Tag Archives: risk

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

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…

 

E-mail Marketing – The Way to Truly P**S People Off?

@Let’s get the most obvious thing out of the way first, in all probability you will have received notification of this blog post by e-mail… But let me explain firstly why e-mail is so powerful and secondly how you can use it to lose every single one of your carefully generated leads!

When we look at online marketing there are generally 4 channels of communication:

  • The wider internet (articles you may have written or pieces of information about you and your services etc)
  • Your Website
  • Social Media
  • Email

This is rather a concise list, but almost everything can fit into it somewhere so let’s look at the dynamics of each of those.

The Internet

You may find that a potential patient goes to Google looking for information about a particular dental problem they have, perhaps replacing missing teeth. They may land on a resource page on which you have an advert, they could land on someone else’s website which has content written by you and links back to your website.

However it happens, it’s important to remember that this person is actively searching and looking, you have not pushed anything on them at all.

Your website

The same principle applies, a potential patient is looking for a solution to a dental problem, they land on your website and continue to read it.

Once again, this person is actively searching and looking, you have not pushed anything on them at all.

Social media

This is where the first push from you can happen. A person may have liked your Facebook page (they may not remember doing it as it could be a considerable amount of time ago), your information can then appear on their social media stream.

Whilst the initial contact may have come from the patient, you are now actively pushing information to them which changes the dynamic of the relationship. It’s important to remember in this case however, that this is all done in the public domain. It is a ‘one to many’ form of marketing, but done in public. .

E-mail

The dynamic with e-mail changes enormously. With e-mail marketing you are pushing information onto other people, it is a ‘one to many’ form of marketing, but done in private. Whilst this person may have given you their e-mail address at some point, the chances are they will have forgotten this and can easily view your e-mail as a useless piece of information.

The fact that e-mail is so personal and done in private, on the one hand can totally p**s people off, but get it right, and these factors make it one of the best forms of personalised marketing available.

How to get e-mail right

Before you undertake any form of marketing the question you need to ask is “What problem is this person trying to solve?”. Are they looking for straighter teeth, to replace missing teeth or to improve their dental health, or perhaps something else?

Never, and I repeat never has a patient come to you wanting to have orthodontics… What they want is straighter teeth.

Never, and I repeat never has a patient come to you wanting to have dental implants… What they want is to replace missing teeth.

You may want to give them orthodontics or dental implants, but that is not why they are coming to see you, they are coming to solve a problem and you are able to offer them that solution… Use this in your marketing. This is one of the most powerful messages that you can give, simply helping people understand more about their problems and then take simple steps to solve them.

And this is where e-mail comes in, forget using e-mail to promote your latest special offer or to sell your next fancy treatment. Use e-mail to build trust and reduce risk by showing that you genuinely care for the local people around your dental practice by handing out useful, free and relevant information.

Its an exchange

Think about the direction of the communication. If all of your marketing communication is about selling and self-promotion then you are just pushing information on anyone that cares to listen, and most won’t!

When you change your communication to be something that the other person genuinely wants to receive, they will engage with it, they will share it and they will like it… Suddenly your e-mails go from annoying people to helping people… And that’s what dentistry is about isn’t it?

When someone opens your e-mail they exchange their time for your content, that exchange should not be equitable, it should be in the favour of the person reading. They should get more out of the e-mail then it costs them for you to have their e-mail address! Think about it, an e-mail address is valuable, don’t abuse it, think carefully about what you send by e-mail and you will see an enormous change in the effectiveness of this marketing medium.

Summary

By way of a summary I thought I would give you some top tips to e-mail marketing so that you don’t p**s people off!

  1. Only send an e-mail when you have something valuable to say, if you have been on my e-mail list for a long time you will notice you’ve not had an e-mail from me for a month.
  2. Hand out useful, free and relevant information which genuinely helps your reader to understand their problem and ideally, go some way to solving that problem for them.
  3. Use e-mail to increase trust in you and your business.
  4. Use e-mail to decrease risk of a new client using your services by demonstrating that you know what you are talking about and respect them.
  5. Only use special offers and incentives at the end of an e-mail AFTER you have done the above. If your e-mail is purely trying to take from the recipient without giving then you will reduce trust an increase risk… The opposite of what you should be doing.
  6. If you have nothing to say that is useful and valuable in an e-mail, then say nothing! And by useful and valuable I mean to the recipient NOT you!

So what do you think? Do you use e-mail in your practice and have you found it a valuable asset?

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.