According to a recent post, the past 24 months saw the appearance of nearly 350 million new websites. That’s an average of 14.6 million new websites every month.
It’s getting harder than ever to reach the potential patients you want.
Clearly, only a tiny fraction of those new websites are for dental practices, and only a tiny fraction of those are dentists in your market. And, it’s the rare individual who spends time cruising dental websites for fun.
But those staggering figures mean that the competition for people’s attention is growing at a rate that no one ever imagined.
That’s why I tell dentists that they can’t do what they’ve always done and expect to get what they’ve always gotten. In today’s exploding Internet environment, doing what you’ve always done will get you less and less as time goes on.
Is your marketing up to the challenge?
That’s a particularly thorny question for dentists who advertise more than they market, who chase patients instead of setting up a system that will attract the patients they want
Traditional advertising isn’t dead, but it’s certainly not what it used to be. Consider these points:
- People can and do fast-forward through TV commercials.
- Almost every new car offers a sound system with iPod connectivity.
- Auto manufacturers now offer satellite radio which many consumers prefer to local radio.
- Newspaper subscription rates have tanked.
- The proliferation of direct mail has made it harder to get your mailer noticed.
- The Yellow Pages as a source of information has hit bottom.
You already know, or should, that your marketing has to be online, because that’s where people go for information. So you probably have a website.
If you think that’s enough to compete in today’s Internet environment, you’re wrong.
Unless, of course, you’re literally the only dentist in town.
Smart dentists know that Google, which accounts for three-quarters of all U.S. searches, has a very complex website search ranking system. One of the most important considerations these days is having great content – content that is fresh, relevant, authoritative, and provides answers to people’s queries.
When was the last time you updated your website’s content? Or took a close look at whether it provides the information that people are searching for?
Let’s assume that you have great content. How many people are viewing it? If you haven’t done the search engine optimization (SEO) work to satisfy Google, chances are that you’re not ranking high enough for people to find you.
And is your website your only online marketing? Other dentists in your area are attracting attention via their blogs and Facebook pages, and adding enough new and interesting content to keep their names in front of potential patients.
The Internet is only going to get more challenging. Dentists who don’t keep up will be left behind, and being left behind is a danger to the profitability and even the survival of your practice.
The writing is on the wall: If you’re still pursuing patients via traditional advertising, you’ll get fewer and fewer over time. The Internet is where it’s at for dentists.