Category Archives: social networks

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…

 

Google Plus, Facebook and Search Engine Optimisation for Your Dental Practice

If there there was a simple way to get more people to your website would you be interested to find out about it?

As you may know I am a keen blogger, blogging allows you to demonstrate to your potential customers that you know what you are talking about and engenders trust. It’s also a great way to get people to visit your website, and in my opinion is a vital part of any online marketing campaign.

Many dental practices are not keen on being on Facebook, and even if they are they are often not very interactive or engaging with their fans. However there is another way that one can use the power of Facebook connectivity without actually being involved in Facebook itself.

Facebook is essentially a database of connections between people and Google plus is their equivalent of this connected database. It is possible, without actually being on Facebook itself, to make use of this database and to allow other people to do your marketing for you.

And how do you go about doing this?

Simply add a share function to your blog, similar to the sharing function at the top of this blog post. This has many advantages, such as

  1. As people share it, or like it, the Post has the ability to go viral and attract many visitors to your website.
  2. The more people that share the post, the more this generates social proof for future visitors. Think about it, you land on the website and can see that many people have already shared it, it makes the website look interactive and ‘lived in’.
  3. Google loves seeing the fact that your site is being shared, it is an indicator to Google from a search engine optimisation point of view, that your site is popular. Google wants to send visitors to popular sites, and so this sharing is a great signal to the search engines that your site is a good one.

So how do you go about getting these share buttons?

There are two basic ways, you can either download the code from each of the various websites.

However, this is a rather cumbersome way of going about it, as you need to visit each one, configure the button and then add them individually to your website or blog.

By far the simplest way of doing it, and my personal favourite, is to use the AddThis set of buttons.

The great thing about AddThis is that you can install analytics, it will then send you an e-mail letting you know the number of people that have shared each individual page and the resultant number of clicks. If you have more clicks back then people visited, then the blog post has gone viral and AddThis will report it back to you.

If your blog is on WordPress, then simply go to the ‘add plug in’ section and search for AddThis. Configure the plug-in to go on every page and every blog post to ensure maximum sharing ability and maximum search engine optimisation from the post.

Since I’ve been doing this, and then sharing my own posts on Facebook and Google plus I’ve noticed traffic increase to clients websites from these social media platforms. It’s a great way to utilise the database of connections without having to get involved in the conversation yourself, although being involved in the conversation magnifies the effect even more!

Are you using social sharing on your website and blog? What effect have you noticed?

 

 

Social Media Marketing Doesn’t Work

I saw a newsletter the other day that suggested Social Media Marketing doesn’t work because it can not be proved with a spreadsheet in precise numbers & every new patient precisely allocated to that referral source.

That lead me to wonder, can we all precisely measure the exact ROI of

  • A stunning dental brand & logo and the few grand it cost to design
  • That drink in the pub one night with a patient that went on to refer all his friends
  • The polite way the staff answer the phone and deal with enquiries so well
  • The many thousands that practices pay to coaches each year
  • The time and money spent to differentiate your practice from the one down the road
  • Designing the outside of the practice for excellent curb appeal
  • The Moulton Brown soap in the bathroom
  • That clinical course you just went on
  • The charity work you do
  • Being part of the local community and helping others
Perhaps we should stop all those too unless we can exactly measure them?

6 Traits of The Successful Social Media Marketing Strategy

Over the years I’ve found there are a few traits that set the successful marketing strategy apart from an unsuccessful one – and if you want to avoid failure then I suggest you read, absord, understand then do!
Trait 1 – Think Holistically
Social Media is not the ‘be all and end all’ of your online marketing, it should form part of a comprehensive online marketing strategy that includes as many marketing channels as possible.
In my opinion this should include:
  1. Google Plus
  2. Google Places
  3. Twitter
  4. Facebook
  5. YouTube
  6. Blogging
  7. Email
  8. Your Website

It may also include Facebook adverts and Google Pay Per Click (No, PPC is not dead.. only doing it wrong is dead!)
The sequence of these is important and social media only seeks to widen your sales funnel. The goal should always be to drive potential patients down the sales funnel and down the list above.

Trait 2 – Use Social Media to Drive Traffic to Your Website

Your website is an integral feature of your online marketing strategy and should include visitor data capture mechanisms (like email) and the facility to request appointments online.

You can then drive traffic to your site from social media by suggesting people book online or download information – and in return you get their email address and the ability to continually build relationships with them.

Trait 3 – Engage

The clue is in the title here, it’s SOCIAL media, not BROADCAST media, so engage, be personable, chat and help others. This will build rapport and trust and enable the local people to feel like they know you, making the decision to come to see you a logical one.

The key is a 2 way conversation, not one way. We buy from people we like, so help other to like you!

Trait 4 – Reduce Risk for Patients

Dentistry is not about shifting products. It’s about delivering a service.

Products marketing is different, as products can be evaluated before hand and returned to the supplier if you don’t like them or they don’t work as you thought. Think buying a TV for example.

Services on the other hand can’t be evaluated before hand and can’t be taken back. Think listening to a lecture.

Product marketing often requires a shop to encourage people to make a quick snap decision – buy one get one free, buy today and save ££ss, special offer today only etc etc

Services marketing often requires a provider to reduce the risk for customers, after all they can’t evaluate the service before hand (their new teeth) and can’t take them back.

So shift your marketing focus on to reducing risk for patients, NOT shifting products!

Trait 5 – Know The Answer to This Question – “WHY YOU?”

When I see a new client I always go through a full marketing audit ( I majored in marketing on my MBA) and ask this question – “WHY YOU?” – it’s amazing how many dental practices can not answer that question.

So layer in the things that are unique to you, this could include:

  • Unique products and services you offer
  • Your education
  • Your training courses
  • Your materials
  • Your gadgets
  • The way you treat patients
  • Trademarks
  • Special Techniques you use e.g. Wand, Sedation, Hypnosis etc
Then come up with a simple phrase or statement that encapsulates that and have everyone in the practice know it. 
You MUST be totally clear as to why YOU are the best in your area and be able to convey this message on Social Media
Trait 6 – Patience
I find social media is slow burn marketing and often take time to build ‘traction’. But once traction is achieved there really is no stopping it. So you do need to commit to the project and be prepared to look at it in the long term and keep going.
Gently hand out great advice, reduce risk for patients, help them like you, engage, drive them to your website, think holistically and I know it will work for you.
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So there you have it, my top 6 traits for a successful social media campaign, if you feel you’d like more guidance then why not book on my latest Social Media Kickstart Course.
James Russell – The London Smile Clinic said “Mark really knows his business! This turns social media into something really powerful – not just for playing with.”
Places are booking fast, so click here to reserve your place today.
We’ll go through everything above plus a ton more useful stuff too.
“This course will open your eyes to the inifinte possibilies regards social media marketing”
Martin Cox – Forndale Dental Clinic

Facebook Lists and Privacy Settings

Facebook’s new privacy settings have been all over the news recently, and I have to say I quite like the new way of posting status updates.

Historically if one had a load of ‘friends’ on Facebook, but only 100 were ‘actual’ friends (in the old style meaning of the word) and the rest were just aquaintances or business contacts it was difficult to really separate the streams of content that each group saw.

Facebook’s privacy has allowed you to block lists and individuals from seeing photos and updates for a while, but it was always generic – in other words if you block a list from your status updates then ALL your updates are blocked – not great really.

The new privacy settings now allow you to chose who sees what on an update by update basis – and this is direct response to Google +1 Circles I would imagine.

In this video I show you how you can manage this privacy setting, plus give a top tip for managing your list for business… enjoy…

And if you want more about Facebook for Dentists, do check out my website

If the video above doesn’t display, click here to watch on YouTube

“Build Relationships NOT Transactions”

Look at the world today, we are a connected group of people organised in to a series of tribes…

Tribes that are young and want the film star Hollywood look.

Tribes that are older, have some money to spare and want to look younger but want it with a faultless service.

Tribes that have old amalgams and are concerned about their health and well-being.

The list goes on and on…

My question for you to answer now is ‘what is the best way to reach these tribes?’

Do you simply SHOUT THE LOUDEST and pay for the biggest ads in the local press, do you offer unrelenting SPECIAL OFFERS that are outlined in a fancy star to grab their attention or do you perhaps use lumpy mail, post it notes on flyers, stamps instead of franked mail and every other trick in the book to get your prospect to buy from you and enter into a transaction?

You know what, the answer is yes…. do those things because they work, BUT NOT for a transaction, do it to build a relationship. These are not prospects you are dealing with, they are patients… patients want relationships with their dentist… in fact the world as a whole want relationships, this is why Facebook is one of the fastest growing companies in the world.

When you do your special offers and use all the tricks to get that flyer opened make sure you build in a mechanism that helps you to develop a relationship with that person. If all you want is a single transaction (e.g. 2 for 1 whitening) then that is what you will get, some people will respond but many won’t, the ones that don’t out way the ones that do and it is often these that want the relationship not the transaction.

Relationship marketing is great for long term growth, building your brand and here’s the killer… getting patients to buy FROM you rather than being SOLD TO.

Transactional marketing is ‘selling to’, relationship marketing is ‘buying from’. Can you see the difference? Which would YOU prefer?

There are many ways we can use technology and the internet to help us build a relationship, so make sure you encourage your ‘prospects’ to join YOUR tribe on your:

  1. Facebook Fan Page
  2. Twitter stream
  3. Blog
  4. Friendfeed
  5. Linked in profile
  6. Website discussion forum

Tribes love the sound of the jungle drums, so get your jungle drums beating a catchy rhythm, get them to join in with YOUR rhythm and interact with them…. they’ll love you so much more than if you just try to sell them the latest special offer.

Everyone is Doing Business on Social Networks

It’s unsual for me to write 2 blog posts in as many days… the idea of social media spam comes to mind! But when I see something great I feel an overwhelming urge to share… and this is something REALLY great.

The video below was posted on the Marketing Donut blog, their blog post and this video is SO good, I just had to share it with you.

If you can’t see the video, click here to watch on YouTube.

Social Networks and the Internet are MASSIVELY underused by dental practices… even if you have a website and are on Facebook and Twitter the question remains…

ARE YOU MONETISING THEM?
I’m currently working with dentists all over the UK to develop robust eMarketing strategies, they get their hand held through the confusing internet maze with detailed monthly reports on eMarketing ROI so they can monitor, measure and monetise their online presence. We’ll work together for a year, with monthly eCoaching sessions so that you can get on with the business of being a dentist while your marketing machine trundles away in the background providing you with patients.
With an investment from as little as £300 per month you can start to see real ROI from your online presence and Social Network marketing.. let’s talk today 07769 898798 info@markoborn.com
Enjoy the video, STAY SHARP & MONETISE!
Mark

Don’t use your company name on Twitter or Facebook

My lovely wife is studying for a psychology degree at the moment. There is often an overlap with business in the things she studies….well this week she has been looking at identity. This is particularly interesting for me when thinking about social networks and how they can be used for business. 

It seems more and more individuals, and companies, are jumping on to the social networking band wagon. Many dental surgeries already have their own Facebook groups and even their own Facebook identities. 

However I see some problems here. Problems with identity. 

Social networks build relationships, they enable people to connect in new and exciting ways; they allow them to share information, help each other out, provide links to web resources and promote other people and build other people up. 

With the small businesses that most of the readers of this blog run, our customers buy from us. They don’t buy from XYZ Dental Surgery, they don’t buy from XYZ Dental Laboratory…they buy from Dr XYZ (Dentist) or Mr XYZ (Dental Technician).

 This is an important point. In small business people buy from individuals, not faceless organisations. People won’t buy from people they don’t like. People WILL buy from people they do like. 

So if we marry these principles… (1) People buy from people they like and (2) social networks are there to connect and share, why oh why do so many surgeries insist on using their surgery name, or labs insist to using their laboratory name as their Facebook profile or even worse, their Twitter name. 

Now think of me as a potential customer. 

If I am a potential customer of your business, how can I start to build a relationship with a Facebook or Twitter profile that uses a company name? How can I build a relationship with a Facebook or Twitter photo/avatar of your surgery front door or logo? 

Social networking is about being SOCIAL. Companies aren’t social…YOU are. 

By all means set up a company Facebook group or page…but have YOU as the administrator. As a customer I can then have a relationship with YOU and find out more about your company at the same time. 

On Twitter you just can’t be a company…sorry! If you do, you are totally missing the point. 

So lets get personal, show me your character, help me out, show me you care about me, point me in the direction of some great resources, but above all build a relationship with me and I might just buy from you…not your company, but YOU!

Stay Sharp,

Mark

For more information on building your practice with social networking please visit my dental business consultant and dental marketing website.

Enter the ‘Twittersphere’

Twitter, so what’s all the fuss about then?

For those not familiar with twitter let me explain…Twitter is simply a 160 word message, you can decide to follow another person and keep up to date with what they are twittering. The messages then scroll in date/time order on a simple to use home page. Watch a 3 minute video.
Some people use it to put their stream of consciousness on the internet…this does get a bit boring “off to the shops now” or “polishing my nails”….who cares?
But Twitter is so much more than this. The trick is to follow someone really great, someone that really uses Twitter to the maximum. Follow the people they connect to….then follow those people. Watch the social interactions taking place, take part.
‘It’s not what you know but WHO you know’ never before has this statement been so true.
Twitter can also be used as a ‘mini feed’ for other sites, take a look down the side of my health care blog, it has my twitter feed. Take look at my website, once again a twitter feed is there. I also link my Twitter account to Facebook…so what ever I Tweet ends up as my Facebook profile. At the end of my emails I also have a Twitter feed as a signature.
Twitter is set up on my moblie phone, so with a simple text message I can updateTwitter which then feeds to many, many other places.
Now imagine all your patients were linked in to Twitter…hmm…you could now keep them all up to date with your surgery from your mobile phone. Suppose you run a a special offer for Valentines….one text message and its done.
Twitter doesn’t replace your conventional marketing, but augments it. It enables a social interaction that is not possible other than using the internet.
So go to Twitter now while you are thinking of it. Log in and follow me, then look at who I am following. I recommend you follow Benjamin Ellis, he is a good friend of mine and writes an excellent blog and is a prolific Twitterer, he knows how to use social interaction to its maximum and is a master at it.
I use twitter a lot and it forms a central role in my e-marketing system. For more information on using twitter visit my marketing website and download my free e-book.

See you in the twittersphere.

Mark