Browse Category

Blog

Blog

The Top 2 Branding Mistakes Many Dentists Make & Steps You Can Take to Avoid Them

by Naomi Cooper November 1, 2016

Do you remember the 1980’s Eddie Murphy comedy Coming to America?

In a classic scene, one of the supporting characters is a businessman who owns a restaurant named McDowell’s, NOT McDonald’s. He explains it best:

“Look…me and the McDonald’s people got this little misunderstanding. See, they’re McDonald’s…I’m McDowell’s. They got the Golden Arches, mine is the Golden Arcs. They got the Big Mac, I got the Big Mick.”

And in fact, the owner of a local McDonald’s near the filming location approached the set design team and threatened to sue for trademark infringement, completely unaware that this “new competitor” was actually part of a movie set.

So how does this apply to dentists?

dental brandingWhile this scene provides plenty of laughter, there are also important real-life lessons that could be learned from this fictional scenario, especially when it comes to branding and trademarks.

There are two very common mistakes many dentists make when it comes to dental practice branding:

  1. Failing to brand the practice
  2. Failing to protect the brand

Failing to brand the practice

Many dentists don’t realize the power of branding. It’s the reason you immediately picture the golden arches when you read “McDonald’s”, but it’s not just for large corporations. A dentist’s brand is what differentiates one dentist from the next. It’s his/her practice identity within the community, both online and in person. Simply put, without a brand, it’s difficult to effectively promote your practice.

Failing to protect the brand

At the core of any dentist’s brand is the practice name. Whether it’s in the name of the doctor, or something more representative of the services, philosophy or local community, the practice name is incredibly important – and valuable. And when working with my Pride clients to develop a new practice name, I always advise them to hire a business attorney to trademark the new practice name.

Why?

– First, when you’re developing a new brand and name for your practice, you want to ensure there’s not already a dentist in the local area using the same name. Not only would that cause mass confusion among local patients and waste your marketing dollars, but if another dentist has filed a trademark on your potential new name, it could cause you significant legal hassles.

– Once you’ve conducted a search and verified there isn’t another practice using the same name in the local area, have your attorney file a trademark on the new name (both the words and the logo). This will protect you in the event a new dentist wants to use the same name in the future.

Is this rare? Yes. Do trademark issues actually affect dentists? YES. Taking the necessary steps to properly brand your practice from the start will minimize any future legal headaches, patient confusion and wasted marketing dollars later. It’s well worth the time and energy to create a practice name that is all your own – and protect it!

*Please note: I am a marketing expert. I am not an attorney nor do I play one on TV. Consult your business attorney for a more complete discussion on trademarking your dental practice.

Blog

5 Online Marketing Hacks for Dentists

by Naomi Cooper September 7, 2016

You went to dental school, not business school. You specialize in exams and extractions, not marketing and social media. So how do you even begin to build a savvy online presence for your dental practice?

Online marketing hacks for dentistsHere are 5 tips to demystify online marketing for every dentist:

  1. Perform an online audit – Google your name and then your practice name. What comes up? Take note of where in the search results your website appears, as well as bookmark any sites with incomplete or inaccurate information to go back and fix sooner rather than later.
  2. Claim online profiles – Business listings may already exist for the practice on sites like Google and Yelp without your knowledge. Be sure every online profile has up-to-date practice and contact information.
  3. Update the practice website – If you haven’t touched your practice website within the past 18 months or more, schedule an appointment with your web designer to talk about updating the site for modern convenience (responsive design, SEO functionality, user-friendliness).
  4. Actively ask for patient testimonials – It NEVER hurts to ask! In fact, asking patients to post online reviews actually helps spark word of mouth for the office.
  5. Don’t forget about social media – Build your presence on sites and apps like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram…and encourage patients to check in and tag the office.

To dive deeper into these strategies, and discover 5 more simple yet effective methods of improving your online marketing, check out my recent article in Dental Products Report to ensure you stay in the driver’s seat of your online reputation.

Blog

Dental Marketing: 5 Quick Tips for Creating Online Videos

by Naomi Cooper June 13, 2016

According to research published by Atlas, video is six times more effective than print or online promotions. Videos give prospective patients a glimpse into your dental practice, allowing you to introduce them to your wonderful staff and your bright, inviting office, all before they ever make their first appointment.

Dental marketing videos

And all you need to create videos for your practice is a computer with a camera, or even a smartphone. While it may take some planning, you can produce videos that can:

  • Introduce prospective patients to your practice,
  • Provide a tour of the practice,
  • Welcome new patients to the practice,
  • Describe common procedures,
  • Offer aftercare instructions, and
  • Answer patients’ frequently asked questions.

Some quick tips for making a successful video:

  1. Videos should be short – 60 seconds is optimal – to ensure maximum effectiveness.
  2. Whatever topic you choose to address, use non-clinical language. Speak in terms of patient benefits, and try to stay away from using technical jargon.
  3. Use a quiet, well-lit, uncluttered space with good acoustics to shoot your video.
  4. Wardrobe is important. Video “stars” should wear dress shirts and blouses (no scrubs or lab coats please) in bright, solid colors that “pop.” No white shirts or busy patterns.
  5. Make sure you shoot a few “takes” of your video and have your staff preview them and give you feedback on which version best represents your practice.

Finally, make sure your video goes viral by posting it on your practice website, blog, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – any and all relevant online platforms. The more you post your videos, the greater the chance prospective and existing patients will see them and respond.

For more tips on how to utilize videos to promote your practice, see my recent Dental Products Report article “7 Steps to Creating Dental Practice Videos”.

Blog

Marketing to General Dentists: What Specialists Need to Know

by Naomi Cooper May 16, 2016

 

I had the opportunity to speak at the annual meeting of the American Association of Endodontists last May, and the ideas we talked about then still ring true today.

Specialist to GP Marketing Strategies

No matter your specialty, your business wouldn’t be as successful without your GP referral sources. If you’ve been using the same old marketing tactics for years, now is the time to spice it up! And when you’re coming up with a new plan, put yourself in their shoes – what would you want from a specialist? Here are 5 ideas to get you started:

  1. Have your team members “adopt” a referring practice & be responsible for improving the relationship, increasing referrals and making their GP office feel appreciated year round.
  2. Communicate in a way that is convenient for the GP. Ask if they prefer email or phone conversations, or if there is a specific day/time that is best for them to connect with you.
  3. Have a secure “dentist login” function on your website to easily share patient info/records/notes.
  4. Acknowledge GPs on social media and in blog posts. Don’t mention patients by name but you can express appreciation for their partnership or something specific you appreciate about them/their team.
  5. Take the GP out to lunch or for coffee – and actually talk to them about the challenges or learning opportunities involved with a common case.

These are just a few ways to improve the relationships with your GP referral sources, which can have a big impact on increasing business from now and into the future. And for a closer look at the GP- Specialist relationship, check out a recent article I contributed to, Serving the Endodontist, published in First Impressions Magazine.

Blog

3 Modern Patient Communication Tools for Dentists

by Naomi Cooper April 11, 2016

Did you know the cost of attracting a new patient to the dental practice is five times higher than the cost of keeping an existing patient? While much of the focus of dental practice marketing is on external activities designed to bring new patients in, patient retention is equally as important for the longevity of the dental practice.

dental patient communication

Good communication goes a long way in creating loyal patients. Modern technology such as text message appointment reminders make patients’ lives easier in our always on-the-go society, and they help to simplify daily office processes for the front desk team as well.

Here are 3 tools dentists can use to boost their ongoing patient communication:

  1. Automated processes: E-communication tools like appointment reminders, custom emails, online patient portals make it easier than ever to stay in touch with patients in between office visits.
  1. Post-appointment surveys: Getting patient opinions following an appointment not only helps highlight any inefficiencies in the practice but also provides an ongoing source of positive feedback.
  1. Online Patient Reviews: Ask patients to post those positive patient comments online so that prospective patients can get a good feel of the practice before their first appointment.
Blog

Claim your dental practice’s online identity…or someone else might!

by Naomi Cooper March 14, 2016

Claim your dental practice's online identityA dentist client of mine recently decided to join Twitter and made a disturbing discovery when she attempted to create an account: someone had already created a Twitter account using her email address. Who could this imposter be? What lessons can be learned from this experience?

The fact is if dentists don’t take an active role in their social media presence, someone just might do it for them, and unfortunately it’s actually more common that you might first realize.

It is essential for dentists to monitor their personal names as well as their business names across social media platforms. Online trolls and other nefarious characters may make slight changes to your online name and create fake accounts and it is up to you to find and report these imposters.

What can you do to protect yourself? If you find that you are the victim of trolling or impersonation here are a few tips:

  1. Report trolls or impersonators to the appropriate social media company.  Keep vigilant. It may take some time to get resolved, but this is your reputation, it is worth it.
  1. Regularly search popular sites like Google, Twitter, Facebook, Yelp and LinkedIn for your name and your practice name. If something doesn’t look right or if you see a duplicate account, you may be a victim of impersonation.

TIP: If you are active on Twitter, you may want to pay special attention: According to Business Insider, trolling is mostly a Twitter issue.  “A study of 134,000 abusive social media mentions showed that 88% of them occur on Twitter. Only a tiny fraction of online abuse happens on Facebook or other social media.

  1. Build a robust online presence by blogging and collecting patient reviews. Claim profiles on sites like Google and Yelp, and maintain an active presence on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
  1. Protect your online reputation. This Forbes article suggests some simple ways to keep things positive.

And because you have enough on your to-do list already, there are companies that specialize in helping dentists manage their online reputations, Sesame Communications and My Social Practice to name a few. Outsourcing can give you peace of mind knowing that you’re putting your best digital foot forward.