Educating the Dental Team for Patient Retention

I’m a mom, and moms talk. The very best marketing you could ever hope to have is word of mouth. So I want to share with you a dental visit I had and two reasons that I did not give the practice a good word-of-mouth referral. My review, when asked (and I was asked), was that it wasn’t the right place for my family.

A few years ago, I made an appointment at a very well publicized dental center that had opened a new location in my neighborhood. When the assistant was taking me back for X-rays, I asked if the center used digital X-rays. She asked me what that meant. Hmmmm. All that fancy decor in the lobby, and the assistant doesn’t know what a digital X-ray is. As I explained it to her, she seemed completely disinterested. It really made me see where the priority was in that office. All appearances pointed to just that — appearances.

Please do not let your team wander around your beautiful office with no idea what a digital X-ray is.

Another instance that was quite a put off happened during the same visit. I was told that I needed my wisdom teeth removed. Now I don’t mind getting a filling, but oral surgery is another story. I asked the associate doctor if he did extractions in the office. He said maybe… (more…)

Two Fatal Words to Any Blog: “Hello World!”

Sometimes it’s impossible to finish what you start. We’re all guilty of it. I have a half-crocheted blanket in a box in my closet…life got in the way. But here’s the deal:

When it comes to marketing for your dental practice,
you just cannot afford to leave things unfinished.

A classic example is the blog. All WordPress blogs are automatically filled with one starter post titled, “Hello World!” When I’m surfing around the net and find a blog with this title, it’s like coming across an abandoned house. As a consumer, my first thought is, If this dentist can’t manage his marketing, how can he manage to take care of my mouth? And because I’m a woman, I decide the dentist for my family. You’ve lost me, my family, and any chance of word-of-mouth referrals from me. In fact, I may joke about you to my friends.

Half-finished projects are fine hidden away in your closet, but on the Internet, they’re out there for the world to see.

I searched “hello world! dentist” and got 334,000 results on Google. Are you one of them?

This should be good news to you: We Write Dental Blogs.

For four years, I was copy director for a leading dental website company. My writers and I understand dentistry, ADA advertising guidelines, industry trends and innovations. We know how to communicate with dentists, but more importantly, we know how to effectively market dental care to targeted patients. We understand search engine optimization and know how to make Google smile upon your blog and website. We can take over your current blog, rebrand and redesign it, then start posting regularly. Or, if you want to delete your current blog and start over, we’ll design a new blog that reflects your brand and vision. (more…)

Reputation Management and Online Reviews for Dentists

In the Emmott on Technology newsletter today, he wrote about responding to online reviews.  Then, just this week, a client asked me if MDPM offers “reputation management.” This term refers to a service in which good testimonials are placed on a review service (like Google Places, Yelp!, etc.) to overshadow poor reviews. At first this concept sounds a little unethical, but with guidelines, reputation management can be quite ethical, and what my client requested was completely on the up and up.

He has original hard copies of patient testimonials in his office, and he’d like them posted online. He does not want to ask his patients to go out of their way to post their reviews online since they’ve already provided a hard copy.

In addition, some patients who were unhappy with their experience in his office posted bad reviews online. The doctor did not get an opportunity to respond to the patients’ concerns, and the posts were probably made in a heat of emotion on the patients’ part.

Poor reviews really stand out, and it can take a ton of great reviews to overshadow just one bad review. The problem is, on the Internet, people can post reviews, and they don’t have to be true – on both sides. Good reviews may be made up; bad reviews may be false or inaccurate.

Still, 70% of consumers believe online reviews!

MDPM does not offer reputation management as far as posting reviews on behalf of consumers. However, we do have some advice for you.

  1. If you know that you have a bad review, contact the patient and ask to work it out.
  2. Post the bad review in a blog on your website along with your rational and reasonable response.
  3. Provide your patients with a laptop at checkout or an iTouch during treatment so that they can post reviews about your practice while they’re in your office. Once they leave, life will get in the way.
  4. If you don’t want to do number 3, at least provide a testimonial outline (name, date, treatment received, comments, thank you) for patients to fill out before they leave your office. These should be kept on file and sent to your web or blog administrator for inclusion on your site(s).
  5. Still having trouble getting reviews? Hold a contest. Every patient who submits a review before December 31 will be entered into a drawing for a free… movie tickets, local event, Sonicare Toothbrush, whitening kit, whatever.

Worried about bad online reviews? MDPM can help. Call Jill at 972-781-8861 or email your questions to [email protected]. Be sure to subscribe to this blog (in the right sidebar )so that you’ll get Internet marketing tips in your email every day.

5 Essentials for Dental Marketing

Today I hosted a webinar on marketing cosmetic dentistry, and we covered five of the YOU CAN’T AVOID THIS AND SUCCEED things that dentist must do for successful Internet marketing. Here they are, in order of importance:

1.       Custom Website – and keep it up to date

2.       Custom Blog Site – and post regularly

3.       Google Places Listing – with a complete profile, pics, etc.

4.       Facebook Page – both a professional and personal page, and market the professional page

5.       Promotions – in-office contests for employees and patients; events at your office; press releases; free seminars and reports

Need help? Email us.

Do E-Books & Free Reports Work for Dental Marketing?

It’s a really good question. Through the years, I’ve seen some that work and some that fail miserably. The most common problem I see is that the dentistry e-book or report isn’t meaty – the information is weak, tired, and boring. Even worse, some e-books feature text in a big font with double spacing, so there’s really nothing to it. The book is a waste of time for the writer and the reader.

Now, that’s not to say e-books and reports don’t work. They can work if they’re done right. The title has to be enticing and access must be super-duper simple. The subject has to be something people are interested in – enough so that they download and read the information.

Beyond that, the e-book or report must be well written, concise, practical, and meaty. No typos! Include photos and diagrams! Don’t overuse exclamation points!!! The first sentence, paragraph, and page cannot be boring or cumbersome to read.

Your dental e-book or report must make you the expert through knowledge, facts, and good advice – not just because you said so.

Also, consider, what’s the point? What is your dental e-book or free report supposed to get people to do? Call your office? Visit your website? Is it purely informational (for the betterment of mankind), and you don’t want a direct response from the reader?

The very best e-books I’ve read run about 10 pages. They have facts, information, and executable tips. They include good, quality photos and diagrams – and they may even have enough humor to make me grin.

So, the answer is yes. E-books and free reports work for dental marketing…if they’re done right. Ask me how to do them right ;-].

Wait Until You See This!!

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 achieve better profits, retention, and publicity since 1989. In this blog, he discusses the use the iPad in case presentations. You can learn more ways to improve your practice by subscribing to Mayer’s blog.

In my opinion, one of the major ingredients for successful case presentation is to take the time to schedule second visit consultations with your patients and present treatment choices. A picture truly is worth 1000 words–and more and more dentists have become adept at showing photos. I think that a good digital camera is perhaps the most important piece of equipment you can own, and something that in this day and age, you just can’t practice without! Loading these photos into a computer–perhaps even organizing them into a PowerPoint presentation–is a great way to communicate. We have come a long way from showing x-rays (patients have no clue what you are showing them) and drawing squiggly lines on the bracket table cover.

But this technology seems 19th century compared to showing photos on an I-Pad. The vivid LED backlit display makes viewing photos on the I-Pad extraordinary. I have never seen anything so crisp and clear. You can see and touch the photos in intuitive new ways. And using the multi-touch screen to move and drag and enlarge photos is so high-tech and very impressive to your patient.

In preparation for your treatment presentation, take the photos from a little further away than you might normally do, because with the I-Pad they can be significantly enlarged. Your digital photos are imported into the I-Pad directly from your camera either with a camera connection kit or a connector to the SD card.  Use some type of basic photo editing program to perhaps brighten them and clean them up.  The I-Pad can also be synced to your computer so that the photos are stored in both places.

At your consultation visit with the patient, instead of the two of you looking at a computer screen at images that can’t be manipulated, the whole experience becomes so much more intimate for the patient when you sit right next to them  holding the I-Pad and you start moving the photos around. And of course, when you turn the I-Pad, the photos automatically align with the new position of the I-Pad.

I was blown away with the impressiveness of this technology and the cost is pretty minimal–about $450. I predict that once you try this way of presenting treatment, you’ll be as excited as I am and you’re never going back to the way that you use to show your photos. I would very much appreciate your thoughts and comments.

CareCredit Drastically Increases Profitability for Dentists

This morning, dental technology guru Dr. Larry Emmott featured a very interesting article in his e-newsletter. It explained a study by the Academy of Dental CPAs. The short version is, CareCredit is very, very important to dentists.

On dentist forums, we see it all the time… dental offices going under because of the economy. People don’t have jobs (or dental insurance, though it helps little anyway), so they don’t go to the dentist, and they certainly postpone major dental work and cosmetic dentistry. Dentists can’t make ends meet.

In light of the ADCPA research, as a dental marketing company, MDPM needs to make a recommendation: If You Accept CareCredit, Blog About It. Put It on Your Website’s Homepage. Include the Logo and Link in Your Site’s Sidebar. Write a Press Release. Do Everything You Can to Let People Know that They Have Financial Options!

Here’s an excerpt from the study, posted on the CareCredit website.

In the first year a CareCredit account is opened, households with an account:

  • Made 62% more dental appointments
  • Had 282% more dentistry done (by dollar value)

And in five years, said household:

  • Made 25% more dental appointments
  • Accepted 44% more dentistry

That’s huge! Read the study for yourself by downloading this pdf.

And if you need help repositioning your website, composing a promotional blog, or writing a press release to get the word out that YOU offer CareCredit, let me know. Just call Jill at 972-781-8861, and we’ll be happy to help.