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Dental Marketing: When It’s Better to Just Say No

by Naomi Cooper January 3, 2018

There’s a well-known concept that I often discuss with my dental clients when we’re talking about marketing dental marketing strategywithout first having a strategy in place, and that’s the “spaghetti on the wall” idea. And perhaps you could even call this a “strategy”, but it’s certainly not one I would recommend.

What I mean by “spaghetti on the wall” is the idea of doing all kinds of different marketing efforts to see “what sticks”. Many dentists employ this method of marketing, which often leads to frustration and wasted money.

It is understandable why so many smart, educated dentists employ this “strategy”. Dentists and office managers are bombarded constantly by sales calls, each one promising astronomical results. So how can you filter the good from the bad?

This year, start by going back to square one. Think about your practice vision and/or philosophy. What is it that you ultimately set out to do?

Next think about what kind of patient type you want to attract. Who would you like to see more of in your practice?

Then, the next time a salesperson calls, resist the urge to say “yes” and tell them you’ll think about their offer and will be in touch. Take the time to ask yourself:

  • Will this action help me meet my vision?
  • Is it in line with my philosophy?
  • Is it targeted enough to reach my ideal patient type?

If the answer is “no” to any of the above, simply tell the sales caller a firm “thanks but no thanks”. There is no need to waste time and money on ventures that won’t help you get to your desired end point, no matter how enticing the offer may be.


What a Dentist’s Website Needs to Have in 2018

by Naomi Cooper December 6, 2017

Have you ever tried to access a website that is slow to load? Or have you ever been on your smartphone and pulled up dental practice website designa web page that’s hard to read because half the text is shifted off the screen? Chances are, you quickly clicked off that site. This is a prime example of a website that hasn’t been updated recently.

You likely invested a decent sum of money when initially building your dental website. Don’t let that money go to waste! A website needs to be regularly updated to ensure that it is reaching the right patients and functioning correctly. After all, this site is your digital representation online.

Here are 5 key components your website needs to have in 2018 in order for it to be as effective as it should be:

Responsive Design/Mobile First

The site needs to be designed to function across all devices, which is especially important as smartphones recently surpassed traditional desktop computers in terms of users accessing the Internet.


If you’re still using a tooth in your logo, it’s definitely time for a branding update. And even if you’ve worked with a graphic designer on a more modern and professional strategy, double check that the branding, logo, tagline and practice name are consistent across all online profiles: the website, social media and third party directories.

Contact Information

Make it as simple as possible for patients to get in touch with the office. Keep the phone number and address in the header and footer on every page. Having a click-to-call or online appointing features go even further in helping patients contact the office.

Links to Social Media and Third Party Sites

Offering links to sites like Facebook, Instagram, Yelp and Healthgrades helps establish social proof for prospective patients. While having positive testimonials on your website is a good idea, patients also give credibility to reviews left on third party sites like Google, Yelp and Healthgrades. And social media sites help to personalize the dental office and keep patients engaged with the practice in between appointments.

Visual Appeal

There’s no doubt that patients are still fearful of the dentist, so having a visually appealing website help to give a more friendly vibe. Pictures of the dental team and videos of the dentist addressing common patient concerns, for example, can go a long way in helping to build trust in the practice. And designing the website with aesthetics in mind – having enough white space and even adding a textured background to the theme – can help provide a modern, clean and welcoming impression to all patients.


How Much Should I Be Spending on Dental Marketing?

by Naomi Cooper November 1, 2017

No one wants to see any money go to waste, but amidst all of the sales calls and promotions bombarding dental dental practice marketing budget strategiesoffices, it can be hard to find the sweet spot of spending enough money to get your name established within the community without spending your marketing dollars unnecessarily.

When trying to determine a budget for your dental practice marketing in 2018, consider these following questions:

  • How well known is your practice within your local area? For a new practice, plan on spending more, particularly in the first year.
  • How much external marketing has been done in recent years? Again, for a new practice, or one that has done little to no marketing, consider the first year the “building year”.

Practices that fit into one or both of the above descriptions should plan to dedicate anywhere from 6-10% of gross revenue for marketing in a building year. Then in years 2 and following, be sure to track the ROI (return on investment) and budget 4-6% annually for ongoing efforts.

As far as how to allocate the budget, here are a few concepts to keep in mind:

  • Always keep your target patient in mind. Choose marketing ventures that will best reach your desired patient type. Looking to attract moms? Think about social media as opposed to phone book ads.
  • Business is cyclical. Market your practice during the times of year when your practice gets busier to reach more patients at the precise time they are searching for your services.
  • Don’t forget your marketing budget should be fluid. Take time to track and review results over time. Make changes on a semi-annual basis when you see there is room for improvement.

Finally, don’t overlook the benefits of hiring a marketing consultant when crafting your marketing budget and strategy. A professional with specific experience in the dental industry can help guide you through the marketing process and help you find your marketing sweet spot.


Branding Your Dental Practice: What’s In a Name?

by Naomi Cooper October 4, 2017

Whether you have just purchased an existing practice or are looking to update your branding strategy, you’ve dental practice branding strategiescertainly got a lot on your plate. Be careful not to overlook one major detail – the name of your practice.

At first glance, it may seem like a simple task. Why not name it after yourself? Of course there are certain situations where this makes the most sense: if you have children who will be joining you in the practice, or if you are just starting out and plan to be in practice for the next 20+ years.

However, there are times where naming it after yourself may not actually be the best idea. If you are thinking of selling the practice in the next 5 or so years, or are planning to bring on new associates with thoughts toward retirement down the road, then consider an alternative name.

For those dentists who might be considering a change, here are a few alternative ideas to get you started:

  • Your Location: If the office is located on a busy thoroughfare, or near a scenic location, think about names like Main Street Dental or Lighthouse Dental Care.
  • Your Specialty: There’s no better way to communicate the services you provide than by including it in your practice name. For example, Pleasantville Family Dentistry and The Center for Cosmetic Dentistry.
  • Your Philosophy: A high-tech office offering the latest procedures might choose a name like Springfield Advanced Dental Arts, whereas Harmony Dental evokes the feeling of a practice that provides a spa-like atmosphere.

Choosing a name for the practice is a big decision, and one that will remain central to the core of your marketing strategy for years to come, so be sure to give it the time and attention that it deserves.






Responsive Design vs Mobile First – What’s the Difference?

by Naomi Cooper September 5, 2017

dental practice website design strategies

After working as a dental consultant for over a decade, I know first-hand how busy dentists are. I know that when your day is consumed with patient care and office management, there is little time left to think about things like online marketing and SEO.

However, to keep the practice doors open and the office operating, some thought needs to be given to these issues. For 99% of dentists, outsourcing website design and SEO is not only a smart decision, but the only option. And while the average dentist doesn’t need to fully understand what responsive design is or what a mobile-first strategy looks like, it is important to be aware of the basics so that you can communicate easily with your website designer.

First of all, both terms refer to how a website is designed, but they differ in the process that goes into building the site.

Responsive design – the concept of building a website to adapt to specific devices and screen sizes, typically done by designing for a desktop computer first, and then paring it down to fit tablets and mobile

The problem with this is that, today, more Google searches are done on a smartphone than on a desktop, and the growing reliance on our phones to access the internet has sparked the rise of the mobile first strategy.

Mobile first – designing a website for mobile first, think of it as starting small and then adding additional functions for larger devices

And Here’s Why It Matters…

Google has revealed that it plans, at some point in time – potentially at the end of this year, roll out their mobile-first index, which will become their primary index.

Currently, Google indexes a website based on the desktop version, but when this new roll out occurs, they will begin to do the opposite. Google will start to index the mobile version of a website to then determine where in the SERP (search engine results page) the desktop site will rank.

Long story short, any dentist who has not updated his/her website within the past 18 months or so likely owes their web designer a phone call. And for those with a new(ish) site designed within the past year and a half or so, and who knows it was built using responsive design standards, don’t panic. A responsive designed website is likely not going to hurt you or your online traffic too dramatically; just keep the mobile first strategy in mind for the next update.


How to Ask Your Dental Patients for Referrals – Without Actually Asking!

by Naomi Cooper August 2, 2017

There’s no doubt that asking for patient referrals is a simple and cost-effective way of sparking word of mouth for dental marketing consultant naomi cooperthe practice, but this doesn’t mean it’s necessarily easy.

Many dentists feel as though asking for referrals makes them look desperate for new patients, but it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s all about how you approach the conversation. Here’s how to make asking for referrals less awkward and more effective:

Get comfortable with it!

Make sure the entire dental team, including the doctors, has the verbal skills necessary to comfortably and confidently talk with patients.

Start by asking patients how their visit was.

More than likely they will pay you a compliment, providing the perfect opportunity to get a referral.

Respond with gratitude.

Explain to them that their good experience wasn’t a fluke – it’s something that you and your team work hard to accomplish every day, with every patient.

Now engage the patient.

Remind the patient that, if he or she knows of any friends and family who would appreciate the same commitment to care, your practice is accepting new patients and welcome referrals.

This helps patients understand that you are in fact accepting new patients, which isn’t always obvious to patients. And it demonstrates that you would welcome the opportunity to care for their friends and family. Ending the conversation on such a high note will help motivate patients to spread positive word of mouth and demonstrate your continued commitment to providing top-notch oral care.

Check out my video on how to ask your dental patients for referrals for more one-on-one advice!