Internet Web 2.0 Marketing For Dental Professionals Blows The Doors Off Traditional Orthodontic Marketing.
I was watching the news this morning and a banner popped up across the bottom of my TV announcing that Paul Newman was dead. That was all it said. Since he and Robert Redford have always been two of my favorite actors… I wanted more info. None was forthcoming on the TV which was very frustrating. How could they say he was dead and not say when, why or how?
So what did I do? Went to the Internet, typed in “Paul Newman dead” and within 5 seconds, an entire page of links showed up on Google to access what happened. In less than one minute I discovered he died at 83 from cancer and was able to access 100’s of glowing articles on his career, philanthropic efforts, car racing etc.
My point…In today’s society, when a consumer is informed they need dental or medical treatment…what do they do? Depending upon the curiosity of the patient, they either head for the Internet at the first opportunity, like I did, or they head for the Internet to research practitioners at their convenience. Either way, today’s consumer heads for the Internet, either to research recommendations from professionals, friends, and family or just to see who is in the area and what they have to offer in the way of content and information. Practices that don’t have a website… only encourage the consumer to surf further. Clicking a link that tells you where your office is located and what number to call does not give the perspective patient a feeling of trust or an opportunity to get to know you… rather than your competitor.
Back to the original question… Is your website easily found in less than 10 seconds to impress and provide information? If you don’t know… it’s time you found out.
Here are a 5 steps to follow when researching your website page ranking on the search engines:
- Go to Google, Yahoo, and MSN and type in your profession + city and state. EX: orthodontist + New York NY. what position is your website located on the 1st page of each?
- Is it displayed on Google, Yahoo, and MSN Maps in your area with correct directions?
- Is your practice information correct in all three? This includes your website address, office locations, phone number etc.
- Has anyone left reviews of your practice on any of the three areas… and if so, are they positive or negative?
- Where does your practice show up in the Internet Yellow Page Listing and local listings in comparison to the competition?
This is going to take a few minutes. Write down the name of each and list each category… 1-5 to avoid confusion. If you are OK…check it off. If not, write down what problem occurred and bookmark the page to easily access in the future for follow up. Rarely do I find a practice that everything is OK… in all three. The other day, I found one practice on google with the wrong website address in the maps area. Their link connected to the local fire department and the practice had no idea their web address was listed incorrectly.
What to do if you find problems with your listings:
If your practice is not showing up correctly or content needs to be edited or added on Google… add the keywords “edit Google Business Listing” to be directed to the correct URL to edit your account. Yahoo and MSN are known more as directory listings rather than search engines. You need to sign up your practice name individually on their directories and list them in the correct category with the correct information, if you haven’t already done so. Make sure you write down your user name and password for each. Store them in an area where down the road, a new employee can find them. Google is more intuitive. In most cases, your practice is already listed in the correct category. Since 2/3’s of all internet research is done in Google, this is where I suggest you concentrate your efforts.
Reviews from patients are a whole different story. We all love rave reviews, but if a disgruntled patient posts a negative comment you need to take proactive action. On page 49 of my eguide “Marketing Your Practice Through Different Eyes”…I discuss this problem in detail, with examples on the Internet. For a quick over view… ask satisfied patients to post positive reviews in the listing where the bad comment is written to counteract the negative. Once a comment is posted… it is “evergreen” or online forever. Only the person writing the review can remove it or make changes.
Positive reviews will average out the negative rating. Make sure you space the comments so it doesn’t look like you are “stuffing” your listing. Patients aren’t idiots. After you list the first positive comment, I suggest spacing out new ones at least once a month or so. If you have no comments at all, I suggest you ask satisfied patients to start making comments. The more the better. Continue to do so indefinitely. When a consumer is researching online and sees a listing with many reviews… it is out of the ordinary. Out of curiosity, it encourages perspective patients to link to your site and read the reviews. Smart marketing…
Printed yellow pages are dead – Don’t waste your marketing dollars…
Today’s tech savvy consumer does not take the time to look up a listing in a phone book. They go online to search quickly or call information. Especially Gen Y and Global Tweens whose main form of communication is the Internet or cell phone. They expect instant gratification. Baby boomers still have a tendency to reach for a phone book. However… even boomers are catching on to the advantages of online yellow pages, city listings, and Google for information as a much quicker alternative. Only the World War II generation still uses the phone book. However, FYI… age 60 and higher are the fastest growing new demographic on the Internet. Over time, even they won’t be reaching for the phone book.
If you are not signed up for your local listings, go to the bottom of the search engine page you are on and look for information on how to sign up. If you can’t find information… go to google and type in ” how to sign up for (name listing) in your city, state. Many listings are free. If you want to be at the top of the heap however, Internet paid advertising is becoming more popular. It is an easy alternative in comparison to traditional methods of old and reaches a much larger demographic, 24/7… and without the big price tag, if monitored correctly and depending upon demographic. Major metropolitan areas can quickly get out of hand with online pay per click and advertising campaigns. You can add photos, video, and create and control your own written marketing content whenever you want.
Local demographics and how tech savvy the competition will determine what SEO tactics are necessary to achieve successful page ranking. Obviously, practices in metropolitan areas will need to consider different online strategies than small town areas. A synergistic internal, external, and Internet marketing strategies is key to a successful up to date marketing plan.
Burying your head in the sand during tough economic times, when it comes to online marketing, allows tech savvy online marketers to surge ahead in the blink of an eye. Go in and check out the competition on a regular basis. You never know when one of your competitors is going to hire someone like me… a Web 2.0 SEO marketing specialist to dominate your area. Orthodontists, general dentists, and pedodontists are all competing for a smaller piece of the time in a weak economy. Stake your claim in Internet marketing now to position your practice for more new patient referrals during tough economic times.
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