The Life of a Dental Blog Post

I often post about how wonderful blogs are for your dental marketing strategy. But what I’ve not yet told you is where blog posts go… Why are they so important?

Your blog posts last forever. They never die.

When we publish a post on your MDPM blog site, we include keywords in the text, then we assign tags that help search engines understand the purpose of the post. This is the birth of the blog.

Your post can be published to your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn profiles. The announcement on these social networking sites will link back to the post on your blog website. This is the toddler stage of the blog. It’s beginning to talk, walk, and socialize. (more…)

The Dentist’s Target Market

Wondering where to start with a marketing strategy for your dental practice? You do not want to spin your wheels; your time is way too precious. Planning is important. So, to quote Disney’s 1951 rendition of Lewis Carroll’s classic, Alice in Wonderland, “Well, start at the beginning, and when you get to the end…stop.” But we won’t stop at the end. We’ll keep going and going and going…

First, you need to know who you’re trying to attract. This group of people will be your target market. Keep in mind, consumers make purchases for three reasons: to meet basic needs, to solve problems, and to feel good.

Take a look at your current patient roster. If you want to bring in more patients like those you already have, then the roster will give you some great insight. Consider the age, gender, income, and city of residence. Know that mothers usually choose the family dentist, so, if you cater to families, go for the moms.

If you want to change the type of patients you serve, you have to determine who you want as patients. A good rule of thumb is, determine what you like to do and what is most profitable. Then find out who would purchase those services to meet their basic needs, solve problems, or feel good.

See how this works? It’s not rocket science, but it does take some thought!

Once you know who you want as patients, then look at the demographics of the community and surrounding cities your practice serves. Go to www.zipskinny.com for your research. You need to make sure that the type of people you want as patients live in the area. If they don’t, you have two options: move your office or change who you want to serve. (more…)

Writing a Dental Practice Mission Statement & Tag Line

I sell blogs. You sell dental services. Who do we sell to? People. Who pays us? People. Who do our services help? People.

We should never, ever forget that business is about the people, and people want excellent service for their hard-earned dollars. From the initial phone call to the proactive follow-up to the warm personal welcome to the unparalleled treatment in your office, every patient who experiences your dental practice should be chomping at the bit to share the story with all of their neighbors and friends.

Think about what you do that makes your practice different than the one down the road.

When I used to interview dentists before writing content for their websites, I would always ask, “What sets your practice apart from all the rest?”

The answer, ironically, was the same—all the time!

Dentists said, after some thought and hesitation, “You know, it’s our personalized service and wonderful team; it’s the real one-on-one that we give the patients that makes us different.” (more…)

Why an MDPM Blog is Excellent for Your Dental Practice Publicity

At one of my favorite SEO info sites, Level343.com, Gabriella Sannino tells us, “At this point in SEO and search engine placement, site optimization builds the foundation, but linking and fresh content is absolutely necessary to stay on top.”

This is precisely why you should keep your main website and add an MDPM blog. Our blogs include 8 posts per month, in addition to an entire backend strategy that includes commenting, links, integration of social networking like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. We’ll set you up on testimonial sites, if you like, including those like Yelp! and Kudzu. You’ll receive a complimentary smart phone version of your blog, and we’ll call you regularly to discuss your blog’s traffic and topics you’d like to cover.

In Gabriella’s article, “Google’s Shot of Espresso, Caffeine: SEO Response,” we learn that Google announced an important change in June 2010. Here’s a synopsis: to rank high on Google’s SERPs (search engine results pages), you must have fresh content. (more…)

Guest Blog: 5 Key Questions Your Dental Practice Must Answer!

Today we have a guest blogger, Cathy Warschaw, of Warschaw Learning Institute. I hope you find her insight useful to the success of your practice!

Have you ever walked into a patient’s room and asked, “How are you Mrs. Smith?” only to learn you were speaking to Mrs. Jones? Has your office ever mistakenly billed a patient for a procedure that didn’t occur? Have there ever been errors made on insurance forms that were filed? If so, your office may be at great risk. Poor filing procedures and organizational skills can doom a practice, affecting dental team efficiency and customer service–putting it at risk for losing money and patients.

But, there are 5 questions your practice should be able to answer. . . And the answers will help specify the procedures and steps that are critical to having a well-organized office: (more…)

SERP’s Up: How to Move Dental Websites Higher on Google

A SERP is a search engine results page.

When you type words (keywords) into Google to find a website, the page that comes up with all the results is a SERP.

If you want to be on page one with Google for particular keywords, you have to do some serious Internet marketing strategizing. You can add a page to your website and optimize it for the keywords. But that webpage won’t get as much notice by Google as a blog would. So, the best approach is to add the webpage AND post multiple blogs on the topic.

Let’s say you want to bring in dental implant cases. Here’s a sample strategic Internet marketing plan, with tasks in order of effectiveness:

  • Post multiple, well optimized blogs about dental implants
  • Use social networking to promote dental implants
  • Add a well optimized dental implant page to your primary website
  • Create and promote a press release about dental implants
  • Create and promote articles on dental blogs
  • Comment on other blogs about dental implants (more…)

Dentists, Websites, Blogs, and RSS Feeds

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Technology is not as intimidating as wild animals, and neither is dental marketing. On the contrary, with a good safari guide, you’ll  enjoy the hunt and the trophies.

Today I want to talk with you about RSS feeds. You’ve probably seen that little orange icon and wondered, What’s that orange thing?

It’s the RSS icon.

What the heck is an RSS icon, and why should a dentist care? Let me explain.

  • RSS stands for really simple syndication.
  • An RSS feed provides an alert when new content is added to a blog or website.
  • Anyone can add an RSS feed to their Yahoo, Google, or other homepage, or they can bookmark the feed for quick access.
  • To subscribe to an RSS feed for a blog or website you like, look for the orange icon, click it, and follow the instructions.

Pretty simple, huh?

Let’s take it a step further. After all, you have a doctorate degree. You like learning! (more…)

Dental Website Blog Tips for Great SEO Rankings

Do you have a dental website? A blog? If you’re a blogging dentist, you may already know the importance of SEO and building up backlinks through comments and link swapping. Sounds like Greek to you? It’s not! Here’s a little rundown, a Blogging 101 class, to get you started. I’ll define SEO, blog, blog comments, and backlinks, and I’ll also give you some practical tips for your online dental marketing strategy.

SEO
Search engine optimization, referred to as SEO, is the procedure of making a website or blog attractive to search engines, like Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

Blog
Blog is a word derived from web + log. Essentially, a blog is an online journal. However, in business, a blog is much more. Dental offices can rely on blogs to act as a practice newsletter. Blogs also get a lot of attention from search engine spiders because they are considered news. The bottom line is, blogs do great on search engines and are a practical, effective, and free way to promote your dental practice on the Internet. (more…)

5 Tips for Orthodontist Websites

People know a lot about technology these days, but they don’t necessarily know a lot about orthodontics. In an instant, they can go online and Google just about anything, though. So what can your orthodontic website have that other sites don’t offer?  If you want potential patients to like your website (and call your office, then become a patient), your site must interest them. Our team at Modern Dental Practice Marketing would love to create your amazing dental website blog—one that will score you many new patients–but feel free to provide these tips to your webmaster if you already have a site.

1. Make the About Us Page More About Them than You
Moms, dads, and kids generally don’t know much about orthodontics. What they do know is that they need your services, according to their trusted family dentist. So make life easy for them. On your About the Team webpage, offer more than biographical sketches. Provide a short Q&A section with questions like, What is an orthodontist?, What is an orthodontic assistant?, and Who can answer my financial questions? You might also include whether each team member has worn braces.

2. Keep the Services Page Simple, Informative, and Easy to Read
Benefits, benefits, benefits. It’s all about what’s in it for the patient. Provide a list of brief explanations about your services. Include a list of benefits, FAQs, and a fact or tip. The newest, most impressive treatments should be near the top of the page, with traditional orthodontics at the bottom. Along with your main services, include additional pages with care and maintenance instructions for retainers, recipes for orthodontic patients, and other appropriate topics. These pages provide great info for patients, and they’ll help with SEO for your website (make your site rank better on Google).

3. Use Lots of Great Photos and Videos
People love pictures and videos, and with digital photography, you can capture great images without spending a bundle. Invest in a nice digital camera and video recorder, and keep them handy in the office. Make it a habit to take before-and-after pictures, snapshots of kids having fun in your office, and videos of patients looking in the mirror after their braces are removed. Video testimonials are wonderful, as well. On video, parents can describe how easy their experience was with your office, and kids can talk about how going to the orthodontist is actually fun.  (Dental patient testimonials are discouraged in Texas by the TDA.)

4. Include a Before-and-After Gallery of Your Favorite Cases
This should be a rule for every dentist, whether a specialist or general practitioner. You may not have any photos when your website or blog initially launches, but you can accumulate case photos pretty quickly. Just keep your digital camera nearby and snap away every day. Send the photos to your web designer, and they can be posted immediately. Be sure to include descriptions of the cases and headshots of the patients. (Check with your lawyer for legal releases to use with patients.)

5. Keep Up with the Times, Doc!
This is harsh, but true, so take a deep breath. Regardless of your age, your patients are young people, not senior citizens. Your website should appeal to these kids and their smart, snappy, busy parents. Facebook, blogs, and interactive media are much more impressive to this crowd than links to old-school video games they conquered when they were in Pull-Ups. It’s time you get in the game.

Instead of putting a tired arcade page on your website, have someone in your office get involved with social networking. (Modern Dental Practice Management offers training on social networking.) Post articles on topics that contemporary minded kids would enjoy, like movie stars and rock stars who have worn braces, how a nice smile can improve your earning potential after college, and what Invisalign Teen can do for the cool kid’s image.

Your dental website blog from Modern Dental Practice Marketing will include a smart phone application free. This means, your tech-savvy patients with iPhones and Droids, as well as their parents, can visit your website on their phone whenever they like.

BONUS TIP: If you have incentive programs and prizes for your young patients, be sure to include pictures, explanations, and information on how the programs work.

SECOND BONUS TIP: Include a page for referring dentists on your website. It should include a brief, personal note from you about integrity and patient relationships, as well as information on how general dentists can submit records electronically to your office. Include the name of the front desk person on your staff who is in charge of building referral relationships.

Call Modern Dental Practice Marketing today at 972-781-8861 to discuss an effective, profit-producing dental website blog for your practice. If you prefer, email us at info@moderndentalmarketing.com. We’re in the business to make dentists–and orthodontists–smile!

Dental Website Photography: The Essentials

A website allows you the opportunity to meet new patients on their turf, on their home computer or smart phone. This is your time to shine. For an instant (hopefully longer) you have a potential patient’s full attention. What’s going to make that individual stay on your site and look around? Certainly not the same stock photos they’ve seen on every other dentist’s website. Original, professional photography will set you apart.

Depending on the ambiance of your office, an experienced local photographer and your web designer should be able to recommend the best setting and attire for your custom dental office photography. I recommend three photo shoots, though you can get them all done in one long day if you plan well:

Team & Doctor Photos
You’ll need individual photos of everyone on your team, even part-time employees. Be sure to get group photos of the doctors, hygienists, assistants, administrative team, and entire team, as well. To make sure you acquire the shots you want, have everyone dress in similar, neutral colors and suggest that your photographer take indoor and outdoor photos. If you like, hop in the car and grab the photographer for a few on-location shots at a local landmark. If you have a Tooth Fairy or mascot costume, make sure the photographer takes some pictures because the character needs to be with the team photos on your website.

Office Photos

There are three types of office photos you must have for your website: curbside view, front desk, and operatory. I recommend the photographer get shots of employees in action, in the same attire that they wore for the team photo shoot. You might also get a picture of your office signage for the contact us page of your website. Ask your photographer to take some close-up, artsy shots of unique items in your practice: the kids’ play area, a nice floral arrangement or the front garden, the beverage station, the doctor’s hands holding a wax-up model, etc. These images work well accents in your website design, and they’re unique, not stock (which is always good).

Patient Photos

The patient shoot is probably the most difficult because you need patients to agree to being featured on your site. Then you have to coordinate the shoot itself. I recommend you consult your lawyer to get a short agreement drawn up for patients who will be featured on your site.

You’ll need to accumulate before-and-after photos of clinical cases, as well. This takes time, and your website company should be able to add the new cases at any time. You only need to feature 5 to 10 clinical cases. More would be overwhelming, and they would dilute the importance of the gallery.

The best dental patient galleries I’ve seen include clinical before-and-after photos, close-up before-and-after photos, and headshots with a patient testimonial. A brief clinical case description with links to service descriptions is also very valuable on a website, both to patients and search engine results.

The Patient Photo Shoot Event

Consider hosting a Saturday photo shoot for your best cosmetic and full-mouth patients who’ve completed treatment. Offer to provide the pictures free of charge as a thank you to the patients who participate. Modern Dental Practice Marketing can plan the event for you, or you can do it yourself.

Here’s how. Send out custom invitations to a chosen few, and request an RSVP. Be sure that your photographer is free for the day of the shoot. As patients respond to your invitation, have your front office team book them in 30-minute sessions with the photographer.

The day of the shoot, provide refreshments for the patients and be on site to mingle throughout the event. During this time, request that patients complete written testimonials about their experience with your dental practice. You could also request they participate in a short video testimonials that you or someone on your team record.

Once the photos are delivered to you, send handwritten thank you notes with a CD of the digital photos to each patient who attended your event. You might also send a thank you note to the photographer.

Tips for Dental Photographers

  • Talk with the web designer to determine whether the photo shoot should be casual, business, semi-formal, or formal.
  • Advise the dental team and patients what to wear, and make sure that the neutral colors complement the website and logo, without making anyone look unattractive.
  • Be sure everyone wears Chapstick , lipstick, or lip gloss. Their smiles need to look magical.
  • Take indoor and outdoor photos at each shoot.
  • Take close-ups, head shots, and full-body shots of each subject.
  • Use props, like tooth brushes, floss, wax molds, dental tools, or flowers and books.
  • Capture subjects serious, happy, smiling, and laughing.
  • Always get a “fun” shot of the whole team.
  • Consider on location shoots at well-known locations in your town or city.
  • Take close-ups of accents in the office: flowers, magazines, dental models, computers, etc.
  • Take close-ups of dental machines (CEREC, digital X-ray, laser, etc.) and products sold in the office (teeth whitening kits , toothpastes, SoniCare toothbrushes, BreathRx, CariFree etc.).
  • Get a few photos of office textures, colors, and architecture for the website (ie: wallpaper, carpet, vases, wall art, pillows, arches, bricks, flooring, etc.).
  • Take a photograph of the exterior of the office from the street, the office sign, the front desk, and at least one operatory.

We Can Help with Your Dental Photo Shoot

Remember, effective marketing leaves a great impression and entices potential customers/patients to want to know more. Good, impressive, original photography can greatly impact your website’s bounce rate and conversion rate. Not sure who to call, what to say, or how to make your dental photo shoot turn out splendidly? We can help. Call Modern Dental Practice Marketing at 972-781-8861 or email us at info@moderndentalmarketing.com, and we’ll be happy to book your photo shoots, consult with your photographer and team, and choose the best shots for your Internet and print marketing. After all, we’re in the business to make dentists smile!