How To: Take Your Dental Practice Local
Living in the digital age ushers in endless advantages; getting lost is a thing of the past and no question is ever left unanswered. But living in a digital-first age also comes with its challenges, especially for local medical providers.
It used to be that every neighborhood and town had its crop of dry cleaners, florists, and dentists. People didn’t have to look outside of their immediate surroundings to find the services they needed. Some clever signage, maybe a few ads in the local paper, and if you were really ambitious, a radio spot or was all you needed to connect with local patrons and ensure the future of your business.
Fast-forward to 2017 where running a small office is a different ballgame. Digital media has all but erased town lines and community boundaries, opening the world up in an unprecedented way. Living in an interconnected, transparent, and more globalized culture is a gift, but it has also made sustaining patron-provider relationships a little tricky. Today people have more choice than ever before when it comes to finding services, including medical services. Yes, it’s true that 2016 saw historically low moving rates, but people no longer have to physically change locations to explore new options and services. The plight of small brick-and-mortar shops in America has received its fair share of media attention over the course of the past decade, but local dentists face the same challenges.
Often when people find a Dentist that they feel comfortable with, they often pledge a silent allegiance and remain patients for life. But dental practitioners can no longer rely on this mindset. For example, Millennials, the generation that came of age with a smart phone in hand, are more apt to leave their doctors behind and explore different options – even virtual ones. Luckily, digital media is a two-way street, and there are many digital steps Dentists can take to increase their awareness and attract new patients.
Clean Up your Digital Identity
Running paid media campaigns is no longer a luxury for medical providers; if practitioners, (especially practitioners in urban areas where there is an abundance of choice) want to maintain a certain volume of patients, they must be willing to engage with patients where they spend most of their time: online. So if you’re not already running Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns, now is the time to start.
Before you create a Google AdWords account, let’s start with a few basics. First of all, what is a PPC campaign? According to Search Engine Land’s paid search marketing breakdown, Pay Per Click is a mobile search ad in which the advertisers is charged by the number of clicks the ad generates. Advertisers use programs like Google AdWords to create bids around certain relevant keywords; the higher the bid, the better page positioning the ad will claim when someone uses the targeted search. Although, paying Google or Bing every time someone clicks on your ad doesn’t sound like a lot of fun. Usually, the click will be worth so much more than the nominal fee. Through some basic keyword research, you can build a PPC ad around common local search terms, so that the next time someone types in a relevant keyword or phrase on Google, your PPC ad will appear on their results page.
Growth Hack your Way to Local PPC Success
Growth hacking is a digital marketing buzzword that gets thrown around without explanation far too often. Basically, growth hacks are tactics employed to drive more traffic and revenue for your business. Growth hacking is integral to PPC success because much of running an effective PPC program revolves around trial and error; you have to be willing to research and experiment with a variety of keywords and ad extensions to find the best fit for your business. When you’re formulating PPC ads, you’ll have the opportunity to growth hack and experiment with a variety of copy and Ad Extensions. Extensions are additional business details, including phone number, address, website, and hours of operation. To gain local prominence and an edge over your neighboring competitors, be sure to include your actual location in your callout extension. Wordstream also encourages PPC campaign managers to experiment with including local zip in your ad copy, because numbers often stand out in paid ads.
While it’s true that everyone needs a local dentist, it’s no longer realistic to rely on patient loyalty or word-of-mouth referrals to drive patient visits. Running a few simple and smart PPC ads could help you continue to run a thriving local practice in the digital age.