marketing practices are still relatively new, and although they adhere
to the same basic principles as real-world marketing strategies, the new
medium has dramatically increased both outreach and tracking potential
for businesses - assuming that platforms are used effectively.
the owner and operator of a dental practice, you no doubt want to get in
on the action and take advantage of the many benefits to be gained
through online marketing practices.
But you're not a marketing
expert. You're a business owner, and you probably don't have a lot of
extra time to devote to learning the ins and outs of online marketing.
Luckily, you can hire professionals to help you, if you do though, there is something you should know ahead of time.
But you do need to know at least a little bit about the possible
avenues of online marketing to go down. Hopefully, this will lead you
toward intelligent decisions about how to direct your campaigns.
you certainly want to avoid common marketing mistakes. If you fail to
see where you're falling short, you could end up wasting both time and
money that you really can't afford.
If your dental practice could
use the boost that online marketing is ideally suited to provide,
there's no reason not to jump in feet-first. Just make sure you avoid
the costly mistakes that other dental practices are making, mistakes
like those listed below.
1. Ignoring free marketing options
might think that the only way to reach potential customers is through a
paid strategy like SEO or online advertising. But there are dozens of
ways to spread your name and market your dental practice online without
spending a dime.
For example, you could start by simply listing with directories.
Directories like Yelp, Angie's List, Yellow Pages, and Google My
Business are often used in lieu of search engines by consumers seeking
At the very least, you need to claim any listings
that already exist in order to make sure that the name, location, and
contact information for your business are correct. But you can do a lot
more. You can start by adding links to your homepage, a map and/or
directions, and in some cases, buttons for liking, sharing, or ranking.
This way, satisfied customers can easily endorse you.
And of course, many directories also have an option for users to post reviews so that you can see what customers are saying, gain a means of connecting with them (through responses), and address any concerns that they may have.
directories are just one of several free options when it comes to
online marketing. Maintaining a stable of social media profiles is also
free, and don’t forget about blogging and guest posting on related
industry blogs either.
Online marketing will take time or money. But if your online marketing budget is pretty tight, free options can be a major boon.
2. Ignoring paid marketing options
as there are those who scoff at the potential effectiveness of free
online marketing, others will assume that they can get by without
spending any money at all.
Unless you happen to be an SEO specialist
or an advertising genius, this is hardly the case. For starters, you
cannot afford to have a website without the benefit of SEO if you want
to be found by prospective customers.
Optimization gives your
dental website the opportunity to be found and indexed by web crawlers,
thereby increasing your page rank with Google, Bing, and any other
search engines you submit to. And a solid and ongoing SEO strategy will
keep you at or near the top of the list for specified search terms.
for online advertising, it is completely different from real-world
options, and in most cases, you'll need the services of an agency that
has the knowledge, skill, and experience to drive your online
There's a lot you can do on your own when it
comes to online marketing, but thinking that you can run your business,
learn SEO, and become a marketing whiz is pure fantasy. At some point,
you're going to need professional help to move forward.
3. Failing to include appropriate contact information
No matter what form of online marketing you use, it is important that you include contact information so that interested parties can find and reach you.
starts simply enough with a phone number and address on your website,
as well as the header of your blog, your social media accounts, and any
directories you list with. You also need to include a valid URL link so
at the very least, users can click through to your homepage.
course, you don't always want the landing page (the page people land on
when they click on a link) to be your homepage. Suppose you're using email marketing
or an online ad to offer a special deal on cleanings or teeth whitening
services. Wouldn't you rather include a link that takes readers right
to the page with the offer, or alternately, to a page where they can
book an appointment?
How and where you use contact information is crucial to ensuring that customers can find you, reach you, and enjoy ease of use.
4. Ignoring the competition
man is an island, and this principle applies to your dental practice.
If you want any hope of trumping the competition, you need to pay
attention to their online marketing practices.
behind this has to do with content, originality, and gaining the
competitive edge. When you keep your enemies close - i.e. pay attention
to what they're doing - you have the opportunity to meet and exceed
Is your main competitor offering discounts on teeth
whitening? Consider offering a bigger discount. Is he bidding for
Google AdWords keywords that are at the top of your list? You may need
to outbid him. Maybe he's started an infographic campaign. Take it to
the next level with a viral video campaign.
Knowing what your
competitors are up to when it comes to online marketing can definitely
inform your choices concerning your own marketing strategies. So don't
turn a blind eye.
5. Misleading marketing practices
might think that this is a problem because of laws related to false
advertising. But truth be told, fraud charges could be the least of your
worries if you lie to the consumer public.
Even if you don't lie
outright, misleading consumers can damage your reputation, both online
and in the real world. And you'll certainly lose prospective patients
when they realize they've been duped - nobody likes to feel as though
they've been taken for a ride.
Is it really worth all that just to
improve click-thru or sharing? Instead of using headlines, claims, or
promotions that stretch the truth or are downright fabrications, it's
imperative that you follow truth-in-advertising guidelines to the
You might not see the same traffic, but the targeted
customers who do come your way will be pleased to find exactly what was
6. Incorrect use of advertising
are all kinds of ways to go wrong with online advertising. For example,
you could get into trouble with search engines by promoting your
content with trending keywords, tags, or titles that don't match the
full copy. Keyword stuffing will get you in trouble (well it could). You
can build an amazing website, then not optimize it and have it
basically be like a billboard on a desert highway.
Or you might
think the way to get attention is through titles all in caps with tons
of unnecessary punctuation. You may believe that sensational videos will
create an uptick in traffic, even though they don't accurately
represent your business or your brand.
And of course, a major
mistake that many dental practices make is failing to engage in ultra
specific geo-targeting, which is marketing that focuses on a specific
geographic region such as a neighborhood. After all, you don't want to
waste money targeting distant locales where consumers are very unlikely
to use your services or worse yet don't have the money for them.
good online SEO, marketing, or advertising agency should be able to
help you make wise decisions when it comes to selecting the right
components for your online marketing efforts.
7. Failure to monitor and respond
not enough to push content and let people find it. If you want to make
the most of your online marketing strategies, you need to include
follow-up, especially when it comes to interactions with consumers.
for options like commentary is a great way to see how people respond to
your marketing efforts. Then again, opening the lines of communication
and then failing to monitor them and respond to questions, comments, and
concerns is like playing virtual “ding dong ditch” (ringing a doorbell
and running away).
In other words, it's rude. And the last thing
you want to do is come across as uncaring when a clearly interested
party takes the time to reach out.
For this reason, it's important
to pay attention to your blog, your social media accounts, your
directory listings, and any other online marketing efforts that allow
for interaction. And make sure to collect contact information and reply
8. Failure to track and analyze
Regardless of the methods you use for online marketing, it is imperative that you track the results of your efforts.
the past, tracking the results of marketing campaigns like print,
radio, and television was largely dependent on public feedback, a
methodology that is spotty at best.
But the internet offers almost
unlimited options for tracking. These options include tools that can
follow digital trails and deliver information about click-thru, sharing,
and the amount of time visitors spend on certain pages. So why wouldn't
you take advantage of these options?
You can start simply enough by using Google Analytics,
a program that makes tracking your SEO efforts a cinch. You can even
use funnels to follow your efforts from the point of inception straight
through to specified conversions.
And you'll find that there are
also targeted tools designed for use with your social media accounts and
other online marketing platforms.
Of course, analyzing these
metrics takes some amount of skill, and your online marketing specialist
may be willing to do the heavy lifting and provide you with reports
that are tailored to the layman. But over time, you could certainly
learn to track or analyze the results of your online marketing efforts
on your own.
9. Failing to manage your online reputation
of your online marketing strategy should include increasing positive
mentions and decreasing or nullifying negative commentary. When
prospective consumers search and find you online, you want to make sure
the information they receive casts you in a positive light.
are a couple of ways to go about achieving this goal. First of all, you
should see every negative review as an opportunity to improve. Customer
service is an important part of any business operation, especially a
service industry like dentistry.
So when you come across negative
commentary or reviews, start by reaching out to the unsatisfied party to
see if you can rectify the situation, turn a negative experience into a
positive one, and convert a naysayer into a loyal patron.
you also need to understand that not every negative experience can be
remedied. And further, you might face issues with disgruntled
ex-employees spouting off online or competitors posting fraudulent
reviews in an effort to defame you.
This is an instance in which hiring a professional reputation management
service could help. Such vendors have the knowledge, experience, and
resources available to track down negative press, petition to have
fraudulent commentary removed, and replace negative listings with
positive ones. This will allow you to make a good first impression on
10. Sticking to one strategy
move pretty quickly in the online arena, and rapid advances in
technologies and practices make it difficult to keep up. But you have to
stay on top of your game if you want to make the most of online
marketing opportunities. One way to do this is to connect with your patients.
On the SEO front, this means staying abreast of changing algorithms,
policies, and standards and practices. And your other marketing and
advertising efforts should change frequently so that you can hone your
strategy for the best results.
But you also need to keep up with
new social media outlets, changing trends, and tools designed to help
you meet your online marketing goals more effectively.
As a dental
practitioner, you're probably not an expert in anything related to
online marketing. But that doesn't mean you have to throw in the towel
and accept defeat.
When you are aware of the many mistakes that
other dental practices have made when marketing online, you can avoid
common pitfalls and ensure effective campaigns and long-term successes.
With a little common sense, attention to detail, and marketing experts
on your side, your online marketing efforts can pay off in a big way.
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and let us know what you are doing to avoid making these mistakes!