Marketing your dental practice requires a multi-pronged approach, one of which is a competitive analysis. Here's what it is and why dental practice owners may need one before they start investing in marketing.
What is a Competitive Analysis?
A competitive analysis is essentially the practice of conducting research, analyzing it, and using it to evaluate competitors in relation to your own business. The data is typically presented as a group of reports that can then be used to identify the strengths and weaknesses of other dental professionals in your area.
A study by customer insights company Conductor reports that 74% of marketing gurus agreed that a competitive analysis was an "important" or "very important" tool. Since new competitors are always popping up, a competitive analysis should never be set in stone or used for several years without updates. Make sure to rerun the data frequently to stay on top of what other dental practices are doing.
Why Does Your Dental Practice Need It?
To effectively understand how to reach your target market, you need to know how your competitors are doing it, especially if your practice is brand new. This allows you to identify marketing strategies that may provide you with an advantage while breaking down barriers between your practice and your patient base.
Don't overlook the value that your competitors bring to the table; the goal of a competitive analysis is to discover what your competition is doing that is working and how to improve upon it. Other dental practices that have been around longer may have spent their marketing dollars figuring out what doesn't work, and you can reap the benefits of their effort.
A competitive analysis may also enable you to:
See How You Stack Up Against Other Dental Professionals In Your Area
Arguably the most critical component of your overall dental marketing strategy is your unique value proposition (UVP). To stand out from the crowd, your UVP must be different from those of your competitors. An analysis can help you determine how other dentists in your area are marketing their services and how you can set your practice apart.
Stay One Step Ahead of Industry Trends
Today's patients are looking for dental professionals who offer cutting-edge technology, like same-day restorations using computer-aided design (CAD) or computer-aided manufacturing (CAM). You can use your competitive analysis to see what new products and services are being offered by other dentists in your area, to try to accurately predict shifts in the market and stay competitive in your own offerings.
Evaluate Competitor's Backlinks
How highly you rank on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) directly affects how visible your dental practice is to your local patient base, which in turn directly affects your profit and bottom line. A significant ranking factor is, and always has been, backlinks from credible sources. If other websites that search engines consider authoritative link back to your website, your rankings are likely to improve. Your analysis can help you see who is linking to your competitors; the chances are good that those websites or similar sites in the same niche will also link to you.
Give Your SEO a Boost
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the practice of optimizing your website to appeal to search engine algorithms. These algorithms are complex and are updated regularly as search engines get better at learning user intent. A competitive analysis will allow you to see what keywords are driving traffic to which pages of your competitors’ sites. For example, if your biggest competitor has a page on laser teeth whitening that is driving 20% of all traffic to the site, you may want to think about putting up one or more pages about the same topic.
Market Your Dental Practice from a Specific Angle
You can also use your competitive analysis to evaluate the content marketing tactics of other dental professionals. Using the above example about laser teeth whitening, say your competitor's page is 1800 words, while your page on teeth whitening is just 400. Their content has lots of engaging headlines and images to break up big blocks of text and features a video from the practice owner addressing interested patients.
You can use this data to improve your own page. While copyright rules may limit the ability to copy a competitor's page, a good strategy for this example would be to add photos, lengthen the page, and potentially include video marketing.
Not Interested in Digital Marketing for Dentists? You Should Be
You may think that the right way to advertise your dental practice is via traditional means like billboards and newspaper ads. Conducting a competitive analysis– along with other digital marketing strategies your practice may need to be successful– can be challenging. If you're tempted to forgo doing much beyond establishing your website and basic social media profiles, you may want to reconsider.
Traditional marketing avenues are becoming obsolete, leaving dentists with little choice but to engage. Before shunning the notion of digital marketing, or taking it on yourself, talk to a digital marketing provider that has specific experience working with dental professionals and creating powerful marketing campaigns for the dental industry in particular.
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