Dental Blog + Newsletters = Best of Both Worlds

The worlds I speak of are Attracting New Patients and Patient Retention.

To get a search engine optimized, customized website with a blog, along with monthly blog posts, plus a custom, quarterly e-newsletter (not a stock newsletter) distributed and with tracking reports, you’ll pay a fortune. You probably can’t find all of these services at one company, so you may have to hire a consultant. There goes more of your marketing budget. You’ll need a copywriter, as well as an email list management system — have to be sure you follow the laws about opt-outs and everything. But then, what about Facebook? You probably need that, too. Are you going to have to hire a marketing coordinator for the practice? That could cost tens of thousands, outside of the cost of the actual advertising costs.

None of this is true.

For $999, Plus $199 a Month, MDPM will:

  • create your blog
  • include a mobile version for smart phones
  • write and post your blogs
  • moderate comments
  • add your blogs to social networking sites
  • market your blogs with SEO
  • keep reports on your blog’s traffic

For $299 per Issue, MDPM will:

  • write and build your e-newsletter
  • include one-click social networking buttons
  • distribute your e-newsletter
  • manage your email list
  • follow all laws pertaining to email marketing
  • create and manage surveys for your e-newsletter
  • keep reports on your e-newsletter’s results

In addition, MDPM offers:

  • graphic design
  • direct mail & printing
  • copywrting & ghost writing
  • press releases & local PR
  • dental marketing consulting
  • special marketing projects

So you don’t need to hire a marketing coordinator. You’ll save tens of thousands of dollars and you won’t have to manage another employee. All you need to do is email us or call Jill at 972-781-8861.

YouTube and Dentistry

Should you use YouTube in your dental marketing? Sure! Do you have time to record videos? Heck, no.

Nevertheless, videos are an awesome way to communicate with and educate your patients. The best dental videos I’ve seen for patients have been on these topics:

  • Office tour
  • Team introduction
  • Personal testimonials
  • Doctor giving postop instructions
  • Doctor explaining a procedure or technology
  • Doctor announcing a special offer or event
  • Team volunteering event

And the worst videos are procedural. No one wants to see the blood, bone, and teeth roots that you deal with every day. They don’t want to see tooth decay or broken teeth, either. For before-and-after photos, the clinical problems you treated are fine to share, but in a video, don’t do it. These images convey pain and evoke fear. Instead, stick with the light, friendly, inviting images of your smiling team and satisfied patients.

If you can manage it, set aside one day after the office closes to film an office tour. Introduce your team members and show off your front office, consultation room, and operatories. After your team goes home for the evening, stick around and film some videos of you explaining the dental tools and technology you use.

This is a great place to start. Go to YouTube.com and sign up for your own channel. It’s free. Then upload your videos and tag them with keywords. Be sure to use the videos on your website and blog, as well.

Dentists Should Prepare for a Change in Consumers

This week, I extended Monday’s Groupon article as a discussion topic on LinkedIn. Dr. William Jackson made an interesting comment, and I’d like to expand on it. Dr. Jackson said:

Two other factors signal a dramatic change on the marketing horizon: 1) Various mechanisms are evolving for consumers to choose the messages they will see – as opposed to the message being pushed on them. 2) The method of how a consumer searches and decides is going to rapidly change from the current simple keyword searches to a more intelligent search capability.

Let’s look at 1) Various mechanisms are evolving for consumers to choose the messages they will see – as opposed to the message being pushed on them.

How true. I absolutely hated it when WalMart put television monitors in the checkout lines, and then the gas station did the same darned thing! As a consumer, I’m more than tired of products and services being pushed upon me. I do not care if a fuel additive will improve my gas mileage. My husband cares. Yet, I have to listen to it every time I fill up my car with gas. I refuse to ever use the fuel additive because the marketing is obnoxious and intrusive. Don’t make the same mistake with your dental practice!

The Internet provides a unique opportunity for marketing. People get to choose what they want to learn about. Imagine that, freedom of choice for the consumer. IMHO, this type of marketing respects the consumer and treats him or her as an intelligent individual. You don’t have to blanket the world with your message, you just have to get your message online, make it visible on search engines, and entice potential patients to learn more. They might visit your website, subscribe to your dental practice blog, or connect with you on Facebook and Twitter.

Does this work? Yes. In November, I had two clients tell me the same thing, “The Internet works!” Yes, it does. It works well if you utilize it with an intelligent strategy.

Now for 2) The method of how a consumer searches and decides is going to rapidly change from the current simple keyword searches to a more intelligent search capability.

I believe this is inevitable. Google already altered its search by providing instantaneous (a fraction of a second) results based on the characters you type in, as you type them. The company is constantly exploring, finding, and presenting to the public more reliable and convenient ways to find information online.

To a dentist, this means you have to stay on top of what’s going on with Internet marketing. It is imperative that you work with a reputable and aggressive Internet marketing company who understands your practice. Two factors come into play in this relationship.

One, there has to be a personal aspect. The marketing firm you use must know you, your goals, your target marketing, and your attitude about patient care. Someone at the firm should be in contact with you regularly because with Internet marketing, new content needs to be created and published about your practice all the time. You need a blog, and your Internet marketing firm should write and maintain it for you. That’s their job!

The other factor is knowledge of the industry. Internet marketing is changing rapidly, and your practice needs to hook up with professionals who understand and stay on top of the innovations and developments – then puts them into action for your benefit. Consider this: You can know about all the awesome dental technology and procedures, but if you don’t use them, your patient gets no benefit from your knowledge. You need a marketing company that acts and doesn’t just talk.

The Internet will change, Internet marketing will change, and the consumer’s attitude will change, as well. You need to understand and prepare for this if your practice is going to thrive over the next decade. That’s all there is to it.

I’m Jill Duty of Modern Dental Practice Marketing. I want to thank Dr. Williams for his comments on LinkedIn and his unintended role in this article ;-).

Blogs that Look Like Dental Websites

MDPM created Dr. LaFrom's logo and blog website.

When you think of a blog (if you think of a blog), do you picture that blue-and-white, stock WordPress blog template? It’s very generic and would not represent your practice well. After all, you’ve invested in building a brand, an image, for your dental office. Continuity with your brand is extremely important.

Forget the blue and white. You need a customized blog.

The Modern Dental Practice Marketing graphic designers and production technicians are here to help. Together with our marketing experts, these guys will learn about your brand, your image, your practice and team, then build a customized dental blog just for you. Your blog will incorporate your brand’s color scheme, logo, tagline, message, and overall concept. It will be an extension of your existing marketing campaign.

Unlike a completely custom website, a blog does have limitations — but you really won’t notice. MDPM blogs can have custom colors and layout, multiple pages, original text and photos… pretty much whatever you want. The “stock” features are minimal, and many can be altered in the code.

We chose to use WordPress.com and WordPress.org because of the significant SEO benefits; the great track record for minimal technical problems; and the ease of use. MDPM blogs even come with tracking features, so we can see how many people are visiting a blog, where they come from, what keywords they’re searching for, and which links on your site are being clicked. For some blogs, we can incorporate Google Analytics, an even more in-depth reporting system.

Be sure to visit our blog portfolio page to see sample blogs, and if you want to discuss YOUR dental blog, give Jill a call at 972.781.8861. MDPM not only builds blogs for dentists, we write, manage, and publicize our blogs. These days, a website isn’t enough to get your practice to the top of the Google SERPs. You need a blog.

Is Groupon Good for Dentists?

Groupon is an online coupon system that sends out one-day-only special offers to subscribers in various regions. If you want to advertise with Groupon, you come up with a promotion, pick a date, then choose your region. The company has been estimated at a value of $3 billion, but some say Google will purchase it for over $5 billion. (There was a typo here  – but it’s corrected now! Google is going to pay $5 billion, not $5 million. Thanks, Scott!)

So what does this have to do with dentistry?

Here are some examples of dentists’ Groupon offers:

Advertiser beware, though.

Dentists may devalue their services by offering deep discounts, even if for one day. In my years of interviewing dentists, I heard this a lot from both consultants and seasoned dentists. Discounts aren’t necessarily the way to go. It depends on the image you want to convey. Are you high-end or are you a clinic? Both have their place. Coupons may work well for clinics and family dentists, but not so well for high-end cosmetic dentists.

Tyson Steele Associates, a respected name in dental marketing, does NOT think that Groupon is good for dentists, though. See the blog from April, 2010, and you’ll see some pretty startling numbers that show Groupon promotions may not be the best choice for dentists.

And, straight from the dental professional’s mouth, “I would not use Groupon again.” That’s a quote from a comment by Debbie Thompson on Screenwerk.com’s post “Groupon, Sure. But Is It Sustainable?” Becky goes on to explain her office’s experience with Groupon, their ROI, and what she’s heard from five other dentists – none would use Groupon again.

Dr. Irena Vaksman seems to like Groupon, though. See her blog post, “The Golden Age of Advertising.” She says Groupon is a win-win-win. I can only surmise that she had a good experience with the coupon company. And on the Groupon website, you’ll see Wall Street Journal, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and The Washington Post’s logos prominently displayed – so the company sure looks credible. Not many companies can get great coverage from these big media names, plus be in negotiations to sell to Google, if there’s no proof in the proverbial pudding.

Maybe Groupon just isn’t for dentists. Maybe its value is for other industries.

Modern Dental Practice Marketing is not affiliated with Groupon or any coupon service, but we do want our clients to make informed decisions when investing their marketing dollars. If you’re considering Groupon or any other new service, talk to your peers. Post a request for reviews on your Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter pages. Get the scoop before you write the check.

Are You an Anonymous Dental Professional?

What is self branding?

Since you’re a dentist, you probably have some understanding of what branding is. In short, branding is the whole concept, idea, and image that a business conveys. Self branding, therefore, is the concept, idea, and image that you convey.

Isn’t my website enough?

If the website is for you, and not your practice, then yes, it is enough. Just enough. You would still do well to have a blog and social media presence.

Why do I need to brand myself?

Maybe you’ll always have the same job you hold today. Maybe you’ll live in the same house and see the same people and love your life forever. But maybe, just maybe (and in all probability) something will change at some point. Perhaps you’ll start a new practice or a new business. Who knows; maybe you’ll move across the country – or to another country. You might decide to become an author after you retire. At that point, will people know who you are? Self branding today gives you a head start on tomorrow.

Then again, maybe you’ve already written a book, spoken at national conventions, mentored young dentists, or started a new professional association. If so, self branding is essential right now. Without it, you’re limiting yourself. Don’t limit yourself. To quote Nelson Mandela, “We must all exceed our own expectations.” (more…)

Can a Blog Be a Website?

Yes. Many of our clients have a blog and no primary website. In competitive markets, like Dallas, Chicago, and other large cities, you should have more than one website to increase your Google rankings. However, you can opt for multiple blogs. Why choose a blog instead of a website?

We like to relate a blog to a home. If you purchase a nice track home with lots of upgrades, it will work well for your needs. If you build a completely custom home with all the bells and whistles, you probably plan on living there a long, long time. Here’s the kicker: With websites, you have to remodel every two years or so or your practice will look outdated. Why buy a custom home, or blog, if you have to remodel?

  • Blogs can be up and running in one or two weeks. Websites can take months.
  • Blogs can be altered immediately through a CMS (content management system) when edits are required. Not all website companies have a CMS, and even those who do don’t necessarily offer immediate changes.
  • Blogs can have new information posted as often as you like, and Google will count it as news. At Modern Dental Practice Marketing, we have dental copywriters who understand SEO (search engine optimization). They write and publish blog posts on behalf of our client dentists. In short – you do not have to do research, you do not have to write, and you do not have to learn anything new.  Blogs can dramatically and quickly boost your SERPs (search engine results pages) rankings. Websites are not considered news, even if the text is changed regularly. In fact, changing the text too much can count against you.
  • Like websites, blogs can have multiple pages, links, forms, sidebar information, and even a search bar, polls, and calendar. With a blog, there are so, so many features (plugins and widgets) available that nothing has to be created from scratch. This saves you time, money, and the frustration of trial-and-error.
  • Like websites, blogs can be customized if they are built for customization. We start with a template that complements your brand, and there are literally thousands to choose from. Then we customize the design and content to meet your needs. Sound like building a website? It pretty much is… but we don’t reinvent the wheel. That’s why blogs are more affordable than custom websites.

If you have questions about your dental website, or you’d like to learn more about blogs, call Jill at 972-781-8861 today.

Do Not Pay for a Google Places Listing

They’re free folks! I would be happy to establish or update your Google Places listing if you’re an MDPM client. If you aren’t a client, just know that your web or marketing company should set up your Google Places listing at no cost to you. Heck, it wouldn’t take you 20 minutes to set it up yourself.

Google Places is becoming more important than ever. Recently, the monster search engine changed the layout of search engine results pages (SERPs) so that businesses with Google Places listings are more visible. Click here to read the press release on Google Places.

One key point: Regardless of who sets up your listing, make sure it is filled out completely. You will need access to:

Some people think, If it’s free, it’s useless. Or, You get what you pay for. In some cases, these sentiments are right on the money… but not with Google Places. If you’re already ranking high on search engines, you might pay for a Google Tag at $25 per month, but if your rankings aren’t at the top, there’s really no point. To rank higher, get a blog and post multiple times per week. Once your ranking improves and you’re on page one for targeted keywords, then consider purchasing the Google Tag service.

I cannot emphasize too heartily that you need to claim and complete  your Google Places listing. If you need help, call Modern Dental Marketing at 972-781-8861 and ask Jill for assistance.