Interview: 'Every dentist should have a website'

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Interview: 'Every dentist should have a website'

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(Photograph Annemarie Fischer)
Dental Tribune International

By Dental Tribune International

Sat. 11 October 2014

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London-based company Dental Focus has been advising UK dentists on how to attract new patients through online marketing since 2001. For Dental Tribune ONLINE, Operations Manager Naz Haque explained the do's and don’ts and the benefits for dentists of moving in the digital world at the BDIA Dental Showcase in London.

Dental Tribune ONLINE: It is estimated that 94 per cent of dentists in the UK have access to the Internet right now. What percentage of those are actively using the medium for marketing purposes?
Naz Haque: In terms of online marketing, the field is definitely in a transition period, as dentistry on a broader level is catching up with other industries. In the information age, patient expectations have changed a great deal and dentists are becoming increasingly aware of that. For the last nine to ten years, dentists have been familiar with Google search engine optimisation, but recently there has been a move towards pay per click, for example, as an option for instant return on investment.

The other fact is that a new generation of professionals accepting these new technologies is coming in, taking away patients from other dentists. The latter are now starting to realise that they are slowly losing their patient base and are consequently looking into how to utilise digital tools in order to stay competitive.

What are common mistakes that dentists who want to invest more in online marketing make?
The most common mistake is that they do not use experts. Often, they go with someone who has no real knowledge of dentistry or patient concerns. Marketing strategies that are planned this way often become a case of smoke and mirrors.

While I can understand that dentists are extremely busy, they need to give much more of their time to marketing, as they are the figurehead of their operation. It is also important that they understand the need to be involved from the start.

What are the main advantages of effective digital marketing, in your opinion?
At Dental Focus, our sole purpose is to help dentists obtain new patients, patients that they actually want. We have testimonials from clients making additional £20,000 per month—on the low side—through optimisation campaigns.

The beauty of digital marketing is that it works in the same manner for everyone regardless of the size of your operation.

What do dentists have to invest at a minimum to stay competitive in the digital world?
As a rule of thumb, every dentist should have a website. They should also be involved in some form of social media. We are living in the information age, so there are many busy people using their mobile phones on a day-to-day basis and they might be looking for you on Google maps . Dentists need to ensure that they are capitalising on this.

The average age of a dentist in the UK is currently 46, so they are not really exposed to this new technology, unfortunately. It is a challenge ensuring that they are up to date with the developments in the field, as the technology has changed significantly in the last 18 months. Patients expect certain functionalities that they are used to from using other sites. If a dentist cannot deliver in this regard, they will shop around and go somewhere else.

Thank you very much for the interview.

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