Awkward Yoga Class

YogaMy husband surprised me with a gift this weekend. He booked an appointment for me to check out a new yoga studio near my home. He signed me up for a free one-on-one session and a class.

Upon entering the studio, I was greeted kindly by a woman who I believe is the owner. She had me fill out paperwork and then began to explain the concept of energy and how yoga helps to release trapped energy.

We entered the yoga studio, where she had me begin by “tapping” on my belly. She explained how this releases serotonin and promoted healthy digestion. This went on for about 10 minutes.

I stood in a circle with about 9 others and we counted to ten while tapping our bellies. It was not what I had expected, which had me outside of my comfort zone. 

Then we began class and as time went on, the room became stuffier and stuffier. The people in the class breathed heavy “cleansing breaths” and all I could think about were germs and the fact that I could smell the others’ breath.

I didn’t want to spend another minute in a place where I wasn’t comfortable. I left about 10 minutes early. Upon getting home, I felt pretty good physically. I think there was merit to what was being done in that tiny stuffy room, but no matter how much it would benefit my health– I was uncomfortable. There’s no way I am going back.

This, like many things in my life, makes me think about dentistry. Sometimes, just by not knowing what to expect, your patients may be out of their comfort zones. Your patients are much more likely to commit to treatment if they are in a comfortable room that smells nice. They are much more likely to stay loyal to you if they never feel judged or out of place.

Just because you are comfortable in your practice, doesn’t necessarily mean your patients feel the same way. I challenge you to invite a friend to your practice for a free cleaning. Ask them to secretly rate 5-10 aspects of their visit. This feedback can lead to tremendous growth.

(Sidenote: I will be trying a new yoga studio this week. Its website has photos of a larger studio space and members look closer to my age. There are a variety of classes from which to choose. I’m hopeful it’ll be a better fit for me.)

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Leveraging LinkedIn to Attract New Patients

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LinkedIn recently debuted LinkedIn ProFinder, their resource specifically designed to lead LinkedIn users to freelancers and independent consultants in their area. And though the new tool isn’t geared towards dentistry, it got us thinking: what can you, a dentist, do to leverage LinkedIn to attract new patients?

The Three Best Ways for a Dentist to Attract New Patients on LinkedIn

1. Keep your LinkedIn Profile Updated and Relevant

Your LinkedIn profile serves as a working resume and is a great place to list CE credentials and experience. A relevant profile includes: a fairly recent and professional photo, updated work experience and summary, lists of special professional skills, and patient testimonials. All too often, doctors have LinkedIn profiles that sit dormant and unedited for months—even years—at a time. We understand that your time is valuable. If you have a marketing director, you may ask that they update your profile quarterly. Another option is to have your marketing company evaluate your LinkedIn profile to ensure it is well written and up to date.

2. Connect with Community Members

Connecting with community members, especially current patients, is a fantastic way to stay top of mind and ask for patient testimonials that can be used in your marketing materials. LinkedIn’s easy-to-use messaging feature provides a noninvasive way to approach a satisfied patient and ask them for a patient testimonial. Furthermore, you can publish posts, share updates, and upload photos to your Network (those that you’re connected to). It’s there that you can release patient education resources or even a simple update that says something to the effect of, “Good Morning, patients! Have a great day!” These little reminders on a patient’s LinkedIn feed will keep you top of mind.

Identity Tip: Every so often, publish a post to your network with your office’s contact info along with a message such as, “We welcome new patients!” Also, if you have a referral system, LinkedIn is a great way to remind existing patients about it and entice them to take advantage of it.

3. Connect with HR Departments and Potential Referring Doctors

Connect with Human Resources representatives. Contact them suggesting in-office loyalty programs and share which insurance plans you accept. HR professionals are usually very responsive on LinkedIn, due to the nature of the platform and its direct relationship with their job descriptions. Moreover, use LinkedIn as a way to connect with potential referral sources. If you’re a cosmetic-focused dentist, connect with plastic surgeons. If you take a holistic approach to dentistry, connect with general practitioners in your area.

Identity Tip: Create a document detailing the insurance information you’d send to an HR representative and keep it on file. These messages don’t need to be extremely personalized and having a set “script” that you can send-out easily upon connecting with various HR personnel will save you a great deal of time. Again, this is a task that can be delegated to your marketing assistant or a tech-savvy team member.

Important Advice: Make sure that you have a running document with all of your online profile account information. There’s nothing worse than losing crucial account information when a staff change happens.

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What Are My Pantone Colors?

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The Pantone Matching System is the universal authority on color that standardizes colors on printed materials.

Why can’t my designer provide me with Pantone colors?

Let’s envision that you’ve recently approved your new logo and launched your new website. You love it! Now, it’s time to print business cards, signage and more. How do you ensure that the color you are seeing on the screen is the color you’ll see in print? After all, each monitor has different color and light settings, and there’s no true way of keeping colors consistent from screen to screen.

Your printer may request your PMS (Pantone) colors. Your next thought is to ask your designer for these codes. Here is the problem: At this point, your designer has no way of knowing what your printed color preferences truly are. Remember, the colors on your screen may vary from the colors your designer sees on her screen. To have your graphic designer select a printed color scheme for you remotely, would be like ordering paint colors online. Your designer would have to guess your printed color preference. If you then received your printed materials and did not like them, you would have to have them reprinted, potentially wasting hundreds of dollars in printing and your precious time.

How do I select Pantone colors?

The best way to select your PMS colors is in-person. You can buy a Pantone booklet online at http://www.pantone.com/formula-guide and then select your color codes. You can also stop-in to your local printer’s office and request to select pantone colors in-person. This allows you to keep your logo colors consistent no matter who you hire for printing in the future. You can also request that your printer show you a few options of colors printed on various types of paper. If you are looking for a metallic color or embossed print option, your local printer can also provide guidance in this area. Once selected and confirmed, these colors can be referenced to keep all printed materials consistent in the future.

Why should I choose Pantone colors?

This may seem like an unnecessary task, but it will save you from wasting precious marketing dollars because your printer or designer chose the “wrong” shade of blue.

Aside from mere aesthetic preference, utilizing specific Pantone colors ensures brand consistency across all of your printed marketing materials. How important is that color consistency? Think about the classic colors of the Pepsi logo, or the familiar shade of green one finds on a Starbucks cup. Now imagine if the Pepsi red suddenly became pink, and the Starbucks logo went from green to lime green. Changing your brand’s colors confuses your consumer and alters the meaning of your message. Of course, your dental practice might not be as globally recognized as Pepsi and Starbucks, but having a consistent brand message across all of your marketing materials remains important. Brand consistency conveys an attention to detail and a sense of accuracy that patients expect from their dentist. It also makes your brand more memorable to potential new patients.

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Is Your Website Sabotaging Your Dental Practice?

In a time when so many people gather information and make decisions based off of what they see on the Internet, a strong persuasive website is a necessity for your practice. A clean and gorgeous website implies clean and gorgeous dentistry. 

Moreover, how is your brand messaging being translated online? If you’re a “modern” dental practice but have an outdated website, what does that tell new—or even existing—patients? What is the intent behind your website’s design? If the answer to that question remains unclear, you might want to consider a custom website.

Of course, no one expects you to be a dentist and a website designer. That’s where Identity Dental Marketing comes in. We take the time to get to know our clients and establish their practice’s brand before designing their website. Your website is customized to be a complete reflection of what you and your practice represent.

You create smiles you’re proud of. It’s time to display a website you’re proud of, too.

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Don’t Be Jeb

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We can all learn a lesson from Jeb Bush. You may be assuming that we are referencing his political stance or campaign tactics, but that is not the case here. In fact, we at Identity Dental Marketing will always associate him with these three words: domain name fail.

You see, by the time Jeb began his presidential campaign, the domain names “JebBushforPresident.com,” “JebBushforPresident.net,” and “jebbush.us.” were all owned by anti-Bush aligning, private citizens. These clever domain name owners leveraged their own (largely liberal) beliefs on their respective sites and gave reason for Americans to view Bush as incompetent.

But perhaps worst of all, when “jebbush.com” expired, GOP front runner, Donald Trump, purchased it and forwarded anyone who entered “jebbush.com” to his own campaign site. This political move highlights just how important domain name ownership—and retention—is in 2016.

If you’re thinking these schemes only play out in politics, think again. We’ve seen hardworking, ethical dentists instantly lose a return on investment after unknowingly letting a domain name expire.

Some marketing companies do not allow their clients to retain rights to their domain name. They often insist on managing the domain name, in an attempt to force client loyalty.

At Identity Dental Marketing, we assist our clients when choosing the most strategic domain name. Depending on your situation, we may recommend purchasing rights to one or more domain names. We may also assist you in reclaiming your domain name and helping you to gain control of it, if needed.  As always, we have your best interest in mind. We won’t let our clients repeat Jeb’s mistakes.

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Dental Marketing Mistake #1

What makes you different? Why do your patients stay loyal to you?

These are the questions to answer when defining your brand. Once you’ve defined your core values, you will create your “branding”, the materials that support your brand (or reputation). Your branding helps your patients learn about your core values at a glance. It helps shape how the community perceives you.

Many dentists know they need a logo, tagline and business cards, but often stop the branding process too soon. There are many opportunities to enhance your brand. One major opportunity lies in your printed materials.

All too often when visiting dental offices, I see stacks upon stacks of template brochures. Whether about periodontal disease, decay, clear aligners, fluoride, or the practice as a whole, each generic brochure that you display takes away from your brand.

What are you telling patients when you hand them a template brochure? First, you are telling them that all dentists are the same. You’re whispering to them, that any dentist who offers periodontal care or clear aligners or dental veneers, does this in the same manner. You are telling them, “Hey, there’s nothing special about me, my veneers or my team.” You are creating a “shopper”.

You know them well. The patients that call your office and ask, “What do you charge for a cleaning?” They think, because of unbranded dental marketing, that all dentists are the same.

Take control of your brand (reputation). Show your patients why they need to stay loyal to you for all of the oral health care needs. Use your printed, educational materials to educate your patients. After all, you’ve invested several hours in your education, several dollars in your materials and equipment, you’ve spent time finding the best team. Let your patients know WHY they need to choose you–time and again.

Throw away those template brochures that take away your opportunity to stand out.

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Why Marketing Doesn’t Work

I’ve been doing some soul searching.

I’m pained to ask myself this question. Why doesn’t marketing ALWAYS work the same way for each dentist? WHY?!!!

When sitting in a lecture today, hearing a TOP producing doctor, one of my clients, talk about his successes, I ask myself, “Why?”.

“Why can it work so well for him, and not for others?”

The truth is, it’s not about what we do, or even how we do it. It has so much to do with WHO YOU ARE.

Are you the kind of person who welcomes change? Do you seek strategies to get in front of new patients? Do you seek ways to maximize your profits and continually grow (financially and personally). Are you the kind of person who has true VISION. Do you imagine your goals first, then create a plan to achieve it?

I’ve always said, a successful business owner, entrepreneuer, or inventor is born and not made. This week, I’m realizing, that’s not necessarily true.

The doctors in the room with me, who are investing in business related CE are the top docs! They seek training. They seek to learn from the experts. They challenge themselves to come up with new business strategies.

I am going to make it my mission to provide the motivation necessary to get my clients hooked on business growth.

Look for this newest consulting solution very soon!!

 

 

 

 

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10 Dental Marketing Predictions for 2016

10 Dental Marketing Predictions for 2016

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  1. A Restored Faith in SEO
    As the social media hype begins to subside, we predict dentists and doctors will become savvy to the methods providing a real, tangible ROI. When looking at past years, many will recognize consistent trends in the effectiveness of “white hat” SEO.

2. Social Media Interaction wins over Content Pushing
In the past, dentists put team members in charge of posting on social sites regularly. Now, many will learn to motivate their patients’ interaction on social social media sites. Coming up with interesting and fun ways to truly connect will help to gain real exposure. Instead of a “push”, social media should “pull” your visitors in and allow them to get to know you on a more personal level.

3. Patients will continue to trust a variety of online reviews.
Entering 2016, Google Plus is restructuring itself, perhaps leading to a separate review platform. A comprehensive strategy involving Google, Facebook and other review sites is important.

4. A photo will be worth 10,000 words.
Even though you have a few team photos and office photos published, your patients want MORE. They want to see what your patients results look like. If you’ve been putting off compiling your online gallery, make it your resolution for 2016 and get it done!

5. Team involvement reaches an all time high
Internal marketing is key to exponential growth. Finding ways to delegate and involve team members in hitting your goals will become even more important in 2016. Let’s face it, your team is important and your patients often stay loyal to you because of your team. Getting your team involved in hitting new patient goals can be very rewarding.

6. Further customization and specialty websites gain popularity
As more dentists become versed in areas such as sleep apnea, whole health dentistry, cosmetics, and periodontics, it’ll become increasingly important to find new ways to stand out. Find ways to expand your reach by publishing a targeted website in addition to your current website. Find services that are enjoyable, unique, marketable and profitable.

7. As technology improves, patients expect a higher level of convenience
Make it easy to post reviews online. Make it easy to submit patient forms from a smart phone. Make it easy to request an appointment. Find ways to use the internet to make your patients’ lives easier.

8. In office value plans will continue to rise.
As many without dental insurance still seek affordable, quality care.

9. The “Overall Health” trend will continue.
More dentists will work together with physicians to provide care contributing to the overall health of their patients, while utilizing medical benefits.

10. Email communication will still be important.
Patients value your recommendations, insights and education. Make sure to keep in touch in 2016, at least monthly.

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Identity Dental Marketing Team News

It’s a wonderful time of year. I’m happy to share the news from our office.

Grace welcomed her second child, Lydia Colette, into the world on October 26th. Mom and baby are well. Grace is back to work part time in December and will be back full time by the start of the year.

Ariene was recently engaged! She is planning to be married in 2017. Her lucky fiance surprised her at a family part in front of their closest family members.

Natalie has recently been promoted. She now is project manager. Her role involves managing graphic projects, website development and much more. She is one of the most talented designers I have met… a true natural.

If you haven’t met Cheryl yet, you soon will. Cheryl is our office coordinator. She helps our office run smoothly and can help to schedule meetings and make sure you are in touch with the right team member. She has experience and an educational background in marketing as well as dental experience! We’re all thrilled to welcome her.

Megan is the newest addition to our team. She has experience in digital media, social media and is an excellent writer. Megan’s creativity and innovative thinking will prove a clear advantage to your campaign.

We are excited for the wonderful changes. I’m grateful for an amazing team.

This will be our best year yet. Your success is our success. Happy holidays.

 

 

 

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Finish Strong!

 

Dental Marketing Strategies for 4th Quarter 2015

End the year strong by planning your 4th quarter marketing agenda to prevent gaps in your schedule. Below are 6 marketing strategies that can help to boost business:

  1. Host a patient appreciation photography day. Hire a photographer to come to your office and take professional photos of 3-5 of your favorite patients / patient families. Provide the family or individual with these professional photos, in exchange for using their photos on your social media pages and website. Your patients will love their complimentary family photos and may even use them for their holiday cards. When you brand and post these photos to your social media accounts, your patients’ friends will see them and you will instantly gain viral exposure in your community. **Don’t forget to have photo release forms signed.
  1. Send out custom Thanksgiving or New Year cards. Thank your patients for their loyalty and business. Welcome their friends and family to your practice. Include a team photo and your branding to stay top of mind.
  1. Contribute to a good cause! November is National Diabetes Awareness Month as well as TMJ Awareness Month. When patients post a selfie on Facebook while holding your flyer, donate $2 to the cause of your choice. Your patients’ friends and family members will see these posts and it will provide you with viral exposure and increased recognition.
  1. Promote with a “White Christmas” campaign. Run a holiday whitening special to help your patients look their best in their holiday photos.
  1. Consider participating in our “Scare Away Tooth Decay” event. Attract new patients and families to your practice by providing a half day of free dentistry to children. This event works best after Halloween, in early November. Donating a few hours of your time to provide free cleanings to children will help boost your reputation in the community, attract new families and gain exposure when properly promoted.
  1. Plan your 2016 marketing campaign. Do not wait until after January 1st to consider your goals for the new year. Get a head start by setting goals and creating a plan for attaining those goals. Get your team involved, boost morale and make the most out of a fresh start.

Whether you’re an established practice, a new practice or just looking to breathe new life into your practice; it’s never too late to consider out-of-the-box marketing strategies that are both fun and effective. Contact us for a free marketing consultation. We offer a variety of dental marketing solutions, including: Custom Branding & Web Design, Graphics, Writing, Event Promotions and more.

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