Tag Archives: email marketing

Is your dental practice verified_ (1)

Imagine you were a patient visiting your website, is this what you would think?

Potential new dental patients visiting your website (and indeed any of your online marketing activity) need to find it usable, in fact Google uses usability as part of its search algorithm… The more user-friendly your website is, the higher it may rank.

If you want to know how to make your dental practice website (and other online marketing channels) more usable from a patient’s perspective, read on…

Imagine you are a patient visiting your website, it’s important you put yourself in the shoes of a patient… Not wearing your own shoes as a dental professional!

Think about the mindset of the patient, think about how they would have ended up on your website, think about what they might want from your website.

The stages of buying

When someone visits one of your online marketing channels they will certainly be in one of these stages of buying:

  1. Problem recognition
  2. Information search
  3. Evaluation alternatives
  4. Purchase mode

Let’s look at each of these stages of buying and what you could do to assist your potential new patient in each stage.

Problem recognition

download (1)A person that lands on your website in this stage of the buying process will have just realised that they have a problem. They may have had someone comment on their crooked teeth, they may have just been out for a meal and got food stuck between missing teeth or may have now decided that today is the day they are going to start doing something about their dental health.

Once someone has identified that they have a problem that they will begin searching for a solution, patients in this stage of the process may be searching on Google for phrases such as:

  1. How to straighten crooked teeth
  2. Ways to replace missing teeth
  3. How to stop my gums bleeding

A person at this stage of their problem-solving/buying process may not be thinking about treatments, they may not be thinking about Invisalign, Inman aligner, dental implants or dental hygiene… they probably are not even ready to research and gather information about these alternatives, they are simply looking for a solution to their problem… So what could you do on your website?

Image by Salvatore Vuono freedigitalphotos.net

Image by Salvatore Vuono freedigitalphotos.net

This is where a dental blog comes in exceptionally handy. You can title blog posts around their search phrases “how to straighten crooked teeth”, within these blog posts we are simply helping the patient identify that they have a problem and that it can be solved. You may find that a patient in this stage of the buying process immediately moves into the information search phase.

We can help patients in this problem recognition stage by providing them with useful and relevant information and content, your blog is an excellent way to attract these people to the website and you can help them move into the information search phrase by offering them a free information pack.

The preferred technique is to allow them to download a free guide relating to their specific problem “All of Your Options to Replace Missing Teeth” in exchange for an e-mail address. Collecting e-mail addresses allows us to gently build a relationship with these people in the long-term as they move through the various buying stages. Information about creating an e-mail marketing campaign.

Information search

A patient in this stage of the buying process may have already identified specific treatments to help with their problem. They may be searching for:

  1. Invisalign braces in << geographical location>>
  2. Dental implants in << geographical location>>
  3. Dental hygienists in << geographical location>>

In the information search phase a patient is gathering detailed information about all of their options from both a treatment prospective and possibly a specific dentist perspective. When a patient lands on your website in the information search phase we need to offer them:

  • Relevant dental information, specific to their information search
  • An incentive to request an appointment which will help move them to the next buying phase

Relevant dental information can be provided by way of the free guide mentioned previously, always in exchange for an e-mail address. An incentive to request an appointment seems to work best if this is offered as a refund of the patient’s initial assessment. Again, offering this on the website as a download in exchange for an e-mail address works best, it allows the person to feel as though they have partially solved the problem whilst on the site as they now have a voucher entitling them to a refund of their initial assessment.

Evaluation of alternatives

At this stage of the buying process the patient will have decided that they want to straighten their crooked teeth or replace missing teeth, they may even have decided on the specific treatment they desire (clearly only a clinical assessment can verify this for sure). To allow a patient to evaluate alternative dental practices we need to:

  1. reduce risk
  2. increase trust

These are the two key deciding factors which allow a patient to decide which dentist to you attend. you can reduce risk and increase trust by demonstrating that you care for the patient above and beyond any monetary transaction, offering them a free download as already mentioned goes some way to doing this. Your active social media stream can also demonstrate that you are low risk and trustworthy alternative.

Patient testimonials on your website, especially video testimonials (as these are hardest to fake) will go some considerable way to reducing risk and increase in trust. Showing photographs of the team including your GDC registration numbers also demonstrates that you are trustworthy practice (As well as being compliant).

Offering a refund of initial assessment also reduces risk for the patient, you then have their e-mail address and can then continue to build relationships with them gently and slowly.

Purchase mode

Once the patient is in purchase mode you need to ensure that your website has the relevant calls to action in place. If you have followed this process from the beginning and allowed the patient to download some information when they were in the earlier information searching modes then we can begin to send e-mails talking about how you can help.

My recommendations to ensure patients that are ready to purchase take action are:

  1. Place a call to action on every page of your website
  2. Have a request an appointment facility on the website (this does not necessarily need to be booking an appointment)
  3. Having a website which is responsive with a ‘click to call’ phone number in case this person is visiting from a mobile phone
  4. Having an ability for a patient to make a general enquiry to the website if they have any further questions

Summary

Understanding the buying process and ensuring that you have the possibility for a patient to engage with you at each stage is critical if your marketing is to be effective. You can’t assume that everyone that lands on your website is ready to book an appointment, if they are not, what have you done to help them?

More help and advice on making your website more useable

Lowe cost dental marketing logoWebsite audit

How useable is your website 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.

traffic light warning

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

Featured Image source hywards at freedigitalphotos.net

Create, Curate, Syndicate and Aggregate – The Rules of Online Marketing

Image courtesy of tiramisustudio at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of tiramisustudio at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s funny how these things turn out sometimes, I was at a dentistry shown last year having a very interesting discussion with a colleague that runs a dental consultancy. We were talking about what I specifically did for dental practices with their communications.

Out of nowhere I simply replied “Well I, Create, Curate, Syndicate and Aggregate”

And that has now become my golden rule of online marketing… It should become yours also!

Modern search engine optimisation focuses much less on keywords we want to be found for, where we rank in Google search results or how many people visited the website. These may be important metrics but the real focus is on how many people we can help. Period!

The more people we help, the more people will talk about us. This works in real life as well as online. If more people talk about you online and share your information then more people will visit your website, Google will notice those people talking about you and give you a boost up the search results.

Let’s look at each of the Create, Curate, Syndicate and Aggregate areas individually.

Content Creation

This is where you use your experience as a dentist to create unique and individual content. It’s an opportunity to talk about what is important to you and what you value most. It’s the time where you can show what you are interested in and what you believe in and how you believe you can help people solve their dental problems.

You could consider creating content for a free download on your website (check out my free guide also), you could create blog posts (such as this one) or do micro-updates on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google plus, all designed to hand out useful, free and relevant dental health advice.

Creating your own unique content sets you up as a person that genuinely cares in the local area, if people like what you say they will share it which results in more people visiting your website.

Content Curation.

Curating content is about understanding what problems your patients are trying to solve and then directing them to other people’s uniquely created content. You may see articles written on news websites, columns written in online magazines or other non-competing dental practice websites.

Sharing other people’s content again shows that you genuinely care about the people in the local area. It builds trust as it demonstrates that you want to help solve their problems and that making money is not your primary concern!

Yes, dare to share content that you did not create! (That means sharing with full attribution, NOT copying to your website and claiming as your own!)

Content Syndication.

SImage courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Syndication means taking one piece of original digital content and syndicating it across various media. This is where online marketing really comes into its own. Consider this blog post, this blog post is going to be shared on:

  • My own dental marketing website.
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google plus
  • Linked in
  • 4 different e-mail databases
  • RSS feed readers

Syndication using modern technology such as Feed BurnerSocial Media Borg or Hootsuite allows you to rapidly reach the maximum number of people as quickly and simply as possible.

The more people you reach, the more likelihood there is of them sharing your unique content which drives more traffic to your website.

Content Aggregation.

This is the process by which we pull in multiple streams of information into one easy to read place. Take a look at the bottom of my website and you will see Facebook, Twitter and YouTube all if aggregated into one place.

Using software allows us to aggregate multiple streams into one, for example, you could take your original content that you have created, and aggregate it with your content that you have curated, placing all of it onto twitter.

Aggregating content from multiple places, particularly if you automate the process, allows you to keep a very active presence on the Internet.

People often comment that I always seem to be online on Facebook and Twitter… I do spend a lot of time online to be honest, but I use software to aggregate content from around the Internet, I then use software to syndicate that content which has been curated by others or created by me.

Taking time to create your own content, curate content from others, aggregate all of that content into a single stream and then syndicate it and round the Internet has become the hallmark of a successful Internet marketer, it’s also the hallmark of many of my dental practice clients.

Will it also be your hallmark of success?

 

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…

 

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.