Why you should never be post dental staff on social media

Why you should NEVER only post dental ‘stuff’ on social media

I see many dental practice social media accounts which only focus on dentistry. On the face of it this seems a quite normal and logical thing to do, you are a dental practice, you are there to help the local people with their dental health and therefore wish to only talk about dentistry on your social media streams.

However, you are wrong in this assumption!

Social media is a communication tool, it’s a mechanism to communicate with PEOPLE.

People with emotions.

People with feelings.

People who want to interact with a person.

Remember,

“We buy from people we like and we like people that we are like!”

Just imagine you get into a conversation with someone over a relaxing drink in the pub one evening, you just go straight in and start talking about dentistry. No small talk, no humanity to what you are saying, no interaction or engagement with them.

You ware just talking AT them, not WITH them.

It would seem quite unnatural to do this wouldn’t it? You may be even labelled as a bore (oh, heaven forbid!)

Social media is the same, in fact the clue is in the title, it’s SOCIAL media.

So we’ve looked at the human side of things, now let’s look at the empirical and evidence based marketing side of things.

Business relationships grow through three distinct stages [1].

  1. Actor bonds. These are bonds between the actors in any communication, the bonds develop as the communication moves along its natural path.
  2. Activity links. Once the actors in the relationship have connected and trust has been developed then the potential customer will engage in some form of activity. This could often be reading a blog post, reading an article, liking a Facebook page or perhaps visiting your website to read your dental health blog, it could even be an activity which involves the potential patient looking at another resource which you have shared.
  3. Resource ties. This is the final stage in the relationship building process. These are where a potential customer commits a definite resource to you, this will often be money and will almost always include time.

You cannot, I repeat CAN NOT bypass this process.

Think about it from a social point of view, let’s say I was single and saw a girl in a bar that I fancied, I may move over to her and we’d begin chatting. The actor bonds would develop. As the conversation went on she may engage in an activity with me like allowing me to buy her a drink (Activity link). Once this was done she may then decide to come out for dinner with me and commit a resource of money and time (resource ties).

slapTrying to skip this process and go from the first glance to going out for dinner with someone may result in a slap in the face!

Trying to skip this process in your marketing may also result in a virtual slap in the face with your potential patients leaving your social media stream.

Dentistry is about trust and relationships, it’s about helping people in the long-term, not short transactional relationships with someone buys something and then disappears out of the shop never to be seen again. You want to have long-term relationships where you can help look after your patients and so this relationship marketing approach is the ONLY approach you should be using.

This relationship marketing approach becomes impossible if you only talk about dentistry.

It becomes impossible to talk with someone on a human level.

It becomes impossible to engage with people at a human level, it therefore becomes impossible to use social media effectively!

Examples of non-dental posts in the actor bonds category which are really great for beginning this relationship building process are things like:

  • Celebrations of birthdays at the practice
  • Team members getting married.
  • Patients sending in testimonials and reviews.
  • Sharing using images and content from other places on Facebook to create engagement.
  • Talking about films and books that you like.
  • Talking about things you like to do at the weekend.
  • Sharing general images which people like such as motivational images or scenes of beautiful landscapes, these are great ways to invite comments and get people to engage.

So the simple rule is this…

Stop selling and start engaging!

And lastly, don’t be a dental bore, you may just get a ‘virtual’ slap in the face…

[1] Hakansson, H. & I. Snehota, Eds. (1995) “Developing Relationships in Business Networks” International Thomson Business Press.

Why are reviews so important

Why are reviews so important?

I’ve seen a bit of talk recently on various forums about reviews, especially on Facebook and Google. Typical criticism of reviews comes in the form of:

  • Why should I care about reviews? I know that I am good and I don’t need other people to tell me.
  • Seeking out multiple reviews is narcissistic in the extreme.
  • I’m not bothered about reviews, I have a real life which doesn’t exist on social media.

I absolutely understand these criticisms looking for reviews, we should absolutely be confident in our own abilities without needing other people to tell us… However that is missing the point of reviews altogether, especially as they often appear in the search results!

In order to understand this we need to understand a little about the theory of professional relationships.

Dentistry falls into the category of high credence professions. These are professions that provide a product or service with:

“…qualities that cannot be observed by the consumer after purchase, making it difficult to assess its utility.”

The ultimate high credence profession is a surgeon, not only is it often difficult to tell whether a surgical procedure was good or not, as a consumer of that service one is also usually asleep… This brings about certain issues with trust!

Dentistry has similar issues, for example a typical patient would not know if a root treatment had been done well or not, similarly, even if a patient did assess that the dental treatment wasn’t quite good enough the dentist always has the ability to justify what they do by quoting clinical knowledge which the consumer (patient) will almost certainly be unable to counteract.

This puts the provider of high credence services in a very strong position, conversely consumers of these services can feel as though they are in a weak position.

So what does this mean for a dentist?

It means that your primary source of marketing should be about building trust with patients. After that the next focus should be about reducing risk… As a sidenote, this is why I dislike the concept of sales within dentistry, this goes against the basic principle of high credence relationship marketing!

Building trust and reducing risk helps to overcome the inevitably weak position that new patients will feel in when they visit a new dentist for the first time.

So if a patient cannot assess your services directly, how do they?

Because a patient cannot identify good quality dentistry from bad quality dentistry (on the whole) they will look for extrinsic clues, such as:

  • Your surgery decor. Is it clean, is it well presented, is it modern, is a professional, is it up-to-date?
  • How you present yourself. Are you professional, do you explain yourself well, do you take time?
  • Your team. Are they knowledgeable or do they transfer to other people all the time, are they responsive, are they well presented, do they give good customer service?
  • Your communication. Is it easy to read, is it relevant to the patient, is it helpful?
  • What other people say. Do other people like you, are other people happy with your services? These will often be seen by Google my business or on online review sites. This is digital word-of-mouth marketing and social proof!

And the final point is where reviews fit in, as business owners they form a vital part of your strategy to reduce risk and increase trust for new patients… Without reviews other people have no way of knowing what other people think of you, and therefore have limited ways to assess your clinical dentistry. Without this information it also limits their buying decisions and the power to decide that they want to come and see you, all deep psychological stuff!

These extrinsic clues are what the patient will use to determine your dentistry! Perhaps it shouldn’t be that way, but it is. Get over it!

Here are a few ways that you can maximise your use of reviews.

Google and the search engines are becomingly increasingly good at local search results and showing customer reviews. Your dental practice will almost certainly be a local business on Google, even if you do not put it there yourself patients may be giving you good reviews… Or they may be giving you bad reviews!

Sites like yelp even allow patients to create an account for you and leave a review without you knowing anything about it unless you monitor the Internet.

Dealing with negative reviews

If you are unfortunate to get a couple of negative reviews, here is how I recommend you deal with them.

dealing with dental practice negative reviews

How to deal with dental practice negative reviews

More more dental practices are now seeking reviews on social media, in itself this is a great thing to do as it builds trust by demonstrating social proof. However, we all know that not every single customer is always going to be perfectly happy every single time, it’s inevitable that we are going to have a negative review at some point…

But how do we deal with that? Being in the medical profession present certain problems for a dentist and dental practice when dealing with negative reviews on Facebook or Google, in this short video I will give you a simple tip on how to answer these reviews which should keep you legally safe and still answer that review.

If you would like me to send you the text of how to respond to review then please enter your e-mail address in this little form and send it to.

email marketing for dentists

How to use email marketing in a dental practice

In many of the campaigns I run I get very high open rates, often between 80 and 100% – this leads to excellent engagement rates and new patients at the practice.

E-mail is still one of the very best ways of building relationships with patients, but ONLY if those patients want to receive the e-mails!

In this video I go through 8 top tips to:

Keep your open rates high
keep your engagement rate high
Get more people to respond and take action
Sequence your e-mails so that they are not spam
Automating your e-mails so that they work 24/7/365
Keeping your e-mails GDPR compliant

If you are seeing this before Thursday 13th December 2018 at 1pm UK time then you’ll see a planned premiere video, please do visit this page again when I’m live. If you’re visiting after that date then you’ll see the video in all it’s glory… enjoy.

Alternatively, please visit this link, then click the “☆ Get Reminder” button…

Oooh, and please do let me know your thoughts…

Google Medic Update – The Impact on Dental Practices

You may have heard about the recent Google Medic Update?

If you are wondering if this is a genuine and real update and whether you may be impacted, the answer is most definitely YES.

I monitor a variety of metrics for practices across the country, including visibility in search results, average position for a range of search terms/phrases, likely traffic from those search positions and where the practice ranks specifically.

The following image shows what many dental practices are seeing (assuming they monitor what’s going on with their website!)

Google Medic update

Traffic data from 1-8-18 to 10-9-18

As you can see, visibility, average position, traffic and overall search results pretty much fell off a cliff at the beginning of August, but why?

Why has the update been implemented?

Google doesn’t always let us know when they change their algorithm, but in this case they did:

Google search liaison

The update seems to focus primarily around CONTENT, specifically the trust, expertise and author credentials of any content.

The update has been rolled out across all search categories, not just the medical category however, due to the nature of our dental industry we seem to have been hit fairly hard.

What can you do about the update?

Because the update is about proving the trust, expertise and credentials of any author on your website these are definitely areas to focus on.

Increasing trust

I’ve been saying this for years, increasing trust is a key part of dental marketing it’s only now that it seems to be working into the world of search optimisation. Usually Google is ahead of me but in this instance it seems I’m about 10 years ahead of what Google is saying!

Consider:

  • Having structured data on your site around your testimonials. This structured data will tell Google that the content on your site is a testimonial.
  • If you have a WordPress blog, implement a plug-in which pulls in your Google reviews and displays them on your website.
  • Include multiple reviews and patient testimonials, particularly via videos linked to your YouTube channel.

Expertise and author credentials

This is one of the largest areas where I think we can make an impact. The latest Google update seems to have affected medical sites because Google has no way of knowing who has written the content.

To all intents and purposes any content on your website could be written by someone with zero dental knowledge. If you are handing out useful, free and relevant dental health advice on your website (which you should be) then you need to demonstrate to Google who the author is and what the credentials are.

With the research I’ve done around this update this seems to be one of the biggest reasons that medical sites have been impacted.

How to demonstrate your credentials

On WordPress blogs there is a users section.

WordPress user

If you open this then you will see a user profile. So long as your WordPress template supports it, if you completed the biographical information within your profile then your blog will include this information at the end of each post.

if your WordPress blog doesn’t support showing authors on each post, then you may wish to install a WordPress author plug-in.

How to tell Google who the author is of your blog

  • Register your site with Google Webmaster tools
  • Under the “search appearance” section you will see “data highlighter”, Click on ‘start highlighting’

Data highlighter in Google Webmaster tools

You can then paste in the location of your blog.

You then simply begin highlighting sections of the page, webmaster tools will then ask you what this is. Go throughout the post telling it what the title is, they published, category and importantly who the author is.

Image source :http://www.portableentrepreneur.com/google-webmaster-tools-tutorial/

Inbound link building to your profile page

Okay, so let’s assume you’ve done that… Who’s to say you aren’t lying?

The next stage is to reach out to other bloggers, dental websites and related websites… Write articles for them, give them those articles and ask them to link back to your author profile.

Google will then see the author profile on your website and also notice all of these other articles you’ve written around the Internet all linking back to your author profile.

The more you do this more you will demonstrate to Google that you are a trusted author with expertise and credentials.

Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a quick fix for this algorithmic update. It’s about being on top of your marketing in general, demonstrating trust, expertise and your credentials in everything you do… If you do this then your search optimisation will follow suit.

Online information processing on a dental practice website

Online information processing on a dental practice website – would you fail this test?

 

The best website designs and structures take into account how your patients process information. Good marketing is aware of how the messages on your website are processed by the patient and the corresponding steps you can take to ensure the correct message is received.

There are five stages of on-site information processing (1):

  1. Exposure – if your content changes to rapidly in things like banners or adverts or animations then patients calm process the information and take action.
  2. Attention – the human mind has limited capacity to pick out the main messages from the screen. Keep it simple. Make sure the eye is drawn to the content you want people to see.
  3. Comprehension – make sure the website is written in patient friendly language not dental jargon, use familiar or standard metaphors to help patients understand what you’re talking about.
  4. Yielding and acceptance – patients will be more convinced by benefits rather than simple features of your treatments and services. Reinforce your message with images as well as text.
  5. Retention – this is thinking about how well the customer can recall their experience, backup your website information with calls to action for them to join you on social media and do everything you can to gather their contact details, particularly e-mail.

Each stage is a hurdle and if each hurdle is made too difficult to navigate then the patient cannot progress to the next stage. You have failed!

Have a look at your website now and compare it to the five stages of on-site information processing… Have you succeeded or failed?

(1) Hofacker, C (2001) Internet marketing. Wiley. New York, 3rd edition

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.

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