Digital marketing: which channels to focus on?
Digital marketing: which channels to focus on?
Often, the digital marketing strategies that deserve your attention are the “unsexy” ones.

Digital marketing channels help you reach your target audience with information about your brand, treatments, or service.

There are a wide range of channels out there, and using a blended approach allows you to help your customers with any questions or challenges they may have while positioning your business well for the services you offer.

Not all digital marketing channels are right for every one of your business objectives, however. Some are more suitable for certain types of audiences, while others are set up differently depending on what they’re capable of doing. Often, the digital marketing strategies that deserve your attention are the “unsexy” ones.

In this article, we’ll look at just five channels and consider how to make them work for you, based on experience rather than theory. I’ve purposely excluded social advertising and publishing because these are worthy of a dedicated blog and get a lot of attention; often at the expense of the reliable digital channels mentioned below.

1. Word-of-mouth marketing

According to recent research, 70% of consumers say that trusting a brand is more important today than ever before. On the other hand, consumer trust in brands and the paid content they create is possibly at an all-time low.

People naturally trust other consumers over marketers because marketers have an agenda. Their promotion of products and services is to generate leads and sales, but customers will only rave about a product or service if it truly benefits them.

Here some valuable facts:

  • Consumers report that a person like themselves (another consumer) is 14% more credible than a brand employee.
  • 39% of consumers build trust in a brand from peer-to-peer conversations, compared to 23% from a brand’s paid advertising.
  • 9 out of 10 consumers read reviews when making purchasing decisions.

So, what’s a marketer to do when the very people they need to persuade don’t trust them? Rely on their patients’ recommendations of their brand to inspire others to make contact. Word-of-mouth marketing isn’t reliant on face-to-face conversations, however, so prompting and a good internal process are necessary here.

Satisfied patients will post about you online, tell their friends and family they like your service, and leave positive reviews on your Google Business page. These actions are credible and authentic, and create the confidence that others need to make contact.

It’s therefore important to create a customer experience that caters to all your patients’ needs and to provide top-notch customer service. Once you’ve got happy patients, you can use online tools to request reviews, and to monitor and publish them (there are a few out there, so do ask us to help). Based on one such system, one Hive client now achieves 10-20 new four- and five-star reviews each month.

2. SEO & blog content

Search engines are arguably the best marketing channel for grabbing attention. In fact, they’re now the primary source of discovery for new products and services.

Search engines are also one of the highest converting marketing channels. Since people actively search for answers to their questions and solutions to their problems on Google, they’re likely to make contact if they find the information they are looking for. This means that optimising all of your business’ existing channels will likely bring traffic and increase conversions. While a website may be your first thought when optimising for SEO, this also applies to your YouTube Channel, Google Maps, Google My Business profile and blog.

To build a thriving organic presence online, consider implementing a pillar cluster model into your blogs. Using this strategy, you’ll create a single pillar page that provides a high-level overview of a topic and hyperlinks to cluster pages that delve into subtopics. This signals to Google that your pillar page is an authority on the topic.

Hyperlinking all of the cluster pages to the pillar page also spreads domain authority across the cluster, so your cluster pages get an organic boost if your pillar page ranks higher. Your cluster pages can even help your pillar page rank higher if they start ranking for the specific keyword they’re targeting.

Say that you provide implant treatment. The pillar content that your customers are searching for might be ‘dental implants’. The supporting cluster content that breaks this topic down could include:

  • What is an implant?
  • Does implant treatment hurt?
  • What can I eat after dental implant treatment?
  • How long does the procedure take?
  • How much does an implant cost?

How organic search (SEO) can help you

  • Search rankings: since people are mainly using search engines to look for information while shopping for products or services, producing quality and optimised content on a regular basis can propel you to the top of search results.
  • Link building: as you start ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs), you can expect backlinks from high-quality sites to follow.

How to use organic search: best practices and top strategies

  • Optimise your website, on- and off-page. On-page SEO includes choosing the right keywords and providing meta descriptions for your content, while off-page SEO involves link-building techniques like guest posting. Together, on- and off-page SEO create signals that Google can use to rank your site.
  • Implement local SEO to market your business within your community and nearby areas. One of the key ways to do this is to list your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) consistently across your website, business directories, and social media profile. These then work like keywords that help Google and its users to locate your business.

3. Video marketing

If you’re yet to consider using video marketing, now is the time to do so. Video can boost conversions, improve ROI, and help you build relationships with your target audience. In addition, 69% of consumers prefer to learn about what a brand offers through video.

Video is also a non-restrictive form of content advertising. You can create treatment reviews, testimonials (more on this here), explainer videos, or even live videos to answer customer FAQs.

The best thing is that the videos you create can be repurposed for the various channels you may already use, like a website, social media and email. In a sense, you’re creating video content for one channel and repurposing it to meet the needs of your other channels.

For some, searching within a video platform is even becoming a regular part of research. YouTube is now the world’s third-largest search engine, and yet another place where people seek solutions to their problems. Furthermore, because Google now shows video results for a lot of searches, video can also rank in Google for related terms.

When a user searches for any content via Google’s search engine, Google looks for relevant as well as qualitative content. You can improve the quality of your content simply by adding a video to it. It’s an easy win, and it’s important – when your content isn’t engaging, people won’t stay on your site for more than a few seconds.

4. Email marketing

Each time we publish a new blog post, we send out an email or newsletter. It takes minutes to do, and it sends hundreds of people to our blog and insights on the business of dentistry. We’re able to do this now because we’ve spent a good few years building our email list, and have several-thousand subscribers who actually want to hear from us (hooray!).

If you haven’t yet pulled the trigger when it comes to email marketing, the best time to start is right now. I know of a practice that just filled an Invisalign open day by simply emailing their patient base and past lead prospects.

Encouraging people to subscribe to your online publications is a great way to keep them up-to-date with your latest news and stories. And, since it takes an average of six to eight touch points to generate a qualified sales lead, encouraging people to subscribe to your emails will generate more leads and revenue for your business.

While you may only associate email marketing with newsletters, you can use it to send personalised communications to your target audience, promote time-relevant content like product launches and sales, and to nurture leads. Best of all, email is an owned media channel — nobody is dictating when, how, and why you can contact your prospects (but keep in mind that customers will unsubscribe from oversaturation).

How email can help you

  • Brand awareness and conversion. Emails are sent straight to users’ inbox, allowing you to deliver branded content as well as information for marketing purposes. This makes email ideal for driving conversions and, ultimately, growth and success for your business.
  • Lead nurturing. A series of emails sent to customers is helpful in establishing a relationship and building trust, so they’ll eventually make a purchase.
  • ROI. Statistical data shows that email remains unbeaten as the channel that generates the highest ROI among any other marketing tactic.

How to use email: best practices and top strategies

  • Craft time-sensitive subject headlines. This method encourages those in your contact list to take advantage of your promotional offerings before they end.
  • Personalise your email marketing campaigns. Whenever someone takes a specific action, such as making an enquiry or downloading a treatment guide, send them triggered emails containing the right message based on where they are in the buying cycle.
  • Reserve email for customer feedback and support. Good customer service is always a good way to increase sales. From surveys to reviews and problem resolution, the uses of email are practically endless!

5. Paid search (SEM)

Finally, paid search (also called SEM) is when you’re paying for each click you get, unlike SEO, where people find you organically (and therefore technically for free).

The advantage of using paid search is that your ads are shown above organic search results, making them more visible to users. Even if you have to pay every time a user clicks on your ad, there’s still a lot of value ­– monetary and otherwise – to be drawn from paid search.

Being placed above organic results means you’re still capturing that engaged searcher before they even have a chance to see their other options (your competitors). And if you are well ranked organically and within the local results, you are giving your brand greater exposure.

It’s been found that PPC results gain 150% more conversions than organic visitors. Clearly, paid search could very well represent a win-win situation for your dental marketing campaigns.

How paid search (SEM) can help you

  • Brand awareness. Your ads appearing on top of SERPs means instant brand exposure and recall for target users.
  • Lead generation and conversions. As with SEO, prospective patients are looking for solutions to their problems, but the difference is that SEM involves less work. With SEM, you can target your ads to appear in front of motivated buyers based on their demographic or location without the nitty-gritty of on- or off-page SEO.

How to use paid search: best practices and top strategies

  • Remarket to your audience on Facebook. As the world’s largest social network, Facebook has remarketing tools that can target people who’ve expressed interest in your ad but weren’t ready to buy yet, and direct them back to your website.
  • Direct users who click on your ads to the right places on your website, such as landing pages that contain a contact form. You can then collect your visitors’ personal information and use it to engage them with your  marketing campaigns.

Final thoughts

Different marketing channels bring different benefits, but the greatest results are to be seen when you combine them. Most dental practices can find a way to use the various channels in their marketing strategies to meet business goals.

After all, your audience is likely diverse, so using a mix of channels creates multiple points of contact, which, in turn, nurtures leads and increases conversions.

If you’d like help with setting up channels or learning how best to manage them, ask our team.

The information contained in this article is based on the opinion of Hive Business and does not constitute formal tax advice. Any tax outcomes will be based on individual circumstances, tax legislation and regulation, which are subject to change in the future. You should seek specific advice before embarking on any course of action. Hive Business does not provide regulated Financial Advice, including advice on investment, insurance or lending products or their suitability for you. This article is provided for information only and does not constitute, and should not be interpreted as, investment advice or a recommendation to buy, sell or otherwise transact, or not transact, in any investment including Bitcoin and other crypto. Any use you wish to make of any information contained within this article is, therefore, entirely at your own risk.

By Luc Wade Management Consultant
If you have any questions or comments about this article, please get in touch.
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