Dental clinic business has changed a lot in the past 10 years. Especially if you do not have a local clinic with 1 seat but rather an ambitious business plan with the potential to grow. 10 years ago, when only the very first smartphones appeared, the typical potential customer online journey was completely different from what we see nowadays. Let’s have a look at what opportunities it creates for the online marketing approach.
We have the year 2018 and it would be a utopia to think that all patients simply come to our website and book the appointment. Their online journey is rather complicated and we need to be able to cover all potential touch points in order to complete the goal of booking it with us.
Every potential patient starts their online journey either with immediate need (I have a problem and I need to solve it straight away) or with inspiration (I might solve my problem sometimes). For a dental clinic, it means being where these people typically spend their online time, provide them with a reason why and inspiration content and then to follow their path all the way back to their website.
For this reason, we use the so-called SEE-THINK-DO-CARE (STDC) model originally developed by people at Google. The STDC model makes it easier to imagine the customer’s journey and plan all necessary online activities to cover it all. Let’s have a look at general STDC model for a typical dental clinic:
So if you run a dental clinic and you want to make the most out of online channels, we have 8 useful tips for you to try:
1.) Local on-page SEO
Local search engine optimization has a great added value especially for dental clinics because they are generally attached to a physical address and therefore having a Google My Business account is a very first step.
Google My Business is a one-stop place for collecting clients reviews, showing your directions, opening hours, pictures or any other relevant information. You can also boost your local SEO presence by registering your website to one of the various important online directories such as GCR.org. Having a profile there with the link back to your website may improve also your rankings at Google search.
Local SEO is simply about being there when potential patients are looking for keywords containing e.g. keyword “dental clinic” plus a certain city or address.
Local SEO goes along with on-page SEO. That is where you need to have a proper website structure and certain elements correctly such as meta titles, meta description etc.
It would not work, however, without generating a relevant website content. You will not be able to rank for keyword “dental clinic in Berlin” or “how to choose a dental clinic in Berlin” if you do not have a specific content on the specific landing page for this keyword.
When preparing a content strategy, try to imagine, what your potential patient is looking for. Always try to be useful and provide them with content that will help them to:
- Choose the right treatment
- See what it is all about
- Plan the trip
If you think that you are covering already all potential keywords, get some inspiration directly from within a Google search:
Google+ was originally meant to be a social network. Right now it is very useful especially for the purpose of Google Maps profiles. It is all connected with all other Google profiles and it creates a great environment for a business and its online information.
Many people, especially on mobiles phones, use Google maps to search directly for businesses and directions, so why not to be there?
We have mentioned the importance of own content already. If you do not have a content (it can be blog posts, landing page, ebook, image or video), no one will be able to find it via Google (or any other local search engine). Try to get in the shoes of your customers. Different information is searched by people in SEE phase and different in the DO phase.
When someone is in the SEE phase, they are probably searching for more general keywords about possible dental treatments whereas if someone is ready to go somewhere for a dental treatment, they will be more specific about their keywords:
4.) Google search- be there where they search for you
SEO and content are great as a long-term online investment. However, you will always need also the Google search ads (or any other relevant search engine such as Yandex, Bing or Baidu), because you can set them up immediately and also tracking and evaluating of the investment is easier.
Let Google work for you in terms of selecting the best keywords that are relevant to your business. An intelligent algorithm can see what keywords are performing better, benchmark you ads against some competitors and deliver the results you need.
Sometimes it is useful to run ads also for your own brand, because your competitors may take advantage of it and place ads once someone is searching for you. Don’t you wanna lose these searches, right?
Try the only tool for getting the context of different keywords answerthepublic.com.
There is a huge percentage of keywords that have not been searched in the past. People tend to search still longer sentences or ask real questions and that is where Google Ads comes useful because you will not be able to target all these keywords manually.
5.) Geo-targeting for Google Ads and Facebook ads and Custom Audiences
The advertising systems by Google as well as Facebook provide various ads targeting options, such as:
- Keywords targeting,
- Targeting based on interests,
- Targeting based on the age, sex or other socio-demographic information,
- Targeting based on their past online activities or the website they visited.
But there is one more useful targeting, which is ideal for dental clinic and that is the geo-targeting based on where the current person is. It is great especially for the emergency situations or treatments that are aimed at local patients rather than those from abroad.
Another perfect option is to upload to both ad systems in your current email database. This way you can target your existing customers (or those who gave you their email addresses) and also help the advertising systems target better based on similar behaviour and patterns other users have.
6.) Review and customer care
One of the crucial point when selecting a dental clinic someone can trust are the reviews. That is one of the great benefits of having a profile at GCR.org. But there is more to this. You have to take care of other channels too such as a Facebook profile, Google+ profile or any other reviews sites.
In the medical segment there is nothing more than a good reputation and hence you have to keep it positive. Even if someone has a bad experience, try to take care of it and solve the problem. Imagine that there are clinics that leave the negative comments and reviews without any reactions:
If you are looking for a tool that will help you with social profiles and review management, check out this one: YEXT.
7.) Google Indoor Street View
Google has introduced the street view a long time ago. But not many people know that it also offers an option to upload your own indoor street view 360 pictures. This can very easily enrich your Google Maps and Google+ profile, provide your potential patients with further information that can use for the final decision and stand out before your competitors.
8.) Online forums
As mentioned above, medical care and the entire process of selecting one dental clinic can be for someone pretty long process. People tend to browse as many websites as possible, check out all the reviews and also ask questions on various online forums.
And that is exactly where you need to be. Answer those questions, be useful and build for yourself a profile of expert in the area. The most famous is www.quora.com where you get to join topics such as this one:
But you should do your own research and find forums that are relevant to your area, you will end up finding e.g. this www.healthboards.com.
People will never use the internet less than it is now. In the upcoming years, smartphones, virtual reality and who know what else will make the internet the crucial part of our day to day lives. And that is why you need to plan it ahead. Having just a website is just not enough any more. Every month there are new features in advertising systems helping you to reach your customers more efficiently. You just have to keep yourself up to date and be one step ahead of your competitors.