A Web 2.0 marketing strategy will increase new patients referrals along with a synergistic Internal, External, and Internet marketing plan…
In today’s tough economic climate, the first place patients go to research orthodontic and dental treatment providers is online. Tech savvy generations don’t look in the phone book anymore for contact information, they ask their dentist for referrals, depend upon recommendations from friends and family when considering choices, and then go to the Internet to research treatment providers for themselves… or… they just go to the Internet.
Gone are the good old days of patients blindly following their dentist’s recommendations of treatment providers. Now, friends and family play an integral part in the selection process also, along with online research to provide verifiable proof of treatment expertise. In order to order to engage the attention of your current patient market, you must be an online player with a website and easily found by perspective patients on the Internet.
If you don’t have a website today, in the eyes of a tech savvy patient, you might as well be invisible. You are also missing out on a great opportunity to promote yourself as the orthodontic expert in your demographic. Worse yet… you are giving away perspective patients to your marketing savvy competitors that do. If you already have a website, it is in your best interest to understand page ranking and SEO. It takes more than just uploading a website to the Internet to attract perspective patients to your site, especially if your are joining now, which is considered late in the game. You have some catching up to do in order to be found.
Staying current with the latest online trends in SEO (search engine optimization) and social networking, web design, and keyword content are critical to the success of any online marketing strategy and website. Understanding how your current target market thinks, communicates with one another, and responds to marketing trends is the key to a strategic online marketing presence.
The 3 Top reasons why a practice fails to attract patients online are:
- Don’t understand the need to market online as a marketing strategy
- Failure to routinely maintain and update their website to meet current online communication trends
- Poor website ranking on the search engines due to an unclear understanding of how online marketing works as a powerful marketing strategy to build your business
The good news for you as a business owner is that with the advent of web 2.0 ( the latest trend in the use of Internet technology and web design that encourages creativity, information sharing, and, most notably, linking among users)once your online marketing strategy set up properly…it creates a viral marketing affect that increases your search engine page ranking and ultimately… new patient referrals. Web 2.0 has led to the development and evolution of web-based communities and hosted services, such as My Space, You Tube, Facebook, blogs, and folksonomies (the practice of categorizing content through keyword tags for ease of searching data online). Although web 2.0 suggests a new version of the World Wide Web, it has nothing to do with hardware and technical specifications. Web 2.0 changes the way software developers and end-users, such as your practice website, use the internet to build your business.
Smart Internet marketers understand and focus more on just SEO (search engine optimization) as the primary means of attracting visitors to your website. Now, by combining SEO with social media and Web 2.0 marketing techniques, you can improve search engine rankings and attract a higher number of motivated patients willing to contact your practice for a new patient exam. The added benefit of combining these different online marketing techniques is they encourage patients to visit your site again and again, which in turn builds trust, encourages word of mouth marketing, and increases new patient referrals from friends, family, and referring professionals.
This is the main reason why Web 2.0 and social networking have become so mainstream in the online business world…
People are choosing practices who care enough not only to give them good quality treatment but information and services that make the orthodontic experience easier and more memorable. An information website, by itself, is no longer effective “in the eyes” of a web savvy buyer. WIIFM, or What’s In It for Me,is even more important today than ever before, with the poor economic climate and increased competition in the orthodontic field from pedodontists and general dentists looking for a bigger piece of your orthodontic pie.
Online, anyone can claim they are the orthodontic expert and premier treatment provider in the area, no matter what their background. Your online marketing strategy not only needs to claim you are the orthodontic expert in the area, but prove it!
By far, the most effective way of doing this, is giving your visitors content rich information they can use, in a format they are comfortable using, and provide “verifiable proof of treatment expertise” with actual before and after photo results and testimonials from satisfied patients. In today’s online world of business, the simple truth is that if you want to be “found” by your target market, you need to engage and entertain them with the type of information “they” are looking for. If they are engaged and entertained, click through rates will increase… and improve SEO and page ranking.
Videos on You Tube and your website, blogs, My Space page, Facebook, online articles, and other Web 2.0 techniques are excellent ways of increasing the “findability” of your website or blog. The process requires relatively little technical know how to maintain, compared to traditional search engine optimization strategies of old that required a webmaster to run. Not only will you market the credibility you need 24/7, you will attract quality targeted traffic and patients from a much larger demographic. Ultimately, this increases referrals, not to mention a much greater ROI (return on investment). This was never possible with traditional marketing strategies of old that were expensive, produced limited exposure to your demographic, and once completed… it was back to the drawing board to start all over again.
How Can You Grow Your Business Today?
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I want to take full marketing responsibility for my practice and discover how web 2.0, social networking and the correct use of verifiable proof of treatment expertise, incorporated into my current marketing plan, will build my practice and take it to the next level?
- Do I want to be known as the orthodontic expert in my area and attract more patient referrals as a result of my reputation
- Do I want to know more about SEO, social marketing online, and how it can benefit my business and improve my website page ranking?
- Do I want to know how to create a dynamic website that will attract attention, help me interact with my patients, build trust with our practice brand, develope a USP (unique selling position), and develop credibility as a premier treatment provider.
If your answer is yes… a Web 2.0 marketing strategy is the answer. No matter what the size of your practice, large or small, the Internet levels the playing field when marketing online. Strategic online marketing is in its infancy and the Window of Opportunity to lead the way and leave your mark on the Internet is NOW. Don’t allow your online marketing strategies to be ME TOO or ordinary so your website becomes invisible and not easily found by perspective patients.
Blow the competition away with web 2.0 online tactics to build your practice or any profession for the future…