10 Essential Steps to Efficient Dental Marketing

Systems and accountability are the two pillars of success. We have all heard this multiple times and also understand how important it is to have our “ducks in a row.” However, many of us run into the problem of “where do we start?” When I first began my career in dental marketing, I also ran into that problem. It is easy to get blinded and be sold products, services, online platforms and much more. Every sales person has a story of how their specific product will change your life and get you new patients. How many times have you purchased a product or a service and never calculated your ROI? I have certainly been there. So to answer the question on “where to start?” I want you to start with the basics…the fundamentals that have always been there. If you are floundering with your marketing then there are five essential steps you need to have in place and follow in the right order.

These steps are for you if you are struggling because you don’t think your marketing is working and you’re not sure what to fix. Maybe patient numbers are falling or not increasing as you would like. Or, maybe you’re feeling the heat from the competition. After all, it’s becoming increasingly competitive and if you’re not building your patient numbers then it’s not a case of standing still- you’re actually going backwards.

1.      Data gathering

Pulling together and analyzing key data is your first essential step. Dental practices often have the data but aren’t reviewing it in the light of their marketing. Many dental practices also make the incorrect assumption that their marketing isn’t working by just focusing on income alone. This gives a blinkered view and doesn’t take into account the amount of treatment carried out or ‘no show’ appointments.

To get a balanced view and to provide a benchmark against which to measure future activity, it’s important to look at the data in a number of ways:

·New patients–by month. You need to compare months and years. If numbers are low, then you need to do a thorough review of your marketing.

·Cross-reference the referrals and the marketing activity that brought in each new patient. This data gives you the information on where and what you should be spending your marketing dollars.

·Feedback from current patients–because you need to know what your patients think, what they like and dislike, how they found you and whether they do, or would, refer you.

·All of that information gives you a big picture and helps to identify where you need to fill the gaps in your marketing. This information also provides a vital benchmark–you can now assess future activity and track the impact it makes.

2.      What makes you different?

It’s all too easy to use a ‘me too’ approach when it comes to dental practice marketing by replicating what the competition is doing. The problem is that every dental practice is different and your role is to highlight that difference so that you attract the right patients.

Copying someone else’s marketing won’t get you results–you have to understand how you can set yourself apart and make that a core feature in your marketing. Without that you’ll always scramble around and look for the latest idea to latch onto without having the big picture focus for your marketing.

If you’ve not thought about what makes you different, then it’s useful to work through these three key questions to try and find your WOW factor:

·What is the number one compliment you get from your patients?

·What is the number one complaint you get from your patients?

·How do you react to both?

 The number one compliment you receive is your WOW factor. The complaint you receive needs to improve so you can convert more new patients. Your reaction to both matters the most since that will define how you decide to broadcast your WOW factor and correct the complaints. Once you have worked out what makes you different, you can weave it into your marketing. This will give your marketing a distinct look and feel, and help to set it apart from the competition.

3.      Sharing practice culture with your team.

Your practice culture is what sets you apart. However, you need to do more than just identify it and ensure you’ve got the right messaging in your marketing. It’s crucial to share it with the team because you need to:

·Get the team involved in creating a plan. The more involved they are, the more interested and committed they will be to making it work.

·Embed the 'Wow' factor in how the team connects and communicates with patients.

·Have the right systems and processes in place to collect the relevant data about the ‘Wow’ factor’s role in, and impact on, marketing.

·Get everyone in the team involved in living those values so that they are reflected in everything they say and do.

4.      Designate marketing representative

Let’s face it, you’re busy providing care to your patients, and that should be your number one priority and responsibility. Even if you are serious about your dental practice, marketing you will falter unless there is clear allocation of responsibility to a member of your team. If you haven’t got the time to dedicate to marketing then you need to ensure someone else in your team has.

An external consultant can put together a marketing plan for you, advise you along the way and help you to streamline your marketing. But, it’s essential to have a member of your team with marketing representative responsibility to keep on top of activity and monitor what is going on. They know the practice, they know the practice culture and they are there day in and day out and are able to capture the moments, experiences and stories–all vital fuel for your marketing.

5.      Digital identity

How you appear online and through social media is very important. The current trend shows that the majority of the people search for healthcare answers online. It is also common for people to value referrals from friends and family above advertising when it comes to seeking out products and services. It’s no different for dental practices.

I strongly suggest searching for your practice and the competition online as a potential new patient looking for a dental home. Your digital profile and that of your competitors will give you a good idea of how easy you are making it for potential patients to find you and want to seek out your services.

There are many aspects you can look at. A good starting place is to review your online presence, and that of your competitors, regarding the following- whether:

·It shows up on 1st page of google

·There are online reviews

·The website is accessible via mobile devices

·The website has information and contact details that are clear and easily accessible

Looking at social media is also important –how often social media pages/accounts are updated, how they reflect the culture of the practice, what the pages/posts look like and whether that matches the branding/identity on the website.

If your competitors are more active then that may be the reasons why potential patients are flocking to them.

If your marketing isn’t getting you the results you want then start with the data to evaluate what’s not working. Then, follow this five-step process to get your dental practice back on track with a regular flow of new patients.

Don’t change your marketing until you’ve got the right metrics in place for measurement. Otherwise, you’ll be continually dipping your toe in the water to try and find something that works and miss out on doing more of the activity that is working for you but that isn’t obvious.

Minal Sampat, RDH is a dental professional, speaker and marketing consultant. She shows dental practices how to increase their new patient numbers through planned and consistent marketing. To find out more about Minal Sampat, RDH, please visit her website or send her an email.

 

4 Ways Dentists Can Utilize Marketing to Stay Ahead of the Game

Social media marketing is crucial for dentists. If done effectively, marketing can boost the number of new patients and the amount of patients returning for recare.

Dentistry, compared to other healthcare fields, is unique in that patient willingness to make appointments is rather low. Consumers view dentist appointments as non-essential, money-wasters, and uncomfortable and painful experiences. It’s our job to change these beliefs!

This is where social media marketing enters the picture. Social media allows you, the dentist, to connect with patients on a more personal level. As the adage goes, "Out of sight, out of mind" and that's the last place you want to be!

GMM highlights 4 ways to stay ahead of the game and effectively market your dental practice.

1. Post engaging and social content

It is essential to develop a social media presence to connect with patients.  You want to keep an ongoing relationship with your patient, and not have it end the moment they walk out of the office door.

Utilize platforms like Facebook.  Create a Facebook page, ask your patients to join, and post engaging content!  Your posts should not consist of entirely dental-related material.  The content you post should always be both social and engaging and relate to real-life! You want to remain visible and not out of sight.

“Focus on how to be social, not on how to do social.” – Jay Baer

2. Have a designated Social Media Team Member

When you post engaging statuses on social media, the tendency for these posts to be Liked, Shared, or Commented on dramatically increases.  This creates visibility to a previously untapped consumer base.

Dental practices should designate one employee to take upon the extra task of social media management.  This ensures that content is posted frequently (daily, preferably) and keeps your practice fresh on your patients’ minds.  This Social Media Manager can also address patients directly and timely by responding to questions, concerns, and critiques.  It is essential to reach out to any poor comments left on your page within 24-48 hours so that problems and concerns can be handled appropriately.

3. Have a mobile-compatible website

Having a mobile-compatible website will give your practice a huge competitive advantage.  Statistics show that the majority of internet use is completed on a mobile device, including the search for a new dentist! 

Not only do you need a website, but you need to ensure it is mobile-compatible.  What this means is that all website functionality must also work if viewed on a smartphone or tablet.  There is nothing that makes a person exit your page quicker than a tiny website built for a desktop captured on a mobile screen.  If you don’t believe us, just take a moment to examine your own smartphone usage.  What do you personally look for on websites?  Chances are this is what your patients look for too.

Make sure your website is clear and direct with offered services and with contact information easy to access.  Most people will reject a practice based on its lack of mobile capabilities if they are not able to quickly find information on the site.

4. Revive the Recare System

As important as a Social Media Manager is, so is having a recare system staff.  This staff is responsible for contacting patients to come in for biannual cleanings.  As we all know, patients are reluctant to come in for regular visits to the dentist and delay scheduling appointments.  It is very easy for patients to fall behind and neglect their oral health.

It takes an appropriate person to contact them and welcome them back to the practice in an endearing fashion. This is marketing in itself for returning patients. Your staff is a representation of your dental practice and is the face marketing your practice every day.  As great as it is to cultivate new patient relationships, it is also important to strengthen the bonds with existing patients

Give these marketing techniques a try and measure your results!  Implementing a revitalized marketing strategy into your business will not only grow your patient count, but increase lifetime patient value and build stronger relationships with your patients and the community.

Be sure to take the time to stay atop of social media trends and adapt your strategy accordingly. Stay in the know regarding changes in the social networks or which new startups are generating buzz. These tips are sure to enhance your marketing strategy and improve the success of your practice. Good luck!

Does your company need help with streamlining your marketing efforts? Minal Sampat, RDH can help! Contact us today for a free consultation by calling (732) 501-0955 or emailing info@marketinggmm.com.

Sources:
Heathcare Communication
GetReferral MD
Accenture
Great Dental Websites

How to make sure your practice is on the right track...

When it comes to marketing, there are many concepts, ideas and platforms. This week, I want you to take a step back and focus on the foundation. It is too easy to get glamorized and involved in marketing that may not be the right fit for your practice. Not all marketing is going to work for all practices, and in order to create a functional marketing plan, you need to start by collecting information. Remove all the "noise" and zone in on what brings the New Patients to your practice. To do this, follow these steps;

1) Make sure a referral source option is present on the online appointment form. If you do not have an appointment or contact form on your website, add that to your to do list. 


2) Train your team to ask for the referral source when they receive New Patient phone calls. They should not only be trained to ask but also record the referral source in the appointment box. 


3) List all referral options, including an option for other, on the New Patient forms. Your front desk team should double check the form to make sure the patient has filled out that information. 


4) On a monthly basis, create a report to tally all the referral sources. Not all information will be 100% accurate, but it will give you an idea on what is currently working in your practice. 


5) If you are adding a campaign/promotion, add the referral code on the design and your practice management system. This will help you calculate the ROI. Marketing is about SPENDING money, not WASTING it.

Give these steps a try and let me know if you have any questions!

Does your company need help in streamlining your marketing strategies? Minal Sampat, RDH can help! Contact us today for a free consultation by calling (732) 501-0955 or emailing info@marketinggmm.com.

Making Memories with Milestones

A visit to the dentist’s office usually comes with a feeling of dread, trepidation, and uneasiness. As team members working at dental offices, it’s your job to ease your patients' minds and create an energetic and friendly environment. You’re probably wondering to yourself, “How can I make a dental office fun?” This is a great question because it’s one that every office should ask itself. And the best part is that the answer is quite simple! Create in-office engagement!

The concept of in-office engagement is pretty straightforward and is exactly what it sounds like. Engage and interact with your patients and your fellow team members each time they are in the office.

Patient Milestones

One very important way to create engagement is by celebrating patient milestones. Every patient has a birthday and every patient loves to be wished a happy birthday. The next time a patient comes in for a visit the same week of their milestone, surprise them with balloons, or maybe even a cake! Imagine the experience that this patient will have and the great words they will spread to family and friends. Take a picture of this occasion and have your patient post it to their social media pages, making sure to tag your practice. This will create a positive experience and spread increase your social media presence. Always remember that your patients are your number 1 referral source and happy patients are more likely to share and engage.

Patient milestones do not have to be limited to just birthdays. Think about what’s going on in your patients’ lives. Anniversaries, graduations, and our favorite, the celebration surrounding a patient overcoming cancer. Use these moments to create your own special moment with your patient by building these connections.

Holidays

Use holidays like Thanksgiving to organize a Food Drive in your office. Let your patients know that the office is collecting canned goods and other items for the holidays. You’d be amazed at how many donations you’ll receive, all of which would go to a local shelter or other designation of your choice. People, by nature, are inherently good and want to make a difference, even if it is one can at a time. Create this engagement with your patients and build your office reputation. Remember,the better the experience your patients leave your office with, the more likely they are to come back and bring friends and family with them.

In-office engagement is crucial for any successful dental practice. It promotes a friendly and energetic workplace culture and makes the atmosphere better not just for the patients, but for all team members as well. When team members are happy and smiling, patients feel better about the choice they made by picking you to be their dentist. They will trust your judgment and opinion. The more you interact with your patients, the more likely they will be to return and recommend you to others. But at the end of the day, what’s really important is that your patient walks away smiling and at ease, and no longer holding on to the “dread of the dental visit”. 

Does your company need help in creating engagement with celebrating milestones? Minal Sampat, RDH can help! Contact us today for a free consultation by calling (732) 501-0955 or emailing info@marketinggmm.com. 

Sources:

Centers for Disease Control 
LinkedIn

 

5 Social Media Marketing Tips

With social media marketing trends constantly changing, it is important for businesses using a social media presence for marketing to keep up with the latest tactics. To create quality content as well as build and maintain a social media following takes a lot of time, which is why it is imperative for businesses to put in the time and effort to keep their social media marketing effective and efficient on a daily basis.

The following five tips can help businesses get more out of their social media marketing:

1. Host and Engage in Social Media Trends:  The current trend of social media is Live Videos. Since Live Videos are now trending, most social media platforms automatically push the Live Videos for maximum exposure. Announce when you will be doing a Live Video, try to stay Live for 10 minutes so you can have time to engage with audience and have fun with it! 

2. Use Images and videos to Strengthen Posts: Instead of consistently updating status updates with only text, amplify the text posts with blank images. There are many online outlets in which blank images can be found to add text to in order to increase follower engagement. It is crucial that images always communicate the user’s message accurately and grab the attention of followers. 

3. Become an Expert: Many businesses try to market in all social platforms and networking sites possible; however, it is more beneficial to become an expert in one or two platforms and networking sites where the majority of customers are located. A company who focuses on developing a strong presence in a social platform and social networking site, such as blogging and Twitter, will create a stronger engagement level than a company who engages in blogging, podcasting, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram.

4. Manage Followers Daily: On a daily basis, businesses should search for related social media users to follow on platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram. By following relevant users, businesses will gain attention in other social media communities that can help attract more followers.

5. Engage in One-on-One Dialog to Build Loyalty: Businesses should participate in one-on-one dialog with followers or gear posts towards specific followers to achieve greater response rates. Asking questions directly to a customer will also help businesses create follower loyalty, as personal dialog generates a feeling of importance among followers.

Does your company need help in understanding your social media analytics or modifying your social media strategy tactics? Minal Sampat, RDH can help! Contact us today for a free consultation by calling (732) 501-0955 or emailing info@marketinggmm.com.