Social Marketing Needs to Eat a Banana

We’re all so very busy. You know exactly what I mean. I try to get in some yoga or a walk in the  morning, then do my reading at night. On my nighstand right now are a parenting book (I have two teenagers), The Count of Monte Cristo (birthday gift and personal life goal), and UnMarketing by Scott Stratten. It’s the latter that inspired this blog post. I highlighted some interesting points in UnMarketing last night, thinking of you, and I want to share them.

What’s the deal with Facebook and Twitter? Well, social marketing is in a rapid state of evolution. You can literally see it growing. It’s like a teenager! I say social media needs to eat a banana because when I grew two inches one summer, my legs ached like a big dog. My mom, a nurse, made me eat bananas for the potassium. It helped. (On a side note, I looked up Chaquita Banana on Facebook. She has an unused profile, but I added her as a friend anyway.) (Another side note, I am not bananas.)

Scott, the guy who wrote UnMarketing, is a very smart wiseguy, and that’s a compliment. He lends great insight and perspective to how social media works right now. Like a teenager, social media will change quickly. We may not even recognize it as “social media” in a few years. Who knows? But, I figure knowledge is power, so there’s no harm in learning all I can right now.

In the book, Scott wrote that many people join social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter, then give up when nothing happens. YES! I thought. Scott said that social media isn’t media. The term is misleading. It makes you think of TV or radio. He says social media is more social than media. Yep. Yep.

You have to engage to make it work.

I want to invite YOU to read UnMarketing along with me. Go to Facebook to join in the discussion.

I’m going there now to finish up this post! Remember those points I was going to share…

<visit The Business Book Club with ModMark to finish reading this post>


SocialVibe and WordPress = Dentist Websites Giving Back

WordPress is pretty cool. That’s why it’s the blogging service of choice at Modern Dental Practice Marketing — and I do not get paid to say that. In addition to great functionality, customizable templates, and traffic reports, WordPress has widgets, one of which really impressed me.

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-SaURsxbpJU’]

When I came across the SocialVibe widget, I was working on my agenda, planning a November retreat for Jill and me. Of course, I noticed that Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and all the year-end holidays are almost here. Everyone is going to get super busy. We’re also going to have less time and more to do. The thing is, these particular holidays are meant for us to be appreciative, kind, caring, generous, reflective on the quality (the real quality) of our lives and the impact we have on people. For dentists, it starts early. Halloween Candy Buy Back supports Operation Gratitude, the charity dedicated to showing appreciation to US troops on active duty overseas. But we can’t send some candy to a warehouse for others to sort and ship, then call our philanthropic duties done, now can we?

We are blessed, lucky, fortunate — chose your term. We’re that.

Today, MDPM added a SocialVibe widget to our sidebar. We’re supporting Children Helping Children, a charity that gets our American kiddos hooked up with underprivileged kiddos across the globe. Children helping Children not only teaches our richly blessed US kids about the orphans, disease, and starvation other kids face every day. The charity gives US kids a chance to help. And, I love this, it’s not all about money. Sure, Children Helping Children allows our kids to raise money that helps less fortunate children in a very practical way. But the organization also encourages our kids to exchange letters and pictures with the children they’re helping.

I remember having a pen pal in Germany when I was about 10. I mailed her Madonna bracelets, and she sent me scratch-and-sniff stickers with German cartoons on them. Pretty cool. Children Helping Children takes pen pals to the next level.

It’s very awesome.

Now, back to the widget. I installed the SocialVibe widget to support Children Helping Children. Anyone who does the activity associated with my widget will earn money for my charity of choice. The activities are sponsored by big brands. The one I did today for a breast cancer awareness charity was a trivia question. The one for Children Helping Children was a Hotmail ad in which I voted on some commercial clips. It took seconds.

Jill and I want to encourage YOU to add a SocialVibe widget to your sidebar. We’ll do it for you if you’re an MDPM client. Just go to www. socialvibe.com, sign up for a free account, and choose your charity. Whether you support animal rights, organ donation, cancer research, or the arts, there’s a charity for you. Simply send us your SocialVibe logins and the charity you’d like to support. We’ll add the SocialVibe widget to your sidebar, just above the RSS feeds or links.

Come on, guys. It’s free. Let’s get global this holiday season.

Jill Duty

Dear Dentist: Always the Critic? You Need a Creator!

I was drawn into Dr. Larry Emmott’s newsletter, Emmott on Technology, this morning. An article entitled “Dentists Technographic Profiles” shares a brief overview of Charlene Li’s and John Bernoff’s book, Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies. Dr. Emmott shows us the five main profiles that describe how people interact with the web.

He goes on to report that Net32 profiled dentists as such: nearly half are Critics, compared to about a quarter of the general population. A quarter of dentists, compared to only 12% of Americans, are Collectors.

Also…

  • 66% of dentists don’t visit blogs
  • 43% don’t use social networking
  • 93% prefer Facebook of all social sites
  • And here’s the kicker, only 10% of dentists claim to be Creators when it comes to the web. About 18% of the American public are Creators.

Creators are the folks who build and write blogs, produce videos, and do all that original stuff from scratch. Critics like to post responses to comments or rate and review things online. Collectors are the folks who like to gather links and use bookmarks so that everything they like and need is easy to access. In addition to these, Li and Bernoff identified Joiners, Spectators, and Inactives as profiles.

We all probably have a little of each of the six profiles in our Internet personality. I’m obviously a Creator; I write at least a dozen posts a day, build blogs, collaborate on logos, and help with web design. But I also see the Collector in me. As a writer, I have to do a lot of research to come up with fresh blog content, and I have a long list of bookmarked favorites.

If you’re not the Creator type, let’s get together. We’ll round out your Internet profile. I’ll fill in for you so that you’re all things to all potential patients. Modern Dental Practice Marketing is an Internet marketing firm that caters, primarily, to dentists. We build custom dental websites, dental blogs, and dental brands in the graphic design department. Our experienced dental copywriters are word machines… they produce an amazing number of original, interesting, and clinically accurate blog posts each week. Our copywiriting department also composes social networking posts, writes or rewrites website content, and creates press releases, articles, white papers, and more. If you need a Creative side, call and talk with Jill at 972-781-8861.

I’m going to the bookstore now to buy Groundswell. Thanks for the tip, Larry!

Keeping Patients Happy, Asking for Referrals: The BEST ROI for dentists!

This week’s guest blog is by dental consultant Dr. Mayer Levitt of Jodena Consulting. A former dentist himself, Mayer has helped tons of dental practices to achieve better profits, retention, and publicity since 1989. In this blog, he discusses some ideas for phone etiquette in the dental office. You can learn more ways to improve your practice by subscribing to Mayer’s blog.

As a dental management consultant, I advise my clients on strategies that will attract new patients to their practice. However, I balance the importance of attracting new patients with the essential task of keeping faithful, current patients happy. We should not overlook the importance of maintaining our current patient base.

It’s much wiser, financially, to retain your patients than to lose them and seek new patients.

In a report I read recently, an interesting truth was revealed. You see, patients don’t often leave their dentist in the first few years of the relationship. Instead, they fall off the map after about six years. Six years! Why? The main reason is that the patients who leave began to feel unappreciated, forgotten. At first, they were treated like royalty, but as years passed, they became a number.

How to keep your patients happy:

Praise them; thank them; handle them with care. Let them know, from the moment they walk through your doors, that you and your team are happy to see them again. Give them reasons not only to respect and trust you, but to like you!

Don’t give your patients the six-year itch.

Your current patients return to your office every six months for cleanings and checkups, and more often for restorative or cosmetic treatment. The dollar value associated with each existing patient is huge. In addition, when your current patients are pleased with your practice, they’ll spread the word to friends, neighbors, co-workers, and family. You cannot buy that kind of awesome advertising.

You can leverage the power of word-of-mouth advertising by educating your team to ask patients for referrals.

If you do not ask your established patients for referrals, you are missing a golden opportunity. Here’s the key to making the request professional, consistent, and effective: ask for a referral when a patient thanks you. Read More

How to Get More Fans (Likes) for Your Dental Practice Facebook Page

Okay, we’ve established that you need a Facebook page for your dental practice. We’ve discussed the importance of blogging and how your blog should feed to your Facebook page so that you have current content. You know that you and your team need to become your own fans, then post comments, pictures, and join in conversations.

A Facebook business page is different from a Facebook personal page, though. People you may know don’t automatically pop up in the right sidebar. There’s no Friend Finder. So how can you get more folks to “like” your dental practice’s Facebook page? Here are 10 suggestions. Let’s count ‘em down…

1.       Send an email to all of your patients. I recommend you have a professional dental copywriter compose it for you. The copywriter can also provide a blurb for you to post on your personal Facebook page, inviting friends to become fans (likers).
Modern Dental Practice Marketing has dental copywriters who can help you.

2.       Put your Facebook logo and link on every page of your website, in plain view.
MDPM sets up Facebook business pages for our clients. We always include the Facebook link on the client’s blog and website.

3.       Put your FB link in your email signature.
The MDPM copywriters can write a new email signature for you, if you like.

4.       Display a poster in your lobby that says “Like Us?” with your Facebook username* (short URL).
Where do you get the poster? MDPM can help with that, too!

5.       Put the Facebook logo and your username on your business cards and collateral, right next to your email address.
MDPM does business cards and collateral. Come now, you should not be surprised! Read More

Weekend Warrior Marketing Tip for Dentists: Fun Facebook Pictures

What are you doing this weekend? Where are you going? People want to know. Good advertising focuses on the benefit to the consumer, not how wonderful the company owner is. But Facebook turns the tables. On Facebook, it’s all about you.

Sure social networking in business should be more professional than personal, but the point of Facebook is to make you a real person. You’re interesting, right? I know you are.

If small businesses use Facebook only for commercials, promotions, and educating the public, fans will start to slip away. They’ll probably remain your fans, but they’ll block your boring content from their walls, and they’ll never visit your page. You work so hard to get Facebook fans, don’t lose them to boredom — you’re way to cool for that.

The patients who see you during the week know that you don’t wear a tie on Saturday. They know your kids get sick in the backseat of your SUV and your dog begs at the table. It’s life. Share the best of it with your patients, and they’ll love you even more. Hope is, they’ll share your post with friends (who could become your new patients).

This, dear dentist, is a fundamental truth: everyone loves pictures. So throw your camera in the car, or keep your camera phone nearby throughout the weekend. Here are some ideas and samples of  interesting pictures and comments to share on your Facebook fan page:

  • Nature: animals, flowers, local gardens, newly blooming spring trees, deep snow drifts, local lakes or mountains
    • Example: (picture of a squirrels in your backyard tree) “These little guys love to play in the trees outside my kitchen window. They remind me of Chip and Dale…but in squirrel form instead of chipmunk.” (you could link to a YouTube Chip and dale clip here)
  • Pets and kids: your own or those in your family, not strangers
    • Example: (picture of your child washing the dog) “And after this, yes, we are going to brush Fido’s teeth!”
  • Around town: restaurants, festivals,  shops, downtown view, uptown view, parks, schools, etc.
    • Example: (picture of last night’s dinner on the plate before you ate it) “Sal’s has the all-time best pizza in town. Trust me, I’m a connoisseur.”
  • Sports: your kid’s soccer game or ballet class, the local high school football game, your adult hockey team
    • Example: (picture from high school football game, cheerleaders with mascot) “What’s that smell? We skunked the Raiders last night 30-0. Go Bobcats!”
  • Funny stuff: anything non-crude and non-offensive that will spark a chuckle; can be videos you post on YouTube
    • Examples: (take a picture of this: the old Grapevine Opry in town was missing letters, so the sign read “ape in Opry”) “Now showing, King Kong in 3D!”

These things are NOT too personal. Today’s small business owners must be real people to their customers. Read More

Get Popular: Hook Up Your Dental Practice with Google Places

Did you know that it takes a person 9 seconds to type in a Google search query? Google produces results in ~300 milliseconds. (Talk about a super highway!)  Then, the user – your potential patient – chooses the website he likes best in about 15 seconds.

These numbers are based on Google’s extensive research.

Google is the search engine of choice. It truly dominates, accounting for 65% of searches in America. Bing and Yahoo! were neck-in-neck until September of this year, when the two merged. Now Yahoo! gets its search results from Bing. Even with this, Google is the clear leader.

Obviously, your dental website must rank well on Google if Internet marketing is going to be profitable for you.

Google offers quite a few ways to help businesses succeed locally, and the more info you have on Google, the better your search engine rankings will be. The Grand Central Station for your business is Google Places. Your listing can feature an interactive map,blog or website link, business information, hours of operation, your photo gallery, your YouTube videos, and even chatty updates from you – kind of like Twitter updates.

Still don’t quite get it? Check out this commercial about Google Places.

So, how do you set up your dental practice on Google Places? Easy. You call Modern Dental Practice Marketing, and we do it for you.

Okay, if you want to do it yourself, here’s how… Read More

What Does “Customer No Service” Mean to You?

In our society today, we often hear the words “customer service” used to signify that an organization’s primary focus is on its customers.  We also have heard another term used, “customer no service.”  This term was derived to designate those organizations where customer satisfaction is not the primary focal point.  Unfortunately, success either never comes, or is very fleeting for those who find themselves in the latter group.

Why is this?  The answer is quite simple.  Without customers, no business can survive, let alone prosper.  Dentistry is no different!  Patients have many choices for dental care today.  In most metropolitan areas in the U.S., there is a dental office on every corner, so competition is fierce, and patient retention is more challenging than ever before.

So, what can we do in our practice to insure we not only attract new patients, but hang on to the ones we have?  You guessed it!  Excellent customer service!  What exactly does this mean, you might ask?  It means putting the needs of the customer (patient) first.  When that patient calls on the phone, or walks through the door of our office, they have to feel that they are number one!  No matter what else might be going on around us, our number one responsibility, regardless of what our role in the office, is to make each and every patient feel important, listened to, cared for, and appreciated.

It is not okay to get this right some of the time.  We have to get it right 100% of the time.  This starts from the way we answer our phone, and carries all the way through our clinical care and the way we handle our patients’ financial concerns.  Every patient is an individual, with unique circumstances and needs.  It is absolutely critical that we recognize this and behave accordingly at all times. Read More

Social Media Marketing & Small Business… Worth Your Time?

I’ve said before that Facebook may or may not bring you new business, and I stand by that statement. However, we have to look at the nature of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other Internet communities to understand how and why social networking can be profitable.

You’ve been to a face-to-face networking event; the awkward feel that everyone’s there to sell something (that’s why you’re there). The odd-looking people who you know are there because they have nothing else to do–which is not a good sign. The somewhat interesting (if you’re lucky) speaker.

You leave with a handful of business cards and a dream that maybe from the two hours of your life you just invested, maybe one, just one of the folks you met will bring you a new client…somehow. But networking online is different. It’s so much better!

Read More