Best Practices for Using Photos on Dental Websites, Blogs, and Facebook

Let’s talk about dental website pictures for a sec. Someone (no doubt an artist) once said, A picture’s worth a thousand words. Well, the writers of the world (including yours truly) and search engine spiders disagree. However, I have to give pictures their props… People really like to look at pictures, diagrams, photos. So here are my professional recommendations regarding photos dentists should use in online marketing.

Website – To maximize the personality of your practice on the web, use real photos of your real practice, real team, and real patients.

  • The building: Take pictures out front, from the road, with and without the team. Also, snap some good shots of the interior, the lobby and back office. I like to see close-ups of things in the office, too, like a gloved hand holding an instrument, a 45% angle shot of a vase of flowers, or your sign on your front door.
  • You: A professional picture of the doctor(s) is nice. You don’t have to wear a tie, but you can. Just dress like you do every day. People want to see the real you, not some made-up version. You might also add a family photo to use further down on your bio page.
  • The team: This includes you and your partners. Take a group photo, photos by department, and photos of each person. It’s nice if everyone is wearing the same general color scheme; nothing too flashy or bland. Be sure to take pictures of the team in action. (more…)

Great Google Results for One Chicago Dentist

Thought I’d share this testimonial from Dr. Gerilyn Alfe at Chicago Smile Spa with you. Chicago, as you can imagine, is a highly competitive marketplace for dentists — but high Google rankings are possible. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

“…great news! I think the SEO you’re doing is working.  I checked this morning and I came up on the first page for ‘Chicago Cosmetic Dentist’ and was #2 next to the map way up on the top for ‘Chicago Sleep Apnea .’  Yay and thanks!”

We share in Dr. Alfe’s excitement about great Google rankings. With the introduction of Google Places and Google Caffeine, it’s so important to claim your Google Maps listing and complete your Google Places profile. If you want to see similar success, engage in comments on your Google Places profile, and post well-optimized blogs twice a week or more. Become active on Facebook and Twitter, as well. The more traffic you drive to your websites, the better you’ll rank with Google. On your blog, be sure to include backlinks to your main website, as well.

The IHateCPAP.com blog was awarded the 2010 Top 15 Sleep Disorder Blogs award by Medical Billing and Coding, yet Dr. Alfe’s blog ranks higher on the SERP because of MDPM’s efforts on her behalf with Google Places.

Modern Dental Practice Marketing is here to help you rank high on Google! With fresh content, serious Interent engagement, and persistent involvement with online marketing, your website can move to the top. Give us a call, and let our Internet marketing experts boost your rankings and get you more new patients!

Don’t Get Stuck in the Blog Fog

Oh fog! Oh fog!
What do I see?
Nothing! Nothing!
I can’t even see me!

“Fog” by Andrew D. Robertson

The blog fog can be blinding. Whether you become immersed in blogging, and you lose sight of the rest of your marketing goals, or you can’t see where to begin with blogging, it’s easy to get lost. I want to give you some fog lights to help along the way.

In my years of blogging about dentistry and for dentists, I’ve found four stereotypes – outside of those who blog well and regularly. I hate to call anyone a stereotype. You are all special individuals, but when it comes to blogging, most of you fit into one of these profiles. Don’t be offended. Be practical.

  • I want to blog, I do. But I have no time!
  • I can write. I graduated with my doctorate, remember?
  • I’ll do it, but I have no clue what to write about.
  • I blog right now. Well, not as regularly as I used to. Actually, I need to set aside some time this week…

I want to blog, I do. But I have no time!

These dear dentists are truly swamped. They’re at that crucial edge of explosive success. The practice keeps the dentist and associates busy, and then there are CEs to attend, lectures to present, employees to train and encourage. The responsibility of blogging will tip the scales and cause more important things to slip through the cracks.(“More important” being relative.) Busy dentist, please remember: if you want to grow your practice OR your speaking business, you have to market. You need to blog.

Solution:  The good news is, MDPM copywriters have been writing blogs for dentists and industry experts for years. So you don’t have to write your blog. We can do it for you. Just give us a call, and we’ll find a blogging solution that works for your needs. (more…)

It’s Business…It’s Personal: On Blogging and Facebook

One of my favorite movies is You’ve Got Mail, and some of the dialogue that really resonates with me is when Joe (Tom Hanks) tries to explain his division of business and personal matters. You see, he’d just run Kathleen’s (Meg Ryan) independent children’s bookstore out of business…at the same time, the two were falling for each other, of course.

Joe Fox: It wasn’t… personal.
Kathleen Kelly: What is that supposed to mean? I am so sick of that. All that means is that it wasn’t personal to you. But it was personal to me. It’s *personal* to a lot of people. And what’s so wrong with being personal, anyway?
Joe Fox: Uh, nothing.
Kathleen Kelly: Whatever else anything is, it ought to begin by being personal.

When I think about it, this conversation really applies to my life, being a blogger. The reason I blog, and the reason I comment on blogs, and the reason I engage in social networking is because business is personal. You worked your haunches off to get where you are today, a dentist and the owner of your own independent practice. If a corporation infringes on your business, it’s personal to you.

Your patients feel the same way. They trust you. Your treatment, to them, is personal.

  • “Findings from this study support our hypothesis that trust in health care providers is a significant predictor of having a regular dentist and is independent of education level, income, race/ethnicity and perceived health status.” – from JADA
  • Doctors and nurses are the third most trusted professionals, just behind teachers (no. 2) and firefighters (no.1). Journalists are second on the least trusted professionals list, so I thought I should provide hard evidence for my case ;-).from Divine Caroline

It’s personal.

Why do you think blogs and social networking (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) are so popular? Because they are web platforms that facilitate personal communication, and people love “personal.” Web marketing is a tool you can use to enhance relationships with your current patients, establish personal relationships with potential patients, network on a personal level with people who have similar interests (same community, professionals, hobbies).

You may think there’s a separation between “personal” and “professional,”
and there has been a bold, black line there for years.
But times, they are a-changin’.

Use your blog to become the authoritative source on all things dental. While you’re sharing all of your expert knowledge, keep the tone and presentation personal. Just like I’m doing in this post. I started by telling you about my favorite movie. That’s personal. It tells you something about me. I like sappy romances. (more…)

MDPM Congratulates NTHDA on Two Years of Great Work!

Last night, Jill and I were pleased to attend the North Texas Hispanic Dental Association’s two-year anniversary event at the W in Dallas. The venue was, of course, chic and the speakers interesting. We enjoyed an informative and optimistic financial update from Hugh McFadden, CLU, Managing Director for Northwestern Mutual Financial, the NTHDA’s Diamond Sponsor. Then Dr. Gary Severence, Vice President of Clinical Affairs and marketing for D4D Technology, shared exciting innovations in dental technology.

Membership in the NTHDA gives dentists and dental professionals the opportunity for networking, learning, and helping the people in our community. The NTHDA has accomplished great things this year. The organization provided over $65K of services to children in North Texas in the past year with the Give Kids a Smile Program. They also have volunteers who donate time for worthy causes, such as free oral cancer screenings. NTHDA also offers CEs for member dentists.

Upcoming events include:

  • 10/2       San Fernando Health Fair in San Antonio
  • 10/20     2CEs Sleep Apnea Appliances in Houston
  • 10/28     HDA Annual Meeting in Chicago

To learn more about membership, events, or sponsorship for the NTHDA, please visit www.nthda.com.

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…)