patients well, they will stick with you in sickness and in health. The same applies to websites. Unless you provide a high quality user experience on your website, patients will not want to stay. However, before you even reach this point, the challenge is to create a great website that actually shows up in the search listings.

What Does Google Look for in a Medical Website?

Google uses complex algorithms to determine whether a website is high quality. These examine the site’s content, design and maintenance. They also rate user experience, author expertise and your overall internet reputation. So if your website has very little content, is poorly designed, you think leeches are a valid treatment, and there are hundreds of bad online reviews slating your cavalier attitude to patient care, you should probably start worrying.

Luckily, it is not all bad news and there is plenty you can do to achieve a top ranking. Let’s breakdown each item and see how you can improve your medical website’s SEO performance.

Content Management

Content quality is critical. Google looks at the quality of your website content above all other factors when determining where your website should be in the search rankings.

The trouble is that content creation is not a five-minute task. After all, you are a busy medical professional, so you don’t really have time to write pages of fascinating content. But that doesn’t matter, right? You can just copy some stuff from another website and pass it off as your own.

Actually no, you can’t. Google penalises plagiarised content for one thing, and for another, minimal creative content will harm your position. You can’t even get away with stuffing a load of keywords on to your pages to make up for poor content. Google hates keyword stuffing almost as much as it hates plagiarism.

Sorry, but you are going to have to bite the bullet and produce good content people will find interesting. And if you really don’t have the time, outsource the job.

Read MoreContent Marketing Starter Pack

User Experience

User experience is inextricably linked to quality content. If users come to your website and find nothing of interest, they are unlikely to hang around for very long. Search engines (Google) take note of user behaviour when calculating your ranking position. If your most important pages (the home page, about page, contact page) are not well structured, it tells google about the general quality of the rest of the website. The more users who bounce away, the harder it hit will your position.

Expertise

Google doesn’t recognise all the blood, sweat and tears you put into studying for a medical degree, but it does pay attention to your qualifications, awards, and online recommendations. Having articles cited and research papers published all go a long way towards establishing your reputation as a professional and expert in your field. Combined with great content, this is a powerful method of securing a high ranking. However, if you have a lot to say on your accomplishments, keep them separated from the main content on the page through a pdf link to your credentials. Google does not like a 5000 word webpage!

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Medical Website Design

First and foremost, websites need to be mobile friendly. If your website is older than the Ark, you may wish to take a look at this aspect of your website design. Aside from this, other issues worth looking at include website navigation, ad placement and your ‘Contact’ page.

Medical websites need to be carefully managed. Content needs to be kept updated and refreshed. It is definitely worth hiring a professional to manage your website if you run a larger practice. Either way, SEO recommendations change in a heartbeat, so if you want to achieve a good search position, stay abreast of what’s happening in the world of SEO.