Why a well-designed website, social media, digital video, pay-per-click advertising, and reputation management are key to your practice’s digital presence
By Andrea De La Cerda
As an orthodontist, there are likely dozens of marketing tools and channels available to you in your local area, but it can be difficult to decide which ones are the most effective for your practice. And if you don’t have a marketing professional in your office, it can be nearly impossible to stay ahead of the latest trends. However, experienced marketers will tell you that the most effective marketing plans begin with a digital presence.
We’ve evaluated the 5 leading ways to make the most out of your online efforts:
#1: Well-designed website
Most orthodontists understand the value of a website, but how do you know if your website is as effective as it could be? Some simple considerations can make a big difference in converting your website visitors into new patients for your practice.
First, make sure your website is built with responsive design, which means your site adjusts to fit the screens of different devices, including desktops, tablets and smartphones. In 2019, according to Google, 64% of searches for dentists were done on mobile phones. If your site doesn’t immediately load, or it’s difficult to read on a mobile device, a potential patient will click away. Your website should also be easy to navigate with a prominent phone number and physical address. Consider other features that save time like a button to book an appointment, a page for FAQs, or a place to call out your weekend hours and emergency contact information.
Think about the digital patient experience as an extension of your in-office experience. A visit to your website should achieve the same objective as someone who walks into your office for the first time. Having a website with a user-friendly design, as well as content that is helpful, simple to consume, and differentiating will improve your ability to attract new patients.
#2: Social Media
Most orthodontists understand that social media is important for building engagement around their brand, especially in their local communities. However, many of the doctors we talk to either are not familiar enough with these platforms to make them part of their daily routine, or they’re not sure how to determine whether their social media activity is effective. So, let’s break it down.
Platforms like Facebook and Instagram are the most popular social platforms for orthodontists to reach their target patients. When choosing which ones to use and when, consider the content that works best on each platform and avoid repeating the same content on both.
Both platforms can help to humanize your practice (showcasing the people on your dental care team and providing a glimpse of your office atmosphere and culture), which ultimately helps patients feel more comfortable coming in for an appointment. You should, however, be careful not to include patients in your photos and videos unless you have their written consent, as this could lead to a violation of patient privacy.
#3: Digital Video
Did you know that our brains process video 60,000 times faster than text? Video is highly entertaining and visual, which makes it a great way to engage your audience. Video can help develop trust with your audience more quickly than simple text. In fact, research shows that using video on your website’s landing pages can increase conversions by up to 80%. It has also been found that businesses that used video in 2017 were able to grow their revenue 49% faster than other businesses that did not use video.
Most doctors today have quick and easy access to a video recorder and editing software directly from their smartphones. Uploading and editing videos is easier than it has ever been before, which leaves fewer reasons to not incorporate it into your marketing activity. Make sure to keep your videos brief, and don’t forget to smile. Research shows that humans are attracted to smiling faces.
When you need a video for a high-traffic page on your website (like your Home or About Us page) or video ad, it may be more important to produce a video of higher quality than you will be able to create on your own. In these cases, hiring a professional video production team is an important investment in your brand.
#4: Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
If there’s ever an opportunity to convert a lead quickly, it’s when a potential patient is actively looking for your services. PPC campaigns are designed to drive prospects to your website when they search for keywords like “orthodontist near me” or “braces for kids.”
If you’re using the right PPC tactics for your practice (bidding on the right keywords, investing the right amount into your budget, creating high-quality ads, etc.) you can expect that your listing will move closer to the top of search results, making it easier to bring new patients to your practice when they’re ready to use your services.
Running PPC advertising together with other digital marketing tactics like social media marketing, online reputation management, and a well-designed website can help you generate more business for your practice.
#5: Manage online reviews
An orthodontist’s online reputation is important for building trust with potential patients. One study found that 70% of consumers need to read at least four reviews before they trust a business. And 84% of people trust online reviews as much as they trust a recommendation from a friend. Building and monitoring your online reputation can improve your digital footprint and encourage more visits to your office.
While you can’t control how patients review your practice online, you can take steps to be more proactive in your online reputation management. For example, you can set up profiles on popular review sites to ensure patients can easily find your practice when they want to leave a review. You can also look for ways to improve service at your office to give patients a better experience (meaning they’re more likely to leave a glowing review).
Of course, it is impossible to please everyone all the time. If you do encounter a negative review of your practice, it’s important to respond to negative reviews appropriately (while still ensuring patient information is kept private). Showing that you care about salvaging a patient relationship can go a long way to gain trust and win the respect of others.
Find a partner to help, if needed
Keeping up on digital marketing best practices can be difficult when your office staff is busy following up on missed appointments, communicating with insurance companies, collecting on invoices, filling last-minute gaps in the schedule, and a variety of other day-to-day assignments. This is why many orthodontists choose to outsource their digital marketing. So if you’re staff is stretched thin, or you don’t have someone with digital marketing expertise working in your office, it may be time to consider hiring a professional company to do the job. OP
Andrea De La Cerda is the director of vertical marketing at Scorpion. De La Cerda leads Scorpion’s strategy for the medical industry and enjoys educating practice owners about digital marketing solutions to grow their businesses. She brings more than 20 years of award-winning national and international marketing expertise to the Scorpion team.