You’ve done it. You’re finished with the endless years of school, the years of clinical training, and the stress of passing your state licensing. Now you’re ready to start a dental practice, which means it’s time to figure out how to market yourself and your business. There’s lots of Advice about what to do, but there are some common mistakes we see new graduates make, so we want to give you some cautionary advice on what not to do.
Mistake #1: Hiring your cousin, the tech guy, to build your practice website.
Let’s say you sit next to your cousin at Thanksgiving dinner. You tell him you’re just about ready to open your new practice and need a website. Well, guess who knows his way around a video game console…and a computer?
“Piece of cake. You should let me build it for you. I’ll make you a sweet deal,” he says through a mouthful of green beans with slivered almonds.
And now you can’t figure out why your site doesn’t show up anywhere in search. You can’t understand why visitors spend so little time before exiting when they do find your site. You can’t understand why it takes 30 seconds to load a page.
Building a good-looking, well-functioning website isn’t something anyone with a little computer savvy should just throw together. In fact, it’s not really a one-person job anymore, because your website needs to function as your front desk person, tour guide, scheduling coordinator, procedure expert/authority, and other roles. And it has to be optimized for search so that Google understands it as well as a visitor reading a page about the benefits of dental implants.
The days of people finding dental practices through colleagues or neighbors aren’t completely over, but more and more patients find providers through search and online ratings. Oh yeah, and most of them aren’t just using their computers anymore either: your website needs to comply with Google’s mobile-first design standards as well as being built with responsive practices in mind so it works with any combination of browser or device used to access it.
Your cousin is likely a talented guy, but he’s probably not an expert in building medical websites. He may know how to play around in WordPress, but that’s not at all the same thing as what we’re talking about here. Your site needs lots of photos, videos, engaging writing, a modern layout, and easily accessed phone numbers and appointment booking options. Photos and videos need to be professionally shot and produced, not haphazardly snapped with your cousin’s iPhone.
Your site also needs to be optimized for search. That means that every page needs tags and descriptions on the back end that help Google understand what’s on every page. It means the content has to be expansive and grammatically correct, as Google sees this as beneficial to the searcher. It has to have a sitemap that explains exactly what your site is to Google’s bots. Plus, overlooking the security aspect can have disastrous consequences as well.
So if you’re just receiving your practice license and Thanksgiving is coming up, politely tell your cousin, “Thanks, but no thanks. And could you please pass the stuffing?”
Mistake #2: Having a third party completely manage your social media presence.
Dentists often discount social media as a marketing/customer relations tool. Many practices don’t even have a practice Facebook page. And if they do, the last time a posting went up was on World Oral Hygiene Day, March 20…of last year.
Social media is where your practice can let its hair down, so to speak. This is where you show your patients and followers a different side, one without the latex gloves and masks. Your practice’s Facebook page is a great place to post pictures of your staff both at your practice doing their thing, but also out and about on their own time.
As a new dentist, you might be tempted to have someone else manage your social media pages entirely, but having someone else handle your posts removes the personable aspect that makes social media….social. Not only is the person managing your account not really involved with your practice, but you’re also missing out on the opportunity to connect with your own patients and potential patients.
There is a middle ground here: choosing a tool that makes managing your social media pages less time-consuming and easier. A calendar view so you can schedule and plan your posts at a glance, a content library to make it easy to fill in those days you just don’t know what to post, and performance metrics so you know what works and what doesn’t turns social media into less of a guessing game and more of an exercise in connection.
Mistake #3: Having a blog, but not keeping it updated.
If MyAdvice built your website, it features a blog. If your cousin built it, probably not. Blogging helps build authority as an expert to the people who visit your site – but it can’t do that if you don’t keep it updated! It allows you to educate your audience about this procedure versus that. Why you no longer use silver amalgam, for instance, is a great blog topic. Plus, Google loves blogs. Its bots crawl your site and they see all those keywords about procedures you want to be known for. They see additional content with every blog. They see new content with every blog. Google loves all of this and ranks you higher in search because of it.
Plus, every blog makes your website bigger, adding more and more reasons Google should deliver your site to a searcher who typed in “What is laser gum contouring?” Your site has three blogs, an expansive procedure page, and a few before and after photos of laser gum contouring. Remember that Google wants searchers to feel the search results perfectly answer their query, and it looks like your site fits that bill for laser gum contouring.
We Can Help
You’ve done the hard part — you’re a dentist! Don’t make it harder on yourself by making these three mistakes. MyAdvice can help you avoid these and more, and save you time and money in the process. Contact one of our digital marketing experts to set up a complimentary consultation today.