The do’s of digital marketing for a dental practice.

dental practice

In a world of such large online connectivity, dental practices that are to remain competitive, need to have an established digital marketing strategy that involves social media, online reputation management, search engine optimization amongst other.

Conventional wisdom is that health-related services need only minimal investments in marketing their practices. No amount of advertising or blogging can make anyone ‘need’ a health service. After all, as our highest priority in life, when such services are needed they are sought out by patients, aren’t they? And since health is at the essence of survival, there’s little risk in such services going out of business, right?

There is a certain logic to that thinking but, in reality, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Consider that we don’t apply that same thinking to the food industry, or to clothing or real estate. Would anyone expect a grocery store to not advertise because we all need food? Of course not

THE IMPORTANCE OF AN ONLINE PRESENCE

Let’s take a dental office as an example. Having a successful dental practice requires a good balance of traditional and digital marketing tactics but the shift to digital is here and it is real. While professional referrals will always be a major means of attracting new patients, consumers have become accustomed to seeking out information online before making most purchase decisions.

In the digital era we are particularly prone to scouring online reviews, treatment information, and more online. To not have a presence in this sphere can be a huge detriment to your practice. After all, imagine searching for a doctor online not getting not a single result. What kind of impression does that give you if no one has anything to say about this doctor, or that their only presence is a yellow pages listing? It doesn’t quite inspire confidence, does it?

“72% of online seekers said they looked online for health related information, including Doctors and Dentists as the top searches”

YOUR ONLINE REPUTATION AND CAN YOU MANAGE IT? SHOULD YOU?

For the second question, ‘YES!’ You should definitely manage your reputation online and offline. Word-of-mouth and customer testimonials are just impactful online as off, only when they are available to the world, they can influence so many more people. Encouraging patients to leave reviews on sites like ratemd.com or your Facebook company page is one of the easiest and most effective ways to improve your online reputation. Particularly for health-related matters that patients might be anxious about can a plethora of positive reviews give them confidence in contacting you for services.

Online reputation management however goes beyond securing good reviews. It also involves the image you portray and what you have to say. Being honest is critical here; for example, if you have pictures of a beautiful office on a well-designed website and you haven’t had any renovations in 25 years, customers will feel deceived even if your surgical skills are top-notch.

As well, being active commenting on the latest issues and developments in the field show that you are engaged and up-to-date with the best-in-care practices. If you want to learn more on how to create a digital marketing strategy, particularly on social media and your website, you can refer to our blog post on How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy.

 

WHAT SHOULD A DENTAL PRACTICE DO?

  1. SEO (SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION)

Unfamiliar with SEO (Search Engine Optimization)? In short, it’s a means of getting your website(s) to rank higher in searches, i.e. to appear on the earliest pages of Google, Bing, or Yahoo. It’s pretty evident how this benefits your practice (how many of us click past two pages of Google results?), but how does one actually engage in SEO? By being active in a multitude of avenues online (websites, blogs, social media) and generating strong, relevant, and shareable content.

There are a number of proven tactics that help with maintaining a higher SEO ranking, be careful though, as these tactics are continuously evolving and it might be wiser to delegate this part to digital marketing professionals.

Some of these tactics include the following:

  • Including clear on site meta-descriptions
  • A continuous inflow of relevant content via blog posts, video and more (i.e: a functional content marketing plan)
  • A search-friendly url link structure
  • A mobile-optimized webpage
  • Making sure all Alt descriptions are filled in appropriately for all images

APPLY A COHERENT SOCIAL MEDIA PLAN

Before launching your dental practice into a social media frenzy, take some time to create a plan for your social media content. Set-out some objectives, and decide which platforms are best suited to your practice’s goals. Not all social media platforms are suited for all dental practices.

Decide on your target audience, and accordingly pick the online tactics that make most sense.

MAKE USE OF PAID ADVERTISING ON BOTH INSTAGRAM & FACEBOOK

Facebook & Instagram paid advertising are affordable tools for small to medium size businesses to advertise to very specific groups of people, and to build an online presence in a relatively short period of time.

Of course there are other platforms where to advertise such as Twitter & LinkedIn, but Facebook (which owns Instagram) has some of the most sophisticated options in targeting. Don’t forget to make use of the Facebook Pixel in order to track campaign results

PUT TOGETHER A CONTENT MARKETING PLAN

A content marketing plan helps you define the tone, voice, frequency and topics to be shared, curated and created on your online channels. In essence, it is your online brand guidelines

GET YOUR ANALYTICS GOING

One of the greatest advantages of online marketing is the amount of data that we as marketers are able to collect. Make sure to have Google Analytics on your website. Use all this data to understand which tactics are working best, and adjust those that do not seem to be giving the best results.

“Take some time to plan your social media strategy. Choose carefully which platforms you will be using for your practice. You need NOT make use of all existent social media platforms out there”

Beginners guide: Paid, Owned and Earned Media

What is paid, owned and earned?

The digital Marketing ecosystem

Understanding the key components that make-up the digital marketing ecosystem, and how these interact with one another is an essential part of a digital marketing strategy. -Nathalia Porras

The digital marketing ecosystem is conformed of all digital and social assets that make-up a brand online. The interaction of these assets- be it a website, a Facebook page or an online ad, should all be aligned with a product’s brand- in an ideal world!

However, in the real world there is only a fraction of these so-called digital and social assets that are owned and managed by a company or brand- the remaining assets can be in fact managed and influenced by fans or non-fans. Before a marketer launches its digital marketing strategy, it is important to understand the relationship between paid, owned and earned media.

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Some basics into how digital and traditional marketing are alike

Some basics into how digital and traditional marketing are alike

Some basics into how digital and traditional marketing are alike

Once upon a time  I did an MBA and I had a very clear goal in my mind; I wanted to learn how IT and (traditional) Marketing were converging to pave the way to Digital Marketing. But why you might ask? in my mind digital was not a trend, it was here to stay. And ANY future marketing strategy (yes, even the most unthinkable B2B ones) are prone to have a digital marketing component to it.

I will be creating a number of related posts that talk that about digital marketing: its basics, the more intrinsic strategy (concepts and principles) and implementation of ia digital marketing strategy with the tools to be used

To start of we can talk about some 3 basics in digital marketing, that are much closer to traditional marketing than we think:

  1. Your Marketing basics are the same for any digital marketing campaign (yay!!): You need to identify your Segment(s)Targetand Positioning before creating a Marketing Communications campaign of any form. Of-course after you have selected your target audience you need to select your distribution channel, i.e: Which platforms will you use to reach this target? That’s where understanding the different social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, snapchat etc) and the demographics of its users is important. (I’ll get more into the definition of a Digital Ecosystem later on in this blog.) Of course once the STP part is done, you can get into strategy and tactics.
  2. The beauty about Digital Marketing is the measurability it offers. Here’s the trickier part, there’s a huge number of data that’s available for any given campaign. Naturally, being able to view things like open-click rate, unbounce rate, social media shares, comments amongst other measurements, gives any marketer great feedback.  However, knowing how to analyze it and transferring this to actionable items is even more difficult. That’s where Google Analytics and the individual platform insights become your best friends in this area. Digital marketing is an iterative process (otherwise called AB testing of sorts), you will have to test the grounds for some of the campaigns you will launch to later understand what is working best, and what is not. From all the data you receive on Google Analytics you can for example see where your SEO is performing the best. Whether you are getting a higher percentage of acquisitions  from organic SEO, paid SEO, owned social media or direct links. You will also be able to track any conversion goals that you’ve set from the beginning .

Nonetheless, in order to interpret any data, you must have set some goals previously, and some benchmarks to understand whether you’re being successful in your efforts.

  1. Having clear-cut objectives is everything!! Defining you business objectives and how these overlap with your digital ecosystem is absolutely crucial. Just like in any traditional marketing strategy, one of the first things you want to do is have a well-defined set of goals. The major difference here is that your digital marketing objectives will vary depending on the medium you are using for any campaign, and the kind of business you’re in of course. Something I’ve learned along the way, is that when it comes to defining your objectives and defining the KPI’s to measure those objectives, you will have to work hand-in-hand with your I.T department. More often than not, as a marketer you will define those business objectives that surround each one of your digital initiatives (social media pages, website, a display ad campaign), and you will consult with your I.T department as to choosing the best KPI’s to measure the success of any of your digital initiatives and more importantly, setting those specific KPI targets. It’s definitely an iterative process that will have a trial and error period embedded.

Here are some examples of potential objectives based on the kind of business:

  • E-commerce website:if you have an e-commerce website, one of the most important objectives here will be getting a customer to put in an order in her/her shopping cart or otherwise selling online. Therefore, your objectives will be more aligned with: revenueand average order value. Once a person has gone through with a purchase, this will count towards your website’s conversion rate.
  • A brick-and-mortar-store:Having a physical store rather than an e-tailer means that you will most probably use your digital mediums to increase brand awareness. Increasing brand awareness can be measured by a number of different actions that are taken by the visitors to say: your website or Facebook page. For example, a top goal here can be to drive store visits, which can be measured by  number of printed coupons, visitors searching the “find a store location.
  • An online newsletter that complements your offline business:It’s clear that your tactics in this example will have a main goal to drive engagement. Here your objectives will most probably include measuring a combination of visitors to your webpage, subscription to your newsletter, shares of an article (or e-newsletter) on say your LinkedIn page.

Traditional and online marketing still have many basic concepts that are commonly shared. And a lot of the new tactics that are driven by online marketing could be easily understood by using common sense. I’ll be going more in depth into the different tactics, lingo and other interesting topics in digital marketing in my future posts.

A digital marketers MUST know glossary

The rise of digital marketing has brought about so many new opportunities for small-to-medium size businesses that did not exist not too long ago. As the online world continues to evolve, SMB’s have to be aware of the basics in marketing to be able to participate in conversations and plan ahead for a marketing strategy.  However,  if you have just started to get your feet wet with digital marketing,  you might have already been thrown (by that super hipster colleague of yours!) a dizzying number of terms that you were completely unfamiliar with…which is why we have compiled this short glossary of most common marketing lingo used nowadays.

 

Without further ado…

An SMB’s must-know basic marketing glossary

 

Digital Marketing encompasses the range of activities and tactics that are borne from the online realm. Official websites, social media pages and activities, social media marketing, search engine marketing, engaging with online influencers and bloggers, and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) are common forms of this.

Experiential Marketing is the live experience of a brand; it is special events and often invokes the five senses in the audience.

The Digital Marketing Ecosystem amalgamates the digital and social assets that make-up a brand online. The interaction of these assets should be aligned with the product or service’s brand.
Original content is anything produced by the brand, such as a blog post, video, article, behind the scenes photo, to support the brand.

Curated content is the selection of content made by oneself or another party for the same purpose (ex: sharing a user review on your social media page) for use in marketing campaigns.

Content marketing is a strategy that leverages both originally produced and curated content for the purpose of promoting a brand, some examples of pieces include: blog posts, articles, videos, e-newsletters, podcasts, whitepapers and visuals. It typically does not sell directly but seeks to establish a reputation. The pieces produced are published and promoted via social channels.

Paid media is all advertising that is paid for, such as banners, TV and radio spots, Search Engine Marketing (SEM), and paid searches like Google Adwords. Typically, paid media looks to increase or create brand awareness and acquire new customers.

Owned media refers to anything owned and controlled by oneself, such as a website, an app, and social media channels that have been opened by the company.

Earned media is content produced by third parties without direct coercion or compensation. Examples include fan web and social media pages, homage videos, user reviews, or sharing of paid or owned media content. Fan-based marketing (fan created) is a form of earned media.

Crowdfunding is a digital marketing tactic that seeks to raise funds for a product or service directly from individuals interested in procuring it. It can start before or during the production cycle.

Crowdsourcing is the inclusion of fans/customers in the production of your product/service through feedback, idea generation, and active participation during the creative stages.

When a campaign or marketing activity goes viral, it refers to the degree of popularity it has reached relative to its objective or budget. It has ‘caught on’ with audiences and is gaining attention organically (i.e. without paid support).

Influence marketing is another form of (typically) digital marketing that seeks to get authorities on a given topic or industry to engage with and involve your product/service in their regular activities. It is a way to gain brand endorsement from social media “stars” or industry experts.

Segmenting, Targeting, and Positioning (STP) is a fundamental exercise all marketing campaigns are built upon. It identifies who your prospective customers are, when, where, and ho

 

w to reach them, and what you want them to think of your product/service.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) are the tactics employed to have your website rank more highly in search engine results and includes paid search tactics (such as Pay Per Click [PPC] listings and ads such as Google Adwords) and non-paid, such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is the component of SEM that uses coding and original content to attract more users to your page, thereby improving its search engine ranking.

 

Integrated Marketing Communication is the comprehensive and cohesive action plan that guides all marketing activities; it ensures the traditional, digital, and experiential marketing tactics are aligned in message and goals.

A Call-to-Action is the desired action to be undertaken as a result of a given marketing activity. It can vary from a purchase to sharing a link to submitting an original contribution. It is the step beyond the physical or psychological reaction evoked by the activity.

If you’re looking for someone to help you navigate the waters of social media marketing, content marketing or building a digital marketing strategy, reach out to us.

How to create a content marketing strategy

Building a content marketing strategy
Content marketing seems to have been the talk of the town for marketers in 2015. With the term “Content is King” being thrown right, left and center (what isn’t mentioned often enough is that distribution of content is Queen!). However, the question remains, do small businesses know how to strategically create a content marketing strategy that will reap results? And is there a manual for small businesses to take advantage of content marketing?

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