Opening a new dental practice is exciting, fulfilling, overwhelming, or perhaps a little bit of all of the above. For some dentists, it’s also a long-held dream come true.
We’re approached all the time by dentists who are embarking on this exciting journey. If that describes you, congratulations!
Building a new dental practice from the ground up comes along with a lot of decisions to make regarding location, staffing, construction, finances, technology, decor, and so on. It’s also the time to make crucial, foundational decisions regarding your new BRAND and MARKETING.
Here are three of the questions we’re asked most frequently by dentists who are opening a new practice from the ground up:
- Should I start with a custom website or a template website to save money?
- Which online marketing elements are the most important for my new dental practice… and why?
- How can I set my new practice’s marketing up for long-term growth?
We’ll address each of these questions in this blog post – and we’ll provide a New Practice Marketing Checklist that can help guide you through those important decisions.
Custom or template website?
The last thing you want to do it bust your budget. But the first thing you want to do is get new patients to call and walk through your doors!
Let’s work through this together:
From a purely financial standpoint, you may love the idea of a templated website and there is nothing wrong with that. It’s a great starting point and generally inexpensive.
What you need to know, however, is that a template website may feature generic written content and/or stock photos. Boring, unoriginal content and stock photos certainly won’t show off the beautiful new brand you’re building and the time, effort, and dedication you’re bringing to your new practice.
Essentially, a template may dilute your visibility online (do you really want to look like every other dentist out there?).
You’ll likely find that a custom website that’s built for long-term growth better fits your needs and goals. What are some of the benefits of choosing a custom website instead of a template?
- A custom website should feature unique content, headlines, and trust-builders that really show off your WHY – why patients should choose YOU over the competition.
- Custom content helps your new practice show off its personality and values in an authentic, purposeful way.
- Real photographs are so much more successful and authentic than stock photography. (TIP: If your practice isn’t completed or open yet, start with a professional photoshoot that captures your personality, perhaps you with your family, and the setting and community your practice will be in. A more thorough photoshoot featuring the office and your new team can be scheduled for later on.)
- A custom website can be built for growth – ready to add to over time as your practice grows!
If your goal is to stand out and highlight your WHY, a custom website and custom content will be the difference that patients need to choose your new practice over the compeition.
Need a little inspiration? Check out a few examples of new practice websites by Roadside:
- Nashville Dentistry Co. (Dr. Patel experienced 400% growth in just the first year!)
- Orthodontic Specialists Indian Valley
- Green Hills Pediatric Dentistry
New practice marketing checklist
Which marketing elements does a new practice really need?
The following new practice marketing checklist outlines the 4 top essentials we recommend, as well as a few possible other marketing efforts you may want to consider depending on your area, competition, and initial goals
The essentials: We strongly recommend a new dental practice starts with the following four essentials: a logo, website, local citations, and branded social profiles. Here are a few details and reasons why these are so important for a startup practice.
Your logo is one crucial piece in your overall brand – it gives potential patients clues as to what type of practice you are. This is especially significant for a new practice.
Establishing a professional, consistent, and current brand right from the beginning gives you the opportunity to be in control of your message and how you present your practice.
Your logo will appear on your website, social media, patient giveaways, apparel for your team, all of your printed materials, and maybe even your company car (who knows!?)
Not only is it important for everything to flow visually, your images online will be “named” as a part of your citations and SEO (we talk about those in just a bit).
As mentioned above, your website is more important than you can imagine. It’s filled with keywords, content, and photos – all of which need to be optimized to keep you relevant and ranking high.
Search engines are constantly reaching out looking to pick up little pieces that help move your rankings up. The more information you put out there, the more searchable your practice will be, but you also need to consistently maintain that information and the way it appears on the internet.
(Guess what, we do that!)
Optimizing for local search is crucial for all dental practices, but especially for a brand new practice.
Imagine you’ve left your previous place of employment to open your own practice (yay for you!!). Contractually, you may not have been allowed to discuss your departure with team members or favorite patients. They need to be able to find you again.
Local citations are any combination of your name, your company name, address, phone number, zip code and website address floating around the web waiting to be picked up by search engines. They are yet another piece that contributes to how you are found in local search results.
What if you are buying an existing practice and changing the name?
CONSISTENCY IS KING online. If the business NAME, ADDRESS, and PHONE (NAP) is not consistent across the web on all directories, you could prevent the business from showing up properly. If Google is not sure which is accurate, none of the versions may be easily found.
Think of social media as awareness. Most consumers are more likely to seek your services and recommend you to others if you are active on social media. These profiles validate your business and what you do.
This is the perfect opportunity to show future patients who you are and what you are about. Your personality does matter and regular posts across different social media platforms will help your overall online visibility.
The moment you break ground, document the progress of your new venture on social media. Your family, friends and patients want to see how you’re progressing!
Additional recommendations: We may also recommend the following items for a new dental practice. These recommendations really depend on a lot of factors, including area, competition, and business goals.
PAID ADS (SEM)
Some markets are more competitive than others. Some patients will follow you to your new practice. You may be opening far from your previous practice. Your location may not be ideal, but statistically, you know you’re in a good area.
These are just a few reasons we may recommend paying to have YOUR office show up first when someone searches for related keywords. Paid ads are a great tool to add into you overall marketing plan. Stay relevant, stay searchable, stay successful!
PRINTED MARKETING MATERIALS
The earliest and most organic way to spread the word about your practice will be face-to-face. WHOA. This means handing out flyers to your neighbors, church members, partnering up with a non-profit, and you will become a pro at setting up a booth at the farmer’s markets and festivals.
Everything about your brand needs to flow throughout your online presence, printed material, and social media. Keep it clean and easy and get ready to hit the streets!
ORGANIC AND LOCAL ONGOING SEO
Google updates its search algorithm 500-700 times a year. Sheesh! Imagine clinical standards changing that many times in a year. You’d need an entire team to monitor and implement changes. Well, that team exists here at Roadside! Think of us as an extension of your practice – we’re here to monitor, manage, and grow your SEO.
Imagine ongoing SEO as a roadmap that leads every patient right to your front door! Every bit of your professional and practice information down to the digits in your phone number has to be maintained to keep that map leading them down the right roads and right into your parking lot.
Marketing for long-term growth
Everything worth doing takes planning. There was a lot of planning involved with opening your doors; now you likely need assistance to help plan your marketing.
It’s easy to start strong with marketing when you first open your doors. Then as you get more patients, it gets harder to maintain momentum. Roadside’s got you covered with great planning tools and guidelines for everything from quarterly planning to weekly checklists.
How does Roadside help new dental practices hit the ground running?
It’s our passion to help you build a marketing culture within your practice from the outset. We’re all about tools, resources, and education!
Here are just a few of the resources we provide new (and also not-so-new) practices to help create a marketing mindset within your entire team:
- Weekly DIY marketing tools for social media and in-office campaigns
- Coaching to help you use morning huddles to get your whole team involved in looking for marketing moments
- How-to training videos explaining how to ask for reviews, how to blog, and more
- Printable checklists, calendars, and other tools to get it all done (with your team’s help!)
- Quarterly check-in calls with your team at Roadside to discuss your progress, goals, and focus for the upcoming quarter
- Regular reports and check-ins regarding the health of your website and marketing
We’ll even keep you motivated year-round so you never run out of ideas!
Like we said at the outset, congratulations on your new office! You’ve worked very hard for this and marketing is an important part of your success.
Our hope is that you understand the value of having not just a strong website, but also the role of citations, social profiles, and SEO and how they affect your visibility on the web. Ads and printed materials are also important, but we can help you prioritize and make sure the internet knows just how truly amazing you are!
Need some guidance and assistance navigating and choosing the right options for marketing YOUR new practice?
Book a free, no-strings-attached consultation with Angela, who has more than 23+ years of experience in high-performing dental practices. Pick her brain and ask all of your questions – really! She’ll provide honest recommendations and is an amazing resource for your new practice!