Almost everyone encounters challenges in the digital realm at some point, whether it’s grappling with a limited budget or stumbling through the complexities of SEO and social media advertising. In this article, we’ll address the most common issues in digital marketing and offer some solutions.
The problem: Making the most of a small(er) marketing budget
The digital landscape can be highly competitive, with many practices facing the challenge of distinguishing themselves from larger competitors. This becomes even harder when you’re dealing with a more modest marketing budget. It can be hard to know how much of this budget to allocate to each channel, and tough to predict which will deliver the best return on your investment.
Having a limited budget can restrict your practice’s ability to leverage the full potential of each channel. For instance, a smaller Google Ads budget could mean that your money runs out partway through the month, impacting on your ability to target audiences during peak times. For this reason, you may need to prioritise certain channels over others.
To best manage your digital marketing budget, you need to have a full understanding of your goals, target audiences and resources. This will allow you to be more targeted, and to spend your money in the right areas, rather than spreading it too thinly.
To do this, regularly analyse your historical data and market trends. This will unlock valuable insights that can inform your strategy and budget. When you’ve established a set of clear goals and KPIs, you can ask yourself which channels are likely to achieve these goals, then monitor campaign performance and adjust your budgets as needed.
The problem: Not generating enough traffic and leads
Think of your practice as a living thing: it needs to be regularly fed in order to grow. Without a good supply of traffic and leads, your practice might struggle to generate healthy revenue. However, before you decide on the channels you want to use to create these leads, you need a comprehensive understanding of your target audience. This matters because each marketing channel provides different targeting opportunities, with a different approach needed for success.
Before you begin weighing up the pros and cons of different channels, think about audience factors such as their profile, age, and treatment interest. Begin building up a picture of who you’d like to see, so that you can work out where they’re likely to be. Alongside this, it’s also helpful to consider which type of patient you really want to attract to your practice – what is your hunger for different audiences? Do you prefer to carry out general dentistry, or cosmetic dentistry? Knowing this will also help you to target your efforts to make better use of your resources, rather than trying to appeal to everyone.
For SEO and Google Ads, a targeted SEO strategy can help boost your practice’s ranking in search engine results by focusing on the keywords most searched for by your audiences. If you have the budget to allocate to it, Google Ads can also be a good way to reach potential patients by placing targeted ads in front of them. To get the most out of your budget, dedicate some time to carrying out keyword research, optimising your website’s content and structure, and managing your pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns to fill any gaps in your organic SEO.
Your Google Business listing can also be a helpful tool, especially if you enhance your page with advanced attributes and useful content. This could include Q&As, images, reviews, posts and links to treatment pages. The more you do this, the more you’ll be rewarded with visits. You should also make sure that you’re listed (or have claimed your business) on other business directories, including industry specific and local websites. To build up your local profile, use location tagging in your social media posts and post about your local community too. This can improve your ranking in mobile search and your local digital marketing metrics.
When it comes to social media, it pays to be specific. If you’re working with a smaller budget, or have limited time, you might not be able to engage on all platforms. But if (as mentioned above) you’re targeting a defined audience, this needn’t be a bad thing. Instead, streamline your activity by focusing on the channel or channels that will be best suited to your audience. Commit to these channels and be active on them.
Social media can help you to build your brand and engage with your audiences at no cost – but it’s also worth considering paid ads. Armed with a good knowledge of who you want to speak to, you can select your most lucrative audiences and treatments and develop ad campaigns around them. This will help you to increase brand awareness with your target audiences and generate leads.
The problem: Traffic without conversions
Like many practices, you might find yourself with healthy click-through rates but lacklustre conversion rates. Somewhere, for some reason, people are simply dropping off. This is an enduring issue and a frustrating one – none of us likes to invest time and budget in generating traffic without seeing an increase in sales.
A low conversion rate can be caused by many different factors, often in combination. However, if you’re generating high numbers of clicks, but with few conversions, one of the likely causes is the audience itself. If your campaign targeting is off, you may be spending budget in the wrong place and on the wrong audience.
Another likely cause is ineffective landing pages. A poorly designed page can turn away people even when they’re highly interested. Imagine clicking an ad for dental implants or Invisalign, only to be taken to a page that’s very broad in its scope or with minimum content on the specific treatment, meaning you have to navigate the site for more information. For a user this is frustrating, and many will bounce right back and add another number to your tally of wasted clicks. Landing page design is a huge topic on its own, but in short, they should be simple and helpful, with carefully thought-out content that keeps the user on the page.
Mixed messaging can also be an issue. The most effective digital marketing campaigns match landing pages to the messaging, offers, and style and tone of the original point of content. As mentioned above, if the landing page doesn’t match the content an individual is expecting to see, chances are that they won’t convert.
The problem: Too much search competition
SEO is notoriously competitive, and that makes it a daunting area to deal with. Depending on your location, there could be many practices vying for the same few spots on Google’s first page. On top of this, there are so many moving parts to SEO that trying to figure out how to stand up against tough competition can be overwhelming.
The important thing to remember is that you don’t have to follow the crowd. Sometimes the best way to compete is to try a different approach. Rather than trying to cover everything, go back to your goals and audience profiles. If you’re able to be more targeted, you don’t have to compete over the more popular short phrases. Short-tail keywords are very competitive and often not worth the effort and expense; they can be the source of high click numbers but low conversion rates.
Instead, consider competing for long-tail keywords. These can offer higher conversion rates and less competition for that first page ranking. Another benefit is that people searching with long-tail keywords are often further along the sales funnel and more seriously considering treatment. For example, instead of focusing on ‘Invisalign’, try ‘Invisalign cost’ or ‘Is Invisalign worth it’. These users may already be closer to a buying mindset than those exploring initial options.
And finally, you should also focus on your website experience. This includes the user experience (all the technical functions that allow a smooth online experience) as well the customer experience, such as the tone of content, style, and imagery, which communicate your brand position. Google’s search result algorithm is built to return the most relevant sources for any query. If your website prioritises user experience and customer experience, Google’s algorithm will take note that users enjoy your site and will reward you in turn with higher ranking.
The problem: Social media isn’t performing as you hoped
Social media is often seen as a quick, easy, and – crucially – free way to engage with audiences, but it’s harder than this to get right. Many practices don’t approach social media with the sophistication needed to see success. This can lead to a huge investment of time and effort, with very little tangible reward.
As with all forms of communication, focus on the customer experience. How often you post will depend on your practice focus and the specific social media channel. Posting just once a month means you’ll probably be forgotten quickly. On Facebook and Instagram, one post per day is the best bet for good engagement levels. This doesn’t mean that more posts are automatically better – no audience appreciates being spammed. They should also be genuinely of value to the viewer (rather than posting for the sake of it). Even if you’re offering something as simple as a quick fact, a testimonial, or a “before and after”, it should be interesting to the audience and in line with what they would expect to see.
Importantly, if you’re on social media, you need to actually be social. The best performing accounts communicate beyond their everyday posting, just as we do with our personal profiles. Connecting with individuals can increase social media success, so try to respond to customer reviews, engage in discussions, reply to comments, or share content generated by patients or local businesses. Social is also a great place to connect with happy patients. In this sphere, you can build your audience through word of mouth by actively recruiting satisfied individuals to follow or subscribe to your practice.
Redefine your digital marketing
With so many strands to digital marketing, and so many things to bear in mind, it can feel like a tricky beast to tame. However, one final thing to remember is that you don’t have to do it alone. We’re here to help deliver services, lend a hand with planning, or offer strategic and tactical advice. Just get in touch with our marketing team if you’d like to talk about what your practice needs.