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Features / August 4, 2015

Moving online: building your social media strategy

by Guy Hiscott

Conor Lynch explains how an effective digital strategy can help patients stay with you for the long-term

Digital marketing can be defined as the marketing of products or services using digital channels to reach the target audience. The digital age gives dentists incredible opportunities to connect with new clients and retain current, valuable ones.

It’s changing how businesses operate – with the right strategy, you can reach more prospects than ever before, for less cost, and you can track and measure your progress every step of the way. It’s all in the numbers, and there are real early-mover advantages for those who first seize the opportunity digital offers.

Without a digital strategy you have no direction, and you run the risk of spending your budget without the means of showing any return on your investment. Traditional marketing for dental practices is generally hard to target, expensive and harder to measure impact. Digital marketing options include your website, search engine marketing, online advertising, email marketing, digital video, mobile marketing, social media marketing and more. In this article, we will review some of these options.

Tailor your website

A fundamental step is the creation of a website, so that people are more likely to find you and get information about your services. These days most people will go online and research products and companies before they make a purchase. If you don’t have a website you are missing out one of the most powerful marketing tools and probably losing potential business.

Your mobile website is also crucial – how many people nowadays look something up on a mobile? Searching for a dental practice is no different. Ensure that users of your website are able to easily browse your website on their mobiles without any glitches!

Consider starting a blog

A blog can help prospective patients have a better understanding of the type of practice your clinic is, and the treatments on offer (as well as who your employees are!). Blogging on a frequent basis is a relatively easy, inexpensive way to enhance your inbound marketing efforts, drive traffic to your site, and attract more prospective clients. Google will pick up on regularly updated blogs and websites, so bear this in mind.

If your website isn’t optimised for mobile, people will go elsewhere

Blogging also allows your practice to boost search engine optimisation, develop a closer and long-term relationship with potential and existing patients, establish your business in peoples’ minds, connect them to your brand and create new business opportunities (such as referrals).

Mobile marketing: on the go

People in today’s world are on the move, and they’re using smartphones and tablets to manage their lives. They have all the information they need at their fingertips. If your website isn’t optimised for mobile, people will go elsewhere.

A bad mobile experience can damage a company’s brand; users are five times more likely to abandon the task they are trying to complete if the site isn’t optimised for mobile use, with 79% saying they will go back to their search page and try to find another site to meet their needs. Since April 2015, Google search results are now also penalising old websites that are not mobile-friendly.

Remember to email

A recent study has revealed that 91% of consumers check their emails every day; this number is far higher than the number of people who use Facebook, which is the most popular social network.
Thanks to Facebook’s algorithm, not all of the posts published by a business are shown to fans, whereas all recipients will have the ability to view an email you send them.

Make friends with social media

Social media can help you stay in front of patients and prospects and build relationships with them by connecting you to patients and prospects through a media that is considered more personal and less ‘market-y’. The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry here lists the four steps to make social media work for you:

1. Generate leads – find your local audience online
2. Connect with patients and prospects – use a mix of digital channels to reach your audience
3. Plan your communication strategy – always provide helpful advice
4. Engage and convert – be sure to ask questions in order to elicit feedback.

Employing a strategy

A digital marketing strategy is essential to take advantage of the growing opportunities. With the right strategy, you can reach more people than ever before, for less cost – and you can track and measure your progress every step of the way.

Conor Lynch is CEO of and a digital marketer with vast experience as a strategic planner, university lecturer, trainer and mentor in digital, social and mobile marketing. Conor has also created, and He has won many awards including the Irish Internet Association Netvisionary award for the Best Use of Social Media in 2011.