Let’s Get Real. Patients Don’t Choose Dentistry Like They Choose Toasters.
We know we’re stating the obvious when we say how much the internet has changed the way consumers shop. We can buy virtually anything we want or need with a few clicks from just about anywhere, anytime. Whether searching for live lobsters, patio furniture, socks or batteries, we buy a myriad of products for our everyday lives when shopping online.
But what about shopping for services such as an insurance company, a cardiologist, an attorney, or…a dentist?
In this article, our 3rd in our series of Google rankings and SEO, we will change your perception of how consumers ultimately choose a dentist, and what you can do to increase the probability that they’ll choose you.
Product versus experience.
It’s pretty simple to search for a toaster online and find a variety of retailers where you can compare prices, features and benefits. Does it have the number of slots you’re looking for? Does it toast bagels? What colors does it come in? Is it in the right price? Pick the best one for you and it’s on its way to your doorstep.
Choosing a dentist, however is more of an intangible. It’s about the experience the patient is looking for. Will the dentist address our fears? Is the staff friendly? What’s the office environment like? There are so many questions that a potential patient may have and your web presence should reflect providing the best patient experience.
Which one would you pick?
Dental practices aren’t designed to be evaluated the same way one would evaluate a toaster.
Think about it this way: Ten equally qualified dentists are lined up in a room. You can see that each has the proper education and degree, but other than that, what can you discern about each one? Well, not much. So let’s talk about how you can stand out in the room.
It’s all about brand perception.
Branding isn’t just a logo or a website. It’s comprised of many different components, all of which define the promise (also referred to as a unique value-proposition) that you make to consumers and patients that helps separate you from the competition in the marketplace.
With any product or service, the goal is to be top-of-mind when a consumer makes a decision use your services. The consumer may or may not have a need at the time they search, but may choose you down the road if they’re familiar with your brand.
Take a look at Geico. This insurance giant spends a billion dollars a year on marketing to make sure that they’re brand is synonymous with insurance. This doesn’t mean that when a consumer sees a Geico ad that they’ll instantaneously choose Geico, but when a consumer is searching for an insurance company, people will remember the Geico brand. Geico knows that the impressions their advertising creates will, over time, translates into a return on investment. And believe it or not, it’s the same in the dental industry.
How do your promote your brand online?
Increasing your overall web presence is vital to promoting your brand and creating impressions, which is ultimately what leads to conversions. To promote your brand, you must focus on the following key components:
As we discussed in our previous article, Does SEO Even Matter Anymore, SEO is just like a traditional advertising source such as TV, radio and print ads. However, with SEO, being able to measure and laser target your audience far outshines the traditional advertising sources.
SEO isn’t easy or simple. It’s an ongoing and ever-changing process requiring constant attention on Google’s algorithm for search rankings. When we developed Legwork’s Five Pillars of SEO, we defined the process of making the most of your SEO, and now we need to bring to light the components within that process you can use to increase your brand online, which include positive online reviews, a strong social media presence, accurate business listings across the web, and fresh content marketing.
Online Reviews: Consumers have turned to online reviews in their decision making process. According to a survey conducted by BrightLocal, 91% of consumers now read online reviews prior to making a decision. BrightLocal’s survey also found that over 70% of consumers will write an online review if asked by the business. By consistently asking for online reviews, you will get more reviews. Plain and simple. And Legwork’s review platform automatically does that for you.
Social Media: Social media postings are key because social media sites are where you can not only educate your clients about the importance of dental health, but to also build rapport and show the human side of your practice. We have to remember people want that overall patient experience and emotional buy-in is critical. By using the educational posts that Legwork provides and adding the “human” posts, you are increasing your brand exposure.
Business Listings: There are over 50 online business listing companies out there that list your NAP (name, address and phone number) information, which also include other details such as your website, contact email, office hours and more. It’s imperative to ensure that this information is correct all across the web, so that consumers get your correct information, and to assist with organic SEO.
It would take countless hours to scrub these sites yourself, and any time you make a change, you would have to go to all of the business listing companies again. That just isn’t a good use of your time, but it is important work. With Legwork’s business listings audit tool, the work is done for you.
Content Marketing: One of the ways that Google ranks websites is by how much fresh content is posted. For some businesses, this is extremely simple to do. The New York Times certainly posts content regularly. But in the dental industry, it can be difficult to find new content to post. Add that challenge to the fact that people don’t go to a dentist’s website unless there is a need for services and we’re missing out on one the best ways to enhance SEO.
Using the Legwork monthly educational campaign blog posts and our marketing sequences campaigns will drive patients and potential patients to your website, increasing page clicks and time on site (not to mention educating and nurturing your patients!). This is a huge component of enhancing SEO and the Legwork team has the tools to drive traffic to your site.
It’s safe to say that using SEO as a tool for growth is vital for any business, but Google sure doesn’t make it easy, and there are a lot of misconceptions out there about how this all really works. The good news is that we at Legwork are stating the facts, and we’re here to help.
Thanks for taking the time to read our blog series about Legwork’s philosophy on Google searches and SEO. We hope that you’ve gained insight and found value in what we’ve had to say. As we’ve said before, and we’ll say again, in order for Legwork to Deliver Happiness, we’ve got to be truthful and transparent, even if that means shaking things up a bit.