How to write a dental blog to educate and attracting new patients

Welcome to the June Monthly Dental Marketing Club meeting live broadcast, this month we are looking at blogging writing a dental blog, in my opinion is an absolutely essential part of your online marketing strategy.

Remember, online marketing works 24/7, even while you sleep so getting it right can pay huge dividends compared to conventional off-line marketing.

What can a blog help you with?

  • ✔demonstrate you are the local dentist with the best information
  • ✔demonstrate that you care about the dental health of the local people
  • ✔keep people updated with dental health advice
  • ✔attract traffic and potential patients to your website
  • ✔keep a social media stream updated
  • ✔keep your website looking alive and lived in Google loves blogs so they are great for search optimisation too.

This live broadcast will walk you through the process of researching, creating and writing your very own blog. Enjoy and please feel free to comment…

How to Add Facebook Live Chat to Your Website

I’ve spoken before about the importance of using a live chat on your website, as with anything that works well Facebook is usually not long to adopt something!

Facebook Live chat is now available (beta), here’s how to install it.

Step 1: Go to the settings of your Facebook page

Step 2: click on Messenger platform

Step 3: Scroll down until you see the customer chat plug-in

Step 4: Click on the plug-in setup button

Step 5: Customise your greeting

Step 6: Customise the colours and how you want the response time to display

I’ve changed the colours here to match my website.

Step 7: Add in the domains where you are going to display your chat plug in and then copy the code

Step 8: Place the code directly after the opening <body> tag on each page where you want the plug-in to appear

And voilà, you now have a live chat facility on your website which links directly into your Facebook page.

I fully accept the you may not have access to your website to do this, but setting up the widget beforehand, then copying and sending the code to your designer should be quite a simple process.

Further customisation of the Customer chat facility can be made, further details are in the developers section of Facebook.

Let me know how you get on

How to write the best content for your website

As a dental marketing consultant I will often spend a great deal of time looking at client websites and making recommendations about how the content can be changed to do two things:

  1. Attract more traffic/visitors/potential new patients to the website.
  2. Convert more of that traffic into new patients at the practice.

Something that all websites should do I think, don’t you?

The first thing we need to do is to identify two distinct places that content can go on your website:

  1. On the website itself.
  2. On your blog. (Which should still be part of your website).

Why separate the content out from the main website onto a blog?

Okay, it’s going to get a little technical here but this is important to understand. One of the things we want to do with your website is to pull in as much traffic from Google as possible. The best way to do this is to write content that people want to read, if people read that content, and like it, they are more likely to share it with their friends and interested parties.

Take Invisalign as an example, a patient may be researching Invisalign and clear aligners, trying to work out if they can eat whilst wearing the aligners… They may visit your website and read some excellent content you’ve written about living day-to-day with Invisalign aligners.

That patient may also be discussing/researching Invisalign on other places around the Internet, think about places like mums net. I’ve seen this happen, patients then begin discussing possible treatments and posting links back to websites where they have read about the treatment.

That same patient could post a link back to your website from the mums net forum within their discussion.

This is what is known as offsite search optimisation and it is BRILLIANT for your website. Google will notice these links that people place around the Internet back to your site, the more links you have and the higher quality links (from highly valued websites) the higher your website will begin to rank.

We now get a snowball effect from writing good quality content:

Content marketing and inbound link building

So, I still haven’t answered the question about why you should separate content from your main website into your blog.

The answer is this, people are far less likely to share content if it talks about yourself all of the time, in conjunction with this, Google is far less likely to rank very highly content which talks about yourself all of the time.

Let’s take Invisalign as an example, typical Invisalign content on the website would be written thus:

” Our dentists in <town> can help straighten crooked teeth with Invisalign invisible braces, we offer a free initial consultation and can then provide a tailored treatment plan with payment plans starting at just 25p per day”

Now, let’s rewrite that content to make it more shareable and likeable:

“What is Invisalign?

Invisalign utilises modern CADCAM techniques to produce an almost invisible aligner, each aligner is worn for approximately 2 weeks, a typical Invisalign treatment will have 26 aligners. Invisalign also utilises computer generated graphics to create a 3-D simulation of how you will look once your teeth have been straighten”

The first example makes perfect sense, it includes your local area (so the Google knows where you are located in can rank you for that) it also talks about the treatment process (the free consultation) and makes the treatment more accessible from a cost point of view (payment plans).

However, Google is far less likely to promote this type of content as it is clearly self-promotional.

Here’s the proof, do a Google search for ” what is Invisalign”… Google will show what a section marked ” people also ask”… Have a scroll through some of the answers and see how they are written. Any of these websites (which will get a lot of traffic from this by the way) listed will almost certainly NOT be self promoting within the text that is listed in the Google search.

People also ask in a Google search

When someone does a Google search e.g. what is Invisalign… Google wants to send someone to the most relevant answer, often the most relevant answer does not include your sales process!

For this reason Google is far more likely to send traffic to your website if you exclude yourself from the content.

Excluding yourself from the content and making your content purely about the reader and answering their questions is far easier on a blog than it is on the main website pages… After all, on the main website pages you absolutely want to be promoting yourself, don’t you!

Why writing a blog is so powerful

Writing a blog is so powerful and important because:

  1. It can be very targeted and specific about its content, you could write a whole blog post about what Invisalign is, another one about Invisalign problems, another one about eating with Invisalign, another one about looking after aligners etc the more specific and targeted the content is, the more relevant it will be to the reader, the more relevant it is to the reader the more Google will promote it for you in the search results, the more people you get visit, the more it will be shared and so the cycle goes on.
  2. It’s a way of you writing about your specific treatments without the sales talk, because you’re not talking about yourself so often this is another reason why Google will this date and more people will share it.
  3. Blogs are regularly updated, Google knows this and therefore knows that blogs have the most up-to-date content, up-to-date content means relevant content for when people search, Google therefore generally loves blogs.
  4. Blogs often have an RSS feed, this makes syndicating to e-mail and social media very simple.

Writing in this way will increase your overall domain authority, a higher domain authority will mean you will rank higher for ALL of your search phrases, including the specific ones which drive traffic to your ‘sales’ treatment pages.

Writing a blog is good for traffic to your entire website.

Top tips to get your blog found in the search results

  • Phrase your blog title is a question. Google loves answering questions and if the question you use as the title of your blog fits with the questions people are asking on Google then Google will send more traffic to your website.
  • Link out from your blog to other high authority websites. This demonstrates that your blog is a useful resource to readers rather than being a basic sales tool. Google will thank you for being a useful resource and rank you higher in the search results.
  • Link to other internal pages of your website. This helps website visitors find exactly what they are looking for and also helps you as you can link to your more sales focused internal pages about the treatment.
  • Ensure that the meta data (title, description and image tags) are relevant on each blog post.
  • Share each blog post on your social media streams.
  • Share each blog post via your opt in and consensual e-mail list.

So, are you writing a blog now?

 

How to get more conversions from your practice website

[Video length: 52 minutes]

So many people talk about search engine optimisation and getting found in a Google search, that’s brilliant, but it’s completely pointless if none of those visitors convert into patients, is it?

For me, conversion optimisation goes hand-in-hand with search engine optimisation.

This month’s meeting of The Dental Marketing Club looked at conversion optimisation and how you can get more patients converting from your dental practice website.

This video looks at:

✔ Content that keeps people on your site and encourages conversions

✔ How to make your site easy to navigate

✔ Calls to action for each stage of the purchase decision-making process

✔ How to use multiple calls to action in various formats

✔ Using videos to increase conversion rates

✔ Which website design format is best?

✔ How to use social proof to increase conversions


The club meeting is free, simply visit the club page at 1 PM on the 2nd Thursday in every month…

See you next time.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/dentalmarketingclub/

GDPR For dental practices

GDPR – Yes, more regulations to comply with

You may be aware that the general data protection regulation (GDPR) comes into force in May of this year, the regulation doesn’t give exact wording for what you should do in a dental practice but it does give definitions. I’m therefore recommending that if you use any form of dental online marketing that you ensure you meet the standards as they are interpreted.

CONSENT

Doing consent well should put individuals in control, build patient trust and engagement, and enhance your reputation

According to the information Commissioner’s Office, consent

“…must be freely given, specific, informed, and there must be an indication signifying agreement. However, the GDPR is clearer that the indication must be unambiguous and involve a clear affirmative action.”

It must also be unbundled, have an active opt in, have your organisation named, be documented and easy for the individual to withdraw from.

To comply with this, I suggest you add a consent box to every single signup form on your website.

GDPR consentAccompanying this should be a tick box which everyone will have to tick, this should then be stored in their record in your e-mail system as a record of consent. Should anyone question whether you consent to send e-mails you can check back in the register to prove that they have clicked this box.

I also recommend adding a double opt in.

Potentially someone could maliciously enter someone else’s e-mail address into one of your forms, to prevent this all individuals should be required to verify their e-mail address, when they complete any form on the website they should be sent a verification e-mail which they need to click on, if they do not click on this e-mail, for what ever reason then you cannot use their e-mail address for any e-mail marketing.

What happens about existing e-mail subscribers?

It seems that if someone is considered a ‘customer’ then you can legitimately send them e-mails, you can therefore continue to send patients e-mails IF they can be demonstrably proven to be customers.

People that have not been to the practice is more difficult.

If the e-mail program you use is considered a service and there has been ongoing recipient e-mail engagement (opens or clicks) then this may be sufficient to show an existing customer relationship, as a customer you can legitimately send e-mails so long as the e-mails are considered a unique service in themselves.

Remember, the e-mail program needs to be a valuable service in its own right.

The system I use for e-mail is Aweber, this system is able to filter subscribers that have not interacted with an e-mail after a given date. I would suggest that you filter non-active subscribers within six months and delete any subscriber that has not interacted with your e-mail system during this time.

This will then demonstrate that you have an active GDPR policy for historic e-mail contacts. Of course, all new contacts will have consent requested at the beginning.

IMPLEMENTATION

You have until May 25th 2018 to implement this so I recommend you pass this information on to the person that manages your e-mail marketing.

Resources for bedtime reading, should you so desire, please ensure you have read these documents in full before acting on any advice given above:

https://ico.org.uk/media/1624219/preparing-for-the-gdpr-12-steps.pdf

https://ico.org.uk/media/about-the-ico/consultations/2013551/draft-gdpr-consent-guidance-for-consultation-201703.pdf

HAVE FUN 🙂

 

Facebook may demote your news story if you use baiting style posts

Just before Christmas Facebook announced an update to their algorithm… You did know that Facebook use an algorithm to show posts didn’t you!

I’ve been critical of these algorithmic updates in the past as they have sometimes been simply to allow Facebook to gain more revenue, on this occasion, I’m actually quite pleased to see this algorithmic change.

According to a blog post written on Facebook’s newsroom blog on 18 December 2017 they are beginning to demote posts which bate people into responding with likes, comments or shares. The technique is often called ‘engagement baiting’ or ‘Facebook baiting’.

We’ve all seen those posts:

  • Share baiting – “Share this post to be in with a chance of winning a new Porsche.”
  • Tag baiting – “Tag your friends in this post to be in with a chance of winning a new washing machine”
  • React baiting – “Click like to say you agree, click angry to say you disagree etc”
  • Comment baiting – “Comment ‘Amen’ to say you agree”
Tag baiting and comment baiting

Image source: newsroom.fb.com

Somewhat annoying!

This new engagement baiting algorithmic update is in addition to Facebook’s ‘clickbait headline‘ update which went live in May 2017, Both of these algorithmic updates are to reinforce Facebook’s rule of authenticity.

If people stop using Facebook or get annoyed with these posts then ultimately they may use Facebook less and Facebook will lose revenue…I admit that I have used engagement baiting techniques in the past and they’ve worked well,  (I used the reaction buttons to get people to vote on whether they wanted a marketing club or not) but this technique could now potentially see my posts demoted as a result.

Facebook edge rank algorithm

Image source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EdgeRank

If you create a post on your page on Facebook it is not necessarily shown to all of your fans, Facebook uses their edge rank algorithm to calculate who to show that post to, if your post uses either engagement baiting or has a click baiting headline you may find that the post gets completely demoted… If you continually use this technique you may also find that your whole page gets demoted and none of your posts get shown!

I welcome this update, I welcome the authenticity that it brings and am looking forward to a less spammy news stream on Facebook.

[VIDEO] Attracting traffic to your dental practice website – Part 2

I’ve just completed the monthly dental marketing club live stream on Facebook, this month we looked at the 2nd part of search optimisation and getting your dental practice website found.

The video is just under an hour long  and goes through how to optimise a website to be found on Google.

This video looks at Website Traffic Optimisation (part 2), and includes using:

Social media to attract more traffic to your site.
Email to attract more traffic to your site.
Paid advertising on Facebook and Google (PPC) to attract more traffic to your site.

Optimising for traffic is an important part of your online marketing strategy, next month we will be looking at conversion optimisation, and equally important aspect to take into account.

The dental marketing club is free to join on Facebook, the live streams happen on the 2nd Thursday of every month at 1 PM UK local time. The next live stream, looking at conversion optimisation is on Thursday 8th of February 2018.

[VIDEO] Attracting traffic to your dental practice website

I’ve just completed the monthly dental marketing club live stream on Facebook, this month we looked at the first part of search optimisation and getting your dental practice website found.

The video is just under an hour long  and goes through how to optimise a website to be found on Google.

This video looks at Website Traffic Optimisation (part one), and includes:

Keyword/phrase Research. Techniques and strategies to research the words and phrases that people search for in the local area.
Search Optimisation. What you need to do, where, when and how in order to get your website found.

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is often seen as a dark art, it doesn’t have to be that way and with some clear understanding of how to attract traffic you can begin to create an online dental marketing machine.

Dental marketing blog post

How to build an online dental marketing machine that never sleeps

There are now so many consultants talking about marketing for a dental practice, using software, technology, paid advertising, websites etc. So where do you start? How do you know what needs to be done to attract more patients using the Internet?

What I’ve written here is a very basic overview of everything I believe you should be doing, which essentially falls into two categories… Traffic optimisation and conversion optimisation… Let’s delve a little deeper.

Traffic optimisation to a dental practice website

This typically includes:

The list above forms the basic building blocks of increasing traffic to your website, yet even if you have 10,000 visitors per month and none of them convert into patients this is useless, so we also need conversion optimisation.

Conversion optimisation to get more of those website visitors converting into patients

This typically includes:

  • Calls to action and wording on the website
  • Things for prospects to do, typically these are downloadable guides which are handed out in exchange for an e-mail address
  • Permission-based e-mail marketing
  • Social media campaigns

I get so many phone calls about optimising websites on Google for more traffic and yet so many people completely miss the point. Being number one on Google has absolutely no benefit whatsoever if none of those patients convert, one absolutely has to have conversion optimisation running in tandem with traffic optimisation.

This is how I believe the conversion optimisation should work

Patients that visit your website may not all be ready to book an appointment straightaway, they will almost certainly be in one of these 3 key stages of their decision-making process.

  1. Be simply looking for information on how to solve a problem e.g. replacing missing teeth or looking for information about a specific treatment to resolve that problem e.g. dental implants, bridges or dentures
  2. Have done their research about their problem and treatment and are searching for the right service provider, needing a little bit of convincing to take the next step.
  3. Have researched the service provider and decided that you are the one they wish to go for.
    We therefore need to provide things for each of these people to do, in order that they can feel as though they have taken action whilst on your site (at the same time we get to collect their information!)

So in order to convert a website visitor into a patient we need to have something for them to do at each of the key stages in this decision-making process, not everyone is ready to request an appointment immediately.

For the respective categories this should be:

  1. Free guides and downloads for patients wishing to solve a dental problem. Having a free guide for them to download demonstrate you genuinely care about them and have written this guide for them. You should hand the guide out in exchange for an e-mail address, using an e-mail marketing system such as Aweber.
  2. An incentive to request an appointment, this could be a free consultation, refund of initial assessment or explicit promotion of your new patient health check. This will help to convince patients if they are wavering about requesting an appointment.
  3. Request an appointment facility.

And now comes a rather long bullet list of what should happen

  • The ‘Request an appointment form’ needs to drop into an automated e-mail campaign where patients are followed up if they don’t come in to see you. Don’t just use a form which has no automated follow-up procedure.
  • Any patient that does come in to see you should be fed into an automated campaign asking for a review on either Google or Facebook (more reviews = more social proof, more social proof = higher rankings on Google)
  • All treatment pages should have the facility for a patient to download free information, they should then be automatically dropped into an e-mail follow-up series which informs, educates and drives them towards booking a consultation, this should be fully automated.
  • at each ‘touch point’ we should drive people towards your social media channel i.e. If someone downloads something, request an appointment or consultation they should be taken to a thank you page… On this thank you page should be a specific call to action to join you on social media
  • a regular newsletter should be sent to all e-mail contacts (collected via the website as above and from any that you already have at the practice)
  • calls to action to request an appointment or download a guide should be added around the site
  • All of these website conversions (downloadable guides, e-mail follow-ups, free consultations etc) should be tracked in Google analytics, we can then see where traffic comes from and focus more on that traffic source and/or conversion page.

Conversion optimisation for dental practice website
Using free information downloads & free consultations/refunds and incorporating these into an automated e-mail system allows us to send relevant e-mails at the correct time for each patient. Once they book an appointment these prospecting e-mails should automatically stop and they should be asked for a review. This then sets up a fully automated and robust follow-up system which works 24/7/365…Never sleeping, always working… Just the way it should be.

What would you add to this list?

Some of the links in this blog post are affiliate links from which I earn a small commission. Any affiliate links used are because the products are great and I use them personally all day, every day.

 

How to rank in the search results for your competitor’s business name

Okay, let’s start with a question… Is it possible to rank in the search results when someone types the specific name of your competitor?

Let’s take this a step further… Is it possible to out-rank your competitor when someone types their name into the search?

The answer to both of these questions is YES, but with some strong caveats.

The first thing to mention is that one of the strongest mechanisms that Google uses to work out what a website is about, and therefore whether it will be relevant to any search results, is the words that are included in that website. Google reads your website pages very quickly, possbily a couple of times a day and uses the words in the site to work out what an individual pages about. If you mention the words dental implants then Google will know that page is about dental implants etc. This is VERY basic but is the essence of the way Google works.

So here’s an example…

Let’s say your dental practice uses your name as its business name e.g. ‘Mark Oborn Dental’, it would be pretty difficult for any other competitive business to rank for that name, you would completely dominate the search results if you chose this as your business name. This would be because in order for any website to rank for those specific words, ‘Mark’ and ‘Oborn’ those words would need to be included within the text of the site… A pretty strange thing for a competitive business to do!

However, let’s say that ‘Mark Oborn Dental’ is in Swansea, let’s also say that a  competitor practice has imaginatively called themselves ‘Swansea  dental practice’. Let’s add in another another competitor that has imaginatively called themselves ‘The Swansea Dentist’.

There is virtually no way that ‘Swansea Dental Practice’ and ‘The Swansea Dentist’ will ever rank for ‘Mark Oborn Dental’ as they would almost definitely need to get the words ‘Mark’ & ‘Oborn’ into their website and there would be very few reasons as to why they would do this.

However what about looking at it the other way round…

How easy would it be for ‘Mark Oborn Dental’, who is in Swansea to get the words ‘Swansea Dental Practice’ and ‘The Swansea Dentist’ into their website?

All ‘Mark Oborn Dental’ would need to do is include the phrase something along the lines of “Mark Oborn is an established Swansea dental practice that has, blah, blah… making him the Swansea dentist that X number of people have chosen”.

So in one fell swoop we’ve managed to get our own business name and the name of our competitors into the homepage of our website, all we would need to do* is to ensure we continually repeat these words throughout the site, in conjunction with other optimisation techniques around these same keywords to ensure that we rank for them.

It then wouldn’t take too much work to not only rank for the competitors business names but actually outrank them.

So, when deciding on a practice name, choose your name carefully!

Oh, by the way, as with many of my blog posts, this is actually a real life example although I’ve changed the names and geographical location to hide the innocent… Very proud to see my clients website out ranking their competitors!

 

*There is actually far more to ranking in the search results than just continually repeating the same words… In fact do this too much and you can end up being dropped from the search results altogether with the Google penalty. I’m simply using this here by way of an example.