Are QR Codes Right for Your Dental Marketing?

I recently spoke at a branch meeting for the Chicago Dental Society. It was a great experience. I have the mentality that there’s always room to improve and always something to learn.  I also believe that as a presenter, it’s best to involve the people as much as possible. One-way conversation gets stale in any situation. I guess I don’t see myself as a “lecturer” but more of a “facilitator” whenever there’s an opportunity to present to a small group.

During our discussion someone asked about QR codes. In case you’re wondering, QR codes look like this:

qrcode In discussing QR codes and their use (which I’ll explain more in my next post), we got to the point where I said, “this may be for you, it may not be for you”.  Dentists are used to speakers telling them just what to do and what not to do.  I think it really depends. It depends on the type of patients you are connecting with.  It depends on your level of comfort and understanding. It depends on if you’re even set up to effectively roll something like this out.  If you don’t even have a modern website, in most instances, it wouldn’t make sense to use a QR code.
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The Best Dental Websites GROW

The best dental websites GROW.

They grow your practice.

They grow to adapt to your internal happenings.

They grow to reflect current trends.

They grow to sync with a variety of platforms and software.

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Put Your Oxygen Mask on First!

This morning, I had a quick discussion with a friend. I asked how his business was coming along.  He told me that it’s not profitable yet but growing.  He told me that his role in his non-profit is making it harder to have enough time to get his business off the ground.

I’ve been there.

A common challenge for many entrepreneurs is realizing the need to focus and put your MAIN business first, especially at the early stages.  I passed this advice to my friend and told him, “Put your oxygen mask on first.”

oxygen-maskBy this, I mean that you need to help yourself first and then you’ll be able to help even more people.  When you’re flying and you hear the instructions of the attendant or displayed on the TV screen, you’ll see that they always tell you to put your oxygen mask on before helping others.  Simply put, you can help more people by helping yourself first. It sounds selfish and you may think I’m crazy by writing this publicly. This was a hard lesson for me to learn, so I want to share it.
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Is Your Marketing is “Schizophrenic”?

Yesterday while speaking with a very experienced and knowledgeable consultant, she shared with me that one of her clients has what she called “schizophrenic marketing”.

As she progressed to tell me about her client, she mentioned that he was working with various marketing companies all with different visions.  He has 2 websites, neither of which are very good.  He has a variety of programs and advertising, but isn’t really sure which efforts are working and which are just a waste of money.

ugly-website

Now, I don’t think his marketing is suffering from delusions, but it’s definitely dysfunctional. It’s very important to know the value of each of your marketing efforts.  It’s extremely valuable to be able to center your marketing and have one company or person handle all of your efforts.
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What Kills Dental Team Morale?

Many dentists graduate dental school and go on to work as an associate for a few years before starting their own practice.  You often start out as a top dog and sometimes have a hard time relating to what life was like prior to being a business owner.  Unlike restaurant managers and business executives, most dentists never had to “work their way up”. This can make it very difficult for them to relate to their staff.

bad-dental-team

Instead of calling them your “staff”, make an oath to refer to them as your “team”.  Without them, you would have a very difficult time running everything.  A smooth running office start with respect from the dentist to the team.  It’s up to YOU to set the example of respectful behavior.  (Respect is NOT passive aggression.)
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Don’t Forget the Sour Cream!

We order from a local restaurant about once a week for lunch.  It’s really a great restaurant because they have super healthy and affordable options that don’t taste like cardboard.

We order lunch and often in an attempt to hit a minimum amount to qualify for delivery, we have to add extras like sour cream.  Unfortunately, they always forget to include it.  They’ve literally forgotten something every single time we’ve ordered from them.  I even made a note once in my order that said, “Please don’t forget the sour cream.”  You guessed it, no sour cream.

Today, I called and asked to speak to the manager.  He was unavailable.  I wanted to tell him kindly that their processes aren’t working.  I know, I sound like a horrible complainer, but as a business owner, I understand the importance of feedback. He wasn’t available and has yet to get back to me.  I guess my satisfaction doesn’t matter.  I think I’ll stop ordering from them.

As a dentist, you already know that it’s important to provide high-quality patient care.  You know it’s important to listen and implement processes, but do you ever make it easy for your patients to provide you with anonymous feedback? What if your hygienist has really bad breath?  What if your front desk person is hanging up on people?  What if you are overlooking something that is bothering your patients enough to drive them away?

Don’t be like our local restaurant.  If you forget the metaphorical sour cream, make it better. Give patients an opportunity to tell you what their experience has been like and most importantly,  FIX IT!

Call us for help implementing a patient feedback system. We can even create an anonymous feedback form on your website for only $50. Contact Identity Dental Marketing today.

– Grace Rizza

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3 Quick Dental Marketing Tips

1. Make sure your patients know what services you offer.

Many dentists skip the suggestion to develop a customized brochure for their office.  They think that the freebies sent in the mail provide enough information about their services.  Patients often see these brochures and still question their dentists ability to perform those services.  A branded brochure will be a great internal marketing strategy.  It can also be used when networking with local businesses.

2. Make it easy for your patients to discuss elective services.

Every so often, you should update your patients’ records.  Ask them to update their contact information and fill out what we call a “smile survey”.  You can also give this survey to new patients.  We can create a custom smile survey for you to find out what elective services your patients may have interest in now or in the future.  This is a great way to bring up that little gap in Mrs. Lightman’s smile because she had mentioned in her smile survey that it bothers her slightly.  It’s much better than assuming that she is unhappy with it and risking offending her by bringing it up on your own.  At the end of the year, you will see a difference in your bottom line and your patient satisfaction.

3. Follow-up Book

Keep a book/log where your front desk staff can track cancellations or patients who leave without booking their next appointment.  In the follow up book, allow a space for notes so that your staff can jot down reasons to call Mr. Brown. Call him back saying, “Hi, Mr. Brown.  It was nice seeing you last week. We do want to get you in the schedule for that filling before it gets worse.  We have an availability next week on Thursday at 10am. Will that work for you?” When the patient is appointed, simply cross off his or her name in the book.

Call us today for a 20% discount on a brochure or smile survey.

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“We Have Never Done any Marketing.”

Last week in Aruba at the ADCPA Continuing Education Getaway I gave a presentation about internet marketing.  I spoke about what the different options are and what you can expect from them. I warned attendees about scams and efforts that won’t produce a positive ROI. After the presentation, quite a few dentists wanted to speak more on the subject.

One very experienced and knowledgeable office manager named Sharon approached me and said, “We’ve never done any marketing and our practice does great, but now I’m considering it.”  My response, “You do marketing every day.” She looked a bit confused.

As we continued to discuss, she mentioned about 5 different marketing tasks that she does regularly.  Sharon meant that her practice has never done any advertising.  It’s important to realize that you don’t need advertising to grow a dental practice.  There are advertising methods that work, but marketing is so much BIGGER than advertising.

What is marketing then?
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I Feel for Your Patients

Have you seen the YouTube video about the little boy who was sedated after his visit to the dentist?  Almost everyone remembers “David After Dentist” even though it came out years ago.  How did that video make you feel? Many were disgusted in David’s father for recording him. Others laughed and thought it was just a really funny video.  People even felt scared for David when he asked his dad in a state of panic, “IS THIS REAL LIFE?!” No matter how it made you feel, it made you feel.

A group of scientists in California have found that all viral marketing messages have ONE thing in common —  they evoke emotion.  I’m sure you can close your eyes and picture those devastatingly sad commercials about starving children and abused animals.  I sure can. They evoke sadness and sympathy in their audience.  They are memorable and effective.  I personally hate them.

I hate them because I turn to television to help my brain take a break from worry. I personally watch TV shows that make me laugh, smile or experience joy.  The chick flick, as deceiving as it is, sucks us women in every time. It makes us feel love by how we relate to the main character.  Face it, no man is ever going to chase your plane down a runway in the pouring rain to tell you he’s sorry and propose marriage.  If he did, trust me, he’s not someone you want to date, led alone marry. But we still buy this crap because of how it makes us feel. We still watch it and enjoy it because it helps us experience emotions.
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