Signal Review & New Insights: Dental SEO and Telemedicine

Aja Frost @ajavuu

The Signal: In January this year we published a story about the increasing number of marketers capitalizing on the dental industry. We reported on an uptick in search volume for terms such as “dental marketing” and “dental SEO” since 2016, as more and more dentists were finding that traditional patient acquisition techniques weren’t sufficient to help them grow their practices. 

The dental industry is particularly attractive for marketers because of the relatively high patient lifetime value -- about $4.5k -- which means that dental practices can comfortably afford a $150-$300 cost per lead (CPL).

Since Then: Safe to say that the dental industry, like many others, has been turned on its head in the 4 months since we wrote this article. I don’t know about you, but it will likely be a while before I feel comfortable letting a stranger put their hands close to my mouth again. 

It turns out that dentists, who have been forced to rethink their model, have been looking to marketers to sell their story. There has been a significant increase in search volume for all of the terms we identified in January:

  • “Dental marketing”: 1.9k searches/month then → 6.6k now  (+247%)
  • “Dental SEO”: 700 searches/month then → 2.4k now  (+243%)
  • “Dental marketing agency”: 200 searches/month then → 590 now  (+195%)

Late last week, we spoke with Rory Halliday, the managing partner of Dental Marketing Australia. He said that most of his clients paused their online marketing campaigns when the pandemic hit, but those who didn’t are reaping the rewards now, as Australia slowly eases back into relative normalcy. “Although demand for elective dental procedures decreased, supply almost disappeared completely as most dentists closed their practices,” Halliday told us. “Those who maintained and ramped up their online campaigns have now captured all of the traffic and new patients as a result.”

Looking ahead: Telemedicine is another trend that we called out 6 months ago in this Signal about Haldoc, an Indonesian telemedicine platform. We also wrote about telemedicine more broadly in March. A new study has shown that virtual urgent care appointments have increased by more than 600% since the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Teledentistry and virtual dentist consultations are on the rise, too: 

There are opportunities for marketers to help dentists and other medical and healthcare practitioners navigate this new contact-averse world. Consider how you can help orthodontists, occupational therapists, chiropractors, biokineticists, plastic surgeons, physical therapists, and even homeopaths transition. Many of these medical professionals are similar to dentists in that they: 1) have relatively high patient lifetime values; and 2) are extremely proficient at their jobs, but are often less comfortable with the technical aspects of growing their practices (e.g., marketing strategies).

Many of these high-touch medical industries will have to adjust their business models to changing patient behavior in the long term, which creates plenty of opportunities for entrepreneurs to help practitioners to transition online. In this Signal, for example, we identify ways to capitalize on new HIPAA-compliance requirements for telehealth practices.    

You could focus on a niche, like dentistry, or build a more generalized service offering for healthcare practitioners. PatientPop, for example, is a platform that provides SEO and marketing services to all medical practitioners, as well front-office automation, telehealth, and resource management tools to enable dentists to run their practices remotely.

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