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August 2016

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Social Media

30 Great Social Media Post Ideas for Dentists

Consistently posting on social media can be hard to do after a while. So, we thought we’d give you some inspiration!

Want to learn more about dental social media now? Download the free whitepaper, Running a Dental Practice in the Age of Social Media.

COVID-19 Hours and Updates

  1. If your hours and safety procedures have changed due to COVID-19, post about it on your social media! This will help patients understand any guidelines or health screenings ahead of time and make them feel safe booking their next appointments.

Community and Volunteer Events

2. Highlight volunteer work your practice is involved with. Social media is a great place to post photos from charity walks, events, and any pro-bono work your practice offers.

3. Host a charity drive and promote it leading up to and on the day of the event. Consider offering an annual food drive around Thanksgiving and a toy drive around Christmas!

4. Help promote events happening in your community like a pet adoption near you. People like to help spread the word, so these posts will likely get shared by your followers!

5. Share information about scholarships you offer or are aware of, particularly for dental school students.

Office Celebrations and Announcements

6. Celebrate your staff with a happy birthday message. This will resonate with your loyal patients and build familiarity with your friendly staff!

7. Congratulate your staff when they announce a pregnancy (given that they feel comfortable sharing this news).

8. Show your practice’s personality and post photos of holiday parties, costume competitions or white elephant gift exchanges.

9. Is your office offering new technology like online intake forms or online billing? Show off these new features!

10. Announce conferences that you are attending and include professional photos from the convention floors.

11. Share your experiences at CE events. People like to know that their dentist is keeping up with the times!

12. Introduce new-hires with a photo and quick bio. This is a great way to familiarize your patients with new staff members.

13. Explain a new process that your practice has implemented to improve patient experiences, like confirming or rescheduling their appointments seamlessly online.

14. If you’re in the news, it’s OK to brag a little! Share local press about your practice.

15. Give your followers updates on holiday hours so they can plan their appointments accordingly.

Testimonial Content

16. Share your own positive, native reviews. Facebook allows patients to review you, so if someone has something nice to say “share” the post and thank them publicly.

17. Highlight before and after photos (with the patient’s permission, of course). ProSites also offers a service called Patient ShowCase which makes it easy to highlight before and after photos on your website to increase case acceptance.

18. Re-post any positive posts that patients post about and tag your practice in.

Promotions

19. Hold themed days such as Denture Days or Patient Appreciation Days. Having a blog post that explains the promotion helps too.

20. Offer a discount to new clients. Tip: Promotions are best shared near end of calendar year when people are thinking about their expiring benefits. Start posting weekly in September and continue until December 31st.

21. Create a Patient of the Month program thank patients for being loyal supporters.

Educational Content

22. Create a list of common questions and answer one common question each week, such as “What to do in a dental emergency?”

23. Discuss your opinion of fashions trends that affect oral health such as piercings, jewelry in teeth, and other uncommon cosmetic procedures.

24. Share dental care tips that inform patients about flossing, the benefits of sugar-free gum, and more.

Entertaining or Humorous Content

25. Entertain your patients with celebrity before and after smile comparisons.

26. Uncover myths about dentists debunked.

27. Highlight fun facts about dentistry. A quick google search can help come up with a few.

28. Make kids laugh with cartoons about dentists. Use your best judgment to determine if this is consistent with your practice’s voice and personality.

29. Re-post relatable content such as these Buzzfeed articles about dentists. Use your best judgment to determine if this is consistent with your brand as well.

30. Repost old content that did well as a #TBT (throwback Thursday) post.

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Search Marketing

Dental Marketing Strategies: What you can learn from #EpicFails

Disclaimer – This blog is in no way intended to cause the noted companies further embarrassment. It is written solely as a cautionary tale to provide readers with the benefit of knowing what not to do.

Most people don’t like to see others fail – emphasis on “most”. But what if learning from someone else’s mistake prevented you from making the same one? While the #EpicFails highlighted here probably occurred on a larger stage than you practice, the lessons they teach are applicable anywhere.

Learning from Coca-Cola

When Coke first entered the Chinese market they named their product something that sounded like “Coca-Cola” when pronounced. Unfortunately, due to the characters used it was often translated as “Bite the Wax Tadpole,” which doesn’t sound refreshing in any language. Lesson learned? Know your target market.

If your practice is in mid-town Manhattan and caters to busy professionals it doesn’t make sense to waste your marketing budget targeting families miles away. This is where local search engine optimization (SEO) comes in. Local SEO gives you the ability to specifically target your practice location; meaning when those busy professionals search online for a dentist within walking distance your practice appears.

What if your practice isn’t in a city center and you want to reach prospective patients in surrounding areas? Then you need pay-per-click (PPC) advertising in your marketing mix. PPC advertising allows you to expand the reach of your advertising to specific locations and cities near your practice, where you may not show up organically in local results. Another benefit of PPC is that you only pay when a prospective patient clicks on your ad.

Learning from Apple

Not even Apple is immune to the occasional marketing failure. When the iPhone 6 was released Apple automatically loaded U2’s latest album into iTunes accounts around the world – for free! The only problem was not everyone wanted the album and backlash ensued, quickly followed by the release of a one-click tool to remove said album. Lesson Learned? Give your audience what they want.

The average adult checks social media 17 times a day (and we’re pretty sure that’s not all done outside of working hours – wink, wink). So, it’s fair to assume that your followers might be looking for a quick distraction from work. Why not offer them a mid-day laugh with an oral hygiene meme or a quick tip on how to get kids to brush? This type of easily digestible information was made for social media!  Not only is it what your patients are looking for, if your posts are deemed valuable enough to share you get in front of an exponential number of potential patients.

Learning from Burger King

Everyone likes to feel involved, even if it’s in a trivial way.  Which is why when Burger King ran their Whopper Sacrifice campaign asking followers to delete 10 Facebook friends in exchange for a free whopper – people did. In fact, close to 234k friends were removed by over 82k people in less than a week, which is when Facebook shut the campaign down for violating the platform’s terms. Lesson learned? Engage your audience (wisely). 

Ask patients to post a selfie or share their favorite tooth fairy story – the post with the most votes gets half off a whitening treatment or an electric toothbrush. As Burger King’s campaign proves, people probably don’t need as much of an enticement as you think.  Be sure to carry the excitement over to your physical location by putting selfie props in your waiting area and signage directing patients to your social media pages.

Marketing may not have been on your radar when you entered dental school, but you now know that it’s just as essential to your success as the services you offer. Check out our free online resources for tips on how to effectively market your dental practice.

Don’t have time to spend on attracting new patients?  ProSites can do it for you. With over a decade of experience in the dental industry, our Internet marketing and web design gurus know what it takes to retain current patients and attract new ones. Reach out to an Internet Marketing Advisor today at 888-932-3644 to discuss how we can help you meet your practice goals. Lesson learned? There’s value in leaving it to the experts. 

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Search Marketing

Five Key Things to Avoid in Online Dental Advertising (& Life)

Some things in life are easy to avoid – sushi from a food truck on a summer day, anyone? Other things, like your online dental marketing strategy, require more thought. A number of components factor into successful online advertising, specifically pay-per-click (PPC). Don’t have time to explore them all? You’re in luck – in the interest of efficiency we’ve highlighted five common pitfalls to avoid, which can conveniently be applied to life in general (you’re welcome). When you have time for more in-depth reading download A Dentist’s Guide to Getting More Profitable Patients with Google AdWords for a deep dive into pay-per-click advertising.

Pitfall #1: Assuming all is well

As Greek philosophy and depressing lyrics teach us, “The only constant in life is change.” Nowhere is that more evident than in the real life Hunger Games that is Google AdWords. As more competitors jump into the arena it’s critical to keep tabs on campaign metrics.  Key indicators of your PPC campaign performance such as average ad position, conversion rate, impression share, and cost-per-click are in constant flux. So even if your campaigns have been delivering positive results, taking a break from tracking can have a negative impact. If we lost you at ‘key indicators,’ don’t worry; our latest whitepaper breaks down each metric.

Pitfall #2: Turning your back on automation

Automation is a beautiful thing (looking at you, Starbucks mobile app), but it can also be dangerous (hmm… Google’s driverless car). If you choose to automate your AdWords budget, beware that failing to monitor campaign progress frequently can mean wasting budget on underperforming keywords and/or ads. Due to the number of fluctuating factors that go into Google’s pricing algorithm (time of day, number of bidders, quality score, etc.), it’s important to make this a regular habit. Note: if you outsource your online advertising campaigns, make sure consistent tracking is included in the service.

Pitfall #3: Thinking everyone has your best interest in mind

All men may be created equal, but all pricing models are not. When shopping for a consultant to assist with your online advertising, it’s important to be cognizant of different fee structures. While one model charges you a percentage of your ad spend, others use hourly or flat fees. At first glance a straightforward percentage may seem fair, but this formula (% of Your Budget = $ Consultant Revenue) may results in clouded judgement when it comes to suggesting an appropriate budget. Your best bet is to opt for a flat fee or hourly price.

Pitfall #4: Underestimating the importance of consistency

Like your co-worker who’s smiling ear-to-ear one day and glaring at you the next, inconsistency doesn’t exactly invite engagement. When creating pay-per-click advertisements, ensure that your ad and the corresponding landing page have a consistent message. If the ad promotes a teeth whitening special, but the landing page doesn’t mention it visitors won’t take the time to dig around your site for the info they need.

Pitfall #5: Ignoring what goes on behind the scenes

Google is on a quest to deliver the best user experience possible – to everyone – every day. Talk about high expectations! To make this happen, they’re constantly changing facets of both search and advertising experiences. This means algorithms that determine how your practice ranks, what you pay per click, etc. aren’t static. As Google alters these complex formulas your campaigns need to adapt; otherwise, you’re throwing money out the proverbial window.

If done correctly, PPC advertising is one of the fastest ways to impact your website traffic and the number of visitors taking action – but there’s a lot to it.  From staying on top of campaign metrics and changing algorithms, to ensuring ads and landing pages resonate, effective PPC advertising requires time and effort. Whether you’re researching the pros and cons of PPC or are looking for ways to optimize current campaigns, download our free white paper, A Dentist’s Guide to Getting More Profitable Patients with Google AdWords by filling out this form.

Prefer to speak to a dental marketing expert? Give ProSites a call today at 888-932-3644 to discuss what’s right for your practice.

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Social Media

5 Common Questions about Social Media for Dental Practices

We recently held a webinar to help dentists like you improve their presence on social media networks to gain more referrals and engage with patients. We received a lot of great questions that we thought everyone could benefit from hearing the answers! Here are the top five questions we received from your peers:

1. How often should you post things from other news sources such as articles you read on DentalTown, a local newspaper, etc.?

As often as you like! A general rule of thumb is to post on Facebook one to three times a week, and at least three times a week on Twitter. The key is to balance newsworthy and third party articles with your own original content based on what your capacity allows you to do. For example, John Doe, DDS has a goal to post once a week each month but their capacity only allows them to create one original post per month. They could post their own original content the first week, and then share content from other news sources for the following three weeks.

Even more important than frequency is ensuring that the content you share is important and relevant to your current and prospective patients. Posting educational content from other news sources is a great way to stay relevant and engage with your followers. 

2. How would Twitter be helpful to a dental practice?

Twitter is great for real-time conversations with your current and prospective patients and provides a forum to answer frequently asked questions. A common practice on the Internet is to host an Ask-Me-Anything (AMA) event on social media. An AMA event typically means that you are reaching out on Twitter, or your social media platform of choice, and invite users to ask you any questions that they have. This particular social media event is probably best held before benefits expire when most people are actively looking for dentists for help.

3. Which is better: Facebook, Twitter, or a website?

Your practice’s website is the cornerstone of any digital marketing strategy, so you should have a website regardless of your presence on social media. Search engines rely on the existence of a website for your dental practice to understand how relevant you are to searchers looking for your services. Sometimes business may think that because they have a Facebook page, they don’t need a website. On the contrary, not having a website limits your dental practice’s online presence because social media profiles alone are unlikely to appear on search results. For example, anyone Googling “Dentist in [your city]” will not likely find your information. Furthermore, search engine optimization is impossible without a website (learn more about SEO for dental practices here).

Once you have a website, an active social media presence is a great way to create awareness and increase referrals and traffic to your site. Choosing between Facebook and Twitter will depend on your capacity to post content and where you find the most engagement, which will differ from business to business. If you’re not sure about which to choose, try using both Facebook and Twitter for a while and see which has the most activity. Just remember that they are not created equal.

Twitter will demand a higher frequency of posts because content is consumed in real time. You may have to post several times a day on Twitter, whereas Facebook allows you to limit your posting to 1-3 times a week. However, if you find that you are getting a better response on Twitter, then you may just have to dedicate your posts on that platform and accept that you’ll need to post more frequently.

4. Most of our current patients are older.  How do we use social media to engage them while still appealing to a younger (potential patient) crowd as well?

First, know where your audience is. If you typically target people that are retired, you’ll want to use Facebook. According to SproutSocial, “11 percent of [Facebook’s] 1.15 billion members are seniors, and one in five will log on for an hour any given day.” Additionally, you can be sure that millennials can also be found on Facebook.

Second, post about topics that your audience cares about. If you want your content to resonate with an older demographic, then you’ll want to touch on topics like dental implants, or dentures. On the flipside, you can appeal to millennials who are new parents by posting about baby bottle decay, or tips on how to keep teeth white for a special day such as graduation or a wedding. As mentioned above, they key is balance. If you post engaging content to both audiences without leaning too heavily one side or another, you’ll be able to appeal to both. 

5. What is the best way to get a respectable amount of followers quickly?

There are a handful of ways to gain followers:

  1. Post relevant content
  2. Promote your social media profiles via your website with buttons that link to your pages
  3. Send an email to your patients and invite them to follow you on social media with links to your pages 

Once upon a time businesses would purchase followers to make it seem as if they had a lot of interest around their business on social media. However, there are two major downsides to doing this:

  1. You are buying an audience who is likely uninterested in what you have to say. Your reach and engagement metrics (how many times people Like, Share or comment on your posts) will suffer.
  2. Most social media platforms are great at recognizing and eliminating fake profiles used to augment a user-base. Purchasing followers could put you at risk for a penalty and shut your profile down.

Of course, if anyone is going to follow you, you must make it worth their while. Continue to post regularly (same time and days each week) so your followers come to expect your content and are therefore more likely to engage with your page. Every time a follower Likes, shares or comments on your posts, their friends can see their interactions could possibly choose to follow you. The more relevant, educational content you post, the more likely you are to attract a decent following.

Want to learn more about social media for dentists? Download your free whitepaper: Running a Dental Practice in the Age of Social Media here.

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Search Marketing

How to Improve Your Dental Website Rankings in 2016 and Beyond – Part 2

Maintaining your dental website’s ranking can be hard to do. Last month, we examined factors that affect where your website shows up on a search engine results page, whether they are the snack pack or within organic listings. Now that you have an understanding of which factors affect you overall, we’ll go into more detail on how to improve you rankings within Google’s snack pack (set of the top three local businesses that match a search query, displayed on Google’s search engine results page).

Google Snack Pack from Search Engine Results Page

Before you get started, we’d recommend that you brush up on basic SEO lingo with your free guide to The ABC’s of SEO: The Search Engine Optimization Dictionary for Dentists.

Here’s three reasons why it’s important that your practice ranks within a Google snack pack:

  1. A snack pack is prominently shown on a search engine results page above organic listings, incentivizing searchers to stop looking further down on the page
  2. Your reviews are highlighted within the pack, helping you earn searchers’ trust
  3. Searchers can easily navigate directly to your website, or call you from your listing.

Because Google’s snack pack has made it more convenient for searchers to find local businesses, it’s very competitive to appear within them.

Below are the top 3 factors that influence your ranking within the pack, and what you can do to improve each.

1. NAP Consistency

Your name, address and phone number (NAP) information must be consistent on your Google My Business profile, your website, and throughout major online directories. Small differences in your address can confuse search engines and ultimately prohibit you from appearing in the snack pack. For example, if your address is 123 Anywhere St., #201, Sunnyvale, CA, 92777, your address should always appear in that exact format – even interchanging # with Suite or Ste. can create confusion. If you’re not sure how your address should appear, visit USPS’ Zip Code lookup to find out how USPS standardizes your address.

It’s important to be nit-picky about your NAP info because software that collects local business information can get confused and push multiple listings for your business based on the small differences they find, creating what are called duplicate listings. Although this is hard to completely avoid, you can minimize your duplicates by maintaining consistency.

Worried about duplicates? Learn how to deal with duplicate business listings.

2. Domain Authority

Domain authority, based on the quality of backlinks to your dental website, refers to your domain authority score and can be looked up using Moz’s Open Site Explorer site. Most dental practices should have a score around 10/100, but we recommend that you search local competitors to find out how you compare.

Increasing your domain authority can take time because collecting quality links, or link-building, is time-intensive. To review, there are three types of links that you should be pursuing: location-specific links, industry-specific directories, and authority sites.

3. Google My Business

Of course, a well-optimized Google My Business profile is more likely to appear in the snack pack. If you’ve ever seen a business on Google Maps that seems to be missing a lot of information such as business hours, website information or even a phone number, you’re looking a listing that is not optimized and most likely without an owner. The good news is dentists can claim and optimize their orphaned listing. Here’s how to do it:

First, search for your business on Google Maps to check whether there is an existing listing for your business, then verify using Google’s phone or postcard verification process.

Second, fill out all information using your Google My Business dashboard (you’ll unlock access only after completing the verification process).

  1. That will include correct name, address with suite number, local phone number and web address.  Do not use a toll-free number, or P.O. Box as that is against Google guidelines.
  2. Upload a cover photo and relevant images of your business. Photos of your interior, exterior, and staff are always appropriate.
  3. Ensure that you assign the correct categories for your practice. This is incredibly important since choosing the correct category will heavily determine which keywords your listing appears in the snack pack for. Categories that are available for dentists are:
    • Dentist
    • Periodontist
    • Oral Surgeon
    • Endodontist
    • Orthodontist
    • Pediatric Dentist
  4. Update the page that your profile is pointing to so that the title tag includes your city and state, example: John Doe, DDS | Sunnyvale CA

Let’s recap – in our last blog post you learned overall ranking factors affecting your dental website. Now, you’ve continued your SEO education by learning why ranking in Google’s snack pack is important and what you can do to improve your ranking there. In part 3 of our series (coming out next month), we’ll cover ranking factors affecting your practice’s presence in Google’s organic listings.

Remember, you can always download The ABC’s of SEO for a complete glossary on SEO terms.

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