At Ignite, we’re no strangers to dental marketing, and I’ve learned a lot over the years about how to execute a successful dental strategy.
So if you’re thinking about hiring a dental marketing company, do yourself a favor and read this first.
What We’ll Cover:
- Should you hire a dental marketing company?
- Is the company an expert?
- Are they experienced with local SEO?
- What kinds of tools do they use?
- How will they solicit reviews?
- How will they help you achieve your goals?
- Can they identify your top competitors and reverse engineer their strategy?
- How will they grow your email list?
- Are they experienced with remarketing?
- What kind of content marketing will they do?
- What kinds of ads will they run?
- What kind of reports will they provide?
First, Should You Hire a Dental Marketing Company?
It’s tempting to try and handle marketing yourself.
After all, a little keyword research here, a little social media there, and you’re all search engine optimized, right?
Digital marketing is a broad and complicated field, with all kinds of constantly moving pieces to contend with.
But the real problem is that even though most dentists know they need to be doing some kind of marketing, few actually do. And reportedly, dentists consistently miss out on 80% of new patients by not marketing consistently.
A marketing company will not only keep you on track, but it will help you find and cater to the right customers.
They don’t shoot blind; they attack with a full strategy on hand to speak directly to your target audience.
That said, finding the right company for your practice isn’t as easy as a quick Google search, and there are a few key qualities you should be looking for in.
Is the Company an Expert in Dental Marketing, or Marketing in General?
You don’t want your practice to be anyone’s guinea pig.
Make sure any companies you’re considering do, in fact, have experience with dental marketing – and lots of it.
In other words, you want to take your pick from the best companies.
Are They Experienced With Local SEO?
Dentists are local businesses. Which means when it comes to SEO, they need to be thinking local.
SEO is a broad field, and you should be focusing on companies that specialize in Local SEO.
Specifically, look for things like:
- Experience with schema.org
- How they can get you in the Local 3-Pack
- Experience with optimizing Google My Business pages
- Building citations and links
And a lot more, which I cover in this article.
Ask What Kinds of Tools the Company Uses
SEO is a complicated business. But the best companies can handle it.
Luckily, we have a lot of tools to help. Any company worth their salt will be familiar with – and using – a few tools to make their jobs a little easier.
Ask them which ones they use and why they use them. It will give you an idea of how they approach SEO, and what areas they put the most emphasis on.
How Will They Solicit Reviews?
At the risk of sounding harsh: no one really likes going to the dentist.
And even more than that, no one likes going to a new dentist for the first time.
Because let’s face it, dentist visits are scary, and most people want reassurance before they find themselves trapped in that seat.
Which is exactly what reviews deliver – reassurance. According to Search Engine Land, 88% of consumers said they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and 72% said positive reviews make them trust a business more.
Any company you consider should be thinking strongly about how to bring in more reviews from existing customers.
Strategies will vary – they may use review software to send up follow-up texts and emails, create incentives, or go for the in-person ask. Whatever the method, it should be one that suits your business and that you’re comfortable with.
How Will This Dental Marketing Company Help You Achieve Your Goals (What do Their Projections Look Like)?
Before selecting (or even beginning the process of selecting) a firm to represent you, you need to know what you’re looking to get out of it.
For the vast majority of dental practices, that will be new leads and customers. Don’t be afraid to ask any companies you consider how they can make that happen.
Don’t just look for vague strategies like content marketing and an enhanced social media presence; look for real numbers.
This won’t happen right at the beginning, but when top companies deliver their initial report and projections, it should highlight things like:
- Which channels they think will be most successful
- What kind of growth do they think is achievable? For example, 15% appointment growth from PPC ads?
- What kind of SEO growth can you expect to see? Estimated click-through rates (CTRs), new monthly visitors, etc.
In that projection, you should also look for things like a preliminary website analysis.
Can They Identify Your Top Competitors and Reverse Engineer Their Strategy?
Competitor research is another major component in forming a digital strategy.
Because frankly, if it’s worked for your closest competitors, there’s no reason it shouldn’t work for you as well.
Make sure the companies you’re considering can accurately identify who those top competitors are – and what strategies of theirs can be adapted.
For example, social media is an absolute gold mine for gathering intel on the competition. The top companies know that.
The company you hire should be able to go through not only the numbers (their engagement rate, post frequency, times of day, etc. compared to yours), but what their best content is and why it works.
How Will The Dental Marketing Company Grow Your Email List?
For dental practices, a solid email marketing strategy isn’t even an option anymore. The people who run the best company in your area will know that.
Throughout the healthcare realm in general, 62% of healthcare professionals prefer communication via email over direct mail, phone calls or drop-ins.
Use email to welcome new patients, send appointment reminders, six-month cleaning reminders, aftercare instructions, or even “we miss you” emails to patients who have been MIA for too long.
It’s also a great way to conduct lead generation through personalized, targeted email automation.
But to make all of the above work, you need a way to get those emails.
So ask your prospective email marketing company how they’ll do it.
Here’s what I recommend you look for: a form submission via pop up offering a free guide or study in return for visitors emails.
Whatever you’re giving away should be highly relevant to your target audience. See a lot child patients? Offer the Mom’s Guide to Getting Over a Kid’s Fear of the Dentist, or something similar.
Do a lot of cosmetic dentistry? Maybe your offer will be more along the lines of Cosmetic Dentistry: Is it Right For You (or worth it)?
Are They Experienced With Remarketing?
Because frankly, any company you even think about hiring should be.
Remarketing works like this: when someone visits your site, you ‘cookie’ them; then when they leave your site and look elsewhere on the web, you can track their activity and serve them relevant ads.
And while you may call it creepy or intrusive, it’s really not. In fact, website visitors who are retargeted with display ads are more likely to convert by 70%, and 30% of consumers have a positive or very positive reaction to retargeted ads.
It’s especially effective for an industry like dentistry.
Most people are impulse dentist shoppers; they like to do a little research. And previously, that was a problem. If you’re the first of many websites that a prospect visits, how likely are you to stay at the top of their mind?
But thanks to remarketing, we have a way to target those prospects as they do their browsing and keep your dental practice top of mind.
What Kind of Content Marketing Will The Dental Marketing Company do For You?
Content marketing is another major area you want your marketing company focusing on. The best company in your area surely knows how to use it.
It’s also the area that will drive a lot of your organic SEO results.
Which means the company you choose needs to be able to uncover the best keywords for your business, the right audience to target, and how to build content around those keywords that’s relevant to that audience.
Beyond that, each topic you cover should be in line with your products and services. So if you don’t do child dentistry, you wouldn’t write a piece geared towards parents concerned about their child’s dental health.
You might, however, write a piece about unexpected causes of cavities or tooth decay, if one of your primary services was cavity fillings.
Remember, Google likes content that’s long form (1500-6000 words) and of high relevance to the intended user.
Here are a few “tricks of the trade” when it comes to content marketing:
- Set measurable objectives. Decide the key performance indicators (KPIs) that you want to reach. Make sure that they’re both measurable and achievable. For example: you might want to hit a specific revenue target, get x number of people signed up to your email distribution list, increase site traffic by a certain percentage, or improve your search rank by so many spots.
- Define your audience. In the dentistry business, you might cater to a specific demographic. If you’re running a pediatric dentistry, for example, you’ll need to reach parents of small children. Make sure that your content marketing posts resonate with people in your target market.
- Solicit feedback. One of the best ways to ensure that you’re reaching the people you need to reach is by asking for feedback from patients. Did they find out about your practice from your website? If so, which article appealed to them and why? Also, don’t be afraid of corrective If people didn’t like one of your posts, ask them why and learn from the experience.
What Kind of Ads Will They Run?
Advertising isn’t all created equal.
Different networks cater to different objectives, and it’s extremely important that the company you work with is able to accurately determine which is best for your specific business goals.
Let’s start with the Google Search Network. This one is actually well suited for most dental practices that accept dental walk-ins or emergency services.
Say a prospect just chipped a tooth, or woke up with an excruciating toothache. The first thing they’ll do? Type ‘nearby dentists’ into Google.
If you happen to be advertising on the network and targeting the right keywords, they’ll see your ad. That prospect has high buyer intent, meaning they’re looking for a dentist right now.
Meaning you likely just found yourself a new customer.
The Display Network, on the other hand, is ideal for remarketing. We touched on that one earlier and its usefulness in staying top of mind to potential long-term patients.
And of course, there’s Bing. Anyone who’s experienced success in AdWords will likely see the same using Bing Ads.
Then we have social media ads to consider. Generally speaking, it’s smart to start with Facebook Ads, as they see a huge audience and offer some of the best targeting options around.
But all that is just the tip of the iceberg.
Beyond just choosing the networks best suited to your dental biz, there are things like creative, bidding and budget, targeting options, KPIs, and campaign monitoring and measurement to contend with.
What Kind of Reports Will The Dental Marketing Company Prepare For You?
As a client, it’s important that you set expectations right up front.
Those expectations for your agency should include clear communications and consistent reporting.
These reports are what justify your investment in thecompany, and you want easy and up-front access to the information that matters.
When discussing the kinds of reports each company usually prepares, watch for things like:
- Year-over-year growth
- Increase ranking for top terms
- Number of indexed pages
- Click-through rate for top pages
- Goals report
- Quarter review
This is just the beginning, but I have a whole article dedicated to SEO reporting the right way. It applies to companies that provide dental marketing services as well.
Read it, and make sure it align with the kind of reporting your company promises.
On a related note, you also want to make sure the company you choose is available and able to respond quickly to any questions that may arise.
Wrapping Up How to Choose the Best Dental Marketing Company
Your marketing strategy is (extremely important).
Which means it’s more than worth the effort to find a company that not only fits well with your practice but really knows the ins and outs of dental marketing.
So take your time, narrow down your list, and set high expectations.