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. (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! (more…)

Dentists Rank Higher on Google when They Feed the Google Beast

Google, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, has 65% of the business when it comes to search engines. They are the leader in search. A beast. Our goal at MDPM is to build attractive websites that rank high on Google. The whole point of online advertising for dentists is to get new patients in the door, and if your website can’t be found, your investment will produce naught.

What can we do to please Google? First, we have to understand what the company’s doing, then we have to get involved. Let’s look at some interesting Google innovations and what we at MDPM recommend:

Google Caffeine: Fresh Content Every Morning

This is an indexing initiative to make search results more relevant and timely. To you, this means that your web content should be filled with fresh, original, news-worthy content. A blog is the number-one way to make it happen. But, unless you post to your blog regularly (once a week or more), don’t expect stellar results.

We Recommend: Everyone needs a blog. Period.

Google Organic Rankings: GOOD Content is Still King

This is the list of results you get when you search for keywords in Google. The organic results show up in the center of the search engine results page (SERP), beneath the grey box (paid listings) and map (Google Places listings).

We Recommend: Because most dentists start blogging, then become inconsistent with posts, then stop blogging altogether, the MDPM dental and SEO copywriters can blog for you. It is important in the first few years of a blog that you post weekly, if not daily, to boost SEO. The content has to be original (not taken from anywhere online), relevant to your blog’s focus (dentistry, for instance), and it should be tagged, categorized, and optimized properly. Attractive photos (which you must own or rent) make blogs eye-catching and can really help spark initial interest in visitors.

Google Pagerank: Get Popular, Rank Higher

This is a longstanding ranking system that is based primarily on backlinks. When other, relative sites (dental, health, or community related) link to your site, you get a type of credit. These credits add up and your Google Pagerank goes up accordingly. Pageranks are listed as a ratio: 5/10, for instance. Zero means there are so few backlinks to your site that you don’t have any credit. The higher the first number, the better your Google Pagerank. And, the better your Google Pagerank, the better your organic Google listing will be. Google only indexes for Pagerank quarterly, so it will take time to establish a moderate to high ratio.

We Recommend: Don’t get antsy. It’s going to take time and work to get your Google Pagerank up. Keep plugging away at blogs, blog commenting, and social networking, and in time, you will secure a good Pagerank.

Google Places: Your Interactive, Informative Google Page

Personally, I really like Google Places. It’s a free listing on Google that includes a lot of information about a business: map, hours, type of payment accepted, public transportation, logo, website link, updates from the owner, testimonials from clients, and more. At Google Places, you will choose tags to describe your business. This will help Google understand what your company is and does.

We Recommend: Claim your Google Map. Complete your Google Places listing. NOW!

[youtube: http://youtube.com/watch?v=vUzMu8GXNUM] (more…)

A Facelift for Dental Practices: Practical Marketing Makeovers

Is your dental practice logo out of date? Does your website need some serious help? Has your blog said, “Hello, world!” since January? It’s time for a non-surgical dental practice facelift. You just need some good marketing minds, graphic designers with moxie, and talented copywriters who can convey your message. Here’s a basic plan for a dental practice brand overhaul:

  • To modernize a dental practice brand, we start with the logo.
    Our logo design/redesign program is a collaborative effort between our graphic artist and marketing specialists. We will interview you, present concepts, then work with you to develop the perfect, memorable dental practice logo.
  • Next, we work on the website, blog, and social media.
    MDPM offers custom websites with search engine optimization and support. We also create, manage, and write (yes, we do all the writing) dental blogs. With a website and blog in place, we then integrate your dental practice brand into a competitive website presence by leveraging social media, press releases, and search engine optimization.
  • At about the same time, the business cards, stationery, and collateral need a makeover.
    We offer design and printing of your collateral, so all you have to do is place the order. There’s no sending your logo to the printer, then needing a different format. We do it all for you.
  • Last but not least, the office signage should be updated, along with the décor in the front office.
    We can work with your local sign company to have an eye-catching sign with your logo installed on your building or marquee. (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. (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… (more…)

MDPM Dental Blog Subscribers Contest: Win a Copy of Un Marketing

You like free stuff, we all do. So here’s the deal. Modern Dental Practice Marketing is giving away a copy of Un Marketing by Scott Stratten.

Jill has read this book and is giving it rave reviews. She says it sheds new light on the purpose and practicality of Twitter…and what modern business professional can’t use that? So Jill’s on the way to Barnes & Noble today to grab a copy (and a cup of coffee). She’s going to pick up a few extras… maybe for YOU!

If you want to win a copy of Un Marketing, sign up for the MDPM blog subscription in the right sidebar of this page. We’ll hold a drawing and contact you by email or phone if you win, then we’ll ship you the book toute suite.

Next step is to click here to become a fan of The Business Book Club with Mod Mark on Facebook. There, you’ll find other professionals reviewing, commenting, and sharing ideas about Un Marketing and other business books. Be sure to look at the Discussion pages to comment on other books and concepts. The purpose of The Business Book Club with Mod Mark is to bring together small business owners, including dentists like you, who want to network and learn more about marketing for success.

What is Mod Mark? Mod Mark is the parent company of Modern Dental Practice Marketing. It launches formally in January and will provide custom websites, marketing consulting, copywriting, and social media management to small businesses in industries outside of dentistry, as well as to non-profit organizations.

Dental Website Design: 5 Tips for Conversion

If you feel like you’ve invested money and time in Internet marketing, and you’re still waiting for the return, consider this old adage…

You can lead a horse to water, but you just can’t make him (or her) drink.

Add a little sugar, however, and a horse has an incentive to rehydrate.

IT and Internet marketing professionals often focus on traffic statistics and search engine rankings, but that’s just part of the picture. All the web traffic in the world means nothing to your dental practice unless some of those visitors become patients. So how can you entice your site visitors to schedule an appointment? It’s going to take time… someone’s time. You can do these things yourself, or you can call me at Modern Dental Practice Marketing to do them for you.

  1. Make contact and scheduling more than easy, make it a pleasure. – In plain sight, (above the fold) your website should list your phone number and email address. When a potential patient takes the initiative to call your office, someone better be there to answer the phone enthusiastically and make scheduling easy. If a potential patient emails you, someone better respond to that email with a call and a return email the same day – within minutes, if possible. You must be responsive, friendly, and helpful.
  2. Keep the content fresh. – Much of your website content shouldn’t change, but it’s important that your site look fresh all the time. The brand and message should remain a constant. However, the intriguing information should be fluid, as well as relevant. A potential patient may visit your site many times before making contact. Your regularly updated content shows that you’re interested and involved in dentistry, and in people. A dental practice blog is a great way to show patients you’re on top of your game (and search engines love blogs, as well).
  3. Hook up on other levels. – The days of impersonal Yellow Pages advertising are over. People want to be served by professionals who are genuinely interested in life. Your dental website should include a link to your Facebook, Twitter, and blog pages. By becoming your fan or subscriber, a potential patient begins the process of learning about you and your philosophy for business, your attitude, and your approach to life. You become a real person rather than an advertisement. Take this to the next level by interacting with your social media fans, or by responding to comments on your blog. Keep it real! (more…)