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November 2015

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Social Media

5 Rules for Increased Facebook Engagements

In the motion picture, Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner’s character heard a voice saying, “If you build it, they will come.” Unfortunately this same phrase does not apply to your social media pages. Don’t think that you can build a Facebook page, then step back to watch the likes roll in. It just doesn’t work that way. However, if you follow a few simple rules you can boost your dental practice’s presence on Facebook with increased likes, shares and followers. 

Rule 1 – Engage and enlist your current patients. Every brand needs a core group of brand ambassadors. There is no one who can do a better job of promoting your dental practice than a very happy and loyal patient. Don’t be afraid to ask for “likes” on social media by putting signs up in your waiting rooms, slipping a call-to-action on the back of your bill or sending an email to select patients. Ask anyone that has had good experiences with you to occasionally comment on your posts. You might even consider incentivizing the program with discounted teeth whitening or something along those lines.

Rule 2 – Don’t post more than three times a day. Some people think that the more you post the better. While it may work for some businesses, it doesn’t work for everyone. Facebook is a “social” media that users still see as a place where they engage with their friends. It is not a site for hard core selling. Buddy Media found that pages that posted twice a day received 40% higher user engagement than pages with more than three posts per day, proving quality is more important than quantity.

Rule 3 – Ask questions in your posts on social media. It may seem like a no-brainer, but one of the best ways to start a conversation on social media is to ask a question. Don’t limit yourself to questions that pertain to your practice’s special offers, procedures or new equipment. Get personal and have fun. Ask something like, “What is the most memorable smile you have ever seen?” Then engage with the answers. Ask them to tell their stories or post a picture if they have one. 

Rule 4 – Post shareable content. Everyone likes to share memes, interesting articles, videos, and photos, so take advantage of the movement! Post a few funny dental memes or buzzworthy articles and videos. Then try posting photos of smiles and cartoons that need captions. Ask your followers to get involved by writing the caption and sharing the newly created meme. A qualified Internet marketing company can help you post images that get the most engagement so that you can develop a strong social media plan moving forward.

Rule 5 – Timing is everything. If you update your wall while no one is there to see it, it’s like it never happened. People are most likely to check for updates in the morning before work or just upon arrival at work, lunch, and in the evenings after work. A qualified Internet marketing company can help you test timing and responses to hone in on the best update schedule. And speaking of timing, keep your posts relevant to now. Tie them into hot news stories and current events. The only way to stay top of mind is to be aware of and relevant to what is on people’s minds. Be careful to not post opinions that can cause an Internet fight though, such as political or religious battles. 

Bonus – Contests work. Contests reward loyal fans and create excitement that draws new visitors into your page. With a contest your audience will check into your page often to see if they have won. So make your page memorable, and keep visitors coming back by regularly posting new content. 

Many practices get into a routine of posting only announcements and news pertaining to their practice. If this is where you are, stop. Take a step back and remember that social media is supposed to be social. It’s a conversation – a series of engagements. You have to build relationships and be a source of entertainment at the same time.

It can be difficult to make any of these rules work without a sound strategy. A qualified Internet marketing company can help you develop a plan to reach your goals. As experts in Internet marketing for the dental profession, ProSites can give you a personal consultation and help you on your way to social media success. To learn more, call (888) 932-3644. 

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Search Marketing

Pros vs. Cons: PPC Advertising

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a long-term solution. You’ve heard us say this in one way or another many times. There are no quick fixes in internet marketing. To put your dental practice on a lasting and healthy growth trajectory, a qualified internet marketing company will devise a strategy that involves many touchpoints, multiple channels and a built in plan to evolve with your target audience. SEO, by itself, can lead to marked growth and recognition for your practice. But there are other marketing strategies that should be considered in helping your dental practice get greater visibility within search results. 

Today, let’s talk about pay-per-click (PPC) ads. There are pros and cons to every method. Before you make any decisions you should know them. 

PROS

Immediate Visibility – When you choose your keywords well, PPC ads offer immediate visibility. PPC ads appear on the top and next to organic results, on the first page of search results. This means that when your audience is searching on their phone or tablet, they’ll be able to see your ad without having to scroll down. While organic SEO takes time (up to months!) to ratchet up traffic to your practice’s site, PPC ads can offer fast results for timely offers.

Qualified Target Audience – PPC ads give you the ability to target specific individuals who are interested in finding a dentist or getting a dental procedure within a certain location. With PPC, you can geo-target your ad based on a certain radius, which is important if you’re pulling in patients from several towns. It is very hard to optimize your website for a town other than the one your practice is located in, so PPC is a great solution to capitalize on business from surrounding towns.

Budget Conscious – With PPC ads you don’t have to worry about going over budget. Set your budget and as soon as you reach it your ads are pulled. This allows your internet marketing company to test keywords and messaging without breaking your budget. Then they can review analytics for conversion and ROI in a timely manner to establish and implement the next phase of your dental practice’s marketing strategy.

CONS

If You Don’t Know What You’re Doing, It Can Be a Costly Mistake – Choosing keywords can help you target a qualified audience, choosing the wrong keywords for PPC ads can lead to bidding wars and run your cost upwards of $50 per click. Smart Insights recently did a study that found PPC conversion rates averaged around 3%. If you pay for 100 clicks at $50 per click you’ll spend $5000. Converting only three of those clicks may not provide the ROI you were expecting.

Campaign Management – It would be nice if you could make an ad, launch it and see results. Unfortunately, it’s never that simple. For PPC ads to work effectively, they need someone to manage them. Keywords, messaging, and target preferences should all be tested. Results can be quickly analyzed and ads can be dialed in to get the best results. But it takes someone who knows what they are doing to keep up with it. 

Lack of Conversions – Just because you get impressions and clicks doesn’t mean you’ll get conversions. In other words, just because someone is clicking your ad, they may not be calling your practice. It’s extremely important to have great ad copy that drives searchers to a landing page on your website. Qualified internet marketing companies will review and create landing pages when developing your PPC marketing strategy, which is a key factor in making a successful PPC campaign.

Over time internet searchers have become savvy to ads. They have seen them as banner ads, remarketing messages, and PPC placement in search results. This is why keywords, messaging, and testing is so important in grabbing your audience’s attention. Each internet marketing channel works in conjunction with the others. It can be difficult for individuals busy running their own practice– to focus on finding the right combination of channels and messages and tactics. 

A qualified Internet marketing company can develop a plan, engage your target audience and help find an ROI that meets your goals. 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

3 Tips for Marketing Your Practice Around the Holidays

Hustle and bustle are trademarks of the holiday season. During this special time of year we add extra parties, errands, duties and tasks to our normally busy schedule. But we also open up to wonder, fellowship and… marketing. What?!? It’s really not so hard to believe. Beginning with Black Friday the holidays are a commercial season of buying and giving. Over the years we’ve programmed ourselves to be open to good cheer, holiday greetings and sales pitches. The most successful pitches generally combine the things that make this season so wonderful – family, fellowship, and good cheer. And social media is a great place to experience all three.

Your dental practice should take part in all of the good cheer too. When you do it well your practice will benefit from increased brand recognition, traffic to your website and new client appointments. Here are three ideas to spread good cheer and market your practice during the holidays.

1. Show Your Smiles. We take a lot of photos during the holiday season – with family; of Santa; at parties; while opening presents; etc. Let’s have some fun with what we’re already doing. Take to your Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts with photos of you and your staff sharing holiday cheer. Don’t be afraid to make it fun, include family members and patients around the office. Don ugly holiday sweaters and hats. Then ask your fans and followers to join the festivities. You can even turn it into a contest or drawing for a discounted teeth whitening procedure. 

2. Be Social. Social media is supposed to be social. You can’t build a fan page and hope enough people will happen upon your practice to turn you into a viral success. It takes effort. You have to reach out to people, engage with them and be social. The holidays offer great opportunities for this. You can begin by asking questions. Facebook and Twitter engagements go way up when polls are used. Ask where everyone’s favorite Santa is in your area. Ask followers to share their holiday wish lists. What’s the number one toy their children want this Christmas? What are their resolutions for the New Year? Remember, any time you can put a question in the form of a poll and post the results you’ll see greater engagement. 

3. Extend the Holidays. The holiday season is more than Thanksgiving and Christmas. There’s Chanukah, New Year’s and Kwanza, as well. Try and include a post that pertains to each of the holidays. Then push the celebration a few days longer. The Twelve Days of Christmas begin on Christmas day and last until the evening of January 5th. This is another opportunity to feature photos on your Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook feeds that highlight the season. You could use the twelve days to highlight a different discount each day. Or, you could throw a Twelfth Day celebration at your practice with games and activities for families. If you want to go one step further, the college football playoff national championship game is January 11. There are plenty of charitable promotions that can be tied to both the holidays and college football.

You have a lot on your plate on a regular basis. With the year-end approaching your patients are going to try and squeeze in a last-minute appointment. So expect more bedlam. Don’t let the thought of new promotions and engagements with your social media fans stress you out. You don’t have to do everything at once, but you also don’t want to miss this opportunity to connect and build relationships. A qualified Internet marketing company can help you develop a plan for success. They’ll even check the strategy twice before you sign off on it. ProSites can give you a personal consultation and help you on your way to social media success this holiday season. Simply call 888-932-3644 today.

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Patient Relationship

Prevent Last Minute Cancellations

Your time is valuable. And few things are more frustrating than a last minute cancellation that leaves a big gap in your schedule. One of the most common ways of handling cancellation offenders is to make them wait to get back into the schedule. Sometimes patients have to wait months to get back on the schedule. Is this the best way to handle the situation?

Want to improve patient retention overall? Download the free guide to keeping more patients with less work here.

The world of internet marketing – social media, web page user experience, blogging, etc. – is about building relationships with your current and potential patients. Patients want a dentist they trust. They want services that are top-notch. From PPC brand awareness campaigns to social media posts and conversations, everything we talk about in these articles is designed to help your practice deliver those desired services and patient experience. Handling appointments and cancellations is no different.

Add convenience when possible. Your practice may have a system that allows your patients to schedule, cancel and reschedule appointments for future dates online. This is a great service that can make filling the appointment calendar easier for both you and your patients. Just remember to create settings that prohibit cancellations and rescheduling within 72 hours of the initial appointment. Cancellations within that 72 hour window will have to occur over the phone. I can’t stress this enough. Last minute cancellations should always be handled with a conversation over the phone. It is a great opportunity to enhance your practice’s personal engagement and service with a smile attitude.

Relate to your patients. Understanding your patients is the first step in building a long lasting relationship. Cancellations happen for two basic reasons. One reason is an unavoidable circumstance. For instance, an illness or the boss scheduled a meeting and your patient’s job depends on being there. Reason two tends to be a bit more flexible – something came up after making the appointment. It could be an unexpected lunch date. Or, they simply need to pick their children up from an event at the time of the appointment. A patient may think these are unavoidable, but a couple small concessions may be all that is necessary for them to make their scheduled dental appointment.

Always ask questions when there is a cancellation request. Too often practices simply say okay and then punish the patient by making them wait for a couple months to get back on the schedule. When the front office staff speaks with a cancellation, the first thing they should do is show concern and find out why the patient needs to cancel. Establish whether it’s an unavoidable or possibly flexible situation. If you deem it a flexible situation, begin thinking urgency and solution. Explain what will happen to their teeth if they don’t keep the appointment while asking questions that may lead your patient to change their minds about canceling. And always try to offer a solution. Maybe their children can carpool with friends or a spouse can pick them up. Patients won’t always make adjustments to keep their appointments, but they are more likely to if you present a solution.

Give reminders without cancellations options. Send appointment reminder emails and phone calls at least seven days before the appointment. If you can do them again 72 hours before that would be great. Try using text messages for the second reminder. It is important that these messages don’t offer a way to cancel. When we say things, like “if you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment call…” patients are no longer thinking about keeping their appointment, but rather how to cancel it. Confirmation emails and phone calls should simply say we are looking forward to seeing you on a specific day at a specific time. This approach leaves patients thinking about making their appointments, not canceling them.

Consider rewarding good behavior. One thing that has been proven in behavioral studies is that positive reinforcement modifies behavior better than negative reinforcement. Obviously, if you have a patient that is habitually late to appointments or has multiple last minute cancelations you have to do something to dissuade them from doing it again. As we previously said this leads to a long wait to get back on the dental schedule. But what about a positive reinforcement campaign? A gift card giveaway might be just the thing. Using Facebook and other social media outlets your practice can highlight how valuable everyone’s time is during the busy holiday months. Then when patients are on time for scheduled appointments put their name in for a giveaway.

How do you typically handle appointment cancellations? Leave your comments and feedback below! And, download the free whitepaper, Automated Dental Patient Communication: How to Keep more Patients with Less Work by filling out the form below.

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Search Marketing

Avoid SEO Scams. Find SEO Success.

Everyone has heard the stories of retirees who fall victim to scam artists – losing their life savings to what they think is a reputable company. Are you aware that scammers target businesses as well? Think you’re immune? Think again. As a successful dental practice looking to grow through digital marketing and social media, you’re a prime target for unscrupulous SEO agencies. Keep your wits about you. There are a few things you should know that will keep your practice from getting taken advantage of.

There is no such thing as a first-page placement guarantee. Some companies out there will actually tell you they can guarantee first page placement for your practice. We’ve said it before and we will say it again – SEO is not a quick fix. Anyone who guarantees a specific result is misleading you. Google is actually suing a company in California for making false claims that they can guarantee first-page placement in Google search results. 

An effective SEO strategy takes an intimate knowledge of your target audience, your practice and your competitors to do it well – and that takes time. 

Be wary of anyone claiming to work on behalf of Google. This might seem extreme so let’s give this warning some context. Google does not make automated sales calls; ask you to claim your website; ask you to update your listing; or ask you to pay to be included in Google Search. This information is clearly posted on the Google website. And even Google says you should beware of companies or people who “allege a special relationship with Google,” and/or advertise VIP placements or priority submissions (Google). 

Google will not send you unsolicited emails. If you’re receiving unsolicited emails that claim to come from Google about your website’s poor search engine results, read them with a dose of skepticism. Reputable SEO and Internet Marketing companies will clearly state who they are and stand behind their own branding. They have no reason to claim they are Google. 

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

If you receive an email offer, solicitation or guarantee, check to see if it’s actually Google or a Google Partner. If the email is from Google it will be from an @google.com address and the return path should also contain an @google.com address. Also check to see where the links in the email are directing you. Do they go to a google.com page or someplace else? 

If you receive a telephone call, ask the representative to send you an email and look for these same signs. 

Verifying whether the company that contacts you is a Google Partner is relatively easy as well. Just look for them at this Google Partner search page. Google partners are agencies, marketing professionals, and online experts who have been certified by Google to manage AdWords accounts (Google).

Don’t be scared away by the shady Internet characters or stories of unscrupulous scam artists. If you’re interested in expanding your practice’s visibility and growing your patient roster, SEO and Internet marketing is a great option for you. It offers a strong opportunity to reach your preferred target audience with low cost and high return. A qualified Internet marketing company can help guide you through the Internet confusion safely by defining your marketing goals and developing an SEO strategy to help you reach them.

As a Google Partner and experts in the dental profession, ProSites is happy to help. Call 888-932-3644 for a personal consultation.

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