Opportunity Called – Did You Answer?

The first step to growing your practice is attracting new patients. Your website, social media, and marketing are all geared toward the idea of getting people to call your office. To help convert this interest into new patient appointments, you have probably spent time selecting and training the team members who answer the phones during office hours. But have you considered what happens when a prospective patient calls when the practice is closed?

If a person calls your office for information about a service or comparison shopping, they may decide to call back within your business hours. Chances are, they were not ready to schedule an appointment at the time of the call, so they may accept the delay and still call back. However, a new or current patient who is experiencing a dental emergency is far more likely to hang up and try calling another dentist who has someone answering the phones and ready to help.

Many dental practices do not have any coverage for phone calls outside their hours of operation or during lunch hour. Others have an impersonal answering machine advising callers of the practice hours and perhaps offering to record a message. This can be extremely frustrating for your patients, both current and prospective.

If your patient discovers on Friday afternoon or evening that they will need to reschedule an appointment set for Monday morning, chances are that message will not be heard until it is too late to move another patient into the opening. If your phones are being answered outside working hours, this can be addressed much more promptly, leading to better scheduling and happier patients.

You may be wondering how to arrange to have 24/7 phone coverage. There are a few options available, but one of the most economical and most personal for your practice is to train some of your team members to share the responsibility. No one has better knowledge of your practice, your patients, and your schedule than your own team. You will want to decide on the best way to compensate them for the added time, such as paying them a set amount per weekend or evening day or an amount per call answered. You’ll need to consult your legal advisor to be sure you are handling this properly.

Once this is determined, arrange a rotation for the team members who will participate. Your main phone line can be forwarded to a practice-owned mobile phone during off-hours, which can be held by the team member on call. Be sure that each person has your after-hours contact information in case of an emergency, especially when you are first launching this system.

After a few months, hold a meeting with all the involved team members to review the number of after-hours calls you receive, what times are most common, and how many are converted into new appointments for your practice. This can help you value the return on investment of this new plan of action and to determine whether your office benefits from full 24/7 coverage or if a more limited extension of hours is more cost-effective.

Contact our team to schedule your complimentary marketing planning session today.

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Evaluating Return on Investment

It’s important to have the ability to evaluate your return on investment.


Automated call tracking phone numbers do not work. Often times patients can find your website from a mailer. Then call the number on the website. Perhaps they find you on Google, then visit your Facebook page before calling. Gone are the days when multiple phone numbers provide accurate data.

To value how your marketing is working, do the following:
1. Identify all of your referral sources. Enter them into your practice management software as referrals.

2. Train your team to ask every new patient how they heard of you EVEN BEFORE they schedule their first appointment. This allows you to track their ability to convert. It also can show failed appointment percentages. For instance, if you run a mailer and get 10 new patients scheduled from it but only 2 show, you may need to reevaluate the creative (design and written content)

3. Put a team member in charge of calculating your new patient reports. Break down each referral source by month and put the number of new patients from that source.

4. Last but not least, consider the investment amount. If you are investing $1500/month on internet marketing and seeing 15 new patients from it. You are spending about $100 per new patient. Compare this to your direct mail campaign, which may average $500 per new patient.

These numbers are crucial in determining where to place your marketing budget. As your marketing mix (strategies) grow, so will your ROI if you are doing things right.

Actual ROI is defined as: ROI is usually expressed as a percentage and is typically used for personal financial decisions, to compare a company’s profitability or to compare the efficiency of different investments. The return on investment formula is: ROI = (Net Profit / Cost of Investment) x 100.

It is difficult to evaluate exact ROI, since patients spend money over many years. To calculate your exact ROI, you can average the value of a new patient. You can also take the extra step and evaluate how much production was created per referral source.

For instance: If those 15 new patients end up spending $22,500 in a 6 month or year period, you can do the simple math ($22,500 / $9,000) x 100 = 250% ROI.

In reality, our ROI is usually much better than this example. I prefer to evaluate the effectiveness of a campaign on the average cost to acquire a new patient. It’s simpler to digest and and makes the investment decision easy. If I am able to get your new patient acquisition cost below $100 and ideally even below $50 – I know you’ll have no qualms investing in our solutions and services.

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Happy Holidays!


The holidays are the perfect time to share your gratitude and warm wishes with the people who choose you as their dentist all year long. We can design your custom holiday card for only $250.

We understand how busy this season can be. That’s why we are offering convenient options to meet the needs of a busy dental practice! Please see our packages below:

  1. We will design and print your custom holiday cards and envelopes and ship them to your office.
    1. 1,000 cards/envelopes for $1,250
    2. 2,500 cards/envelopes for $2,000


  2. If you love the idea, but cannot spare the time, we will design, print, address, and mail your holiday cards. You supply the addresses, and we do the rest. [*Price does not include postage.]
    1. 1,000 cards/envelopes for $2,000*
    2. 2,500 cards/envelopes for $2,500*

To get started enhancing your brand and connecting with your patients through holiday cards, please contact our office.

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Stop Living in the Past


You may already know how first impressions work. Within seconds, the person you are meeting for the first time has already judged you subconsciously and made assumptions about your income level, personality, hobbies and more.

Before patients ever make their way through your front door, they’ve already judged your business. They’ve done this in seconds after finding your website online. Some of these judgements involve whether or not you are up to date in your methods and technology. These judgements are the basis of whether the visitor will call you or continue to search online for someone who makes a better first impression.

Most people don’t realize that the majority of people browsing the internet do not take the time to read your written content prior to making an initial judgement. Instead, they judge you instantly by the design of your website.

They will subconsciously assume your technology and methods are out of date if your website is out of date.

From 2014 to 2016, MUCH has changed in the world of website design. 

In 2014, modern designs included a 2 column, simplistic layout. Many sites featured stock photography and a page that was separate from its background. The sites were often mobile friendly, but not always responsive. Few sites included a major focus on online reviews or custom video content. Few featured real patient photos.

In 2016, we’re seeing a lot of movement and modular design. Most websites do not have a distinguished page, but instead have horizontal sections for scrolling. Minimalistic designs are growing in popularity, but often lack necessary information and ranking factors which help online visibility. Parallax scrolling effects are subtle yet very impressive and show a certain sophistication that the 2014 websites no longer possess. Online forms are now more likely pop-ups or very minimalistic. Large photos and maps are more popular than those restricted to boxes on the page. Menus are smaller and more condensed and now often “stick” to the top of the page, keeping contact information available at all times.

How often do I need to update my design?

If you have a very modern and technologically savvy dental practice, you will want your website updated every 2 years, depending on how much has changed in trends. We’ve seen spans of 2-3 years pass without major design trends hit the mainstream. Other years, like 2016, the websites developed in January are very different than those created in October- just because of rapidly evolving trends.

What’s involved in updating my website design?

We’ll implement a completely new layout for you, which utilizes the current trends. We’ll work with our developers to completely redevelop your website and coding, which is necessary when changing the layout and design of your website. We’ll test every page on every browser. We may recommend sending us updated team and patient photos to use in place of the stock photos used in the past.

You will have the opportunity to see and approve the new layout before it is developed and made live.

Here is a  sample:



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Are You Playing Possum?

identity-dental-marketing-possumGoogle’s latest algorithm update, known as “Possum,” includes substantial changes to the way local searches are processed. How this will impact your business depends largely on your internet marketing strategies. However, Possum has the potential to dramatically increase local search rankings for your business. Here are five important factors you should consider.

1. Prior to the Possum update, businesses located outside city limits were often omitted from local map listings. Searches for your city name and business type were unlikely to return your practice and or even show your location on the map itself. Possum has corrected this oversight. Today, local searches consider the address, as well as physical location. In many cases, practices whose local listings were several pages deep are now in the first two or three pages of results. By capitalizing on this algorithm-generated boost, a business may achieve higher local rankings than were previously possible.

2. Greater weight is being placed on the physical location of the person making the search. Since the update, the closer a person is to a business, the more likely it will appear in their local results. Before, a practice could rank locally in areas that were further away due to the use of keywords like “dentist near me.” Now, results are more strongly skewed in favor of the actual location of the person searching.

3. Google now shows even less favor to duplicate content. Multiple listings for different business branches or practice locations that are hosted on the same website are now unlikely to rank with more than one listing. While the other listings are not removed, Google displays only the most relevant unique results based on the search terms. Be aware that if you are practicing in a building where another dentist has an office, it is possible that only one of the listings will appear in a search.

4. Search phrases are making a greater impact since the Possum update. The top 3 in the local section is now more likely to return exact phrase combinations. Word choice and order are more sensitive than before the update, and minor variation may provide completely different results.

5. Local and organic listings now operate independently. Prior to the update, local and organic rankings often contained a large amount of overlap. With Possum, this is no longer the case. The same business may now find that they are ranked number 2 locally, but on page 20 organically. New marketing strategies may be necessary to provide your desired results.

If you haven’t done so already, take a few minutes to see how you are ranking with Google today. Consider your marketing plan and whether it may be time for a change.




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What do Millennials and Baby Boomers Have in Common?

Facial recognition is the ability to recognize and remember a person’s face. Our business and personal life depends on the ability to recognize others. This may be the reason that advertisements which feature a person’s face typically outperform those which do not.

You’ve heard the saying that “sex sells”. This is the notion that people who are considered more aesthetically appealing or “attractive” will attract more attention to advertising. This may be the reason so many advertisers lean on stock photography to promote their brand or message.

“Just like the world around us changes, so does effective marketing strategy. Part of being an effective marketer involves standing out and doing things differently. It relies upon the ability to predict trends before they become the norm. ”  – Grace Rizza

Millennials and baby boomers alike prefer REAL photography. Adopt this marketing trend before it becomes the norm and it will help you stand out.

Which photo do you feel does a better job of promoting the practice? The REAL doctor or the over used stock photo below? dental-teeth-perfect-smile-woman-23107282




Here are 5 reasons to feature REAL photos in your marketing materials.

  1. It adds authenticity to your marketing campaign.
  2. It’s attention grabbing.
  3. You can feature the results of your dentistry.
  4. It adds professionalism to your practice and brand if done properly.
  5. It makes you more relatable on social media.

Are you looking to take your brand and practice to the next level? Call or email Identity Dental Marketing today. (847) 629-4646 or grace@identitydental.com.

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Facebook like a Boss in 2016

We’ve all been told we need to be “on” social media. The truth is this feels confusing and frustrating to many dentists and doctors that simply do not have the time or desire to spend hours updating statuses or posting photos. 

Below are 9 tips to controlling your Facebook page and social media presence without letting it control you. After reading, if you still need help, we are here for you. 

1. Plan posts. 

That’s right plan them in advance. Delegate this task to a team member and allow them to show you their custom content for approval before it goes live. 

2. Keep it real.

Compile information that you know will be personal and fun for your patients to see. Let the content be relatable. Compile photos of your team while they smile at work. Don’t always post professional headshots for day-to-day material. Millennials and boomers alike hate stock photography. Avoid it whenever possible. 

3. Keep it happy!

Post for birthdays and work anniversaries. Post fun facts about your team. This helps patients feel like they know you better and builds their loyalty. Don’t let your page be negative. 

4. Post patient videos. 

Patient testimonials get attention. Incentivize your patients to make and post the video and tag your office. 

5. Make it a game!

Have fun while running contests for likes, shares and reviews. Engage and reward your team and patients. Enroll in our Triple Crown Campaigns for a quarterly contest idea to gain viral exposure online.

6. Leverage LIVE video.

Facebook is loving live content. They’re showing live recordings far more than other types of posts in followers news feeds. Let a team member interview you live. Don’t forget to engage with viewers who are watching in real time! 

7. Join local groups.

Local moms unite on Facebook! Moms often ask health related questions on forums and often look for the opinions of their trusted “friends” online. Build relationships with local friends by posting regularly in local groups. 

8. Advertise.

Paid campaigns are showing a positive ROI in local campaigns. We can help you set up campaigns to reach the best market for your individual practice goals. 

9. Just do it. 

Even if every post isn’t ground-breaking news, stay active online. Post at least weekly. This helps to show search engines (like Google) that you are a real, live, engaging, interactive business. It contributes to rankings when paired with an optimized website and SEO campaign. 

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5 Tips for Terrific Testimonials

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Patient testimonial videos are a surefire way to set yourself apart online as a top dentist in your area. Once you’ve scheduled a few of your happiest patients to record a video testimonial, you’ll want to maximize their time to create a strong, compelling video. We’ve detailed our 5 tips for executing compelling patient testimonial videos below:

  1. Schedule multiple videos on the same day, when the office is quiet.

Lining up multiple interviews on one day will decrease the amount of time you and your team invest in this project. Make it a fun event by offering snacks and refreshments to the patients who have agreed to offer a testimonial.

  1. Choose your background wisely.

Choose a clean, well-lit and uncluttered space to film your patient testimonial. Posters, photos, etc., may distract the viewer and cause them to miss crucial elements of the testimonial. Avoid filming on or around items that may make viewers anxious such as a dental chair and tools.

  1. Make it all about the patient (Which is to say, don’t be in the video!)

The patient’s testimonial should feel natural to the viewer. Prompt the patient with questions from directly behind the camera, so that it appears that they are talking directly into the camera when they respond.

The patient should be the only person in the video. Filming yourself, side by side with the patient in an interview-style testimonial makes the video less authentic. If the video doesn’t seem authentic, it will lose its effectiveness.

  1. Warm up the patient with easy to answer questions

Even the most outgoing, exuberant patients may feel strange when they first start speaking into the camera. Warm them up with a few easy to answer questions, allowing them to settle into a groove before answering the real questions. Some of these questions might include:

  • “What is your name?”
  • “What is your favorite football team?”
  • “When is your birthday?”

These are questions that the patient already knows the answer to, so there is no pressure to perform. Once the patient seems to be settled and camera-ready, proceed into your pre-planned interview questions.

  1. Prompt the patient with open-ended questions


  • Ask open-ended questions like, “What do you love most about visiting our office?”
  • Ask questions that relate dental care to bigger concepts such as happiness or confidence like, “How has your life changed since receiving care from Doctor ___?”


  • Ask a yes or no question like, “Do you enjoy our practice?”
  • Interject in the middle of their answer. A long and clear soundbyte will make the editing process easier.


Contact Identity Dental Marketing at (847) 629-4646 or grace@identitydental.com to learn more about creating effective patient testimonial videos.

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Lights, Camera, Conversion!

Video Blog

If video blogging isn’t part of your overall marketing strategy, it’s time to add it to the mix.

Google’s SEO algorithm favors video content, which is considered “high-quality online content,” and rewards those that are regularly adding it to their online landing pages. Uploading fresh video content to your website on a monthly basis can make a significant contribution to your SEO and boost your overall Internet Marketing efforts.

Moreover, video content allows you to build relationships with current and prospective patients online. According to Hubspot, including video on a landing page can increase conversion rates by 80%. Effective video blogs are both informational and authentic.

Here are our tips for creating effective video content:

  • Don’t worry about perfection, just be yourself

Be authentic. Film in your office, relax, and speak to the camera as if you’re speaking directly to a patient. Video blogs should feel comfortable and conversational.

  • Don’t overproduce

You don’t need Steven Spielberg to come into your practice and film your video blogs. Shoot in a clean space with natural lighting. A smartphone or computer camera are perfectly sufficient filming equipment.

  • Speak Confidently

As a patient, I want my dentist to be an expert in all things dentistry. I want to be sure my oral health is in great hands. Speaking confidently and directly into the camera signals to patients that you’re a knowledgeable, trustworthy doctor

  • Smile

Smiling while you talk will ease your nerves and make an excellent first impression on your audience.

Watch below how Dr. Ritter is both relaxed and professional when recording our Dental Minute Videos:

If the perceived time involved in video blogging has stopped you from creating this useful content, we have a solution. Our team will provide scripts, professional intro and exit slides, and upload them to your website. We’ll also optimize and publish the content online to give you the added SEO benefit.

Contact us at (847) 629-4646 or at Grace@IdentityDental.com for more information.

You guessed it: patient testimonials are highly effective if they’re in video format. Stay tuned for next week’s blog post detailing how to create effective video patient testimonials.

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How to Attract New Patients this Fest Season

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The sun is out and spirits are high; it’s officially “fest” season. Festivals and community events are a great place to promote your dental practice.

Here are 5 tips for making most out of your community event marketing:

1. Hand out promotional items–confidently! 

When you and your team are distributing postcards and flyers to fellow community members, extend the promotional item to them and confidently say, “This is for you!” No wishy-washy “Would you like a….” or “Can I offer you…?”

2. The doctor should be there and actively participating

You, the dentist, should have an active role in handing out promotional items, socializing with community members, and promoting your business. Wear a white coat or a name tag, really anything to distinguish (aka brand) yourself as the doctor.

3. Enhance your brand

Every promotional item you distribute should have your logo and contact information on it. Every. Single. One. Your promotional dollars are wasted if they aren’t being used to either create brand recognition or generate buzz for your practice.

4. Bring your book!

Bring a list of available appointment times and schedule new patients on the spot. Hold community members accountable for showing up to these appointments by offering a major discount, but requiring a payment on the spot to reserve the time. For instance, charge new patients only $25 for a thorough exam and consultation. Utilize Square or other mobile payment processing tools. Don’t worry, they are easy and affordable to set up.

5. Follow-Up!

Sure, it’s great to meet and socialize with community members but remember, you’re there to attract new patients. Make sure you have a follow-up system in place for turning those new connections into new patients.


Need assistance creating a follow-up protocol or creating effective materials? Contact us to schedule a consulting session and make the most out of your next event!

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