Are you working the digital triangle?

By Jonathan Miller and Fred Joyal, contributing writers

March 19, 2020 -- Editor's note: We will be bringing you articles throughout this uncertain time with ideas on how your dental practice can rebound from these unprecedented times. With that in mind, please read this article, and bookmark it as well, to help your practice growth in the near future.

It's no news flash that practice marketing has gone digital. But, are you doing it right? You must take advantage of the digital marketing triangle to do it effectively.

Jonathan Miller
Jonathan Miller.

The triangle breaks down by its three sides as follows:

  1. Websites and searches
  2. Social media
  3. Online review sites

To give your marketing campaign its all, you must be working all three sides. You are probably thinking, "Easy." Well, not exactly. The challenge is that they are always changing, and keeping up with them can be exhausting.

But, don't throw in the towel just yet. There are reasons to keep in touch with all sides of the triangle.

One opinion is not enough

When consumers are looking for a business or even a product or service, they don't check one place. They want to know what people are saying everywhere, so they can make the best decisions. Those consumers are including those who learned about your practice from their mother-in-law, their neighbors, and their best friends. In most cases, they take their recommendations and then check out their profiles on Facebook, their websites, or their Yelp or Google reviews.

It's like infinity

It's impossible to know where a consumer's quest for a business begins or ends. They may say that they found your practice on Yelp, but that was after a Google search for a "dentist near me." Then, there are those others who read Yelp reviews and followed up with a visit to your site. Without knowing their exact though processes, the only way to ensure you reach them all is to be on all three sides of the triangle.

Each is its own

Like snowflakes, each of these digital arenas are unique. What's effective and current on your Facebook page is not the same as what works on your website. Also, don't forget that each requires different levels of time and dedication to keep them on the cutting edge.

Mastering the triangle

Fred Joyal
Fred Joyal.

Let's start with your website. Here's what you need to understand: Patients are judging the quality of your dentistry by the quality of your website. This is true. Viewing your site for the first time is where they make their first impressions of you and your practice. They are evaluating whether your site is easy to navigate, whether the design is modern and appealing, and if it provides valuable information. And in a perfect world, they want to make an appointment right there and then.

To achieve this, your website must look as good on a laptop as it does on a smartphone. If it doesn't, get on that quickly.

Unfortunately, these things will be what helps potential patients to decide whether you should get the privilege of cleaning their teeth, filling a cavity, or anything else. A slow-loading site or one that makes it impossible to find anything can be the difference between you getting a new customer and that person reaching out to someone else.

That was a lot to digest. Brace yourself it's about to get more challenging. It's time to talk search engine optimization (SEO).

SEO is the fastest-moving target online. Google constantly changes its algorithms to give the most accurate results and outsmart (and punish) the people who are gaming the system. So, your website can't be static. The programming behind it must be updating all the time. This can only happen if your website is written in a cloud-based platform, and most aren't.

Now, let's talk social media, which includes Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and TikTok. Where do you think patients go looking for dentists? It's not LinkedIn. About 95% or your energy and time should be focused on Facebook and Instagram. For the other apps, the audience is wrong, meaning they are too young, or it's not an environment where patients are seeking new dentists. Once you've mastered these two, go ahead and tweet all you want. Just don't expect to fill your chairs doing it.

Facebook also is a good place to link to a blog. It can show newcomers what it's like to be a patient of yours. It's not a place to show clinical capability. It's the soft side. The place to show the patient experience. This is where you show photos and videos of how much your patients love you, how fun your practice is, and how involved you are in the community.

Finally, let's talk online review sites, such as Yelp, HealthGrades, and especially Google Reviews. Google reviews matter even more. You need a steady stream of positive, five-star reviews being posted to each of these sites, so you need a systematic process of asking patients to review your practice.

Also, don't forget to ensure all practice information on every social and online site is accurate, and includes photos and videos, new patient offers, and a list all your special services.

It sounds like a lot and it is. Nevertheless, you need to stay on top of all these if you want to compete.

A good dental practice coach who lives out in the dental world, sees what many practices are doing, and what resources are available can help you navigate this digital triangle. With the right guidance, you can maximize your impact and minimize your expense. The right coach can show you what works and how to generate reviews, help get traffic to your website, help you schedule your social media posts, and teach you how to generate good content.

No matter how you do it, start working that triangle.

Jonathan Miller has helped open more than 200 new dental offices from scratch, worked closely with nearly a thousand doctors, and established a growing referral network of over 300 contacts around the U.S.

Fred Joyal is a renowned speaker, author, and consultant on dental marketing. He is the co-founder of 1-800-DENTIST and author of two best-selling books, Everything is Marketing and Becoming Remarkable.

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

Copyright © 2020

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