February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, a time to take stock of how your youngest patients are caring for their teeth. As someone who manages a practice, you know how important children’s dental health is. Good habits and experiences with a dentist can build a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. This is the perfect time to promote children’s dental health on any and all of your social media channels. That’s why, in today’s blog, we offer some helpful ideas to engage your audience with this important topic. Read More
Category: Dental Consulting
Last week, we announced that MDPM Consulting will join forces with the North Texas Hispanic Dental Association, MassMutual, BBVA Compass, and Optimal Economics Capital Partners at a business seminar geared toward dentists, CFOs, and industry controllers on Thursday, September 10, here in Dallas. MDPM Founder and CEO, Jill Nastasia, will discuss what online marketing can do for your dental practice. The evening — which includes dinner and a plethora of networking opportunities — is an exclusive event that you won’t want to miss. Only 50 seats are available for this free business seminar, so register online now!
Over the next few weeks, we’ll feature each of the event sponsors here on our blog. This week, we’d like to introduce Mr. Andres Bedoya, who is the business banking officer and vice president of the Dallas/Fort Worth market for BBVA Compass.
Mr. Bedoya is a business banking officer who has helped many business owners in the north central Texas area reach their financial goals. During his 16 years in business banking, Mr. Bedoya has provided many clients with customized solutions for their companies by listening to their individual needs. With a background in financial sales and an education from Cornell University, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, and Universidad de San Buenaventura, Mr. Bedoya’s goal is to interpret your company’s aspirations and identify how BBVA Compass can help you meet your strategic goals.
Mr. Bedoya and the team at BBVA Compass understand that the healthcare industry has unique financial needs. At BBVA Compass, you’ll find expert financial partners who are ready to provide you with solutions tailored specifically for your hospital network, healthcare system, practice, or association. BBVA Compass Healthcare Solutions are designed to improve your cash flow, save time, and facilitate growth so that you can continue to put your patients and customers first.
Learn more about BBVA Compass solutions at www.BBVACompass.com.
This free business seminar on September 10 is the first in a four-part series that we invite all dentists, CFOs, and industry controllers to attend. Read more about the event, and register online here: marketing-dental-practice.eventbrite.com.
On behalf of MDPM Consulting, Mr. Bedoya/BBVA Compass, and the other sponsors, we can’t wait to see you there!
The Importance of Capitalizing on General Referrals
Back in April, we answered a very important question in our monthly newsletter: What do you have that other dentists don’t?
The answer: your patients!
Over the next several weeks, we’ll be discussing how your relationship with your valued patients can work for you when it comes to growing your practice. This week, we’re focusing on the importance of capitalizing on general referrals.
As a dentist, referrals can make up a large portion of your patient base. When you receive a referral, you should follow up quickly to take advantage of the patient’s interest. Capitalizing on general referrals accomplishes two things: (1) brings new patients into your practice and (2) encourages current patients to express and share what they like about the care and service they receive with both your office and their network of friends, family, and acquaintances.
When someone is referred to you, don’t take a passive approach. After all, a referral doesn’t become a patient until he or she is in your dental chair. Once a referral rolls in, the potential patient should be contacted by your team within 48 hours. If possible, find out what services the potential patient is looking for and, better yet, schedule an appointment for as soon as both your schedule and the patient’s schedule allows. This prompt, friendly phone call gives the potential new patient the impression that you and your team are very eager to help him or her achieve improved oral health and that you value the business. Remember, this call is the patient’s first official interaction with your office, so show him or her that you are a friendly, welcoming, and professional practice that has the best interests of your patients in mind. Read More
Do you wonder how your front office team handles calls? At MDPM Consulting, we’re problem solvers. In some cases, we build a dental website that draws excellent traffic, but something mysterious keeps the dentist’s appointment book from filling up with new patients. We analyze user experience, look at how long visitors remain on various pages of the website, where they enter and where they leave. In most cases, everything seems perfectly aligned for transition – that is, the potential patient has every reason to book an appointment. What’s the stumbling block?
Returning Emails Correctly
Do all of the email forms on your website work? Do the emails funnel to one person? What’s your office’s procedure for returning emails? Digital communication is not going away. In fact, texting is replacing email, in many cases. A dentist should have full confidence that: 1) email forms on the website work; 2) a team member returns emails and texts within 24 hours; 3) all emails and texts that do not transition into new patients are kept on a list for weekly follow up calls until the potential patient responds. Also, email signatures should be consistent throughout the practice. Every team member who might communicate via email needs to include the dental practice logo, website, and phone number in his or her email signature. Read More
Marketing a New Dental Practice
Starting a new practice, whether you’re beginning from scratch or acquiring an established dental office, is one of the most exciting times in a dentist’s career. Preparing to be successful in business, growing in the community, and in helping your patients (and neighbors) gain better oral health and self-confidence should instill excitement. In dental school, you learned how to address a wide variety of dental health concerns, as well as how to employ the latest materials and technology in dental care. You are trained and prepared to help people! But what did you learn about marketing your dental practice? Most dentists learn next to nothing about marketing while in school. Instead, their education comes from trial and error – and that strategy can lead to a practice’s ultimate demise.
A Dozen Steps to Success
In this post, I’m going to give you an overview of what your new practice needs to succeed in the market today. Formerly, dentists could hang out their sign and start seeing patients. A listing in the phone book and perhaps mention in the local newspaper were sufficient advertising to draw new patients. Today, we live in a world jam-packed with marketing messages, brands, and advertisements. Where does your practice fit into this jungle, and how can you gain a stake in your market? Read More
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
Today, veteran dental management consultant Mayer Levitt of Jodena Consulting shares insight on increasing profitability in the dental practice. Subscribe to the Jodena Consulting blog by clicking this link.
My most recent blog post listed four ways to increase revenue in a dental practice. In retrospect, I would like to add a fifth. It is an important strategy that relates specifically to the topic of efficiency in the doctor’s appointment schedule for a busy dental practice.
The most important management system in a dental practice is scheduling, because the only thing we have to sell is our time. Yet over the years, I have observed that many practices are terribly inefficient in the way the doctor is scheduled to deliver treatment, wasting upwards of two hours every day. I didn’t say they weren’t busy–I said they weren’t efficient. There is a huge difference between being busy and being profitable.
I believe that when an effective scheduling system is introduced into a practice:
- the stress level of every one can be significantly reduced.
- the appointment backlog can be cut in half.
- the need for an associate is often eliminated.
- production is increased dramatically without raising fees or altering the mix of the practice.
- every hour in the practice becomes a productive hour no matter what procedures are being performed. Read More
Do you ever feel like the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland?
We all have busy schedules, and sometimes we wake up early, go to bed late, and fill every free minute with work. It’s all part of investing yourself in your business. Today, communication is “easier” than ever; we have smart phones with email and texting; we have instant messenger; and we have social networking. While these tools make communicating more convenient, they can be a mixed blessing. If it’s easy for your patients, colleagues, contractors, employees, family, and friends to get in touch with you, you’re going to have a lot of people expecting your response.
When it comes to customer service, empathy for the client or patient is imperative. While your time is invaluable to you, theirs is also to them. Here are a few tips to help you stay on top of communication and keep everyone feeling special, without sacrificing all of your precious time:
On your website, don’t include your personal phone number or email address. Funnel calls through your office line. Hire an after-hours service so that a human handles calls when you are not in the office, or you can invest in an office cell phone and pay employees an on-call wage for answering calls after hours. If a caller has an emergency, the person answering the phone can use their best judgement for offering your cell phone number. As for emails, funnel them through a main office account. I recommend you set up a Google email account for the office, since Google never fails. Domain-based email can be a real headache. Read More
Just like you keep up with dental technology, research, and techniques by reading industry journals, I make a point to read the latest information about Internet marketing, dental marketing, and marketing trends. For a long time now, I’ve blogged about social networking having poor return on investment (ROI). Sure, subscriptions and participation are free, but time is money, and to build a successful social networking presence, you must invest time. By successful, I mean a presence that has a following – not financial ROI.
In Entrepreneur Magazine online, an article titled “Finding Customers” tells us that social media is not bringing retailers many customers. A report by Forrester Research, “The State of Retailing Online 2011: Marketing, Social & Mobile” shows that retailers are not happy with the results of investing in social marketing, like Facebook and Twitter. Now I know dentists aren’t online retailers, but there is something to learn here. The benefits to social marketing are wrapped around improving brand awareness.
Just this week, I advised a wonderful client of mine that a custom Facebook page will look great, but it will not improve ROI. It may not bring any new patients to the practice. This does not mean that a custom Facebook page is a poor investment. You have to consider your goals. For a high-end cosmetic dental spa, brand awareness and perceived value of services is essential to maintaining high profits. In this case, a custom Facebook page may be well worth the monetary investment.
But if you’re looking for hard, cold cash as a return on your marketing investment, according to the aforementioned report, “A whopping 90 percent of online retailers said search-engine marketing was the most effective source used to acquire customers last year…” Well, that’s great news for dentists! Read More
I have asked this question thousands of times through the years: What sets your dental practice apart from others? Funny thing is, most dentists (if not all) say that one-on-one attention and customer service make their dental practice better.
“Better” is a bad word when discussing dentists. I know that you have a respected peer relationship with other dentists in your area. However, you’re a dentist and I’m a dental marketing expert. One of us has to consider your peers competition. Let it be me.
My point is, the attention and service your team provide to patients may be head and shoulders above your competitors’, but: A) no one will know until they become your patient; B) so the only time it matters is in word-of-mouth or testimonial marketing; C) surely there is something else that truly sets you apart – something measurable or tangible. Find it. Show it off.
- What training and certifications do you have that others may not?
- What experience do you have (even life, not career, experiences) that others do not?
- What training and experiences do your team members have that others may not?
- What technology does your office offer that others may not?
- Do you have before and after photos or videos for your marketing?
- Are your labs extraordinary, or do you have an in-office lab?
- What conveniences do you offer? (parking, online forms, payment plans, kids’ play area, etc.)
- What comforts do you offer? (anesthesia, sedation, ergonomic chairs, sunglasses, iPods, neck pillows, paraffin hand treatment, etc.) Read More