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It used to be that the key to securing a strong client base was physical advertising, a premium location in the heart of a town or city, and excellent word-of-mouth referrals. While all these aspects definitely still do play an important role in your practice’s development, they’re no longer the most crucial consideration.

These days, it’s all about creating a strong, positive, consistent presence online. Trying to make even the smallest dent on the Internet can seem overwhelming, but the truth is, it can be done. By creating a strategic plan and utilizing readily available data, you can start to build up your little corner of the world wide web. For the best results, utilize the tips outlined in the guide below.

5 Online Marketing Tips to Help Your Dental Practice Get Ahead

1. Utilize SEO

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the cornerstone of any strategic marketing plan. This term refers to the practice of trying to target potential customers by the type of search queries they might enter in a major engine like Google or Bing!. As a result, you’ll increase traffic to your practice’s website, as well as develop more qualified leads, because you’ll know that the people who were brought there are already interested in the services you have to offer.

Implementing dental SEO can be done in a variety of ways. For example, updating the headers, alternative text for images, and links on your website to include keywords (otherwise known as the terms entered into the search engine) will help drive your listing up in the rank of possible matches a user is presented with.

To determine which keywords you should use, utilize programs like Google’s Keyword Planner. This will allow you to enter a few phrases you might be interested in optimizing. Upon entering these phrases, the program will report back the number of searches that term garners each month, as well as the level of competition to rank for that keyword. You can further narrow your search by filtering the results to just show searches in your area; that way, you can ensure the terms you opt for will be used by patients that are more likely to come to your practice.

2. Optimize Your Website

Beyond SEO, you want to ensure your website is properly optimized for the average user’s experience. This includes factors like site maps, loading times, the security of each page, and rich content. All of these elements will help make your business seem more reputable, as well as indicate to the major search engines that your site is a reputable source. This will help bolster page rankings, so potential patients have an easier time finding your practice.

3. Keep It Fresh

Regularly updating your website is crucial to stay ahead of the competition. Not only does it show that you remain up-to-date on the latest industry trends, findings, and research, but it indicates to the major search engines that your site is active regularly.

You can keep the changes relatively basic, such as refreshing the “About” page once every few months or so with new bios and listings. The more effective approach, however, is to update your site with unique, informative content. Posting small blogs (roughly 300 words or so) is a great way to further emphasize your industry expertise, provide valuable information to potential patients, and keep your site fresh.

4. Use Social Media

Long gone are the days when social media was reserved for connecting with friends and family members. Now, it’s seen as one of the most powerful tools available for businesses to market their services. The major pillar sites to focus on include Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Other potential sites to utilize include TikTok (which is seeing significant upward trends for marketing), YouTube, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

On your profile, practice posting a mix of marketing and informative content. You want to avoid overselling your services, which could deter potential patients from following you. Instead, focus on posting pictures, videos, gifs, and content that keep your audience informed on dental best practices. When you do post marketing content, make sure it’s personable and fresh to keep your followers engaged.

5. Engage with Your Audience

It’s important to remember that you want your dental practice to be seen as accessible and friendly. As such, it’s crucial you respond to any comments or messages in a timely manner. If someone leaves a positive review of your website, quickly write back and thank them for their kind words. Similarly, if someone posts something negative, respond by saying you’re sorry they were unhappy and that you’d love to speak with them to find out what you can do to make things right.

In most cases, positive behavior like this will garner some sort of badge on your profiles that indicates you have a tendency to respond to most messages in a timely manner. This kind of distinction will help you stand out as a reliable, approachable, and responsible practice, making it more likely potential patients will want to take the next step and schedule an appointment.

Getting Started Building Your Platform

It’s important to note that while the tips above are extremely effective and will garner successful results, building an online presence doesn’t happen overnight. It takes consistent work and effort to build up — and once you get there, you need to work just as hard to keep the momentum going.

For that reason, many dental practices opt to outsource their marketing efforts to agencies. Working with a professional will give you the control to outline your goals in a clear way without eating into precious time that might otherwise be spent working with patients. And because these professionals are industry experts, they’ll have all the resources and insight needed to streamline your strategy and help you find success as soon as possible. Then, all you’ll have to do is sit back and watch as the leads come in and your patient roster grows.