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February 2016

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Search Marketing

Measurement: The Other ‘M’ Word

Measurement is important. Add more foam than steamed milk to your espresso and that latte just became a cappuccino. Use one tablespoon of cayenne instead of one teaspoon and that dish just turned Cajun. Implement dental marketing campaigns without measuring results and you’ve wasted valuable time and money.

When used effectively, not only does consistent measurement show you what is and is not resonating with current and prospective patients, it also allows for replication. And this is key, because who wants to recreate the wheel?

Let’s begin at the beginning, shall we? Your goal will determine what you should measure and which metrics will provide the most value, so start by defining it. The more specific, the better. Do you want more patients? If so, how many are feasible to add each month? Higher patient retention? What percent is attainable? More revenue overall? Which optional services should you promote? All of the above? Insert head nod. While goals ought to be achievable, they should also require effort (think your first week back in the gym after a break).

For the sake of this article, let’s say you’ve defined your goal – congratulations! Now how do you reach it? (You know you can’t get fit sitting at the juice bar.) Enter strategy. The World Wide Web can be cloudier than 50 shades of grey, and without a clear strategy, it’s easy for you to get lost in the vastness of the Internet. Your practice’s marketing strategy is the roadmap that guides you to your intended destination.

An effective strategy incorporates multiple factors, including your goal and the cost-benefit ratio of associated marketing tactics.  Essentially, this means that the cost of your marketing efforts shouldn’t be higher than the estimated lifetime value (LTV) of the patients those efforts will generate or retain. There are a few ways to determine a patient’s LTV, see below for one example (calculations are for demonstrative purposes only):

Average Annual Value of a Patient

(i.e. two hygiene visits per year @ $250 each = $500)

X

Average Length of Client Relationship

(i.e. 10 years) = $5000

+

Average Annual Value of Referrals

(2 referrals x $5k) = $10,000

____________________________________________

Patient LTV = $15,000

It’s crucial to know what results a campaign needs in order to be considered successful. Otherwise, you’re filling cavities in the dark. You might get lucky, but chances are it will be bloody.

Yes, marketing is exciting and magical. You might even be tempted to dive right in – but without clear goals it’s impossible to accurately gauge your ROI – and, like opening a bar tab on New Year’s Eve, it usually doesn’t end well. Whether you choose to outsource your online marketing or manage it in-house, it’s critical to understand and track the results of your efforts.

Looking for more information on how to track online marketing campaigns and specific tactics? Stay tuned for the next blog that will focus on just that. In the meantime, here are a few resources you might like:

If you’re ready to take a deeper dive into your current dental marketing strategy, or are looking to create one that meets specific practice needs, ProSites specializes in providing comprehensive online dental marketing services that deliver measurable practice growth. Reach out to an Internet Marketing Advisor today at (888) 932-3644 to see how we can help you meet your goals.

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Search Marketing

Where does your dental practice rank on Google?

Google – it’s a noun and a verb. Want to know who JFK’s Secretary of State was? Google it. (Dean Rusk) Wondering what the highest grossing movie of all time is? Google it. (Avatar) Where does every computer science major want to work? Google. (Good luck) Where did your mother-in-law find those unique animal figurines? Google. (Sorry)

Google is today’s “go-to” tool. There are 2.3 million Google searches done every second of every day, so how do you use the reach of Google and other search engines to your advantage? By employing search engine optimization (SEO).

Simply put, SEO brings visitors to your website by helping your dental practice appear high on the list of results when prospective patients search for a dentist online. Over 85% of searchers do not go past the first page of results, so where you appear is critical. As far as SEO is concerned, if you’re not on the first page, you may as well be on the last.

Just because you have a dental practice, it doesn’t mean your website is ranking on the first page of results for “Dentist in _______.” There are over 140,000 websites launched each day, so search engines developed algorithms to quickly match likely answers with specific search terms. While search engine algorithms are proprietary (think Fort Knox level security) and include a number of factors, keywords are at the core. These are the terms search engines use to find and rank your practice (e.g. family dentist, cosmetic dentistry, etc.). Before you can create a strategy to boost your search engine ranking, it’s important to know where you currently rank for popular search terms.

Determining how you rank is more complicated than simply searching for your practice in Google and seeing where you appear in the results. That’s because there will always be some degree of personalization factored into your search. To deliver the results most relevant to your search query, Google also considers your search history, geographical location and search behavior.

Luckily, there is a way to get impersonal keyword results. While there are a number of tools that can help you do this, the most accessible is Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools). Note – prior to use you will need to authorize your website in Search Console. Learn how to add your website to Search Console here.

Once you have added your website to the dashboard, you’ll want to let it run for about four weeks so that it can collect data. Once sufficient data is collected, follow these steps to find out which keywords you rank for, along with other information.

 

Log-in to Search Console and navigate to your website or “property.”

Then click on Search Traffic to expand, and then Search Analytics to find your keywords (queries).

 

This report will default to show the number of clicks you received for a list of queries in the last 28 Days.

You can customize the report by selecting the box next to the metrics you want to view, such as:

 

  • Clicks: Number of times someone clicked through to your website after searching with the specified query.
  • Impressions: How often your website shows for a specific query for the average position displayed.
  • Position: Average ranking position your website shows up for the listed query. Positions 1 – 10 are on the first page, 11 – 20 are on the second page, and so on.

 

For example, our report shows that we received 420 clicks, out of 996 impressions in the first position of search results for our brand name:

 

After you’ve selected the information you need, it’s recommended that you export the data to Excel for future reference. Unfortunately, Search Console only lets you see data for 90 days, so keeping a record of where your website is appearing on search engines is important.

Once you know how your website ranks for popular keywords you can develop a strategy to focus on areas of need. Remember, while keywords are central to SEO they’re not the only factor. For more information on creating an SEO strategy for your practice, check out our free online resources.

SEO is an inroad to prospective patients but it does not produce results overnight. To realize results for 2017, it’s important to put an SEO strategy in place now.

Still not sure you’re ready to tackle SEO on your own? ProSites has you covered. Click here to download our search marketing flipbook to get answers to the most common questions that dentists have when it comes to getting better rankings online. Or, let our in-house team of SEO experts handle it for you. For more information, call 888-932-3644 to speak with an Internet Marketing Advisor.

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Website Design

Blogging for Dentists 101

Why should you spend time blogging?

Within your own dental website, blogging can play a major role in how you run your practice. Here’s a quick rundown:

– Blogging can play a pivotal role in how you interact with patients, act as a controlled news outlet, and be the voice of the company in a less formal, relatable manner.

– Adding useful and interesting content will help improve your SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

– Blogging is a nonintrusive marketing tool that can benefit your practice for relatively low cost, if used properly.

Interacting with patients is important

You can set yourself apart from other dental practices through the level of customer service that you’re willing to put out. Any qualified dentist can perform a root canal, but how many of them are willing to go to that extra step to make a patient feel at ease? The hardest part in gaining a prospective patient is getting their foot in the door and it’s your job to make it easier for them.

Patient anxiety is all too real, and blogging for dentists can ease prospective patient’s minds and bolster your practice’s relationships with the community. Blogging is also an excellent way to encourage engagement on your social media profiles such as Facebook or Twitter. By sharing your blog posts on social media, you are creating a dialog between you and your followers (or potential patients).

The effect of a dental blog on SEO

In order to bolster your ranking in search engine results pages, you’ve got to play by Google’s rules – and they have many. Having basic information on your website isn’t enough to show up as a relevant organic search result these days, even if someone is nearby and looking for your services. The more quality content you have, the better, because you are establishing yourself as an expert in the search engine’s eyes and blogs are the perfect way to do that.

It’s possible to practice SEO without paying much for it, but it’s a constant juggling act since the rules are always changing and content has to be frequently updated. It’s recommended that dental blog posts have at least 300-500 words per page for your website to be considered as a result and categorized under specific search query terms. Creating a well-thought-out blog post is important to Google because it wants its searchers to have a good experience by finding answers to their questions. Google is less likely to rank a page that doesn’t seem to address a specific topic or a topic with enough information. Blog posts that answer specific questions related to similar keywords are considered authoritative in Google’s eyes and therefore more likely to be ranked.

Blogging your way into your patients hearts

Use your dental blog to its capacity and speak to your patients in a nontraditional way. It’s an opportunity to educate your patients about procedures, theirs and their family’s dental health, and answer their questions while giving your business a personal touch. You can even write about yourself and your employees to put a friendly face on your practice.  People like to know who they are talking to rather than feeling like they have to talk to a business. In other words, they want to feel personally connected to you.

Blogging also allows you to control the conversation, and because this is information patients are actively seeking rather than being bombarded with, it’s welcomed advertising. There is potential to change the way patients view dental visits and make lifelong connections with them at the same time.

Regardless of what your goal is, running a dental blog can take a lot of time. Between figuring out what to write about and actually taking the time to write consistently, you’ll need be realistic in what you are able to do yourself and what you’d need someone help to you with.

Tell us what you think! What are your biggest “blogging for dentists” hang-ups? Please leave a comment in the section below! Contact us any time to find out how our expertise in writing blogs for dentists can help you. Call (888) 932-3644.

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Practice Marketing

Top Dental Social Media Trends for 2016

As New Year’s Eve fades into a memory and your marketing plans for the year ahead solidify, there are three social media trends that should be on your radar. 

1.) Algorithms. Word on the proverbial street is that social media networks, such as Twitter, will be adopting new algorithms which will make reaching new patients through social media for free more difficult in the future. Therefore, in order to reach the most people, even current followers, you may need to add paid advertising to your social media plans. 

2.) Content. Content continues to be king in 2016. Consistently delivering new and relevant content on your social media platforms gives current and prospective patients a reason to engage with your dental practice. Social users are demanding; they expect to see information that’s tailored to their needs and delivered across multiple channels. And, successful practices are adept at doing just that. According to the CMO Council, 90% of Americans find custom content useful and 78% feel that the organization providing it cares about building a good relationship with them. Bonus: search engine algorithms reward great content with higher positioning in search results. So take time to share relevant information on your website and beyond (think Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.). 

The “Thanksgiving Turkey” approach is one way to ensure the same message reaches current and prospective patients across channels. This method is centered around a substantial “main course,” like a full-length article or blog post, which is then carved into bite-sized pieces of information such as Twitter posts or infographics. 

3.) Visuals. While content may be king, it’s the supporting visuals that help maintain the crown. In today’s age of character limits and attention spans smaller than a goldfish, the statement “a picture is worth a thousand words” has never been truer. Enter visual marketing. In 2016, visual elements (including photos and video), will play a vital role in your dental practice’s social media strategy. As HubSpot reports, not only does content with visuals garner 94% more views, but it’s 40 times more likely to be shared on social media than text alone. 

It’s also important to not overlook how your current and prospective patients are viewing content. For example, on what device are they most often reading your content? In 2015 Google announced that mobile Internet traffic surpassed desktop traffic. According to the Global Web Index, 80% of Internet searches are done on smartphones. Translation? If your practice website isn’t mobile-friendly you are losing opportunities every day. 

Want to learn more about social media and how it can help you increase referrals to your practice? Check out our complete Guide to Social Media Marketingdownload your free version today here!

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Social Media

Using Social Media for Your Dental Office

How and Why Does Social Media Apply to Your Dental Practice?

In the wake of MySpace and the emergence of Facebook shortly after, younger generations have taken social media from a fad to an everyday tool for sharing and seeking out new information about businesses. Even now, older generations are joining in – and with everyone in one place, it has become a heavily invested piece of marketing for all businesses; dental practices included.

People use social media as a tool to get recommendations for dental practices, services, and experiences from previous visits. It is seen as a trustworthy tool that has essentially replaced traditional word of mouth tactics – why only ask your neighbor when you can ask everyone in the city? With reviews from real people connected to personal profiles, it’s much easier to trust that these were honest experiences. 

As it’s generally a less expensive alternative to traditional advertising tactics like local TV commercials or newspaper ads, smaller practices like yours can reap the benefits of marketing while maintaining smaller budgets. Plus, it accomplishes one thing traditional media does not: two-way interactions that create a bond between dentists and patients, and with time, a loyal community. 

The importance of setting up a strategic social media presence

It’s not enough to just be present. Social media works only when a strategy is set in place and executed in the right manner – minimal investment will only achieve minimal results. Some key points are:

Research prospective clients. Social media is a data mine for where they hang out, what they like, and what their needs are. This is how your practice can connect to its current and prospective patients and learn more about how to improve what services are offered, the most convenient hours, and how to size it all up. Sometimes, you can even just ask them directly.

Choose which social media platforms are best for your practice. Each one has a distinct and unique purpose and not all will benefit you; choose a few that will bolster business and target the right users.

Have a unified message throughout your posts to build trust in your practice’s brand. Differing messages often look sloppy and confusing. 

Social media platforms and what they do

The usefulness of each social media platform varies from one business to the next, depending on who you are trying to reach. As a general look, here’s a few:

Facebook: commonly used for connecting with friends and family by sharing photos and content. Facebook is great for building word of mouth and generating organic reviews. Connected profiles make it more trustworthy and real to patients looking to your page for reviews and feedback. This is an ideal and easy-to-use platform for interacting with patients who have concerns or questions and want to direct it at someone they feel can help them rather than speaking to a corporate giant or an answering machine. Quick, timely responses are desired by patients here.

Twitter: word to the wise – less is more. Patients that use this tool are looking for quick, short answers to their questions, or small announcements. Posting videos is common, but they are broken down into bits. Anything longer than a few sentences is discouraged here.

Instagram: is for showing off. Photos of food, fashion, travel experiences, and generally positive vibes is what people seek here. Rather than having a conversation with patients, Instagram is more of a one-way street where visuals dominate the slew of comments below them. Pretty photos of your office and smiling patients are good, as are demonstrations like a video on how a procedure works. Catch their eyeballs and their likes. 

YouTube: similar to Instagram where videos dominate the platform with How-To’s and demonstrations, though longer videos are more acceptable here. Make them useful and shareable for your patients, and consider series of videos that they can tune into like they would a TV show each week. Video testimonials are popular on this platform.

Google+/ Google Maps: the ideal place for reviews and feedback. Because of its visibility and accessibility, Google not only is great for displaying basic contact information, it is usually the make-it-or-break-it point for practices who want to be discovered when people are searching online. 

How do I know if my social media strategies are successful?

Playing on each social media outlet’s strength is key to developing tangible results for your practice and success looks differently every which way you go, but the main thing to keep in mind is that although social media interactions are instant, gratification is not. Strategies take time to develop, just like your offline interactions with current and prospective patients. This is the relationship-building business and it’s a big piece of the pie. Ignoring digital platforms is not an option in this day and age, so play to your strengths and ask an expert for help while you’re busy running your practice.

There’s a ton that goes into marketing your practice on social media – but when it’s done right, it can have a positive impact on your practice. Get your copy of the Guide to Social Media to learn which social networks make sense to be on, how to improve your presence on these networks, and stay engaged with new and prospective patients. Click here to download your free guide today.

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