5 Reasons Why Your Practice Website Needs a Blog and How to Get Started

By Whiteboard Marketing

Every dental practice website needs a blog. Blogging helps improve the overall quality of your website and increases opportunities to rank or show up on search engines when a patient is searching for a dentist in your area. Outlined below are the five most important reasons why your practice website needs a blog and some tips to get started writing a blog of your own.

1. Blogs improve your overall website content by focusing on key search terms for your practice.

The goal of your overall website content is to attract new patients and make it easier for them to discover you when searching on Google. Good website content strategically incorporates important keywords while covering who you are, why you’re different from other dentists, services and procedures, and how to contact you.

Adding a dental blog to your content strategy provides an opportunity to:

  • Continue adding new and original content to your website.
  • Target specific keywords or terms that you want to show up for on Google during a patient search.

For example, a Florida periodontist who wants to attract All-on-4® patients may want to write a blog on the difference between All-on-4® dental implants and traditional dental implants. Or, a general dentist who wants to attract more hygiene patients may want to write a blog about the five reasons why you should schedule regular dental cleanings. Blogs are an opportunity to increase the number of keywords that you appear for in search results. More impressions lead to more clicks onto your website, more clicks lead to more conversions, and more conversions lead to more patients scheduled.

2. Blogs are a great way to add internal links to your practice website.

Internal linking is an on-page search engine optimization (SEO) strategy that links one page on your website to another. The goal is to create a structure where Google can easily understand the relationship between different pages and the content. Blogs help highlight the most relevant content by linking certain words to pages. For example, if you write a blog about the most commonly asked questions about teeth whitening, you would link your first mention of teeth whitening to the practice whitening page. High quality blog posts demonstrate authority through topic recency, inbound external links and user traffic. “Link equity” is then passed to key pages through an internal linking strategy, meaning that links are able to pass authority to the pages they link to. 

3. Blogs help generate important external links to your website.

An important part of building a website that ranks well in Google is “off-page optimization.” The goal of this strategy is to build links from other websites that link to your site. Links from other sites, such as the Florida Dental Association, American Dental Association, or even your local chamber of commerce or high school boosters website, convey to Google that other websites see your website as important or valuable. If your practice donates custom mouthguards to your high school football team, write a blog about the importance of wearing mouthguards for contact sports. Ask the school to post a news article on its website and link back to your practice website.

Writing guest blogs also is a great tactic to acquire external links. Write a blog for a local pediatrician’s office about the best age for a baby’s first visit to the dental office and ask the pediatrician to link to your practice website in the post. External links are still one of the most important ranking factors in Google’s algorithm.

4. Blogs highlight your expertise and credibility.

You are a dentist who stays on top of trends, you attend continuing education and you are considered an authority in the industry. Google’s uses E.A.T. (Expertise, Authority, Trust) to display high quality search results. By communicating your expert opinion throughout your blogs, you can elevate your authority to Google and your patients. Consider adding a quote from yourself or an associate dentist in your blogs, and explain your expertise.

5. Blogs are perfect to post on social media and in patient emails.

Blogs establish you as a knowledgeable leader in the dental industry. Where better to highlight your experience and expertise than on social media and via regular patient emails? Reposting your blog on social media allows you to create consistency across digital media platforms. As you build your practice’s brand, this allows you and your practice to build trust and brand advocates among your most loyal patients.

Social media also is a great place to repost charts, images and videos contained in your blogs. Social media is a visual medium, even more so than your website. Charts and images can be real attention grabbers.

How to Get Started Blogging

Getting started is always the hardest part of blogging. We’ve outlined some steps below to help you along the way.

1. Decide how frequently you will blog.

Ideally, we recommend posting twice a month if possible, but start with a goal of one blog a month. Then, if you think you can post more consistently, go for it.

2. Identify the services, procedures or treatments you want to show up when a patient searches for a dentist.

Before you start writing, determine what procedures will increase your practice revenue. If you want to focus on attracting more fee-for-service patients and you have a dental membership plan, then you will want to write blogs on dental membership plans and cosmetic dentistry procedures. Developing this initial treatment list will help keep you focused on the end-game of your blog strategy — to rank during a search and acquire new patients

3. Create your blog topic list.

  • Start a list of most commonly asked questions by your patients.
    This is a great way to get your staff involved. Post a sheet in your break room and ask staff to add the most frequently asked questions. What are some ways that you can cross sell or upsell services, such as teeth whitening? These questions translate into the best blog topics because it is information potential patients are most interested in.
  • Use Google auto-complete.
    You don’t need Search Engine Optimization software to come up with great topics. Simply start typing your services into the Google search bar. Google will auto-complete words and information that other people are searching for. Give Google what it wants and use this as material to write blogs.

4. Write your blog.

Take the time to sit down and write your blog. Plan to spend one to two hours writing, so block this time out on your calendar to write.

  • Record yourself speaking and get it transcribed.
    If you are a natural orator, record yourself as the basis for your content. Transcription software exists to help minimize the time it takes to transfer a digital file to text. This is one of our favorite ways to generate blog content for our dental clients, because it allows us to use accurate content in the dentist’s actual voice and tone. 
  • Consider hiring a third-party partner to write blogs.
    Find a subject matter expert and let them do the heavy lifting. Life gets in the way of writing, but there are great writers out there that can keep you on schedule with a regular blog cadence.

Overall, adding a blog to your practice website will boost your online presence and build trust among current and potential patients. The effects are seen, not just on your own website, but in other media across the web. Take advantage of the opportunity to share your knowledge and improve the visibility of your practice. Read more about how to add a blog page and blog to your WordPress website. 


Written by Whiteboard Marketing team members Jon Cahen, Director of SEO, with input from Sara Wehrle, Local SEO Specialist, and Kristi Simone, CMO. Whiteboard Marketing is a dental practice marketing firm that partners with 200+ dentists nationwide to develop and implement practice marketing strategies that increase new patient acquisition and build brand awareness.

Know What’s Driving Your Dental Practice’s Inbound Calls

By Allison Doyle, Demandforce

Whether your dental office is staffed by two or 20, in order to maintain growth and profitability, you need to keep your chairs full with a steady stream of new and returning patients. Yet according to a Health Policy Institute study released by the American Dental Association, the projected growth rate of dentists per capita between 2015 and 2035 is 7.9 percent. This means that your practice will soon be (if it isn’t already) immersed in a competitive marketplace.

The modern Florida dental practice knows its patients and markets to them.
With more options for your patients to choose from when it comes to their dental health, it’s now more important than ever to know who your patients are, and what drives them to book an appointment. You not only have to attract new patients to your practice, but you also have to nurture relationships with your current patients to keep them coming back — and to keep referring you to their friends and family.

You may already be sending email marketing to your patients like recall promotions or referral rewards. You could even be actively posting on your Facebook page and running ads. These are all great ways to get your dental practice to stand out among the crowd, but how do you know which are the most effective, and which you could do without?

Call Tracking removes the mystery from your marketing campaigns.
Call Tracking is the ability to assign unique, trackable phone numbers to specific marketing campaigns, so you know exactly what’s driving your inbound calls. In some Call Tracking portals, you can even see helpful data such as call duration, caller name and a recording of the call itself.

Having this data not only helps you gain valuable patient insights, but also allows you to identify your most effective campaigns and make data-driven marketing decisions. For example, if you see that a certain email promotion has had success in bringing in new patients, you might try sending it to your inactive patient base as a recall campaign.

 

If you’re looking for a way to track campaign performance, or learn more about Call Tracking and other marketing tools designed specifically for Florida dentists, visit demandforce.com. Call Tracking is available to all Demandforce customers, and Florida Dental Association members receive special pricing on the Demandforce platform. For more information, or to set up a live demo, visit demandforce.com/FDA.

The Value of Your Current Patients

By Jackie Ulasewich, Founder, My Dental Agency

There are a lot of reasons to want to bring in new patients. Maybe you want to expand your practice enough to hire an associate, maybe you want to open a second location or maybe you want to make sure your practice is established enough for you to have a healthy retirement when the time comes. Whatever the reason, you need to remember the people who have already helped you grow your practice: your current patients. Bringing new patients through the front door is useless if your current patients are sneaking out through the back.

Why They’re Valuable
If you’re lucky, your patients are loyal to you. With patient loyalty comes regular visits, more involved treatments and those sought-after referrals. If you are not loyal in return, then what’s to stop them from switching to another practice?

How to Create Loyalty
Your patients have tons of dentists from which to choose. Some of those dentists may offer discounted treatments, some may be closer to home or work or some may have a stronger marketing game. What makes your practice unique is YOU, but you have to be willing to remind your patients that you’re there for them beyond their semi-annual appointments and you have to let them see who you are when they’re not in your chair. The following ideas will get you started.

  • Use Facebook multiple times a week. Only 20 percent of your posts should “sell” a service or product; the other 80 percent should be fun posts that show the personalities of both you and your practice.
  • Use targeted emails. Have you spoken with clients about a treatment such as implants or adult orthodontics who haven’t followed through? Reach out to those people via email to remind them of your discussion and encourage them to seek treatment.
  • Use email regularly. Once a month, reach out to your current patients via email. The content can be educational, but keep it fun; you’re trying to keep your patients informed and make them feel connected to the practice, not overwhelmed by information.
  • Use customized content. Nothing says “I’m just phoning it in” like mass-produced marketing content. Using customized content on your site, social networking platforms and emails is another way to set yourself apart from the other practices and let your patients know who you are.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to grow your practice. In fact, the same tricks that help your current patients feel connected to you also help potential patients know why your practice is unique. But instead of putting all of your efforts towards bringing in new patients, remember that you have current patients who need a reason to stay loyal.

 

With over a decade of experience in corporate dental laboratory marketing and brand development, Jackie Ulasewich decided to take her passion for the dental business and marketing to the next level by founding My Dental Agency. Since starting her company, she and her team have helped a wide variety of practices all over the nation focus their message, reach their target patients, and grow their practice through effective marketing campaigns. When she isn’t helping dental practices reach their full potential, she can be found at the beach with her three dogs or immersed in everything food-related with her large Italian family. For more information, call (800) 689-6434.

 This article originally appeared on DentistryToday.com

How to Calculate Your Marketing ROI

By Sarah Woods, Core Dental Solution

In my last blog post, I outlined the important key performance indicators (KPIs) to determine how well your practice’s marketing tactics are working. I discussed eight of the most important KPIs for every dental practice and the ones I often use as the directors of the overall marketing strategies I create for my clients. These KPIs are sales revenue, cost-per-lead, traffic-per-lead ratio, lead-to-customer ratio, number of calls (leads), patient retention percentage, number of patients reactivated and new patient source.

Before we start, what’s a lead? A lead is a prospective patient who has reached out to your practice in some way. This could be a phone call, a walk in or a website inquiry. A lead is different than traffic. Traffic is the people who go to the website, social media page or see your advertisement.

Now, let’s breakdown these KPIs and understand how each is calculated.

  • Sales revenue: It is important to look at both the production and collection numbers every month. Production is the raw amount before collections, adjustments and overhead is subtracted. When determining whether marketing efforts are working, production is more reliable than collections because many factors can affect collections. For example, marketing is not related to whether the correct copays are collected, how much insurance is adjusted or the amount of overhead.
  • Cost-per-lead: This measurement is important when determining how much a practice is spending for each lead. Simply divide the cost of marketing campaign by the total number of leads, like this:

cost of marketing campaign
      total number of leads

  • Traffic-to-lead ratio: This measurement is what I use to determine whether a marketing campaign is effective. It is calculated by converting the traffic to leads into a ratio, (traffic : leads). Remember, the traffic is everyone who sees a campaign, website, etc., and leads are the amount of people who reached out to the practice in some way. For example, to see how a website is doing, its analytics are used to determine the traffic. Leads can be measured manually (a staff person collecting information and documenting how many calls are coming into the practice) or with call-tracking.
  • Lead-to-customer ratio: This KPI is similar to the conversion rate in that it determines the amount of leads that convert to customers. The ratio is leads : customers, and can also be reduced.
  • Number of calls (leads): It is crucial to track every lead. The most effective and reliable way to do this is by using a call-tracking service. I don’t recommend staff members tracking leads because these numbers are significantly less reliable. This KPI is the foundation for the rest and it is crucial that it’s accurate.
  • Patient retention percentage: This KPI is calculated to determine the percentage of patients retained in the practice. It is calculated by taking the difference of the number of deactivated patients from the total patients, and then dividing by the total patients and multiplying by 100, like this:

(Total patients- deactivated patients)   x 100 =  Patient retention %
Total patients

  • Patient reactivation percentage: This KPI determines how many overdue patients (hasn’t been seen in at least nine months) are being reactivated. The patient reactivation percentage is calculated by taking the difference of the number of reactivated patients from the total number of overdue patients, and then dividing by the total number of overdue patients and multiplying by 100, like this:

(Total overdue patients – reactivated patients)  x 100 = Patient reactivation %
Total overdue patients

  • New patient source: This KPI is crucial and just like the number of leads KPI, the foundation for all the KPIs. It is crucial that the source of every new patient is entered correctly. This sometimes takes training staff on the importance of marketing and asking the right questions when a prospect calls.

There is one last KPI that I forgot to add to my last blog. It’s the annual new patient growth. This number is calculated by taking the difference of the number of patients in a given year and the number of patients in a previous year, and dividing by the number of patients in a previous year, then multiplying by 100, like this:

(Number of patients in given year – number of patients in previous year) x 100
Number of patients in previous year

Accurately calculating these KPIs is extremely important when determining whether your marketing is effective — and if done correctly, can prevent wasteful marketing spending.

 

Sarah Woods is a marketing consultant and president of Core Dental Solutions, a full-service dental marketing agency that provides digital, traditional and inbound marketing to dental practice owners meeting them where they are in their life cycle. They approach dental practice marketing with a “holistic” mindset. Rather than incorporating “set-and-forget” marketing tactics to generate revenue and address shortfalls, they turn a dental practice into a well-oiled machine. Sarah can be reached at Sarah@CoreDentalSolutions.com.