When people buy fashion items, they might choose a brand based on a billboard advertisement. When people invest in dentistry, they tend to behave differently. Typically, people choose healthcare providers based on their location.
This goes hand in hand with the nature of the transaction — a non-cosmetic dental procedure is usually urgent. A chipped tooth, sensitivity or severe pain might lead someone to rush to their nearest practice to get it checked out. As such, traditional dentists are limited when it comes to digital marketing in that a potential customer’s decision is often more immediate. Your best bet here might be to target emergency dentistry-related keywords or use Pay-Per-Click ads to lure new leads when potential patients are looking for an immediate solution.
Cosmetic dentistry is different, however, with many patients willing to even travel overseas for superficial treatments like veneers and teeth whitening. These procedures are sold from a place of desire, rather than necessity. As with any other product that is wanted, rather than needed, customers have more time to shop around for cosmetic dentistry services and consider which provider to pick.
Let's take a closer look at some of the marketing opportunities available to you as a dentist - both cosmetic and traditional.
The easiest way to start mapping out a website marketing strategy is to work on your on-site content first. This means creating information-filled blogs that educate your customers and answer their most frequently asked questions.
But why write (and maintain!) an on-site blog?
If you’ve put some thought into your blog strategy, you’ll have done some research on what your customers are most likely to ask on Google before converting. For example, a potential customer considering veneers might ask, “can veneers replace missing teeth?”
If you write an adequate answer to this question — or any equivalent query — you can start appearing in search for this phrase. In turn, this will improve the visibility of your website and encourage traffic. You can find popular search terms for any topic using Answer the Public — a free keyword research tool.
Over time, consistently producing on-site content helps to build authority and trust in the eyes of both customers and search engines. Since cosmetic dental procedures are usually invasive and long-lasting, it’s important for customers to do their research before buying. If you want to be a go-to dental practice for a procedure like veneers, you’ll need to be seen as an expert.
We’ll turn to Dental Centre Turkey as a prime example — a brand that speaks about everything veneer-related on its blog, from patient fear to more obscure questions, such as what happens at airport security with dental implants.
What this business is doing effectively is removing any barrier preventing potential customers from going ahead and booking an appointment. Perhaps a prospect is dying to get a new set of implants but struggles to sit in the dentist's chair for a 15-minute checkup, never mind an hour-long appointment. Maybe someone is fine with the financial investment but worried about how their life might be impacted after getting veneers, such as when they travel.
Not only does the Dental Centre Turkey blog answer these questions, but the resource also crucially breaks down the objections prospects are likely to have. It’s no surprise that if you’re going to choose someone to shave off all of your natural teeth to unrecognisable stumps, it should be someone who you trust and see as an expert.
Perhaps the most important reason to write on-site blogs is to make people convert without making them feel like they’re being “sold to”. Including an organic call to action (CTA) at the end of your blog post subtly directs the reader to purchase a product or take a desired action, instead of leaving them feeling trapped in a pop-up promotion or leaving them with nowhere to go.
If somebody is searching for a specific key phrase, such as “what foods stain your teeth?” they’ve made the first move. Since they wanted to know this information — enough to search for it — they’re probably going to be open to the idea of a solution. This is evidenced in HiSmile’s blog post; after listing its 10 contenders, the teeth whitening company subtly refers to its Teeth Whitening Kit with a simple button reading “Shop the Kit”. The instruction isn’t too sales-oriented or pushy — instead, the kit is marketed as a simple solution to the user’s obvious problem.
“Having a regular, active blog is crucial if dental practices want to rank well on Google and outshine their competition. A blog is an opportunity for a dentist, a dental hygienist or anyone on the team to showcase their expertise in an approachable, digestible way.
A dental blog should answer commonly asked questions, reassure patients, discuss services and build trust with potential patients. Blog posts are also a perfect opportunity to include a compelling call to action — use it to show your prospective patients why they should pick you over a competitor. Give them a reason to pick up the phone.”
~ Samantha Lyon, Deputy Head of Content Marketing at Exposure Ninja.
Staying within the confines of your digital home, we now turn to the copy on the key pages of your website. Which pages should you choose to update? You’ll likely want to revise the text on your homepage and any other key service pages that are visited frequently or promoting services you're particularly keen to push. We suggest using Google Analytics to track various metrics such as unique visitors and average session duration to decide which areas you should focus on.
When revamping your homepage, you should think of it as the front door to your brand. This is likely to be the first interaction a potential customer has with your brand. For this reason, your landing page should be compelling enough to make a customer want to continue their journey through your site.
For this example, we’ll look at Dr Kourosh Maddahi’s dental practice in Beverly Hills. Dr Maddahi counts models, prominent celebrities, entrepreneurs and business owners among his clients. Although we’re focusing mainly on the site copy in this section — the text used to sell your brand to the user — we should first note that Dr Maddahi’s site is highly visual, using high-resolution images of the dental expert and his practice to draw visitors in and complement his high-profile clientele.
You’ll need an adequate amount of text on your landing page to rank it in search, though it’s more important to refine — not lengthen — your message. The copy used on this landing page isn’t excessive and that’s why it works. For extra impact, just below the “Learn More” CTA button sits a list of respected brands affiliated with the practice, including CNN and other national corporations. Collectively, this presents a lot of social proof to the user, positioning Dr Maddahi's brand as both prestigious and desirable.
Your landing page also needs a signup, contact or appointment form to allow potential customers to reach you and begin converting. Here are some form templates you can use to create an embedded form for your landing page (in minutes).
Blogs should be informational, but service pages should be designed with conversion in mind. In essence, a service page should convince a prospect in a split second, address users' potential concerns about going forward and align with the visitor by showing you are the solution to their pain.
A service page on Gum Contouring does this by providing a succinct description of what the service is, what it’s used for and how long it will take. The main “Free Quote” CTA is highlighted in orange, which contrasts against the blue theme. In case this doesn’t drive a user to take action, this practice provides other options for visitors not yet ready to move forward with the process, including before-and-after photos, testimonials and information about pricing. This is a good strategy to prevent users from bouncing from your site without distracting your prospect from the key goal — to convert.
Another big aspect of conversion is the quality of your contact and appointment forms. Since this is how your prospective customers will first make contact with you, having forms that are beautiful, match your brand and include the right questions is crucial for pushing people to actually fill it out and begin the journey to converting. You can use a form builder to create beautiful and branded forms in minutes.
“In the field of cosmetic dentistry, where technology is continually evolving and recent client testimonials are vital for reassuring new customers, keeping your website content up to date is vital.
When your practice employs a new dentist, add a short biography to your Meet the Team page. If you update your technology to offer the latest wafer-thin digitally designed veneers, write a press release and blog post about it. Make sure that the service information on your website is refreshed regularly and shout about your latest technologies, pricing lists and client reviews to attract new customers, retain your reputation as an industry leader and ensure that fresh content keeps search engines crawling your website.”
~ Charly Venables, Content Coordinator at Exposure Ninja
Once you’re confident about your on-site content, it’s time to take your web marketing strategy further afield. With content marketing, you can get featured on industry-related publications and news outlets to earn exposure.
Securing consistent coverage on relevant websites keeps your backlink profile — the links pointing to your website — healthy and supports ranking improvements for your most valuable cosmetic dentistry keywords. You might even gather enough traction to be worthy of a Wikipedia page — not only does this provide a highly coveted backlink, but it can also get your brand noticed.
But what types of content should you be attempting to feature?
You’re unlikely to score one of these highly branded pieces right off the bat. But if you have been working on building your dental practice’s reputation for many years, you might be able to get some coverage solely focused on you. Cosmetic dentistry practices with a notable figurehead do the best when it comes to this type of content marketing, as evidenced by Allure’s coverage of Michael Apa, arguably the “world’s busiest cosmetic dentist”. This piece is what Wikipedia would class as a notable mention and worth being linked to by the web’s favourite encyclopedia.
Funnily enough, Michael Apa is also at the root of this informational piece collated by Cosmopolitan on the 23 Things to Know Before Getting Veneers. Although this article isn’t so much about Apa as a dentist, he is referred to at the beginning of the article in the subheading, “advice straight from Huda Kattan’s dentist’s mouth,” and within each pointer, where he provides his expert, valued opinion. This positions Michael Apa as a true dental expert, while his inclusion in a high-profile publication like Cosmo can’t be bad for his website’s rankings.
Hearing it straight from the horse’s mouth — no celebrity veneer pun intended — is the best way to gain exposure for your business. Securing a link in this type of article can be invaluable for your company, although you'll likely have to start small, working with lesser-known bloggers. This is no bad thing, however — bloggers have a loyal and engaged readership made up of people who trust the blogger's opinions and recommendations, and they may have solid website metrics, such as domain authority (a score out of 100 based on how “authoritative” a website is perceived to be).
Take this personal review of the Maltepe clinic in Istanbul, for example. This blogger credited the practice in question and reviewed his experience, noting superior patient care and including unedited photos of his experience. But directly reaching out to bloggers and arranging reviews isn't the only tactic you can employ — there may be some authentic reviews of your brand floating about on the internet lacking a crucial backlink.
You can track your brand mentions online using tools like SEMrush or BrandMentions. These will detect where your brand has been mentioned without credit online so that you can compile a list of bloggers and editors to reach out to. An alternative method is to simply search for your dental practice on Google. Surround your brand name with double quotation marks (“practice name”), which tells Google that you only want to see results that show an exact match, and you'll be able to see where your practice has been mentioned online. You can also reverse-engineer this to find new backlink opportunities — spy on your competitors to uncover websites they've been featured in and reach out to them yourself asking if they'd like an informative piece of content.
“More people than ever are seeking out cosmetic dentistry online — as well as general dental services — as they want to read up about what's on offer from a particular dentist before deciding whether or not to make an appointment. This makes it vital to have highly effective PR outreach done, ideally by a reputable agency, so that potential patients can get the information they need and hopefully make an appointment.
Conducting PR outreach also secures links in articles published on relevant, solid-metric digital publications, which helps to boost dental clinics' ranking positions and traffic, thereby placing them before a growing audience of potential customers.”
~ William Furney, Senior Content Marketer at Exposure Ninja
We know that social media is a big component of web marketing for dentists. While popular cosmetic dentists are gaining in excess of 100,000 followers, cosmetic dentistry product providers are attracting fans in the millions. Which social platforms should you focus on as a dentist? We’ll break down the main three contenders below.
As we previously highlighted, HiSmile’s Instagram has 1.1 million followers, with some posts reaching more than 10,000 likes. How does HiSmile achieve such crazy heights on its socials? You just need to look at its feed to find out.
HiSmile is consistent with its claim of white teeth in 10 minutes — the same claim it makes on its homepage. The feed posts are a mix of professional product photos, raving reviews and influencer selfies to attract every type of social user.
You can build a modest following by copying some of HiSmile’s web marketing tactics. Keeping your branding, claims and CTAs consistent across social media and other platforms is key. You should also aim to make your product attainable yet desirable by using mixed media within your feed. In practice, this means crafting posts that look like glossy magazine covers (creating desire) and others that show the product in a real-life scenario (showing that the product is attainable and designed to be used by the “everyday” person).
This online video platform is favoured by cosmetic dentists, not necessarily for the output of their own content but as a great way to feature bloggers, influencers and TV personalities who review their experiences with the brand. It’s fair to say that Dental Centre Turkey dominates all social platforms, but you might have first become aware of the brand via its YouTube reviews.
One such review is from influencer Helen Briggs. Her series of YouTube videos in Turkey shows how the star got her teeth replaced with veneers in total luxury. Dental Centre Turkey uses videos like this to build on its USP: “turn your treatment into a holiday”. The footage shows the consultation process as well as the resort and transportation that were booked as part of the clinic’s package.
People will often visit the Facebook platform to do a final vet of your company — to check your location, reviews and non-famous advocates. LA Smiles Dental Spa, based in none other than Los Angeles, does this well on its Facebook page.
The brand has a perfect five-star rating along with 18 recommendations and reviews from “normal people” — or non-influencers. Although sponsored social posts can create a serious hype around your brand, non-sponsored reviews are just as important. A review from a real customer gives your clinic legitimacy, as the words are non-scripted and unbiased and the review doesn't involve a monetary exchange.
“These days, consumers want ‘social proof’ that a product or service is legitimate and worth spending their hard-earned cash on; 95% of consumers do online research when they need a new product or service, while 44% actively hunt for reviews and testimonials during the buying process.
Your social media pages are the ideal place to show potential customers who you are and provide them with that highly sought-after social proof. Share images of your staff and practice and make sure you’re showcasing those glowing reviews, but most importantly, engage with your audience. Be personal, show your audience that there are real people behind the brand — not bots — and listen! Engagement goes both ways and it won’t always be positive.
How you deal with negative comments and reviews can have a huge impact on how future customers perceive you. Don’t just acknowledge valid negative feedback; address it head-on and ensure your wider audience sees how responsive and generous you can be, even when faced with a customer who’s had a less-than-ideal experience.”
~ Stacey Overton, Influencer Marketing Expert at Exposure Ninja.
We’ve listed the four easiest ways to conduct web marketing for dentists, but there are a few other strategies that practices can adopt. These services often require technical knowledge, meaning you’ll either want to hire an employee with experience in a relevant field or reach out to an agency to get expert support.
We’ve touched on influencer marketing in our social media section, where celebrities will advocate a practice in return for payment or a gift.
Although influencer marketing can be labelled as a sub-category of social media marketing, it deserves a mention of its own, as the practice has become so widespread. Interestingly, 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations, making this a crucial web marketing tactic regardless of who you're targeting.
As you’ll know by now, influencer marketing services work best as an add-on to a wider social strategy. For cosmetic dentists, it’s a great opportunity to make your polished feed look more authentic and trustworthy, as we noted when we looked at HiSmile’s Instagram feed.
In the same vein, product outreach is a practice whereby bloggers, influencers and other individuals in the public eye are sent products to test. This is a cheap yet effective way to gain brand exposure and airtime (without having to directly pay for it).
As with anything that has a certain amount of promise, product outreach also yields a level of risk. In this case, the risk lies in sending a batch of products to bloggers who never show your product to their audience. While the blogger has no obligation to showcase your product, you could end up with zero results, but if it plays out well, it can pay off. If considering product outreach, communication is key — try to get a clear outline of exactly what the blogger is willing to do and how often they are willing to promote your product across social media or via their website.
Product outreach tends to work best for product-based businesses. Most cosmetic dentists provide in-person services that can’t be sent via the post. Product outreach, then, can only really be leveraged for dental products designed to be used at home. For HiSmile, adopting a product outreach approach really paid off — it worked so well that it’s now one of the only web marketing services the brand adopts.
If you want to be aggressive with your content marketing campaign, you’ll need to use Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) to make sure that your voice gets heard.
While it’s easy to research and implement content marketing on your own, SEO is a more technical practice that’s best left to search experts. Hiring an SEO professional will solve specifics, such as whether you should be targeting broad or local search terms. With an expert on your site, you also won’t have to keep up with constantly changing practices and algorithms affecting how (and where!) websites appear in the search results.
88% of consumers say they trust online reviews more than personal recommendations. Rather than listening to a single opinion, which may be exaggerated or biased, customers want to read several reviews to scope out the brand as a whole.
In the same survey, 85% of consumers said they read up to 10 reviews when considering whether to buy from a brand. It's clear, then, that gaining reviews — positive ones — and building a solid star-rating score should be a key goal in your overall web marketing strategy.
PPC advertising offers you a quicker route to jumping to the top of the search results and reaching high levels of traffic. It works by bidding on specific keywords and paying for each click you receive. In a generic Google search, users will see three to four paid-for search results above the organic results Google has cherry-picked to rank on its results pages.
Again, you might benefit from hiring a specialist when it comes to services such as PPC. A PPC specialist will be able to advise on which keywords you should be targeting based on your business objectives, the commercial intent of a phrase and the volume of searches that a specific keyword receives each month, as well as cut out phrases you shouldn't be bidding on to prevent you from wasting your budget on unprofitable clicks.
However, PPC specialists don’t just find opportunities for businesses to get publicity; they also craft winning advertisements based on what other competitors are doing to attract a bigger share of the search traffic.
While marketing as a dentist might seem challenging, there are plenty of marketing strategies you can apply to ensure that more clients end up at your clinic. As a cosmetic dentist, you can even approach your marketing activities like any other business by taking to social media and content marketing to target your ideal audience.
In this guide, we'll be unpacking some of the best strategies you can use to boost your social media campaigns in 2020.
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