Corporate Dentistry Can Benefit You

You’ve likely heard the buzz about corporate dentistry and how the profession is changing fairly rapidly. Some forecast doom and gloom for the privately owned practice. Others refuse to believe anything is changing at all. The reality lies somewhere in between.

The rise in corporate dentistry will bring advantages to the public and the dental profession. Above all, this climate change means increased competition for all. Competition is good. In some instances, I anticipate it will change things for the better.

First, this change will push us all to focus on quality of service. Our goal is always to care for patients, make a positive impression (no pun intended) and keep patients returning and referring. In order to do this, it may require more efficient communication, stronger teamwork and a positive patient experience. This will encourage us to utilize technology for increased accuracy and comfort. It’ll require that we hire and train the best fit employees that align with our own core values.

The second imminent change is the acceptance of marketing. Many dentists take pride in building a practice “on no marketing”. Others have learned to embrace it for attracting the right kind of new patient for the practice. They’ve also embraced it to accelerate the growth of the practice, which happens naturally by word of mouth. Marketing serves more than one purpose. It’s main function is to educate the community on topics relating to the importance of oral health. In some instances, this information can save a life. Treating sleep apnea, screening for oral cancer and preventing periodontal disease can all extend one’s life-span and quality of life. Besides important education, marketing also allows the patients to see their options in providers. As corporate dentistry moves into town, despite popular belief they do not always have an advantage in marketing. Having an in-house marketing department does not always mean higher quality or more effective marketing. It also doesn’t necessarily lend to a higher marketing budget, as some may expect. There’s power in group buying to a point, but with the rise of social media and internet marketing, anyone can compete and see positive results when partnered with the right marketing team. As patients search Google and ask friends on Facebook for a recommendation, they will likely choose you if your marketing messages match their personal needs.

If corporate dentistry becomes too focused on profit and less focused on service, like any business, it will suffer. Some will always seek the best, while others may seek the cheapest. There is room for the privately owned dental practice that stands out, does something special and delivers unique value.

Overall, change can be concerning. If we embrace it, prepare for it and even create it, it can elevate our profession.

 

When should you start thinking about selling your dental practice?

Don’t wait until you get the itch to retire to think about your exit strategy. It’s never too soon to think about selling your practice. Yes, you read that correctly. You should be considering obstacles for selling your practice even before you buy it. Here are a few things to evaluate years before it’s time to sell.

  1. Is your practice enticing to a buyer? Is your business name going to make for a seamless transition which results in optimal patient retention for the new owner?
  2. Are your service offerings highly specialized? Will the right buyer need advanced training to keep your existing patient base happy? If so, be sure to create your practice description in a way that it attracts the right buyer. The right buyer will be willing to pay more for your practice.
  3. Have you kept your office decor up-to-date? Just like selling a home, a practice is more desirable if it’s got a fresh coat of paint and is staged well.
  4. Does your website highlight your strengths? Does it feature your practice as modern and inviting? Do your patients talk about their experience in your practice, confirming your positive reputation in the town?
  5. Is your location accessible? Is your signage visible? What can you do to make your practice stand out to a potential buyer?

It’s never too soon to start thinking about your exit strategy. We can help you build up your practice in the years prior to selling for an optimal sale price.

3 Steps to Gaining a 5-Star Reputation

Article by: Grace Rizza, Owner of Identity Dental Marketing

If you haven’t yet realized, people value online reviews. Google reviews get substantial exposure and contribute to your SEO efforts. Often, our clients ask for tips to help them become more successful in gaining dozens and even hundreds of 5 star reviews online. Read on to for the simplest ways to implement a strategy that will boost 5-star reviews.

Step 1: Ask your patient about her experience. After each appointment, ask your patient if she had a nice visit today. If she seems happy with your service, communication and care, she will respond with positive feedback. Upon receiving that positive feedback, let her know how much she means to you. Let her know you enjoy seeing her and value her business.

Step 2: Create a script to request the review. Involve the reason for this request. “Cathy, thank you for the positive feedback. It’s always a pleasure spending time with you. We’re finding that reviews on Google are helping new patients to consider us for care. Would you please write a review for me today? It should only take a minute.”

Step 3: Make it easy for the patient. This can be done in one of three ways.

1.You can use an automation tool to automatically text the patient following their appointment. This text will ask about their satisfaction. After receiving positive feedback, it will automatically open to a page where the patient can leave her review. It’s very simple and has helped dozens of our clients gain hundreds of reviews on Google, Yelp and Facebook. Email: grace@identitydental.com for more information.

2. You can hand the patient a card with a link to a page on your website. Once visiting that page, they can click on the icon of the review site of their choice to leave a public review.

3. You can text the patient a link to your Google 5-Star Review link. We can create this for you.

Step 4: Thank your patient for her support.

Remember, the best way to get 5-star reviews is to provide 5-star service. Make the patient feel important. People will not remember what you said, but they will not forget how you made them feel.

3 Fun Ways Market your Practice this Mother’s Day

Everyone gives flowers for Mom’s Day. This year, involve your team and do something different and fun.  In the month of May, consider the following marketing ideas for your practice.

1. Consider our Strong Mom Contest. Have your patients nominate their mom on your Facebook page for “City’s Strongest Mom.” The winning mom (with the most “likes”) will win an Apple Watch.

2. Raffle something funny. Does your mom deserve a break? Raffle the services of a local cleaning service to come give mom the day off. Create a clever and funny flyer to accompany your raffle.

3. Create a Spin the Wheel Giveaway. For the week of Mother’s Day, allow the women in your practice to spin the wheel to win a prize. Prizes can vary from Starbucks gift cards, to car wash gift certificate, to an indulgence at the spa. Take a photo with each patient who spins and post it to your Facebook page. Take a video of the Mom wheel and Go LIVE on Facebook for added exposure. Not sure where to order your wheel? We’ve made it easy: click here!

Are you interested in planning your internal marketing calendar? Contact us for more information. Mention our “Triple Crown” Campaigns.

The Rules of SEO

September 4, 1998 – Google started

Google quickly became number one for one reason: it aimed to do only one thing. While AOL was sending CDs about instant messenger and email, and Yahoo cluttered its homepage with weather, stocks and news, Google kept its cool and carried on with one mission: to become THE NUMBER one search engine.

Since then, Google has gone on to do many, many, many, many other things successfully. With each new endeavor, the company maintains its core focus and has not let anyone come close to taking the title of best search engine.

As quickly as Google started, business owners, bloggers and politicians realized the value in having their content come up first. Top ranking results mean that you’re credible, the best, the most relevant. Google quickly caught on and was likely not happy about this form of manipulation. In order to stay on top, Google was forced to make its ranking algorithm change. With each new update, Google penalizes those who do not play by the rules.

The Rules of SEO

1. Don’t automate.
Google will catch on to your methods and penalize you. Getting off Google’s naughty list is far worse than getting coal in your stocking on Christmas. It’s possible, but could take time and money. A hard penalty could result in your business’ exclusion of all search results. Ouch! That’s going to sting a bit.

2. No tricks.
Cloaking is when your text is the same color as your background, allowing you to keyword stuff (another frowned upon) method of attaining top rankings. If you’ve come up with some way to trick Google, you’ll likely get caught.

3. Don’t buy links.
It can be tempting to pay a company to automate links to your website. Resist temptation. Google now knows where these links come from. Offshore SEO “companies” automate the link building process. If you didn’t climb to the top the right way, you’ll likely fall even faster. Link farms, poor quality back links, spam links and links from unrelated sites can actually harm your rankings more than help them.

4. Consistency is key.
Make sure if building your own online presence or hiring an SEO company that you stay consistent. Google likes to see regular, on-going varied activity. For instance, a blog that you post to once per year isn’t going to help your rankings. Posting 6 videos at once won’t wow the search engines. Post content, update directories, change data on your website regularly to see yourself gradually move up in rankings. What’s that? You want instant gratification? Pair your SEO campaign with a PPC campaign to hold you over for the big pay out. Once you achieve first page rankings, don’t quit. Make it difficult for a competitor to come in and outrank you.

5. Be different.
Besides having consistent activity online that links back to your website, you’ll need to do some things differently to impress Google, especially if you’re in an area of high competition. Look at your competition. Look at what they’ve done and what they are not doing. If the top ranking business for your desired keywords has 50 optimized videos, make sure you are adding new video content to your campaign. If they have a small website with only 5 pages of content, start writing or buying landing pages as a part of your strategy. Do what they’re doing and what they’re not doing and you’ll soon surpass them.

Don’t let this overwhelm you. If you’re considering investing in marketing but feel overwhelmed by the rules of SEO, please contact us. We specialize in dental SEO and can help you reach the top. It will not be accomplished overnight, but it will be done right and will prove a substantial, positive return on investment. People rely heavily on Google’s first page for information. You owe it to your community to be found.

Don’t Wait Until It Hurts

When starting a practice, it’s difficult to justify investing in marketing. If you market the practice before purchasing it, you may worry about the messaging fitting the patient base. If you wait to start your marketing until after you gain ownership, you risk running out of time to craft a marketing plan, budget and strategy.

The practices that are the most successful consider marketing early in the stages of practice ownership, even before the ink is dry. It could take time to research your market, position yourself with the most effective brand and craft a marketing plan. It also times time for certain strategies (such as SEO & social media marketing) to provide a positive ROI.

If I had one message to give to all aspiring practice owners, it’d be the same message many of you have for your patients…

Don’t wait until it hurts.

Don’t wait until your practice is exactly what you want it to be before you market it. Guide your practice by your marketing message. A well crafted brand will help you attract the right employees and patients and will accelerate your practice growth.

Please see the offer below if you’re looking for a starting point.

Dental Start Up Marketing

Are You Holding Your Google Ranking Back?

Dental Marketing Company

Marketing For DentistsSEO can be instrumental in attracting new patients to your practice. Naturally, you want your practice’s website to be ranked first when someone is searching for a dentist in your town or area.

There are several steps you can take to help your practice get there. This includes:

  1. Get Google Reviews
  2. Have ONE person manage your online presence, not several companies
  3. Add new content regularly by posting blogs
  4. Continually update your website to add on-site ranking factors
  5. Have a customized website created
  6. Obtain organic, high-quality back-links

You may be familiar with several of these tips. Have you ever considered what things you shouldn’t do when marketing your practice? You’ll want to avoid taking these missteps:

  1. For most practices, it does not pay to hire a local directory site to list you alongside other dentists in your town. When you do this, you are actually paying the directory service to outrank YOUR site. A more effective strategy is to improve your Google ranking and leap over these directory sites. Invest in your website, not someone else’s.
  2. Don’t get into the habit of regularly changing your keyword strategy, or having a long list of keywords. This dilutes the strength of your SEO campaign. There are situations where expanding your keyword reach is a smart decision to make, but this usually isn’t ideal when you are getting started.
  3. Never ignore bad reviews. Bad reviews are your enemy when trying to improve your ranking. We can help you. Ask us about our strategies for attaining 5-star reviews.

Talk to our team about strategies for improving your Google ranking. Don’t fall into these common traps. Instead, approach your SEO campaign with a new mindset with success as your goal. Our team has been utilizing SEO tactics since 2008. We’ve made a name for ourselves within the dental profession as a team that gets results. Our clients have achieved top ranking status even in highly competitive areas. Our solutions are tailored to your needs and available for a range of budgets. Contact us today to learn more.

OK Google, Siri, Cortana, Alexa – I’m Looking for a Dentist

Over the past few years, we have seen an increasing trend of location-based searches, with more than 80% occurring on mobile devices. Due to this, many of the keywords we recommend have been based on “near me” and town name searches that help our clients appear near the top of the listed results for potential patients in their primary area. However, as is so often the case, search patterns are changing. To ensure that our clients, and we, remain competitive, we need to consider the impact voice search will have on the future of online marketing.

Within the past year, over 60% of smartphone users report that they have begun to use voice search. The increased accuracy of modern voice recognition software has caused voice searches to evolve from a rare occurrence to billions of queries every week, and rising. Though currently only about 10% of all searches are voice-based, that number is expected to continue to increase rapidly.

Why does the search method matter? Keyword search results can vary wildly with even minor variations in word choice and word order. Voice search adds a layer of complexity into that mix. Put simply, voice searches primarily involve natural speech, not keywords. This makes voice searches tend to be longer and more detailed than typed queries. As an example, the searches “dentist near me” and “I’m looking for a dentist near me” yield very different results despite occurring in the same location and on the same device.

What’s the next step? Arrange a meeting with us to discuss your 2017 marketing strategy. Depending on your location and local competition, you may benefit from investing in additional SEO techniques designed to embrace new voice search trends. For more information or to schedule your consultation, contact our office.

The Problem in Starting With Why

WHY?

This has been a topic of many lectures, books and conversations in 2016. Simon Sinek’s book spread like wildfire in the dental industry. It’s difficult to admit this to some of my colleagues, but I didn’t love the book.

Now, before you judge me too quickly, hear me out please.

In my opinion, the premise of Start With Why encourages entrepreneurs to keep focused on their “Why” in order to be wildly successful.

Throughout the book, Sinek regularly mentions that he is not referring to branding. However, he is. He talks about the core of a product or service. He references Macintosh and how the “Why” is apparent to the employees of this company.

Sinek is a genius in my mind, not because any of his teachings are revolutionary, but because he rebranded branding! He simplified it, but left out VERY important elements in the process.

He took the topic of branding, which most people don’t fully grasp, and called it “Why”. He argues that everything should point back to your purpose. He argues that in everything you do, you should start with your “Why”.

Yes, the above is true, but it’s a half truth.

Now, this might sting a bit, but… it’s not about you. Simon played you by making you feel important and special. He’s so smart that he realized if he can promise you a simple way to success, that you’d eat it up. He was right and his message was wrong.

Truth: Success does not come by simply focusing on your purpose.

I disagree when he implies that the reason Macintosh has delivered such impressive results is because Apple employees buy in to the company’s mission or “why”. This simplified notion likely has Steve Jobs rolling in his grave. I promise you, the level of success achieved by Macintosh was because of the entirety, evolution and emotion of its brand.

Apple is successful because of powerful marketing strategy. Period. Apple does NOT sell computers and phone and tablets. Apple sells individuality and innovation. I’m typing this on my new MacBook Air, while sipping my Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha with 2 pumps, while my iPhone plays my Pandora mix.  I bought these  because of what they offer me. They fill my emotional needs. They make me feel important. They speed up my work flow. They offer me energy, individuality and contribute in some way to my self-esteem. I buy things for how they make me feel.

Your product, solution or service must serve a large enough need of others. You may have the strongest WHY in the world, but if you are the only person with that need or passion, it won’t matter. Have you ever had a friend approach you with a business idea that he or she was very excited about, but you thought was a terrible idea? You thought to yourself, “No one is going to need or buy that.” Effective marketing includes research which evaluates demands, trends, demographics. There’s so much more than your why.

You buy things that make up your IDENTITY. Whether you buy name brands or refuse, you are branding yourself with the things you buy and the people with which you do business.

I’ve spent my life obsessively studying branding, influence and marketing. Starting with why is a great concept because it’s simple. The more important lesson from the success of this book is to keep your marketing message simple and focused on one topic and it will become more memorable and thus more effective. Sinek knows that a complicated book with many facets wouldn’t break through clutter, just like complicated marketing messages don’t work.

I believe the book has opened up a discussion about marketing, but it oversimplifies success. It’s fluffy. It’s a false promise that you can be wildly successful, if you can get others to buy in to your why. The book itself proves my point. The book does not sell information. It sells something deeper. It sells a false promise that if you just focus on your why, you’ll be successful. I respectfully disagree.

Instead, start with you.

Yes, you have a great product, great service, a great team. You are in dentistry or consulting or coaching or accounting to help people. We should all be here to help people. Start with YOU. You is your customer. Instead of focusing on WHY, unveil the true needs of your customer. Provide a real solution to a real problem. Do it better or differently than you competition. Connect emotionally with your target market through effective marketing – like that thoughtfully produced by Macintosh. What is your customer’s why?

Perhaps Sinek is right. Perhaps you should start with why. I just plead that you don’t end there.