Facebook Timeline for Business—and Dentists!

Sometimes I feel like a paparazzi, craving the hot news about Hollywood stars—but it’s not the stars that interest me. It’s Internet marketing. Rumor has it, Facebook will launch Timeline for businesses on or around the end of this month. By March, your dental practice’s Facebook page could look a LOT different—better, actually. Here’s what you can expect:

The Big Picture

The main difference you’ll notice is a large banner photo. You can create a custom banner or use a photograph for this feature. Be sure to include your website domain and phone number! A smaller photo can be selected for the lower left corner. I recommend dentists use the photo features to show off their team or office, then in the smaller box, their logo.  A testimonial would also work well for the big feature box.

More Personal

If you’ve ever wanted to like-like (versus just like) a page on Facebook, you’ll find this is cool. Instead of merely liking your page, your fans will be able to love you! If you happen to have a product page, like for a teeth whitening product or Invisalign, fans can want or own you. How fun is that? Read More

10 Steps to Create a Dentist’s Newsletter

This post is part two of “Is Your Dental Office Ready for a Patient Newsletter?”

Whether you build your own dental practice newsletter, have your office manager tackle the task, or use a service, these are 10 primary elements you need to consider.

  1. Email list: You can’t send an e-newsletter campaign without email addresses! If you subscribe to Demandforce, Smile Reminder, or another patient communication tool, you probably have a list of patient email addresses. Dental offices without a patient email list should start asking for email addresses today. Some patients may not want to provide you with their email address, and that’s fine. Don’t let those few discourage you. Most of your patients will be happy to give you an email address, especially if you explain the purpose: to deliver your dental health newsletter.
  2. Distribution Service: You can send e-newsletters through your patient communication tool, or you can sign up with a service like MyEmma.com. Many e-newsletter services exist, so do a little research and find one that’s convenient and user-friendly. You might put the task on your office manager, but if you do, be sure to assign a deadline. She should find a tool, write a synopsis, and send you her findings within a week. If you don’t have time for any of this, MDPM can handle all aspects of your newsletter creation and distribution.
  3. Column Designation: Feature 3-5 regular columns in your newsletter. The more personal, the better. Don’t be that dentist who sends out generic newsletters. With Google, people can find information about dental health when they need it. Instead, feature articles about your patients’ successes in the community. Which of your young patients made the A-honor roll? Which of your adult patients volunteers at the food bank? You might include a recipe from a staff member, photos of your team retreat, and testimonials from happy patients. End your newsletter with an article about a special offer, contest, or new service. Read More

No Prize Required for Great Referrals

In states where it’s not banned, dentists often turn to incentive programs for referrals. While I’m not opposed to incentive programs, incentives for referrals isn’t necessarily a good marketing tactic. Word-of-mouth is the most effective and efficient way for dentists to get new patients. Referred patients have a good reputation for long-term retention, so providing an incentive to increase word-of-mouth among your exiting patients seems like a good idea, at least on the surface.

Have you ever referred a friend to a business – like a particular golf pro shop or gym? How does it make you feel to provide a friend with information on where to get the best service? For most of us, giving good advice and helping our friends feels rewarding. Our conscience says “good job” for being wise and informative. There’s no guilt because there’s no tangible referral incentive. Yes, incentives can actually keep people from making referrals because they feel bribed. Emotion plays a big role in word-of-mouth referrals.

How to Ask for Referrals
There are alternatives to incentive programs. You can boost referrals very easily by asking for them. If you know that your team is friendly, helpful, and provide superior service to your patients, you should not feel guilty asking for referrals. Here’s a script to help you. Read More

Social Networking for Dentists Made Easy!

You’ve heard about using Facebook for your dental office. You may have attended a seminar about social networking or read books on the subject. Perhaps you want to Tweet, post, blog, comment, and update, but you just don’t have time. How can you reap the benefits of social networking without squeezing time from your already hectic schedule? The answer is simple. Call MDPM.

What is Social Networking for Dentists?

“Social” has to do with friendly companionship, according to Dictionary.com. “Networking” relates to a group that shares information and services of a common interest. So, social networking for dentists involves a friendly sharing of information about health, wellness, dentistry, and your local community. It has to be personal; it has to be genuine; it has to be interesting to your patients.

Why Use Social Networking in Marketing?

To dominate search results for a variety of targeted keywords with the ultimate goal of increasing your patient base.

Social networking involves daily digital interaction with your current patients, as well as reaching potential patients with your brand. Done properly, social networking is part of an overall search engine optimization plan that includes website optimization, regularly posted blogs, as well as local listings and original videos, articles, and press releases.

The more places you are online, the more posts and articles are associated with your practice, the higher you’ll rank on Google. Read More

Busy or Profitable? Your Choice.

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

Dentist Marketing SEO Piece by Piece


Please note: We do not look like the nerds in this photo. We are much cooler.

This is part two in our series on dental marketing SEO.

Another important factor is metadata, thought it’s not quite as important as dental website content and blogs. There are three primary components to metadata: title tag, description, and keywords. You’ll hear some techies say that keywords are not important, and to Google, they aren’t. However, keywords are important to Yahoo and Bing. Sure, Google has 65% of the search engine market, but if you can please all the search engines all the time, why not?

What is a title tag? This is like a page title.

In the code, it looks something like this: <title>Modern Dental Practice Marketing</title>.

Your title tag should have your main business name and location, if you provide local service (which most dentists do).

What is a meta description? A description is the text that shows up in a search engine results page. Read More

Rule #1: Everyone’s time is important, not just yours!

No Time to Say Hello, Goodbye, I’m Late, I’m Late, I’m Late!!!

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

Are Dentists’ Facebook Fans Local?

Some interesting information hit my email box this morning, thanks to Dr. Emmott’s blog. An article at www.pcmag.com tells us “Most Facebook Fans of Small Businesses Aren’t Local, Study Finds.” I know that’s the case with the MDPM Facebook page. We have fans from all over the globe — but we also have a client in Australia, so it’s to be expected. For a dentist, however, even if he has a patient from Australia or Timbuktu, you’d expect most of his Facebook fans to be local.

The study was conducted by Roost Local Scorecard, and it covered 800 small businesses on Facebook. Get this: For those surveyed, just 15% of fans were local.

We rarely see data for these types of trends in dentistry, it’s too granular to attract much attention, so there’s no indicator that the research holds true for dentists.

Just this morning, I was asked by a client what we do to SEO Facebook. That question makes me realize, more than ever, dentists generally do not know what Facebook can do for them. I recently worked with a high-end cosmetic practice that held a contest that attracted 500 visitors to their Facebook page in about a week. The client was disappointed when the second week brought fewer lookers — and then traffic dropped to normal levels.

I want to share some truths with you — these are what I’ve witnessed. You can be an exception, but it will take work, and I’m not sure the ROI is there… Read More

Naming A Business (Or A Practice): How Does That Happen?

Today’s guest blogger is James J. Eischen, Jr. of Eischen Law Group, APLC.

So you want to name your medical or dental practice something different than “Dr. Arnold Palmer, A Tasteful General Practice?”

A quick story: a business partner and I decided to create a private medical business to help private fee physicians and patients better connect, and to deliver basic private medical practice administrative services. We wanted to use a business name that suggests “connection” but we did not want to use a descriptive name or a name too similar to competitors (like “ConnectMD”). We sat in a crowded bar during a loud happy hour in San Diego with smart phones in hand as we did rapid internet searches for each clever name we fell in love with, only to discover again and again that the name we loved (or something very close) was already in use and therefore unavailable. I discovered that virtually every cool name you can think of in Latin or Greek is already snapped up by the pharmaceutical industry or other health care businesses. Frustrated, we decided to plow the fields of another language—Punjabi (my girlfriend’s parents are from Punjab). I searched Punjabi for a name that referred to “connection” but also had something of a lyrical feel. I struck out on my own but then enlisted the help of my girlfriend’s very literate and well-educated father via a quick email. He rapidly suggested “Jorna.” Interesting. We searched the internet and found nothing of note. We then searched the California business portal for corporations and limited partnerships/LLCs—no Jorna. Success. So we formed a California corporation called “JornaSolutions” as an initial holding company, and then we registered every version of “Jorna” we intend to use as domain names on the Internet. Time will tell if that name connects to a successful business. I am guessing it is a better name than “Doctor Helpers” or “Find U Patients.”

What makes a good business name?

“Xerox” and “Kleenex” are routinely touted as amazing business names. Why? Over time both evolved from obscure names lacking any discernable meaning to nearly universally recognized words. If I ask someone for a “Kleenex” I’m handed a disposable tissue paper product without question. I tell someone I am “Xeroxing” a file they understand am copying the file. If I tell you I “FedEx’d” a letter after I stopped off for lunch at KFC,  you’d have no problem knowing I sent a letter via overnight delivery after eating some version of fried (or grilled) chicken. “Facebook” easily becomes the “F” logo in a blue rectangle on seemingly every electronic media offering on the Internet without triggering confusion (not a grade). And now “facebooked” is a verb, right? On the other hand, if I started a company selling paper products called “Paper” your common sense informs you that the company name will never be truly valuable or protectable. And I probably can’t stop other companies from referring to “paper” by calling my company “Paper.” Read More