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online marketing for dentists

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4 Ways to Keep Dental Patients Happy in the New Consumer Culture

by Naomi Cooper October 7, 2015

Happy dental patientTo paraphrase Chaucer, if “time waits for no man,” then it also stands to reason that time waits for no dental practice, either. Thanks to tech-savvy consumers and consumer rating sites like Yelp, Healthgrades and Angie’s List, patients now have a plethora of information about your practice, all just a click away.

Make sure what patients are saying online about your practice is positive, and it all starts with patient satisfaction. Since keeping consumers happy is often a game of “what have you done for me lately?”, make sure you’re continuously doing things that show patients that they’re your top priority.

Dr. Marvin W. Berlin discusses this “new consumer culture in dentistry” in great detail in the August issue of Dental Economics. Dr. Berlin dives deep into the “consumerism shift,” discussing its causes and many effects. There are many ways to successfully navigate the intersection of dentistry and today’s online world, but the following tips are at the top of the list.

  1. Be willing to do what others won’t. This may be obvious, but it is essential for your practice to try things that make you stand out from your competition online. Whether that means having a flawless, user-friendly website, shooting videos or generating chatter via social media contests, you always want to be sure that your practice is one step ahead of the rest by doing things that other practices in your area aren’t.
  1. Provide patient education. “Shopper culture,” as Dr. Berlin puts it, has given rise to more comparison shopping: consumers are always looking for the most cost-effective, time-saving option. Now that everyone has instant access to a world of information online, it’s important for your website, social media and online profiles to be a patient’s best resource for dental information. Not only should your content be informative and accurate, but it should detail the services you provide and why they’re important to short- and long-term health. Also, by utilizing online tools such as streaming video and slideshows, you can show patients exactly how you can benefit them, and not just tell them.
  1. Stay active online. Other than dispensing valuable information in a crisp, good-looking package, your website and social media pages should act as hubs for your dental community to interact. Spice up your online presence by sharing interesting articles, facts or even dental-related jokes. Simple posts like these don’t take much time and can help generate conversation and make your patients take an active interest in your practice.
  1. Provide modern accommodations. For many, a trip to the dentist’s office is considered a chore. Anything you can do to make your patients feel better about the whole experience the second they walk in the door is greatly appreciated. Providing free access to WiFi and charging stations for smartphones and tablets can go a long way toward making your patients feel at home and cared for.

With so many opportunities available to leverage technology to help grow your dental practice and keep your patients happy, there’s no excuse not to use them. Being unique, user-friendly and accessible online takes a bit of work, but it will all be worth it just to see the smiles on your patients’ faces – emoji or otherwise.

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The Secret to Attracting More Baby Boomers to Your Dental Practice

by Naomi Cooper September 21, 2015

What's your online marketing strategy?Did you know that the fastest growing demographic on social media is adults ages 55-64? While you might believe that online marketing is just for the younger population, it turns out that online tactics can be an effective method for attracting patients at or near retirement.

The first step to using social media for reaching the baby boomer population is to determine what site(s) you wish to use. Facebook is an obvious place to start, with more than half of all online adults 65 and older using the social networking site, representing almost 1/3 of all seniors.

Next, keep your profile updated with interesting content and informative posts that cater to the baby boomer population. You could write a blog with tips on preserving their smile, or post an article from an industry expert on the oral-systemic link. And it doesn’t have to be all about dentistry. Including non-industry content will help keep patients engaged while providing a well-rounded social media profile.

For more additional tips on how to use social media to reach patients of all ages, check out my recent Dental Products Report article.

Even if traditional tactics like telephone book ads are still apart of your Baby Boomer marketing plan, don’t be short sighted. After all, as the population ages, your strategy will eventually need to shift online. Getting started now will keep you ahead of the game in the coming years.

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Dental Practice Marketing: 9 Content Ideas for Social Media

by Naomi Cooper September 24, 2014

Dental Practice Marketing: 9 Content Ideas for Social MediaAre you thinking about getting started on a social media plan for your practice? Or maybe you’ve been posting for a while now but feel like your updates are getting a bit stale? Whether you are a beginner or you’ve been participating for years, it can be difficult to keep coming up with ideas of what to post.

Here are 9 types of content that work well on social media:

  1. Links to Articles: Posts about the practice, the doctor, the team, the community, or oral health in general always work well.
  2. Photos: Pictures of the practice, of the doctor and/or team, patient “before and after” shots, team events, or continuing education opportunities. Note: photos require a signed release, so be sure you have written permission from everyone in the picture before posting.
  3. Videos: Shoot videos on a smartphone of an office tour, a welcome greeting from the doctor and staff, patient testimonials, or even the doctor answering patient FAQs. Similar to photos, videos also require a signed release, so again, be sure to have written permission before posting.
  4. Facts & Figures: Consider relevant quotes, statistics, news headlines that you think would be of interest to your community.
  5. Seasonal: The various holidays and seasons are perfect opportunities to share holiday wishes, fun factoids about the holiday/season, or give a piece of dental advice to fit a specific time of year.
  6. Contests and Polls: Great for increasing engagement with your social media audience, you can set up polls just for fun, or offer a prize.
  7. Giving Back: If you happen to be a part of a local group, you can post messages about the cause or link to the cause’s website. Or, if you know of a patient who is very involved, you could ask them about posting their story.
  8. Lifestyle: Social media posts don’t only have to be about dentistry. Varying your posts with healthy recipes, useful technology tips, dental jokes, or info about local community events can keep everyone interested.
  9. Promotional: Social media is a terrific way of spreading news updates about the practice, special offers, info on new procedures, and referral rewards promotions.

No matter what you post, the most important thing to consider is your patients’ perspective! Avoid using overly technical language or posting articles only of interest to fellow dentists. Find out what gets your patients excited about dentistry – personal updates about team members, photos and videos are always a hit. At the end of the day, a clear focus on engagement with your audience – your patients and prospective patients – is the way to go with social media.

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LinkedIn for Dentists

by Naomi Cooper March 11, 2014

LinkedIn for DentistsSo much of what is written about social media focuses on Facebook, with Twitter and YouTube following closely behind. A recent article published on DentistryIQ.com says that LinkedIn should not only be included in the mix but should actually be #1 on a dentist’s social media To-Do list.

The article asserts that LinkedIn users are more likely to fall into your target patient profile, with an average user age of 44 years and an average income of over $100,000. While those figures sound impressive, and I agree LinkedIn should be a part of a dentist’s marketing mix, I still encourage my clients to build solid profiles on Facebook, Twitter and/or YouTube. When it comes to online marketing, LinkedIn is fundamentally different from these sites. Here’s why:

LinkedIn is an online networking site, focusing primarily on business-to-business relationships. Most dentists have a business-to-consumer strategy, which is not to say that LinkedIn does not have a very real place in dental marketing, but rather that it should not replace other social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter where users are more comfortable with interacting with brands.

Also, when it comes to most social media sites, I recommend my clients build their profiles under the name of the practice rather than in the individual dentist. This builds an overall consistent branding strategy for the practice, and consolidates for a group practice what could be several profiles into one powerful all-inclusive profile.

With that said, my recommendation for LinkedIn would be slightly different. You can build a LinkedIn business page for your practice but it is also important to have an individual profile for each dentist first. Again, as LinkedIn is primarily to be used for professional networking, it is all about relationship-building. LinkedIn users connect with other like-minded professionals, some of whom may be your patients. Others may be fellow dentists, specialists, doctors, business owners, community leaders, and referral sources…yes, they may turn to you for dental services, but they can also be great sources of information when it comes to running a successful business.

If you are reading this and thinking you don’t have time to squeeze another site into your social media plan, think about automating your updates through sites such as Hootsuite. But automating your posts doesn’t equate to a “set it and forget it” mentality. Social media is about engagement — so if someone directly contacts you, be sure to take a few minutes to acknowledge them.

LinkedIn definitely should be a part of your online strategy but remember its unique purpose: professional networking. When used in conjunction with other social media sites, LinkedIn can be yet another tool in your social media arsenal!

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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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3 Strategies for Generating Online Patient Reviews for Your Dental Practice

by Naomi Cooper January 29, 2014

3 Strategies for Generating Online Patient Reviews for Your Dental PracticeIn today’s digital world, word of mouth has grown from a purely one-to-one communication to a one-to-many model by the increasing popularity of online patient review sites, where any of your patients can become a virtual billboard for your practice by writing a glowing review online. So remember, when a patient gives positive feedback verbally, it is the perfect opportunity to engage them and ask for an online review!

Encourage patients to post a positive review on your practice’s profile on sites such as Yelp, Google+ Local and Healthgrades.com, so that when potential patients are researching your practice online, they will see the satisfied experiences of your current patients.

To make internal marketing most effective, here are 3 “Must-Do’s”:

* Everyone in the practice should ideally be asking for referrals and online reviews every day. The experts at Pride Institute offer terrific training on internal marketing verbal skills for the entire team.

* Have a staff meeting to launch the internal marketing initiative and get everyone on board and committed to the plan.

* Implement a system to acknowledge and reward patients who refer new patients. The Viva Referral System is one solution that automates the referral acknowledgement system, making the internal marketing process easier to track.

Perhaps the most important element of any internal marketing program is consistency. Committing to the growing the practice through word of mouth is the best way to build momentum for the practice and creating patient ambassadors will continue to drive new patients through the front door for years to come.