The dental industry is getting more and more competitive every year; not only is it getting harder to keep your current patients, it is getting difficult to acquire new patients. One of the best ways to acquire new patients is having an outstanding online presence.
How Do I Get My Business Online?
Just having a website isn’t enough anymore – your website needs to look modern, be user-friendly, and be optimized for Google (SEO). If you have a website that has multiple practices that’s even better since you can have more pages that are optimized for local search rankings. At Smiles Dental Group, we have 7 different clinics that are spread around Edmonton, the capital city of Alberta, Canada. This means we are able to capitalize on search rankings for Edmonton, Spruce Grove, St. Albert, and multiple areas in Edmonton itself. For example, we can optimize for “Edmonton dentists”, and have our Spruce Grove dental clinic page optimized for “Spruce Grove dentists”.
However, even if you only have 1 dental clinic, you can create a hyper-optimized website for that specific local area. If you don’t have any SEO or digital marketing experience, it will take some time to learn all the basics, and even longer get to the more advanced strategies of digital marketing, which is an ever-changing landscape.
How Can I Create an Optimized Website?
This question requires a whole series of blogs to answer it in detail, but we can go over the bullet points and give you some great starting resources.
Some Popular Website Platforms
- WordPress – One of the most powerful web tools you can have. It requires a high level of technical expertise to develop a powerful website.
- Squarespace – A popular drag and drop builder, requires significantly less skill but is very limiting in terms of what you can achieve compared to WordPress.
- Google My Business Website Builder – Great for absolute beginners, or brand new dental practices that want to get a website up fast.
Should I Hire an Expert?
Building a high-performing website will almost certainly require hiring an expert, or it will take an immense amount of time to study the proper techniques and different tools needed. You wouldn’t get Root Canal Therapy from someone who has a passing interest in dentistry. Dentists go through lots of schooling and education to even start practising. Hiring a professional, digital specialist will save you tons of time and will allow you to avoid many beginner pitfalls.
Should I Hire a Digital Agency?
If it’s in your budget, hiring an in-house professional is a good choice as you will have eyes on your website at all times, and you will have someone who specializes in your business. Agencies do have pros though; they generally have multiple specialists in different areas of practice, and they will usually have lots of experience with different practices and other areas of industry. The main downside in hiring an agency is that you will most likely not be their sole focus as they will have many other accounts that they are managing.
If your business is brand new, and you are looking to save on financial start-up costs, an agency may be a better choice for you for these reasons:
- More people at a lower cost
- More experience with different industries
- Different people with different specialties on one account
If you are an established practice and can afford to hire an experienced specialist, then this may be a better choice for you.
Google My Business (GMB)
Along with your website, you should learn how to optimize Google My Business (GMB) for your local rankings. This is a free platform provided to you by Google, and if the search volume is there, it can bring hundreds of qualified leads to your business for free! Since dentistry as a topic has lots of search volume behind it, it should be a lucrative outlet for your business.
Citations are basically directory listings. These sites are generally free to submit your website to, and the more citations you have, the more credibility will be given to your website. This will help with your SEO on many levels.
You will want to have content produced regularly on popular social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. This kind of presence will be a big selling point for new customers that are trying to research how new and popular your business is.
Having a good reputation on your social media and GMB account will do wonders for your business. It may be tempting to want a perfect 5-star rating, but this can actually hurt your business since people often think a perfect score is inflated by the business. A general rule of thumb for review ratings is between 4.2 and 4.7 stars. This shows that you are a very high-quality service provider, but you also show transparency by not being “perfect.”
Good Learning Resources
If you’re looking for more resources, here are a few trusted ones:
- Neil Patel
- Hubspot’s Marketing Blog
- Search Engine Land
- AH Ref
These 5 resources will be more than enough to help you get started.
Even if you have a great practice with steady customers, having no digital presence, or a presence that is not modernized, will eventually hurt your reputation. If you’re a dentist that is very busy with patients, hiring help to create or modernize your presence is necessary to survive in the modern era.
About the Author
Dr. Alexander Yeh has a passion for performing dental procedures and patient care. He enjoys all aspects of general dentistry and provides care in the following areas: cosmetic dentistry, dental implants, TMJ treatment, and sleep apnea. He is a graduate of the University of Alberta Faculty of Science and the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Dentistry. Outside of work, Dr. Yeh enjoys spending time with his family.