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dental practice management

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What Dentists Must Know Before Spending Another Marketing Dollar

by Naomi Cooper June 9, 2014

What Dentists Must Know Before Spending Another Marketing DollarSome dentists think of marketing as though it is a magical faucet. They believe they should be able to implement a new tactic, snap their fingers and get magically get 100 new patients through the front door. The truth is that marketing is a real faucet, and the laws of physics apply in that you have to exert a force upon the faucet to start the flow. Three forces in particular will turn on the new patient flow, and they are three of your most valuable and limited resources: time, money & energy.

Before spending your precious time, money and energy on generating new patient flow through new external marketing campaigns, take a look at your existing new patient flow. What happens to  the prospective new patients who are already coming out of the proverbial marketing faucet by contacting the office by phone or email? Do you have a nice solid bucket under that faucet catching every drop? Or does it look more like a sieve, resulting in missed opportunities to capture new patients?

If there are missed opportunities, then you have what I like to call holes in the bucket. These are issues such as:

  • Scheduling issues, such as new patients not typically scheduled within 1-3 business days
  • Not knowing how many prospective new patient callers you already get each month

 
  • Front desk turning away new patients because of insurance or cost concerns







  • A lack of comprehensive treatment planning and case presentation skills





 
  • The hygienist not co-diagnosing







  • The patient coordinator failing to schedule recommended treatment
  • Lack of existing patient follow-up for both recall and reactivation

Maybe you are already getting enough new patient calls, but you have challenges that are preventing you from turning your new patients into patients of record. If any of the above is the case, you may not need to spend as much time, money and energy on external marketing as you think – rather, work on correcting these outstanding issues and get solid internal processes in place so that when you are ready to turn on the new patient flow faucet, you’ll be ready to catch every last drop.

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Dental Marketing: The All-Important First Phone Call

by Naomi Cooper May 21, 2014

Dental Marketing: The All-Important First Phone CallOften when consulting with my dentist clients, the focus is on attracting new patients, which of course is an important part of dental practice growth. But I caution my clients before they ever spend any money on external marketing efforts, they need to be absolutely sure they and their staff already have solid internal processes in place.

Simply put, the dollars spent to attract new patients through external marketing efforts can end up going to waste if effective marketing processes and strong verbal communication skills are not in place. After all, why go to all the trouble and expense to make the phone ring if the person answering the phone doesn’t have the ability to turn a caller into a patient?

Often a new patient’s first contact with the dentist and the practice is during the initial phone call to find out about the practice, and possibly to make an appointment. The front desk team needs to be able to effectively communicate with new patients and address all questions and concerns, as well as schedule appointments in a timely manner.

The first phone call is a critical time: the prospective patient is sizing the practice up, and this interaction needs to be handled delicately. So what can the front desk team do during the call to ensure success?

Find out in my most recent article published in Inside Dentistry: Growing the Dental Practice Through Patient Communication.

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Dental Practice Marketing: Consistency Matters!

by Naomi Cooper March 4, 2014
Dental Practice Marketing: Consistency Matters!Consistency. As dentists, you constantly remind patients of the value of consistency…regular brushing and flossing — and keeping their recall appointments. As business owners, we also intuitively know that consistency matters. So why is it so hard for us to take our own advice?
When it comes to dental practice marketing, consistency tops the list of Must-Do’sI remind my clients time and again that sporadic marketing efforts will not generate the kind of return they expect to get. Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint, and no matter what type of marketing you are doing, you have to do it regularly. Few tactics exist that will produce overnight results. Blogging. Social media. Direct mail. Asking for referrals. None of these activities will give you the results you want to see unless they’re done with consistency.

Still not convinced? Check out this recent blog from the team at Dental Support Specialties to discover what areas of the dental practice could be improved through a focus on consistency. What have you got to lose, besides a few bad habits?

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SEO for Dental Practices: What’s Your Approach?

by Naomi Cooper February 25, 2014

SEO for Dental Practices: What’s Your Approach?How familiar are you with SEO? Most business owners may have a base-level knowledge of the subject but it’s difficult to stay on top of the constant changes. Dentists typically fall into 1 of 2 camps: some hire SEO experts to handle it for them, while others have more time and/or interest to do it themselves.

Outsourcing is a great way to maximize your online strategies. Hiring a trusted vendor can give you peace of mind knowing that patients are able to find your practice online while giving you your freedom to focus on providing quality dental care to your patients.

The marketing authorities at HubSpot have outlined 14 common SEO myths and shed some light on what it is that really goes into a smart online strategy (HINT: content matters!).

Their whitepaper gives you the lowdown on the most common myths pervading the marketing industry and how you can best avoid them. It’s a definite must-read if you approach SEO with a DIY-mentality. And even if you are looking to hire an external vendor, arm yourself with this information so that you know the right questions to ask in order to find the best professional you can.

What is your approach to SEO when it comes to your dental practice? Feel free to share your experiences below!

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Dental Practice Marketing: Knowing When to Outsource

by Naomi Cooper February 5, 2014

Dental Practice Marketing: Knowing When to OutsourceDentistry is taught in dental school, not business school. You wouldn’t expect a marketing expert to know how to fill a cavity, so why is it that dentists are supposed to know how to effectively market their dental practice?

Choosing to work with an outside consultant is not an indication of your capability as a dentist. Rather, outsourcing your dental practice marketing is as an effective tool for dental practice management. You may already outsource your bookkeeping, your collections, your lab work, so why not your marketing? Choosing to work with a marketing consultant not only leaves your schedule open for treating more patients, but ensures that your marketing dollars are being spent most effectively.

Still not sure you are ready to outsource your marketing? Read my recent article 5 Signs You Need a Dental Marketing Consultant published in Dental Products Report.

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Goal Setting: How to Achieve Dental Marketing Success

by Naomi Cooper December 30, 2013

Goal Setting: How to Achieve Dental Marketing SuccessAhhh…The beginning of a new year. A time for resolutions and plans, both personally and professionally. It’s relatively easy to come up with a list of new goals to accomplish over the next 12 months, but do you notice a stalemate when it comes to taking the first, second and third steps needed in order to take action to achieve your goals?

You’re not alone. A recent online article from Healthcare Success Strategies talks about the 7 Deadly Sins of Healthcare Marketing and how to identify the roadblocks to productivity. It is a terrific read for dental practice owners, and extremely timely as we enter 2014.

In terms of dental marketing, a common goal I often hear is to “increase social media activity”. This sounds great in theory, but goals should be more specific. How do you plan to increase your activity? What social media sites will you use? How do you define “increase”? A better-stated goal might be: Post 3 times per week to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. When stated like this, your action plan is more clearly defined — and more measurable.

Setting annual marketing goals is a necessary habit to keep your dental practice moving forward, but setting short-term, specific objectives to help you reach them is often the first step towards achieving success in marketing.