Month: September 2012

Black Hat and ADA Non-Compliance in Dental Marketing

Do you really know what’s on your dental website? Recently, MDPM found seriously problematic, black-hat marketing tactics on some dental websites. Dentists need to know, some SEO tactics can get your domain blacklisted from Google and you’ll be up to your neck in hot water with the ADA – we’re talking suspended license. Ultimately, you are responsible for your dental practice’s marketing, and blind trust  of your marketing company could cause you major problems.

How Can My Website Get My Dental License Suspended?

The American Dental Association has guidelines for ethics, and the ADA’s marketing/advertising regulations are the basis of many state dental boards’ guidelines. The ADA offers a guide to help dentists understand advertising regulations.

The ADA’s marketing guidelines specifically state:

“…statements to be avoided are those that would: contain a material, objective representation, whether express or implied, that the advertised services are superior in quality to those of other dentists, if that representation is not subject to reasonable substantiation.”


For dentists who do not comply with regulations, state dental boards can  impose fines and suspension of licenses.

Also, most states have regulations against making comparisons of one dentist to another.

That said, do you know if your website is in violation? Perhaps you and your dental marketing firm should review the guidelines and your website as you make marketing goals for the coming year.

What is Black Hat SEO and Blacklisting?

As in the old west, in search engine optimization, a black hat means the bad guy. A white hat means the good guy. Black hat marketing defines a set of SEO tactics that Google and other search engines consider bad, unethical, and misleading. If caught by Google, a URL using black hat SEO tactics can be blacklisted, which involves being banned until compliance is re-established and proven. JC Penney faced this discipline a few years ago, and the mega-company had to grow a new Internet presence from the ground up, with a new domain. Read More

End of Year Dental Insurance Benefits Letter

October of last year, we wrote about that all-important end of year benefits letter that dentists across the nation are preparing to mail. Believe it or not, it’s that time of year again, already. October begins on Monday, and Americans will soon be caught up in the holiday madness. While saving money (and spending money) is on their minds, visiting their dentist probably is not.

Capturing Your Patients’ Attention

How can you convey to your current patients that they will save money in 2012 by completing unfinished dental treatment plans before December 31, 2011? In the midst of ghouls and goblins, turkeys and leaves, holly and mistletoe, how can you capture a few moments of their precious time to share this important message – a message that will literally keep money in their pockets?

Traditionally, dentists send out an end of year benefits letter that explains these points to patients:

  • Your dental benefits will expire on the last day of 2012.
  • The money you’ve put toward your dental insurance deductible will disappear; you will have to begin again in January of 2013.
  • If you have not seen the dentist in six months, you may be eligible for a 100% paid dental checkup and cleaning, under your dental insurance benefits.
  • If you have an incomplete or open treatment plan, you will probably spend less by completing the dental work in 2012 than if you wait until 2013, because the money you’ve invested toward your deductible will have reduced your out-of-pocket expense, but only until the end of this year.

Strategic Marketing Works

The end of year dental benefits reminder is actually part of your dental practice’s marketing. It is not simply a function of administration. Thinking about the letter in this way, consider where your patients go, what they see, and how they communicate with other people. In the Internet age, most of your patients probably use email and social networks to acquire information. In response, you should make your dental insurance benefits letter available via these channels. Read More

Transitioning Dental Patient Phone Calls into Scheduled Appointments

As dental marketing consultants, we know the acute importance of answering the phones in a dental office. You can invest thousands of dollars in marketing, and your efforts may lead many potential patients to call your office. Though you, the dentist, don’t answer your phones, the successful transition of potential patients to scheduled patients relies on how well you train your front office team. Unfortunately, many dentists do not know how to educate their administrative staff in this vital skill.

We’ve identified three common scenarios that turn new patients away, before they book an appointment. Steer clear of these traps, and you’ll see your new patient numbers grow. Read More