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October 2015

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Practice Marketing

Productive or Busy? 3 Tips for Year-End Success

It seems that every year around the holidays your dental practice gets extra busy. Maybe it’s a reaction to all of the Halloween candy. Maybe everyone wants to look their best for the friends and family they’re going to see at events on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Or, maybe patients are trying to get the most out of their FSAs and HSAs (a use it or lose it philosophy). Whatever the reason, you can always count on an uptick of business during the last couple months of the year. 

It’s not like you’re slow the rest of the year, so this increase in business can cause undue stress. Between handling your patient workload, managing your business operations and maintaining a marketing presence your available work hours will disappear quickly. 

Don’t worry – we have a few tips to help you manage your workload during the holiday season. And they don’t involve giving up your precious sleep.

1. Think ahead. As your patients reach the end of the year they will begin thinking about the money they have left in their FSA or HSA accounts. Since it usually doesn’t rollover, most of your patients will want to spend it on something. Now is the time to write a blog and post on social media about the best way for them to use their spending accounts. Many of your patients won’t remember or realize that they can’t use their accounts for cosmetic procedures such as teeth whitening. Therefore, making it a great time to get your patients thinking about whiter teeth for holiday photos. 

Patients can also use their accounts for procedures such as end of the year cleanings and fillings that they’ve been putting off for too long. Now is the time to be proactive and let patients know how to schedule and use their spending accounts before they lose their money at the end of the year.

2. Delegate tasks. This seems like a no-brainer. But smart, successful people often have difficulty putting projects in other people’s hands. To keep your practice running smoothly during very busy times of the year, it is always a good idea to use everyone’s strengths to the fullest. 

As a brilliant dentist and savvy business person you have to decide where you, your staff’s and your business partners’ talents can offer your practice the greatest advantages. Obviously, as a dentist, you need to free your time so you can work with more patients. It wouldn’t serve your practice well for you to spend your time writing blogs, chatting on Facebook or buying ad space. Just like you have an office manager that you trust to keep your dental practice running smoothly, you need an Internet marketing company to maintain and enhance your brand with current patients while continuing to reach new ones.

3. Be Strategic. There are about five weeks until Thanksgiving and then 35 more days until the end of the year. Develop a plan to help your current and potential patients understand what this time crunch means to them and their health spending accounts. This tip may sound a bit like tip number one. That’s because planning ahead is important, and we’re practically in crunch time. A qualified Internet marketing company can help you devise a short-term social media communication plan that will help guide your patients through the end of the year. Bringing in an Internet marketing company will ensure that regular blogging, social media chat and SEO update deadlines are met. 

The end of the year is an easy time to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of being busy. The goal of your practice shouldn’t be to be busy. The goal of your practice should be to be productive. This means building a patient base that is happy with their service as well as the procedures you provide. It also means creating a brand where your patients become your ambassadors. It starts in the office, but spreads out through Facebook, Instagram, blogs and other social media channels.  The end of the year and the holiday season doesn’t have to mean that your practice will be extra busy. It could mean your practice is extra productive. 

A qualified Internet marketing company can develop a plan, engage your patients and help you guide your patients through end-of-the-year questions and issues dealing with health care spending accounts. As experts in the dental profession, ProSites would be happy to give you a personal consultation. Simply call 888-932-3644 today.

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Practice Marketing

How to Get the Best Patients for Your Dental Practice

What makes someone a good patient? A few characteristics come to mind. Good patients have an appreciation for what your dental practice offers, they listen to treatment recommendations, and then they become long-term patients.

There is one sure-fire way to obtain this kind of patient – referrals. 

Consumer studies confirm that when patients are referred by a friend, family member, or coworker they tend to come into your practice filling all three of the above requirements. The Wharton School of Business found that the lifetime value of a referral is 16% greater than clients obtained through other means. And Nielsen found that people are four times more likely to buy when referred by a friend. Add to that the fact that Shareaholic found that in recent years social media referral traffic increased from 22.71% to 31.4%, and what do you get? A great opportunity.

Social media is the confluence of referral marketing and consumer decisions. This is why your practice’s presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is so important. Your social media pages extend your brand image to the public. Posts, updates and blogs help show your personality and build relationships with your current and potential patients. Most importantly, your pages encourage interactions including shares and recommendations. 

When existing patients have a great experience they’ll likely tell friends and family. These days that happens on social media. Eighty Five percent of brand fans on Facebook recommend those brands (Syncapse). And 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of advertising (Nielsen).

So how do you take advantage of this movement in referral marketing? First and foremost you have to provide quality dental service. This seems like a no brainer, but service isn’t just in the treatments you offer or the quality you deliver. It’s in the personality of everyone on your staff – in the office, out of the office and while online. 

Second, develop a sound social media plan and be sure you’re on the social media channels your current and potential clients are on. Keep your posts targeted at education, timely news, incentives, entertaining facts, office news and last but not least, patient testimonials. Finally, acknowledge and reward your existing patients when they give you a referral. You don’t have to make this bigger than it is. Try writing handwritten thank you notes. If you don’t think that is enough you can offer a small monetary reward. But t-shirts, mugs and other items work well too. As a matter of fact, the University of Chicago found that non-cash incentives are 24% more effective at boosting performance than cash.

With the sharp increase in referrals coming from social media, it’s evident where your practice needs to engage with the public. After all there are more than 3 billion active monthly users combined on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

Don’t go looking for a miracle answer. Social media and referral marketing takes time to do well. If this seems like a daunting task or that your time would be better spend on other endeavors for your practice, a qualified Internet marketing company can help you build and implement a plan to meet your goals. Call Prosites today for a personal consultation at 888-932-3644. 

 

Resources:

Nielsen

Shareaholic

Syncapse

Wharton School of Business

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Practice Marketing

Why Contracts Put You In Control

So you’re interested in SEO services, but you’re not sure you’re ready to sign a contract. It’s a common dilemma for small businesses. Don’t worry. When it comes to SEO, we can help you make the best decision for your dental practice. First, there are a few things that need to be understood about SEO.

1. SEO is not a fad. It’s not a powder blue, double-knit leisure suit that will only be seen at Halloween in a couple years. SEO has grown in importance just as access to the Internet, mobile and social media channels have grown. SEO is a must for any business.

2. SEO is not a quick fix. Anyone who tells you it is a quick fix, or guarantees specific results is misleading you. It takes an intimate knowledge of your target audience, your practice and your competitors to do it well – and that takes time.

3. SEO is your key to Internet visibility. Without an SEO plan it’s highly unlikely anyone online will find you without already knowing where to look. But with a good SEO strategy, your dental practice can receive high rankings from search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. That means more visitors to your website. More visitors equal more potential patients.

Now you can begin a discussion about what you need from a SEO company. 

You may understand SEO practices – metatags, keywords, linkbacks, site maps, page optimization, social media accounts and so on. And you may have free time to put towards developing and implementing a strategic SEO plan that takes into account regulations from multiple search engines. If so, you may only want help with piecemeal projects. Many SEO companies offer project-based pricing. However, when you handle your SEO in this way, the ups and downs and analysis of success are squarely on your shoulders.

If you’re looking for more of a complete and ongoing, steady solution, you can look into hiring an SEO firm to manage your online presence. With hiring a firm often comes a contract. We know, this discussion gives you pause, so let us just say:

• A contract is not a way for a SEO company to lock you into paying for work you don’t need or want. 

• A contract with a SEO company is actually a way to ensure you see the quality work and success metrics you expect. 

A successful SEO strategy takes time. Time to develop an intimate knowledge of your practice, your patients, your potential patients and your competitors. Time to be vigilant in keeping your SEO up to date with the ever-changing SEO environment. Time to change. Time to test. Time to work. A contract sets both time and expectations.

A six to twelve month contract allows your dental practice to clearly define what will be provided by your SEO provider – original content, local SEO optimization, linkbacks, free upgrades, social media channel audits and much more – during these pivotal months. The contract gives your dental practice control over their expertise and allows you to hold them accountable. As we mentioned- SEO is not a quick-fix, it takes time, and the contract is the firm’s way of saying “allow us the time it takes to get your practice ranking.”

Google, Bing, and other major search engines are always changing their regulations and search algorithms to offer better search experiences. SEO companies have to keep up and quickly adapt. While you might see an immediate bump from one project to another, SEO is a continual process and those algorithm changes may also result in lower ratings as easily as higher ones. SEO best practices say that six to twelve months is a good measure of time to analyze whether a plan is working or not. At this juncture in the process a good plan should see sustained increases in website traffic regardless of any ups or downs.

Remember that the point of your website is to grow your business. If people can’t find your website, what’s the point of having it? A well-planned SEO strategy creates visibility and increases traffic. And it has some of the best ROI in marketing, exceeding traditional approaches such as radio, newspaper ads and direct mail. A qualified Internet marketing company can develop and implement an SEO strategy for your dental practice to reach its goals. As experts in the dental profession, Prosites would be happy to help. Simply call 888-932-3644 for a personal consultation.

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