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Meeting the Needs of the Millennials in Your Dental Practice

by Naomi Cooper May 3, 2017

It’s as though the marketing world has become obsessed with the Millennial generation, often writing and speaking dental marketing to millennialsabout the group as though it is comprised of a bunch of aliens or foreign entities.

It’s puzzling, really, because while they’ve grown up in a digital era that none of the older generations can even fathom, when it comes down to it, Millennials are really no different than any other consumers – or dental patients.

This younger generation is still looking for the same inherent qualities in a dentist that older patients look for – a doctor who can provide world-class care. It is true, however, that they are more comfortable with technology, so if you are looking to reach Millennial patients, here are a few ways to do so:

  • Incorporate real time text messaging capabilities at your front desk to make communicating with the office as simple as possible
  • Add online appointing features to your website so patients can schedule a visit while on the go
  • Build a robust social media presence beyond Facebook as younger patients are more likely to use Instagram or Snapchat
  • Make sure you have plenty of positive testimonials on third party review sites like Yelp and Healthgrades as Millennial patients like to research the practice online before ever making that first appointment
  • Consider expanding your clinical offerings to include state-of-the-art services like CAD-CAM, laser dentistry and sleep apnea treatment in order to perform a wider variety of procedures in-house and to give a more modern and full-service impression
  • Offer free Wi-Fi throughout the office – especially in the waiting room

Just remember, all the software in the world cannot replace stellar customer service, and that is something that always appeals to patients of all ages.

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Secrets Revealed: 4 Simple Steps to Online Success

by Naomi Cooper March 8, 2017

Yes, you’re a dentist. But you’re also a business owner, and in that role, you are responsible to your patients and your online marketing for dentistsstaff to run a successful practice. To keep the doors open and your chairs filled, you need a strategy for attracting new patients and maintaining your existing base.

Dentists can no longer afford to ignore the power of online marketing. It helps you reach more prospective patients and keeps them engaged in between appointments. If the digital space has been a struggle for you, you’re not alone! Many dentists face the same challenges as you do, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

In my recent article published in Dental Products Report, I’m letting you in on four key secrets for simplifying and streamlining your online marketing, and they all revolve around these key components:

  • Reaching your key audience
  • Updating your office processes
  • Adopting a flexible mindset
  • Recognizing the power of outsourcing

So if you’ve been feeling more exasperated than excited about your online marketing, check out my article here. Your new patients are out there – you just need to help them find you!

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What Does Your Dental Website Say About You?

by Naomi Cooper January 5, 2017

Did you know? 97% of patients prefer to visit a dentist’s website than to call the office for information.dental practice website design

This means your practice website is often a prospective patient’s first impression, so you need to make sure it’s a great one. However, if it has been awhile (read: 18 months or more) since you last updated your website, that first interaction could be saying you are slow, frustrating and out of touch…not exactly the impression you want to be giving.

To ensure your website is providing an accurate reflection of your practice, make it sure it incorporates these critical components:

  • Keep the site updated with mobile-friendly design so that anyone can easily navigate the site regardless of the device they may be using (desktop, mobile or tablet)
  • Make it easy for patients to get in touch with the office by having the contact information prominently displayed on all pages
  • Feature links to social media and online review sites to showcase everything your practice has to offer
  • Utilize blogs and video to make the site more engaging and informative

The most important thing is to remember that your website should be designed with the user in mind. For more ideas on what you can do to optimize your website – and 5 tricks to absolutely avoid – check out my article in Dental Economics.

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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.

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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.

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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”.