If you’re buying a dental practice or starting one from scratch, you’ll know that it’s tricky. You experience all the stress of buying your first house, together with the uncertainty of naming your first child.
It’s so tricky, in fact, that we often come across practice owners who simply can’t make up their minds and defer the job over to Fine Company – we offer site finder and business naming services.
But what if you’ve already been working on this for a while and you have your shortlist? Surely there are a few key measures to ascertain the winner and guard against making an irreversible blunder right at the start of your entrepreneurial life. Correct, and here are the big ones that concern online marketing.
Consider buying central
Businesses located in or near the centre of their town or city reap significant and long-term rewards within Google Maps. Why? The search engine digests your address and serves your business up with any search corresponding to the name of your town.
So if someone was to search for ‘dentist Birmingham’, the more central you are the higher you rank within Google Maps, because being central has a high influence on Maps rankings. It’s been this way since Google Maps came out and is very unlikely to change, so this advantage is not to be underestimated. It’s worth tens of thousands of pounds in your online marketing budget – potentially hundreds of thousands.
As a side note, the more times your address gets published online (for example in other blogs) the stronger your business will perform on Google Maps. Having your address at the footer of your own website helps too, as does linking back to the Google business page from your own website.
So you’ve settled on your physical site. Now you have to choose a name for your dental practice, and the first thing you’ll need to do is check which domain names are available to buy.
Shorter names are easier to type and remember
That means you’re making the journey to your website that bit easier for web browsers. If you have a name in mind check if it has any historic significance and if the name contains the word ‘implants’, for example, check it has had nothing to do with breast implants in the past.
Having your city’s name in your URL helps with search rankings, so you’re going to need to have a think about whether you want to promote your own brand over your city. Obviously this will depend largely on your branding, which is a different subject for discussion.
Look out for trademarks and check with the Intellectual Property Office whether your name is free for use. If you’re in the UK go for a co.uk address; if you’re in Ireland go for a .ie address. Having a .com address makes you look bigger so it might be suitable for a franchise route.
Once you have your name, buy up the various suffixes to protect you from unscrupulous domain name traders and businesses aiming to piggyback on your brand. Unfortunately this does happen; people will launch a website to pick up on misspelt type-ins or they will set up a landing page to catch some of the traffic from another brand, even if their brand has a different name. If this happens to you, you can trademark your brand, but expect a longwinded, stressful and costly process.
As ever, if you need any help, just get in touch.
Fine Company is a dental management consultancy group that helps practice owners achieve their objectives. For more information visit www.finecompany.co.uk.