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
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
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
This morning, Hubspot sent me an email with a guide to spotting bad SEO. In it, buyers were told to beware of ten specific tactics, three of which relate to writing. I strongly agree with all three. So, to blogging dentists, I want to reiterate these points before going into blog topics.
Now, as for blog fodder, blogs should be kept short and sweet. Along that vein, here are 10 effective concepts magazine and blog writers often use for creating great content. You can incorporate these same ideas into your dental blogs.
- Top Ten – Everyone wants a quick, worthwhile read. The Top Ten format makes life easier for both blogger and reader. Coming up with 10 reasons, tricks, or tips on the same topic is not difficult. The list you’re reading is a prime example. Listing is also quick for the writer. To the reader, a list can be scanned quickly, digested easily, and lists appeal to busy people. Here are a few Top Tens to get you started: Top Ten Whitening Systems; Top Ten Reasons People Choose Veneers; Top Ten Ways to Improve Heart Health.
- The Secret – Want to know a secret? Everyone does! Leverage that to your benefit when blogging. For example: The Secret to Lifelong Teeth Whitening; The Secret to Fresh Breath; The Secret to Keeping Teeth for Life.
- Real Stories – People love real stories — it’s like gossip, but without the guilt. Whether you use your own little anecdotes or patient testimonials, real stories are awesome. I remember reading one by a dental hygienist who talked about a little boy she treated and how he loved baseball. I remember that! In writing, we call this resonance. So, try to create blogs that resonate.
- Simple Information – What may seem obvious to you isn’t so clear to your potential readers. For instance, you know that crowns can be ceramic — and that porcelain and ceramic are synonyms. Your potential patients may not! Likewise, you know that mall kiosks that offer instant teeth whitening are not run by a dentist. Your potential patients may not! As you see patients today, ask if they knew these things. 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
Today’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. You can learn more ways to improve your practice by subscribing to Mayer’s blog.
Needless to say, it has been tough sledding for any business owner battling the effects of the “great recession”. But lately, everything I read is predicting a moderate rebound in the economy with job creation and less unemployment. Up until now, people have been understandably cautious with their discretionary spending, so there is a lot of pent-up demand for nonessential services. Thus the environment for promoting comprehensive and cosmetic dentistry is probably the best that it has been in almost three years. How can you take advantage?
1. You need to promote “wants” based dentistry instead of “needs” based dentistry. Patients will pay out-of-pocket for what they want, yet will continue to depend on insurance to pay for what they need. Your mission is to get patients excited and emotional about what dentistry can do for them. Please take the time to schedule treatment consultations where you offer choices. Choices empower patients. Remember that people like to buy – but they don’t like to be sold. I am very excited about how dramatic case presentation can be by using an I-Pad.
2. You need to realize that your fees are not preventing people from accepting comprehensive dentistry but rather a lack of flexibility in payment options that you currently offer. If you can give someone a way to budget their payments for the dentistry, and they really want the dentistry, they will accept the treatment. Re-examine how well your financial coordinator is presenting Care Credit or other outsourced arrangements. Scripting and verbal skills are so important. Outsourcing should be a first choice rather than a last resort. You can’t afford to be the bank. By outsourcing financial arrangements and offering extended payment plans, you give your patients the opportunity to pay for the dentistry on a monthly basis, yet you get paid right away. Read More
In a Biznik article, Sue Cartwright, Social Media Marketing Expert, tells us: “With 78% of consumers trusting peer reviews when only 14% trust advertisements, it is essential to be involved in your online community, to build a good reputation and know what people are saying about you. To do this effectively you need to engage in conversations, monitor the outcomes, join the debate, help others and show customers you care as a means to building a loyal network.”
Having been in dental marketing for years, I know that most dentists don’t have the staff or time to invest in an all-out social media marketing campaign. I do think, however, there are a few things your front office person can do to get your office engaged on Facebook. You can even hire your teenage daughter to do these things. Seriously, $10 an hour, 5 hours a week – not much of an investment. The return will show up, most likely, in patients being more loyal to you, giving you free word-of-mouth referrals, and remembering to keep up with recall visits and follow up with treatment. Why? Because you’ll be engaged, showing that you care!
You’ll need a human page and a fan page to make this work. Here’s how to do it: Read More
Today’s guest blogger is Cathy Warschaw of www.WarschawLearningInstitute.com. Thanks, Cathy!
There is a direct link between job satisfaction rates and whether or not employees feel they are recognized or rewarded for their performance. When employees feel their hard work goes unnoticed, they can become disgruntled, frustrated and dissatisfied. This can spill over into how they treat patients and one another. Yet recognizing performance does not have to be a cumbersome or difficult task. In fact, small gestures can go a long way towards making employees feel valued and increasing the morale of an entire team.
And when the happiness quotient in your practice rises, it can have a positive impact on customer service, which enables your patients to feel more relaxed and at ease during their visits. Plus, it can elevate the entire mood of the office, making it a far more pleasant environment for patients and practitioners alike.
Here are 10 quick and easy ways you can make your dental team members smile. Best of all, none of them involves any great expense!
- Say a simple Thanks! A clear and genuine word of gratitude to praise a specific act can be one of the easiest ways to make an employee feel their hard work is well worth the effort. Read More
What is self branding? Well, it’s just what it sounds like: branding yourself.
Why do I need to brand myself? That completely depends on what you want out of your future. Some common reasons for self branding are:
- You’re an associate dentist or partner who will go into private practice at some point.
- You hope to become a speaker, consultant, author, or celebrity.
- You want a personal following in case you move your practice to a new location.
- You are a dental student who will practice with a group, as an assistant, or independently.
- You are a professional and deserve a professional identity. Your skills are transferable, but make sure that your name is transferable, as well.
All too often, we see partnerships dissolve. Dentists who worked under a practice name move on to establish a private practice of a new name, and they have no history of publicity. No one knows who they are. Imagine being in this situation, but having 400 Facebook fans and 1000 hits on your blog each month. Now that would give you a great place to start.
It’s about being smart and staying ahead of the game. Read More