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marketing for dentists

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Dental Practice Marketing: Managing Your Online Reputation

by Naomi Cooper April 23, 2014

Dental Practice Marketing: Managing Your Online ReputationThese days, patients are going online to conduct research when looking for a new dentist. According to a 2013 study by 1800dentist.com, 70% of respondents said that online dentist reviews are just as important as a dentist’s professional credentials.

Word of mouth marketing has been revolutionized. While it used to be a one-to-one communication model, online patient review sites have transformed word of mouth to a one-to-many model. Clearly, some of the most powerful tools a dentist can have are positive online reviews from existing patients. Sites such as Yelp, Google+ Local and Healthgrades are all popular with consumers looking to get a glimpse of the dentist before ever stepping foot through the practice’s front door.

Online patient reviews can be a double-edge sword, because with the good can also come the bad. Getting a negative review can be a scary prospect. And leaving your online reputation in the hands of a third party website can be difficult, as reported in a recent LA Times article. Stories like this, while not entirely common, are a real issue when it comes to online marketing and patient reviews. The business owner in the LA Times story is a jeweler, so it goes to show that it’s not only dentists having issues with their online reputation – it affects small business owners across all industries.

So what’s a dentist to do? Stay vigilant. Aim to collect 1-2 positive reviews per month for one year. In addition to being a reasonable goal for the dental team, it also has the benefit of being credible to patients researching you online. And while it is important to generate positive reviews online, it absolutely must be done in an authentic manner. Absolutely never hire any outside vendor to create fake testimonials. Patient reviews need to be just that – reviews from patients! The patient needs to post the testimonials themselves. You should not create a profile and post it for them, even if they have given you the most glowing recommendation.

When handled correctly and in a genuine manner, positive patient testimonials can go a long way in establishing a dentist’s online reputation.

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5 Steps to a Modern Dental Marketing Plan

by Naomi Cooper April 16, 2014

5 Steps to a Modern Dental Marketing PlanRecent data suggests that Americans are becoming increasingly reliant on the Internet when making purchasing decisions, and that includes finding a dentist.

There are countless ways of updating your dental marketing plan with modern tactics, and it can understandably be overwhelming when trying to figure out where to start. Don’t worry – you don’t have to do everything all at once. Incremental steps can make it easier to implement while keeping your budget in check.

Here are 5 ways to an increasingly modern dental marketing plan:

  1. Updating your practice website – Your website = the foundation of your online strategy.
  2. Playing the SEO gameIncrease your online visibility by making sure your website appears at or near the top of search engine results.
  3. Building social media profiles – Connect with your patients online by engaging on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and/or YouTube.
  4. Gathering patient testimonials – Ensure that potential patients get a positive first impression when they are researching your practice online.
  5. Blogging – Share the latest practice news and address frequently asked questions in order to stay in touch with patients year-round.

Taking the initiative now to update your marketing will keep you ahead of your competition as well as saving you from playing catch up later on.

Don’t forget – you don’t have to do this all on your own. Dental industry experts like Sesame Communcations and My Social Practice can help guide you in the right direction. And especially when it comes to website design and SEO, outsourcing is often your best bet. Updates to the search engine algorithms are frequent and can be confusing. Leave it to the professionals and get back to focusing on your main responsibility – your patients!

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Is Your Dental Marketing Plan in Need of a Refresh?

by Naomi Cooper April 9, 2014

Is Your Dental Marketing Plan in Need of a Refresh?What is your plan for sparking new patient flow? If you are still relying on phone book advertising for your dental practice, you might want to refresh your marketing plan.

Sure, phone book advertising still has a place in the marketing plan for some dental practices. If you are targeting seniors, it may still make sense. Keep in mind that as the population ages, eventually you are going to need to shift your strategy to the online world.

Not yet convinced? Consider the following statistics:

With recent stats like these, it is hard to deny the importance of having an online marketing strategy. Updating your practice website, employing SEO tactics and joining social media can help to bring your practice marketing plan into the modern era. And there is certainly no time like the present to get started!

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Dental Practice Branding: 4 Steps to a Winning Online Strategy

by Naomi Cooper April 3, 2014

Dental Practice Branding: 4 Steps to a Winning Online StrategyIt is estimated that the average person sees 3,000 advertisements every day! Your patients need to be able to recognize your dental practice brand. If you’re not iconic, then all of the time, money and effort that went into the message is completely wasted. So, how do you make the most of your dental practice branding strategy? Keep it consistent, and this has never been more important than it is in today’s digital age.

It’s a good idea to take periodic inventory of your online marketing to make sure everything is up to date. In particular, these 4 digital components should work together to form a cohesive brand:

1) Practice Name: This one may sound obvious but it is not uncommon for me to find that a practice’s business cards read “Joe B. Smith, DMD” while its website uses the moniker “Smith Family Dentistry”. One name should be used across all marketing platforms, including your website and online profiles, in addition to your printed materials.

2) Social Media Profiles: It is ideal to set up your dental practice social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.) profiles under the same name as the practice. It may seem more natural to set the profiles in the name of an individual dentist, but again, I recommend keeping everything consistent and using the practice name across all properties so that patients can find and connect with the practice as easily as possible.

3) Patient Review Sites: Word of mouth has shifted to the online atmosphere via sites such as Yelp!, Healthgrades.com and Google+ Local. What I find when consulting with my dentist clients is they do not always realize is that these sites often automatically create a profile for your business. It is up to you to log on and claim your practice’s profile on each of these sites, making sure your business name is correct and contact information is current. After you claim your profiles, encourage patients to share their positive experiences so that when prospective patients are doing their online research, they can get a complete picture of what your practice has to offer.

4) Practice Website: Along with having the same name across all online platforms, it is smart to link your online profiles to your website. The homepage of your practice website should include links to your social media profiles and your blog. Likewise, your profiles on social media and patient review sites should also link to your practice website.

Patients are online now more than ever. It’s up to you to make sure they can find you, and that when they do that you’ve made a good first impression. Remember, make it as simple as possible for patients to recognize your practice by name by keeping your branding consistent – online and offline!

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Dental Practice Branding: Top Tips for Naming Your Dental Practice

by Naomi Cooper March 19, 2014

Dental Practice Branding: Top Tips for Naming Your Dental PracticeWhat’s in a name? Actually, a great deal. Whether as a result of the sale of a practice, or a rebranding initiative, choosing a name for the dental practice is a major decision that should not be taken lightly.

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The name is central to the overall branding strategy. It helps patients identify and relate to your practice, and is often the community’s very first impression of the practice, so it deserves thoughtful consideration.

It might seem easiest to name the practice after the dentist; however it is also important to think long-term. For instance, are there any children that will one day take over the practice? If so, keeping the family name would be appropriate. For example, a father/son practice such as Dillehay Orthodontics or McMahon Family Dental .

Alternatively, if there is there a plan to bring in new associates later on, it may pay off in the long term to go in another direction. One option is to include the city, town, street or neighborhood in the name so patients immediately know where the practice is located, such as University Avenue Dental . Or, choose a more descriptive name that tells something about your community such as Alta Vista Dental Care for a dental practice in a mountain community.

Consider also what sets your practice apart from the competition. What is your practice philosophy? Brainstorm non-generic words that demonstrate what is unique about your practice. An office that offers a spa-like environment — and where the dentist also happens to be a concert pianist — evokes a peaceful experience with a name like Harmony Dental Care. If the practice specializes in the latest technology and cosmetic procedures, communicate a high-end message with a name like Smallville Advanced Dental Arts or Smallville Center for Cosmetic Dentistry.

These are just a few ideas when considering a name change for your dental practice. A strategic name can be a first step in establishing a successful dental practice brand. For more insight, check out these 10 Naming Commandments from the branding all-stars at MarketingProfs.

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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?