Category Archives: dental marketing

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How to create an online dental marketing machine – Download your Marketing Project Planner

I recently created this Gantt chart for dental practices to utilise in order to develop their online marketing.

The chart lays out various activities to be done over a 17 week period. Each week you need to take some small action towards reaching your final goal of creating an effective and efficient online marketing machine that works for your dental practice 24/7/365.

The chart takes a steady walk through social media, creating an e-mail marketing campaign, Google optimisation and ensuring your website works effectively.
Some activities have hyperlinks which take you to additional resources, either for more information or to help with third-party sites.
Many of the activities have associated comments, hover your mouse over the red triangle in the corner of the cell and the comment will be revealed. These give further information and advice on this particular activity.

This free resource is available to members of The Implant Hub (free registration) who will need to be logged in in order to download this chart.

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cheap dental marketing

Is Your Website Working in These 5 Key Performance Areas? [PART 1]

Are you looking for the quickest most cost-effective way to attract the right type of new patients in to your practice?

Perhaps you want more people to take action from your website, rather than just read it and bounce away again?

Making your website work for you is a simple way to ensure you have a marketing machine that works 24-hours a day, even whilst you are asleep and on holiday.

The 5 Key Performance Areas of a Dental Website

There are five key performance areas of a website, each of them need to be working in order to get the best result:

FINDABILITY

How easy is it for people and search engines to find your website? Is it search engine optimised adequately?

USABILITY

How easy is it for people to navigate your site, read the content, engage with the content and find what they want?

SHAREABILITY

The easier your website is to share the more people will do so and recommend it to others, this is the power of online referral marketing, are you making it easy?

EFFECTIIVENESS

How effective is your website at informing, educating and getting people to take action and come to the practice as a patient? Is it conversion optimised adequately?

LONGEVITY

A poor website allows people to bounce away, how good is your site at capturing attention and engaging over the longer term? Absolutely vital in the arena of relationship marketing.

Overt the next few blog posts I will be going through each of these areas individually, this time it is findability  that I will focus on.

how to make a website findableHow to make your website more FINDABLE

Meta data on your website

The simplest place to start is with the meta data on your website.  At the most basic level of optimisation you need to ensure that these elements include geographical locations and specific treatments e.g. teeth whitening London.

The specific meta data that needs to include these terms are:

  •  <title> –  This is the main browser title that will be shown when each individual web page opens, each page will more than likely have the same geographical location but have a different treatment.
  • <description> –  This is what Google will probably use to describe your website in the search results.
  • <h1,2,3> headers –  These are the headings and subheadings within the main content of your page.
  • <alt> image alternate tags –  These describe each image in a couple of words, they will be used on a website if the image is unable to be shown for any reason.

Main Body Text

You will also need to ensure that the main body text of each individual page includes words and phrases that patients will use to search, you should think about different geographical locations and also different ways that patients may phrase treatment.

Some examples of how patients may phrase different treatments, using orthodontics as an example.

  1. The cost of teeth braces
  2. invisible braces near me
  3. tooth braces at home
  4. cheap braces

If you are to be found for these various search phrases then you need to ensure that they are included on your website somewhere.

You can also use bullet points, numbered lists and bold text to highlight phrases that you want the search engines to pick out.  (Scanned through this blog post to see which words I have made bold  or used in bullet points or numbered lists)

 Other factors which ensure your website ranks highly

Links

We all know the importance of referrals for a dental practice. You know that if a patient refers  a friend to you then that is a good recommendation. Google also knows this, if someone talks about you online then Google views this as a referral or vote, in search engine optimisation speak we call this an ‘inbound link’.

The more votes/inbound links you have (people talking about you) the more likely your website is to rank highly as Google will view it as a good website. After all, it must be good as people are talking about it!

But as you know, not all referrals are good. You may have a patient that sends very bad friends to you that don’t pay or don’t respect your fees… Not all referrals are created equally and in the same respect not all votes are created equally.

Google recognises that different votes have different qualities, in summary, Google will look for:

  • Total number of inbound links (votes) –  You ideally want the maximum number of links from good quality sources. Just having quantity is not good enough, they must be quality also.
  • Links follow/no follow –  In the code of a link it is possible to tell Google not to follow the link to another website, as a human you will simply see a link, but behind that link is a little bit of code. If that code has rel=”nofollow”  then Google will disregard that vote. Many low quality websites use no follow links.
  • Link authority –  If the website that links to you has high  authority, such as the BBC or a recognised university then that link/vote will be worth more than if it comes from an unknown or less respected website. One link from the BBC could be worth 1000 links from poor quality websites.
  • Varied anchor text on links –  The anchor text on a link are the words that the link is constructed from.  If all of your links say “Dentist in London”  then it is clear to Google that this is not natural and that you are trying to fool the system. If people are genuinely talking about you then these anchor texts will be varied.

Referencing

As you will know, good quality articles and academic pieces will be well referenced. This demonstrates that you have researched your subject and also makes the page more informative if you have linked to other articles.

Each page on your website should be a source of information to answer people’s problems, part of answering their problems will be referencing back to your own website (perhaps to previous articles you have written on your blog) and to other external websites which provide useful resources.

Take a look back through this blog post, you will see that I have linked to external websites to provide information which backs up what I am saying. I have also provided links to other useful articles that I have written in previous blog posts and to useful resources within my main website.

More help and advice on making your website more findable

Lowe cost dental marketing logoWebsite audit

How well does your online marketing and website work and could it be improved? This comprehensive website audit will give each of the five key areas of performance a rank so that you can take action.

What’s included in the audit?

46 individual elements of a successful website will be assessed and ranked in the following key performance areas:

  • Findability
  • Usability
  • Shareability
  • Effectiveness
  • Longevity

Within each of these Key Performance Areas I will rank 46 Individual Elements, each element will be given a score.

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These 46 individual elements will then come together to give you an overall score for each of the key performance areas.

You can then see which area of your website needs the most attention to ensure you get the maximum return on anything you spend.

What do you do with the audit?

Once the audit has been completed you can either make the changes yourself, send them to your web designer for their opinion or contact me and I can make the changes for you as part of my Light Package – I’ll then refund your £35 audit fee.

The audit forms the basis of the overall Light service. When you ensure these five key performance areas are performing to the maximum and you have an active, engaging and effective social media stream you will find that your marketing efforts begin to work 24/7/365.

CLICK HERE TO GET STARTED FOR £35

Mark Oborn light website audit

Dental virtual reality

Virtual Reality for Dentists

As regular readers to my blog will know my focus in dental marketing is not to go out and out selling dental treatments… Rather, it is to gently inform and educate patients about their dental health by reducing risk and increasing trust.

When you demonstrate that you are a low risk choice and are trustworthy you become an easy option for a new patient to choose. Your marketing then becomes effortless and off the back of that your business succeeds and profits flow.

Everyone is looking for new ways to increase trust and reduce risk, one of the best ways is reviews from happy patients and a hot second is allowing the patients to actually see inside the practice and meet the team beforehand – you know, those funny sliding images that many dental practices have on the homepage!

Think about it now, how about if you replaced those sliding images on the homepage with an interactive tour of the practice! The patient would be able to see how much time and effort you have put in to creating a warm and friendly environment, you would immediately increase trust and reduce risk.

I’d like to introduce you to a good friend of mine, Luke Woods. Luke is a Google Certified photographer specialising in virtual tours and virtual reality, read what he has to say about how this can now be used in your dental practice.

================= Luke writes:=================

official text

“We search with words but respond to pictures”Google virtual tour facts

Hello everyone, thanks Mark for giving me the opportunity to reach out to the world of Dentistry. I have spent a couple of days conducting some research here in the UK and consulting my colleagues in Canada for qualified opinion and facts about how a Virtual Tour window into your practise can not only answer a lot of questions but calm and reassure any patient concerns to a hugely wider audience. I assume everyone knows what we talking about here? We all know Google Street View? the thing on top of a car that captures everything ready or not – grey sky or blue. Well, for 3 years there has been a program contracting established professional photographers like me to come into businesses and capture the very best of your business space for all the world to see.

Seeing is believing – click to see on Google

https://goo.gl/gkcH1i

These Virtual Showrooms are great for welcoming in clients from website to waiting room, here’s an example of a virtual tour at a dental practice.

Dental virtual reality

 

In the past two years since I have been working on the Google program I have captured some truly beautiful spaces and it seems that with all industries- progress is consumer driven. People in general are becoming much more familiar with using the internet and their mobile device to not only shop but to verify and answer any doubts they may have especially before entering into a big spend. Hotels and restaurants are examples that most people have seen here in the UK but why not clinics of all kinds? A year ago it was the same in Canada and the USA and in the last 12 months a lot of practises large and small needed to show just a little more than a few flat photos or have a Hollywood Commercial – a Virtual Tour fills that gap nicely – people can view in silence at their own pace and really connect with where they will be treated – I call this the Clinical Barrier and you can be among the first to gain that valuable patient trust.
gogle-stats-number-one

For me there are several areas where I start to wonder “what it is like ?” I know if I could see the clinic I would feel a lot more at ease the first time. Knowing the layout too is a difficulty many can be helped to overcome and getting lost can be embarrassing. Right from the car park if possible to seeing the doorway on the street, knowing what the reception looks like -seeing a waiting room where we all sit waiting for that peak anxiety moment – hearing our name – all this gives us that which cannot be put into words so easily – that feeling that says – “It’s Okay”

 

Google statistics

Things are moving fast these days and I am now working with a Google team developing Virtual Reality – many Dental Surgeries have comforting features – for children, a play area or room perhaps? It’s not just the younger generations that are looking – the biggest growth group is currently 54-65 year olds and 39% of people over 55 have smart phone and can check out things for themselves quite well. For all patients there can be no better experience than to preview the very chair you will be treated in – a full 360 degree view right from the chair.

There are also Search Engine Marketing advantages that are very real not promised and rarely delivered – without going into too much detail – everyone searches on Google these days – a website is not hosted in Google – these are, helping to get you found in local and voice search fast   “As seen on TV” 🙂


I would be delighted to hear from and help all of you lovely people who have looked after my white toothey treasure all these years.

My best, Luke Woods.

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To find out more about having a virtual tour of your practice please contact Mark on 0845 259 1232 or email info@markoborn.comStudy on virtual tours

Buy or sell

How to Sell Your Services – REALLY?

I was recently approached by a prospective new client who said something along the lines of:

“Mark, I’m running a course for dentists in three months time… Can you help with your marketing to fill it for me?”

Now equally, this could have been any one of the many dental services on offer, or even something completely different.

I asked what they had in mind for the marketing? They responded with ‘a series of e-mails, Facebook messages, Twitter tweets and the like.’

Okay,  so essentially they want to sell their course using online marketing.

But wait.

Who do we send those e-mails to?

Who is going to see those social media messages on Facebook or Twitter?

Aha, now we get to the nitty-gritty of the problem. We either have to use an existing e-mail database or buy one, and we have to pay for messages on Facebook or Twitter as we don’t have a particularly good Facebook following.

And if we suddenly start bombarding people that have never heard of us before with marketing messages trying to sell a new course, what does that do to the amount of trust they have in us?

Marketing in this style is what gives social media and e-mail a bad name. People say they’re bombarded with messages they hate and perceive as spam… And to be honest, that’s exactly what many messages are!

An alternative way of marketing – Switching from hate to love

Hate love switch

Switching the style of marketing we use can have an enormous impact, but it’s not a quick fix and you can’t suddenly think “Hey, I want to sell a course how can we fill it?”

The secret starts months possibly years earlier than the course/service you want to ‘sell’.

Marketing isn’t something you do… It’s something you are!

Here is a simple step-by-step list of how you can go about selling a course/service with no spam and without upsetting people:

  1. Identify the problem your target audience is trying to solve. DO NOT MISS THIS OUT! What is their problem? Is it that they want more confidence? Are they looking for more time? Are they looking for more money? Are they looking for a new partner? People go about solving these problems in a huge variety of ways, from looking for a new dance class to having teeth whitening… All to solve the same problem! Once you have identified the problem that people are trying to solve you can move on.
  2. Create a social media channel focused around solving this problem.
  3. Create a free guide focused around solving this problem and put it on your website in exchange for an e-mail address.
  4. Begin handing out useful, free and relevant advice helping these people solve this unique problem. Put that advice on your social media channel and write blog posts about it.
  5. Do this consistently and continuously all of the time. It should be your raison d’être. Hand out useful, free and relevant advice which helps that person go some way to solving their problem.

Doing this increases trust and reduces risk which means that when you have a specific service to sell, such as a course, you have an engaged audience which trusts you (after all, you’ve been giving them free information for ages now) and sees you as a low risk option (after all, you been giving them free advice and asked for nothing back).

With this engaged audience, whose problems you understand and have demonstrated you are an expert in it’s a logical and simple step to suggest that they take action to solve their problem with you.

And that’s how you use e-mail and social media to sell your course or service. It takes time to build and grow, but once it does it becomes an unstoppable machine which works 24/7, the best time to start is always now…

 

What Seems to Be Working Best to Attract New Patients at the Moment?

Female doctor consulting patientWorking with many dental practices throughout the UK helping them reach the local people is a great privilege of mine, we are finding we are able to distribute our dental health message far and wide making a considerable difference to the local communities.The payback to this is, of course, a successful dental practice with a good number of the right type of new patients each month. But what seems to be working best?

I thought it would be good to write a little summary of some of the things that practices are doing which is helping them reach more of the people that matter.

Lower priced dental health checks.

When a patient first visits your website they are faced with two dilemmas:

  1. How do they know you are trustworthy?
  2. How can they lower their risk by coming to you?

Good-quality dental marketing is always about increasing trust and lowering risk, This is how serviced-based marketing should work on these two factors are one of the most important things you need to address in any marketing the dental practice.

One of the ways of doing this is to offer a free consultation however I’ve noticed, certainly over the past year or so, that this technique of attracting new patients is becoming less effective. There could be many reasons for this, my guess is that patients are just worried that a free consultation will mean a hard sell!

Dollar coins going into piggy bankWhat I am finding however, is that reduced price dental health checks and working extraordinarily well. I have one practice which offers them for £15, deliberately to compete with the NHS. They get an excellent conversion rate from patients that coming and then join them on their patient plan.

Other practices offer this dental health check for around £25-£45, doing this lowers the risk for the patient but at the same time increases trust that you are only providing them with a dental health check, rather than just giving yourself the opportunity to sell extra treatments.

@The way I prefer to work this is to ask the patient to download an online voucher entitling them to this discount, this then becomes an online discount only and encourages patients to visit your website. We hand the voucher out in exchange for an e-mail address.

The e-mails are then automated to follow-up the patient at scheduled intervals, with more follow ups being gentle and educated in their nature. The software I use for this is Aweber, it’s available from around £19 per month, there is a really low cost way to begin managing your e-mail marketing.

Using e-mail automation like this means that your marketing works 24 hours a day and enables you to focus on what you’re good at, delivering great quality dental health to local people.

Facebook offer advertising.

blog_facebook_offersWhen people sign up to Facebook they tend to tell it where they live, how old they are and what gender they are. Whether we like it or not, this allows advertisers to target those individual people, and we can take advantage of this opportunity if we so wish.

I recently ran a targeted Invisalign promotion for a client. We had a budget of £200 and ran the offer over a two-week period targeting people aged between 21 and 55 living within 10 miles of the dental practice. During this time we had 332 people claim the offer and it was viewed by 51,136 local people.… Quite a result!

Now, I’m not expecting all 332 people to go ahead with treatment, but even so this is a remarkable number of people we have been able to reach.

An interesting phenomenon was that local people were commenting on the add and tagging their friends, thereby ensuring the ad went even more viral and was seen by more people than we had actually paid for!

Here is Facebook’s help centre for creating offers.

Here is Facebook’s help centre for setting up advertising.

Writing blogs.

Writing blogs for a dental practice is another great way to demonstrate you are the low risk option that patients can trust.

What I’m also finding is that blogs are an excellent way to get found on Google, many practices I’m working with are seeing more than 100% increase in web traffic after they start writing a useful blog.This is mainly due to the fact that blogs can be highly targeted and focused.

If you wanted to write a page about dental implants you need to keep it fairly generic and answer a range of questions, Google will then read this page and probably rank it for “<< dental implants >><< Local area>>”, which often is fine, however people are tending to search for much longer phrases for example:

  • How much do dental implants cost?
  • Do dental implants hurt?
  • What are the alternatives for a dental implant?
  • How do I go about replacing missing teeth?
  • What are my options for missing teeth?
  • Is a dental implant better than a dental bridge?

Trying to answer all of these questions on one single webpage can be difficult for the patient to navigate to find the exact answer they are looking for, but writing them in a blog post which focuses specifically on that particular area means that that webpage is highly optimised and relevant for that specific search.

This has a double impact:

  1. The webpage is more likely to be found when people search for that phrase because it is highly targeted.
  2. The webpage is more likely to be relevant to those people when they land on it because it is highly targeted.

We then get a snowball effect occurring. Google sends traffic to the webpage, people like it, Google knows this (By looking at the number of pages people read, the amount of time they spend on the site and whether they bounce back and do another search or not) and sends more… And so the cycle goes on.

All you need to do is make sure that your blog (which should sit on your main website) has good conversion mechanisms such as the low price dental health check which drops that person into a robust yet gentle e-mail marketing program.

Optimising their website to be found on the search engines.

We all know that if we want to find something out we Google it. Your patients are doing the same!

Being found in the search engines is absolutely vital for any online marketing strategy, writing a blog will help enormously as will engaging on social media and creating links back to your website using Facebook and Twitter etc.

You all is so need to be engaging in good old-fashioned PR, but with an online marketing spin. PR is about getting articles and blogs written about your practice, conventionally this went into print media, but the modern way of doing it is to use the online world. Google reads these PR releases about your practice, recognises that they are about you which then let’s Google know you are important and worth sending visitors to.

Read more >> Top tips to optimising your practice website.

It’s a minefield as to how you get these news releases out there, but that’s the job of an optimisation specialist and online marketing consultant such as myself!

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I hope you have found this blog post useful, I’ve included many links to additional resources (Some of them my own and some of them external resources) to enable you to continue to help the local people with their dental health, simply by being found!

What type of person is looking at your website – and how can you use this data to improve your marketing?

Wouldn’t it be good if you knew the type of person that was looking at your website? If you knew that they were interested in films, technology, celebrities or shopping it would enable you to focus your marketing around these areas wouldn’t it?

Think about it, if someone is interested in films they’re more likely to watch videos, someone more interested in technology is more likely to want to know about the techno gadgets you have in the practice and someone interested in celebrities may be more interested to read a blog post that you write which looks at various celebrities and the dental treatment they have had.

You may have been told that a key demographic in dentistry is the 35-year-old female, but is this correct? Is this actually right for your website and your business, if only you could know exactly who those people were that were looking at your website it would enable you to be more accurate in all of your marketing, perhaps people visiting your website are 50-year-old men?.

Information and data is key to informing your marketing and making the right decisions, everyone knows that, and now it’s possible… Here’s how.

Google audiencesGoogle Audiences & Interests

If you look in your Google analytics account (you do have access to this don’t you!) You will be able to see a section which says “Audiences”.

If you click on this, and you have this function setup, you will begin to see the analytics for the Age, gender and interests of your website visitors.

If you don’t already have the setup you will need to modify the analytics code within your website. If you have access to your website itself it’s actually pretty simple, if you don’t then here are some instructions to send to your web designer.

Dear <<Web designer>>,

I would like to begin using Google’s new audience and interest facility in my Google analytics but I need you to modify the analytics code in my website, As follows.

If we are using Google’s universal analytics please can you insert the text in bold in between the ‘create’ and ‘send’ commands in my analytics code.

ga('create', 'UA-XXXXXX-XX', 'example.com');
ga(‘require’, ‘displayfeatures’);
ga('send', 'pageview');

Here is a support document which should help you if you need it https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/2444872?hl=en&utm_id=ad

Once you have modified the code you will then begin to see data in this section, here’s some interesting data that I have collected for one of my dental practice websites.

Gender of website visitors

This kind of challenges the notion that your target audience might be female doesn’t it? Certainly this dental practice has 71.6% of its visitors which are male… Extremely useful information to know when designing and creating additional marketing.

Here is more information that we have gleaned from the same website:

Interest categories

  • Movie lovers 1091 visits.
  • Technophiles 1052 visits.
  • News junkies and avid readers/entertainment and celebrity news junkies 949 visits.
  • Shoppers/shopaholics 936 visits.

(Visitors can exist in more than one category at a time)

So we know that the top visitors to this website are movie lovers and technophiles. I wonder how interested these people would be in watching videos on the website?

I also wonder how interested these people would be in knowing which gadgets the practice are using, perhaps digital dentistry, CEREC, digital imaging, digital x-rays etc. If these other people visiting your website shouldn’t you be mentioning these services as a priority?

Having information like this to hand not only lets your designers know how your website could be designed from an aesthetic point of view, but it lets you know the kind of content you might want to have and indeed can inform your wider marketing decisions about who your target audience is.

How does Google gather this data?

Here is what they say:

When someone visits a website that has partnered with the Google Display Network, Google stores a number in their browsers (using a “cookie”) to remember their visits. This number uniquely identifies a web browser on a specific computer, not a specific person. Browsers may be associated with a demographic category, such as gender or age range, based on the sites that were visited.

In addition, some sites might provide us with demographic information that people share on certain websites, such as social networking sites. We may also use demographics derived from Google profiles.

Have you set up this kind of analytics for your website yet? If you have let me know, and if you are happy, share your experiences of the information you have found…

Happy data mining 🙂

 

6 Tips for Creating Dental Practice Videos

I had a client ask me this morning for some advice on having videos made for their website. I thought it would be useful to share this information with you also as videos are becoming more popular on dental practice websites.
Here are my top six tips on getting the very best from any dental videos which you decide to have produced, professionally or otherwise. The tips here will allow you to create videos which work better on your website and are found on social media and through Google searches for various treatment terms.


  1. Have a short welcome video which last a maximum of 2 minutes which plays on your homepage. It should highlight briefly who you are, why I should trust you, how you can help me and what makes you different. My personal preference is this should be a relaxed shot with you, facing the camera in a relaxed environment, probably your patient lounge. If video footage is shot with you looking to the side, in other words looking at someone other than the person watching the video, it looks less sincere in my opinion. One of the things a video should seek to do is reduce risk and increase trust, you look more trustworthy if you are looking at the camera.
  2. Create several short 30 second treatment introduction videos which can be placed at the beginning of each page on the website. Dental implants, cosmetic dentistry, orthodontics, oral health etc would all make good little videos which will introduce the treatment, help the patient to trust you and also be good for sharing on social media,YouTube and for optimising to appear in the Google search results.
  3. Ask team members to create a short 30 second introduction of themselves, have these in individual files which can put on each individual team members page. The problem if we put them all into one video is that if a team member leaves we then need to edit the whole series which could become costly. If they are individual files we can simply delete that team members page.
  4. With patient testimonials, simply ask the patient how they felt before treatment and how they feel after treatment. Ask them why they chose to come to you and how you have improved their lives. If we then have before and after photographs of these patients we can create some nice little blog posts and information updates on the website. Again, I recommend the testimonials are individual video files, this makes it better for uploading to YouTube as each individual video can be optimised for each specific treatment, smaller videos are also easier to watch and more relevant to patients with the same specific problem. Try to get patients to give testimonials that have had different treatments, perhaps straightening teeth, replacing missing teeth, cosmetic dentistry and a patient you have helped with their oral health.
  5. Write the scripts out in advance, practice them, rehearse them and allow them to flow naturally. Unless you are using professional autocue we can all see your eyes moving as you read the script!
  6. Include a call to action in the video, what do you expect the person to do once they have finished watching your exciting and engaging video clip?

There are many companies offering dental videos at the moment, if you take a look at my own dental marketing website you will see the video created for me by JSP Media.

Should you put prices on your dental practice website?

I’ve actually lost count of the number of times that I have been asked this question, so after finding an amazing post on Hubspot which tackles the point directly I thought I would do the same for the dental industry.

What struck me about Hubspot’s blog post was that they encounter exactly the same objections as I do every time I suggest prices are put on a client’s website, remember, these guys are not talking to dentists and look at the objections that their clients give… They sound all-too-familiar!

Reasons that Hubspot clients give for not putting prices on a website

1) “It’s not done in our industry”

2) “What happens if my competition sees it?”

3) “All our pricing is custom, nothing is standard”

And then simply:

4) “We would never do that”

WOW, so you thought that dentistry was unique, well it is, but so is every other industry!

I’m going to use the same format as the original post because I think the points are extremely relevant but I have a few additional things to add from my own dental experience.

Own the price conversation

As Ashley Latter says “Price is an issue but is rarely the issue” – and I completely agree with him on this particular point. We are all concerned about how much things are going to cost us and failing to put your prices on the website means you are missing out on the conversation, and without the conversation you have no ability to be involved in the pricing decision of anyone surfing the Internet.

By being upfront with your prices and clearly letting people know how they might have to pay from ( even if it is a basic guide) means that you have taken ownership of the pricing conversation at an early stage.

As you know it’s not about the price per se it’s about the context of your price within the service that you offer, otherwise known as value. Having prices on your website is a perfect opportunity to demonstrate how good value you are even if your prices are higher than those of the competition. Your website is the perfect place to demonstrate your ability to deliver excellence which as you know comes with a fee. By not putting your fee you are not owning the pricing conversation.

One of the reasons that many people cite for not putting a price on the website is that they want the patient to call the practice so that they can have a conversation to convert the patient.

I accept this as a valid point but you need to get the patient on the phone in the first place. Most people, yes most people will not phone anywhere if they do not have prices on the website, embarrassment is often put forward as the reason, if they find out that you are far too expensive for them and they can’t afford you then they are embarrassed. To save themselves the embarrassment they don’t phone in the first place.

Without the patient on the phone you can’t do anything to convert them, and you just lost them from your website too!

What if people are scared off by your price?

If all you have is a fees page with a list of fees then they probably will be scared off, especially if you are more expensive than the competition. The key is to talk about what you add for that price so that the website visitor can see the value you bring. It’s all about managing expectations.

If you have a member of staff and you tell them they are going to get a £5000 pay rise but after you do the budgeting you realise you can only give them a £3000 pay rise they will be disappointed. But if you tell them you’re going to give them a £2000 pay rise and realise after the budgeting you can afford £3000 then they will be happier. The result is the same, all that has changed is the expectation.

So what can you do to demonstrate that your fee is worth it?

Social proof is enormously important and consists of things like:

  1. Written testimonials from patients.
  2. Video testimonials from patients.
  3. Results of surveys you have done which show that X% patients rate you as 10/10 etc
  4. Before and after photographs. (No check retractors please, teeth are not a thing of beauty to most people even though we think they should be!)

Your dental services are impossible to judge prior to experiencing them, so you need to give your website visitors the ability to judge you based on the results of other people. Always place testimonials, videos, before and after photographs around your pricing page so that people can see what they actually get for the fee.

 A little lift on Google.

Everyone want to be top of the search engines right? Well, you need to use the phrases that people are searching for and very often those phrases include the words ‘cost of…’. Cost of dental implants, cost of teeth whitening, orthodontics cost etc.

Placing your fees on your website is an excellent opportunity to attract Google and website visitors to the site. If your website is optimised for conversions also then there will be a mechanism by which these people are able to enter into your marketing funnel and you can work on them over a period of time to convert them into a patient.

This is where e-mail marketing and social media coming, they are mechanisms by which we can continue to build a relationship with any website visitor over a period of time so that eventually they convert into a patient.

Trust me, I’m a doctor

The 2 big marketing factors for a dental practice are:

  • Reduce Risk
  • Increase Trust

You are going to ask a patient to lie on their back in their most vulnerable position, you are highly likely to cause some amount of discomfort to them and to really help the communication process you’re going to cover half of your face with a mask!

If you want people to do this they have to trust you 100% and in my opinion hiding prices from your website damages trust. Not putting prices on your website demonstrates that you are an opaque organisation which does not hand out all of the information, this again, in my opinion damages trust.

Summary

I had believed for a long time that prices should be on dental practice websites, and it was good to stumble across this blog post on another website by another online marketer experiencing the same resistance that I have.

Read the Hubspot article here.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, do you put prices on your website? Or if you don’t why not?

Hashtags – what they are and how to use them


It seems that the whole world has gone hash tag crazy. From being an unused button on the phone and keyboard to being the source of frustration about when to use them the common # has seen it all.

So in this blog post I’m going to go through the use of #hashtags with perhaps some imaginative ways that you can utilise their power.

To my knowledge twitter was the first social media network to come up with the concept of hash tag. Put simply they are away of uniting all messages with a common theme, and the thing which unites them is the use of the #hashtag.

Conferences and TV shows began using the hashtag to group together all tweets about a particular show #celebjuice and #chattyman use them all the time. If you want to tweet about the show and you want to make sure that your message is seen by people watching the show then you simply add the hash tag to the end of your message.

celebrity juice and chatty man hash tags

It’s then possible to search all messages that are using the same tag.

Hash tags then started to spill over from twitter into Facebook and Google plus with people using things like #justaying & #epicfail to explain what their message was about…

just saying hashed tag

Because people were using the Twitter etiquette of the hash tag on other social networks it wasn’t long before Facebook and Google decided that they would introduce formal recognition of this tag –  it’s only been in the past week or so but Facebook is roll this out across its users in the UK.

So how can you use them now famous hash tag?

  • Consider developing a unique hash tag that you use as a practice. #yourpracticename
  • Or using them when you talk about treatments such as #teethwhitening and #dentalimplants
  • If you run a competition then link all of those messages together with your #competitiontag
  • Use them to add intonation to your message #onlyjoking #justsaying #beingserious
  • Grouping types of messages together is also possible #dentalhealthupdate #missingteethadvice #straightteeth
Using the hashtag then allows anyone on Facebook, Twitter or Google to search for that hash tag. These social media networks will recognise the use of the hash tag and turn it into a clickable link this will then open up a separate window with all of the messages using that tag in it – Facebook then gives you the opportunity of commenting on that particular topic.
This shows a search on Twitter for the hash tag #dentalmarketing
twitter hash tag search
And a similar search on Facebook for #dentistry
Facebook hash tag search
Think of hash tags like topics, or categories for messages and you won’t go far wrong.
How have you seen hash tags being used?
Please do comment below and let me know… If you do use the hash tag #markoborn and then go to Facebook to see the results of how these messages are grouped together.

 

How to Create a Dental Website That Works in 6 Steps

As an online marketing consultant for dentists I get to see many dental practice websites, none of which I have built myself as I don’t build websites… many of which work and many of which don’t.

As I work closely with these practices I’m able to see the conversion rates from the websites and have drawn up my top tips for ensuring that your website converts and actually does what it’s supposed to do.

You can either watch the video below or read the text in this blog post.

Don’t bother with that fancy scrolling image thing that so many practices do on the home page

I see so many dental practice websites with this scrolling image thing, what is it all about? From a user point of view the chances of anyone sitting there and waiting for the image to scroll is highly unlikely, and from a search engine optimisation point of view sometimes these images look to Google as though they are lots of images stacked on top of one another. Google could then question why are you trying to hide images?

My advice is to go with a small, relevant image all your practice logo and be done with it.

Ensure your contact us tab is top right

This seems to be where our eye is drawn to look for the contact details. A look at some of the bigger sites and you will notice the contact us type is always top right. Whilst standing out and doing things different is great, sometimes it’s good to stick with what people are expecting. So in this instance don’t try to be clever, just put your contact us type top right.

Make your telephone number selectable text so that you can click to call from mobile phones

I’ve recently been looking at statistics on websites and many of them have about 30% of the visitors viewing the site from a mobile device. The recent ” 2013 UK future in focus” ComScore report shows that it is mainly between the hours of 10 AM and 5 PM that we are using computers, outside of this time mobile devices dominate the share of page traffic on a workday.

ComScore Device Traffic

If you want to take advantage of the commuters on the train or bus on their mobile phone then having your website mobile compatible is a good idea.

Of course the best solution is a fully mobile site or at least one that has an adaptive design to different device formats. And if you want to really be making use of the mobile browsers then having a click to call friendly number on the homepage will be vital.

Use an engaging video to keep visitors on the site longer and engage with them

Having a video on your homepage is a great way to interact and engage with visitors, it also has a tendency to keep people on the page longer which will have an impact on your Google ranking, as it is an indicator that people like your site if they stay on the page for a while before bouncing back to Google for another search

Have a call to action with a signup box on the right-hand side of the page which is viewable without scrolling

By incorporating some form of direct call to action where the visitor feels as though they have achieved something and got something from your site will greatly increase conversions. If you offer a free consultation, then do this in exchange for an e-mail address.

You will of course need an e-mail marketing software to manage this and my recommendation is Aweber.

Click for more information on how to set up in Aweber e-mail marketing campaign

Create the content of your page around the four elements of why, what, how and what if

As a dentist or technical person within dentistry the chances are that you think very analytically and are interested in the detail. Not everyone thinks this way and if your webpage launches into the precise way that you deliver your service many people may not engage with it.

By starting off with ‘why’ they need to listen to what you have to say you will engage a wider range of people.

Finishing off with ‘what if’ allows your website visitor to ‘try on’ emotionally the results of solving their dental problem.

Of course this list is not totally exhaustive and there is a huge amount of scope for any designer to be able to create a fantastic looking and functioning website around these parameters. If you follow the basic six steps above you will find that your website converts better and that you end up with more patients, of course, assuming that the actual design of the site is great too.