What exactly is digital marketing?

When we first meet a new customer and ask them if they are currently using digital marketing campaigns to grow their business, most of the time we get lots of questions to clarify what we mean. Many independent dental practices still rely primarily on what we would consider traditional marketing (direct mail, billboards, print ads, word of mouth, etc.) and don’t really understand what digital marketing entails. We also find that for the majority of dentists digital marketing means a website and a Facebook page.

While traditional marketing certainly has its place, digital marketing has become more and more important for revenue growth, especially in dentistry, and that means more than just having a website and an account. on social networks.

Image Credit: Darwin Laganzon

Yes, digital marketing involves websites and social media, but that only scratches the surface. For successful digital marketing, a practice should use a variety of channels including social media, website, email, blog, reviews, and ad campaigns, among others.

True digital marketing is a multi-faceted approach to market your practice, educate, and engage your target audience through informative, engaging, and diverse digital content.

Why multiple channels?

Digital media are gaining more and more attention every day. Almost half of all consumers search for products and services starting with a search engine query, which provides results that include not only websites, but also images, video content, social media profiles and online reviews.

Think about the number of digital devices that you personally use on a daily basis: your smartphone, your computer, your tablet, your connected watch. It’s also likely that you have accounts on various messaging apps, at least one email address, as well as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts. Maybe you listen to podcasts, read blogs, play games, and watch videos online.

If you and your team members are using digital media to find great local businesses to patronize, find great content to read and watch, and more, you can bet your potential patients are doing the same, and more. Therefore, it makes sense for your firm to produce content across multiple digital channels in order to reach them.

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Image Credit: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

What are the most important aspects of digital marketing?

A common misconception among dentists is that digital marketing is all about advertising, but there’s more to it. The beauty of digital marketing is that you have the ability to not only reach your target audience through multiple channels, but also through a variety of content. Promotional content is important, but it’s not the only way to promote your practice.

Through social media, email marketing, blogging and more, your firm can engage in what is known as content marketing, which is not overtly promotional, but rather promotes by educating people. potential patients. For example, by raising awareness of healthcare advancements and common dental issues, or by highlighting key members of the practice team.

The overall goal is to take a more personal approach in order to engage the target audience, building relationships even before someone contacts the office. This type of marketing is virtually impossible with traditional print media.

Only digital media is flexible and fluid enough to be used for content marketing.

Social media is one of the best known and yet the most complex aspects of digital marketing. Having a Facebook page is a great start, but it’s just not enough to be effective. A firm absolutely needs to create unique content for its social media pages and update it at least once a week. However, the most important part of social media marketing is infusing social elements into all digital marketing channels, in order to create as many opportunities for content sharing as possible.

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Image Credit: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

When patients and potential patients who follow your practice on social media are motivated to engage personally with the content you post, they are more likely to share it with their friends and family, who can learn about your practice for the future. first time. Social media marketing, when done correctly, is today’s digital equivalent of word of mouth advertising and therefore is one of the most essential components of any practice’s digital marketing strategy.

Email is one of the most direct and reliable forms of digital communication. In 2020 alone, it is estimated that more than 306 billion emails were sent worldwide every day. By 2025, the number of global email users is expected to reach 4.6 billion. It is true that social media and other forms of digital communication continue to gain popularity.

However, email remains the most common way to communicate online. Additionally, email advertising has a higher click-through rate than social media marketing. So while some dentists may think email marketing is not effective, the statistics would say otherwise. Email is great for reaching out to existing patients for education. With targeted email campaigns, a practice can deepen relationships and generate new business from its existing patient base. Like social media marketing, however, email campaigns require strategy and creativity.

If the content isn’t engaging, timely, entertaining, and useful, your patients are unlikely to be very attracted to it. However, if the content captures their attention and is coordinated across other marketing channels (just like with social media), it’s more likely to be read and shared.

The last thing we’re going to cover here is having a comprehensive marketing strategy. Since digital marketing is a dynamic mechanism that uses various strategies across multiple channels, success will depend on how many components of the process can be “automated” by outsourcing them to a professional marketing agency.

Outsourcing your marketing helps you grow your business more consistently and efficiently for several reasons, not the least of which is that outsourcing frees up valuable time and resources, so that you and your team can focus on providing dental care rather than creating, publishing and monitoring digital content.

You are also able to collect measurable and analyzeable data, useful to understand if your efforts are paying off. Outsourcing is just as important for planning purposes because no one is running a single marketing campaign and that’s it. Digital marketing is an ongoing process that changes and progresses monthly, quarterly, annually.

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Image Credit: Wynn Pointaux from Pixabay

Therefore, to truly be able to plan and strategize beyond today, it is essential to have a process by which your practice monitors and tracks results. The most effective way to do this is to hire a professional with a proven track record in digital marketing.

It’s really no surprise that many dentists we meet don’t understand what digital marketing entails. It’s actually quite complex. In fact, there are many other aspects that we just don’t have time to cover in this article. Suffice it to say that a website and a Facebook page will not be enough if you want your firm to have a true digital presence.

Yet digital marketing is essential in today’s competitive world, especially for independent dental practices looking for sustainable, long-term growth. Therefore, it is important that dentists have at least a fundamental understanding of what this entails, so they are not left behind.


With over a decade of corporate dental lab marketing and brand development experience, Ms. Ulasewich-Cullen decided to take her passion for the dental industry and marketing to the next level by founding My dental agency. Since starting her business, she and her team have helped a wide variety of firms across the country focus their message, reach their target audience, and increase sales through effective marketing campaigns. She can be reached at (800) 689-6434 or by email at [email protected]