With around 87% of Australians being active internet users, you can’t afford to ignore digital marketing. The aim of digital (or online) marketing should be the same as your overall marketing plan – to reach new customers and engage your existing customers, however it can be challenging to know where to start.
First, you need to identify your target client – who is your ideal patient? Once you know who you’re trying to attract to your practice, you will be able to start to think about how to reach and engage them online.
There is a myriad of digital marketing tools available, so its important to choose a few key areas to focus on and make sure you do them well.
For dental practices, the focus should be on:
Your website including online bookings
Search engine optimization (SEO)
Your website needs to be well-designed, user friendly, and set you apart from your competitors – for this reason make sure your value proposition is front and centre. Your practice’s website needs to grab a potential customers’ attention and guide them to the information they are looking for. It is also important to have clear calls to action – for example “Contact Us”, “Book an Appointment” and so on.
You should also have a clear and easy way to book appointments online. Australians are time poor and expect to be able to book appointments at a time convenient to them – which may be outside your standard office hours.
Finally, it is critical that your website is optimised for mobile given that 74% of the Australian population access the internet on their phones.
Your blog is your opportunity to showcase your expertise to your patients and potential patients. There’s also the bonus that it will greatly aid your SEO efforts.
Aim to regularly create engaging content for your blog that provides valuable knowledge to the reader. Blogs also provide the opportunity to showcase new equipment, staff, promotions and upcoming events. Make sure you vary the content using videos, infographics and images to keep it interesting, and avoid technical jargon by using simple language and clear explanations of different conditions and procedures.
Once you’ve defined your ideal patient, do some research about the social media platforms they use. There’s no point setting up a social account for a platform that isn’t used by your target market. Facebook is a good place to start, as it remains the most popular social media platform.
Your information on all your social media pages should be accurate, complete and remain up to date. Social media provides the perfect platform for you to share your blog content and create conversations with your patients and potential customers.
Search engine optimization
SEO can sound overwhelming, as there are lots of factors at play when you take a thorough look at how search engines work, but there are a few strategies that have a strong influence over getting your results further up the page:
Site speed: how quickly your pages load.
Quality links: links from your site to other sites with quality content, but also having other quality sites linking back to your site.
Content: regularly create engaging, quality content written for your ideal client.
Meta descriptions: this is the first section that people see when Google serves up your page to search users.
URLs: Make your page URLs easy to follow e.g. our Dental Blog is cutcher.com.au/blog/dental - the URL matches the content and is easy to follow.
Social media: having people engage and share with your social pages positively impacts your SEO
Image: images are important, as are the keywords associated with your images
As with everything, creating and recording a strategy and action plan, and making time to analyse and review it on a regular basis, is essential for you to stay on track and achieve your marketing goals.