Juggling the day-to-day of patient care with the competing demands of running a practice that kicks goals, online marketing almost feels like a bridge too far.

But it doesn’t need to be.

Taking small, simple steps towards learning and applying principles in the online marketing space will build confidence. It will also yield measurable, satisfying results in your practice growth.

Try these 17 insider tips on for size and be happily surprised where they take you.

#1 Know your market, message and medium

Although marketing has moved into the online space in a big way, there are some fundamentals that just don’t change.  Like any marketing strategy, your online marketing needs to be considered. I call it the marketing triad. It’s about asking:

Who’s my market?

What’s the message?

What’s my medium for communicating the message?

Before you crack on with any online marketing for your dental practice, it’s vital you’ve answered these questions.

The clearer you are about your market, message and medium, the more targeted your online marketing efforts will be. And the results will follow.

#2 Online marketing is dynamic. Go with it!

As the world has shifted online, constant change is the new status quo. That said, I prefer to think of this change as an evolution.

Yes, we know Google and Facebook change their algorithms, but that shouldn’t make us stick our head in the sand.

Accept that online marketing is dynamic and the pathway opens up to new ideas and solutions. Check out what Josh Rimmington, online marketing guru for dentists says in this podcast.

#3 Keep learning

Reframe learning – it’s a great way to expand your mind and your practice.

Do you need to fully understand the minutiae of online marketing?

No! In fact, nobody can claim to know everything about online marketing because it changes so quickly. But you don’t want to commit the seven deadly sins of marketing either. This means it’s important to know enough. It’s also important to learn as you go.

Rather than thinking it’s all or nothing, start with learning one thing and integrating that. Then move on to the next piece of the online marketing puzzle.

#4 Make data your friend

Online marketing is heaven for anyone who loves data.

Even if you’re not a fan of number-crunching of any kind, data from your online marketing will point to results, i.e. what’s working or not.

The data gives you an opportunity to test a hypothesis in a relatively short space of time. It also shows you how you can change what you’re doing to achieve a better result. This means less time, money and marketing effort wasted.

#5 Know the difference between on-page and off-page

You don’t need to be fluent in online marketing speak to know what on-page and off-page mean.

In layman’s terms, making the distinction between on-page and off-page is about thinking of Google as a matchmaker.

Google does this by connecting a person’s search with the best match for it online. Our job is to make our on-page content match that search.

#6 Understand SEO

Now I didn’t say become an expert in SEO, I just said understand it.

It’s highly unlikely that you, as the dentist, will be delving into the detail of your search engine optimisation.

That said, it’s essential you know enough.

With enough knowledge, you’ll avoid the classic SEO mistakes of trying to focus on too many searches and lack of relevance in your content.

#7 Be keyword savvy

Any SEO campaign should start with a list of keywords.

If people are searching for products or services we offer, keywords are what we want them to find on our website.

Within each page of your website, you want to identify the main keywords you’d like that page to rank for.

By doing this, it’s possible to make those pages more relevant to those terms.

Josh Rimmington has a tonne of information about SEO and related topics in this great podcast. Check it out here.

#8 Strike a balance

Content balance means conveying enough of the right information (keywords) with language that shows you understand your customer.

The best content will combine the two in a lovely balance that accounts for conversion and connection.

Roger Dooley – who understands the neuroscience behind the reasons people buy – can enlighten you on this topic. Check out what he as to say about it in this podcast about neuroscience and dental marketing.

#9 Understand how Google works

Again, expertise is not what we’re after here. What we really want is enough knowledge.

In terms of understanding how Google works, this means getting to know things like:

  • Recognising when you’ve used enough keywords on a page.
  • Knowing how to apply a meta description to a web page to optimise it.
  • Making sure your content is working for you by analysing the data.

Remember, online marketing is dynamic and small, wise steps taken at a turtle’s pace are better than rushing ahead to implement a so-called silver bullet.

#10 Think like Google

We know that Google is smart, but how smart is Google really?

Smart enough to know if you’re being creative with keywords. And that’s a good thing.

Google’s also smart enough to know if you’ve got one keyword – and there’s a similar word or term – it will make the connection. This means you don’t need to use a single keyword. If there’s a variation, use that too.

When you think like Google, not only will your content read better, it will rank better as well.

#11 Not all links are created equal

In the world of online marketing, there are links….and there are links.

Relevance is a consistent theme in the world of Google and this applies to links too. Google also looks at the number of links on the page and determines their quality.

For a dental practice owner, a high-powered link would be from the home page to an industry journal or influencer, not the local kindergarten.

Approaching links this way will make for a high converting dental website.

#12 Use a consistent NAP format

What’s an NAP?

Great question. When it comes to directory citations for your business, your business name, address and phone number (hence the acronym NAP) should be the same across all networks.

This means Google will be totally clear when your business is searched. When it sees your NAP, it will know it’s you.

#13 Understand where pay-per-click ads fit in your marketing plan

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising does have a place in online marketing plans for dental practices, but it’s important to know where it fits.

Working on the basis of keyword searches, PPC follows the same principles as SEO. PPC also demands you regularly check which keywords are working. Think ‘test and measure’ just as you would with any other marketing activity.

#14 Have a super strong call to action

The best online marketing will include a compelling call to action.

When you consider a growing majority of searches are done on mobile devices, a visible click-to-call button that gets people on the phone is an easy win.

A click-to-call button might say:

Request a call back

Talk to our dentist

Let’s help you

Again, try one, measure the results, adjust if necessary.

#15 Google for searches, Facebook for leads

No guide about online marketing for dentists would be complete without mentioning Facebook.

The way I like to describe it is Google is great for searches; Facebook is perfect for warming up the market.

The bonus is now you can leverage Facebook advertising by repeating it on Instagram, in many cases for an entirely different audience.

#16 Create content

Rather than looking to carve out ‘more’ time to create content, use the everyday as the fuel for your content.

Working on an interesting case? Do a quick video to explain it.

Want to write a blog? Record a voice memo and have the transcript prepared for a copywriter.

Looking for more Facebook post opportunities? Use day-to-day practice activities and share with followers.

Prepare, then share.

#17 Be mobile friendly

We’ve already talked about the growth in searches from mobile devices. This means mobile content must be relevant and answer questions quickly, like where you’re located and the services you offer.

And it must provide easy, functional click-to-call buttons to allow potential patients to connect quickly.

The Wrap Up

Online marketing for dentists is an ongoing business function. Far from being a set and forget affair, it’s an element of our business that’s never done.

This guide captures great insider tips that work. Start with one and then move to the next to create the practice and life you love.

** Make sure you download The Insider’s Guide to Online Marketing for Dentists.