3 reasons your dental practice needs an online marketing recare plan

As a leader of a successful dental practice, you understand that recare is an essential component to monitoring and maintaining the overall oral health of your patients. You are well aware that numerous factors, from personal oral care habits to genetics, impact a patient’s oral health, making recare a necessity. You also realize that skipping recare appointments can be detrimental to the oral and physical health of your patients. Have you ever considered that this same reasoning pertains to your online marketing? In a study conducted by Sesame Communications, 93% of patients said it was more convenient to find answers online instead of calling an office.[i] Given this preference, as well as rapidly evolving technologies such as smartphones and tablets, it’s likely the online marketing strategies your practice deployed even 12 to 18 months ago may be outdated. Here are three reasons your practice should consider a recurring evaluation of your an online marketing plan.

1. The Internet has gone mobile

A recent study found that 63% of adult cell phone owners use their phones to go online.[ii] All you have to do is look in your practice reception area to see this trend in action. With mobile adoption, reevaluating your website to ensure it’s optimized for mobile viewing is more important than ever.
This can be accomplished by building a separate mobile site that identifies the device and presents an alternate website that will work with a limited set of devices. But the optimal way to accomplish this is to update your website to responsive design. In this scenario your website is built on a state-of-the-art platform that automatically adapts the design and content to any size screen to ensure an optimal patient experience on any device.

2. The Internet has gone topical

The name Google is synonymous with search. However, due to the immense amount of content of the larger search engines, there has been a rise in what’s known as vertical search or topical sites. These are websites that cater to a specific topic or area of interest. In the last half of 2012, topical sites had an 8% increase in search traffic, while major search engine traffic decreased by 3% over the same period.[iii] Examples for successful topical sites include WebMD, Amazon, and eBay.
In the dental world, the best example for this is Healthgrades.com. Today more than 20 million prospective patients search Healthgrades.com for a new dental care provider in their area, and more than half will schedule an appointment when a “click-to-request an appointment” feature is available.[iv] Topical search sites like Healthgrades.com provide increased practice exposure to highly qualified prospective patients and drive them to your practice. Focus your attention on those topical sites that have an area dedicated to dental care providers.

3. The Internet has gone social

Last year, 72% of Internet users ages 30 to 49 were active on social media. Even more interesting, 47% of Americans say Facebook is their No. 1 influence for purchases (up from 24% in 2011).[v] When done correctly, social media will drive new patients to your practice from referrals, and foster loyalty with your existing patients. However, as consumers rely more on social media to make decisions and refer friends to your practice, they also expect more from an online relationship. The days of adding a Facebook or Twitter account and expecting it to act like a billboard for your practice are over. To ensure your social media efforts pay dividends your practice needs to keep all its sites up-to-date, providing relevant and patient-directed content, or invest in a service that specializes in social engagement for dental care providers.

Final thoughts

Dental recare is designed to monitor patients’ oral health and ensure they are receiving optimal care. This system not only improves the quality of life of patients, but also maintains a positive relationship with the practice and drives increases in production. A recare plan for online marketing will accomplish these same objectives for your practice, fortify engagement with your patients, drive new patients to your practice, improve production, and ensure sustained growth and profitability for your practice. A complete review of your current online marketing efforts is a great way to start. Make sure you consider the evolution of mobile, topical search, and social as you plan your strategy.