Businesses can no longer afford to ignore social media and digital marketing. Ten years ago, less than half of the population had a social media profile. For the past few years, the amount has hovered around 80 percent. For better or worse, social media has become a major part of society, and for businesses, online marketing should be a high priority when it comes to marketing and interacting with customers.
Dental practices, for example, can significantly grow sales through the use of digital marketing and social media.
Search engine marketing
When people are looking for a dentist, they turn to search engines. Most (by a very large margin) turn to Google. This means getting your business seen in Google for these searches is one of the most important aspects of digital marketing you'll need to focus on. If there are a significant number of competitors in the area, this is all the more important because they will not only be competing for patients, but also for real estate in the search results.
Search engine marketing can be broken down into two main components: paid and organic. If you want to make sure you're getting ahead of your competitors, you'll need to pay attention to both. Simply put, you'll need to bid on keywords to appear in search ads (paid listings), and you'll need to engage in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices — particularly local SEO. There are too many facets of both of these components to go into here, but it's a good idea to consult with a professional SEO expert to help you make sure you're doing all of the things you need to.
Social media marketing
Patients often connect with the businesses they frequent on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Having a strong social media presence can help you stay connected with patients and get the word out about updates, promotions, and general dental health information.
Creating engaging social media content will help you stay in front of patients, which means staying in their minds, essentially providing a regular reminder about the care you provide. It also lets you have human conversations, which can help your overall reputation.
Another great use of social media for business use is booking appointments. Facebook Messenger, for example, gives you the ability to do so, removing the friction of the patient having to make a call.
Like search, social media also offers paid advertising, and thanks to the data they have about users, they offer some great ad targeting capabilities.
Email marketing is one of the earliest forms of online marketing, and after all these years, it's also one of the most effective. Dentists can use it to schedule appointments, send appointment reminders, get in front of patients who haven't been back in a long time, spread information and practice-specific updates, engage with patients, and encourage reviews.
Online review sites
It is vital that a dental practice pay attention to the reviews they're getting on various online review sites/apps. Responding, when appropriate, is key.
According to a 2019 report from Tampa-based Rannko1, businesses who respond to reviews have a competitive advantage over businesses who do not. According to that, on average, those who do not respond to reviews have an average rating of 3.63 stars, while those who respond to 75 percent or more of reviews are rated 4.16 stars.
There are many channels and strategies to consider and track when it comes to digital marketing, and it can be overwhelming. It may help to seek outside consultation, but ignoring search, social media, email, and review sites is only going to give your competitors an edge.