Author Archives: Mark Oborn

About Mark Oborn

Mark is the only person in Digital Dental Marketing to have a Masters Degree in Business (MBA) majoring in marketing & creativity plus have run a dental laboratory for 14 years and been working in dentistry for 23 years as a dental technician. He's also a Master Practitioner of the communication modelling system, Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) as well as being a Master Practitioner of Hypnosis and a Master NLP Coach. Mark understands business, dentistry and communication making him the logical choice to help with your digital dental marketing.

It’s all about connection

One of the fundamentals in any business is to truly understand what it is you are here to do and how the world will be a better place as a result of your business.

Let’s be honest, the world isn’t going to be a better place just because someone has a new amalgam filling! So this is more than what you do day-to-day… It’s about making the world a better place and making it a better place for the local people.

If you ask that question of yourself and your own business, what would the answer be?

I’m going to give you a template by way of a personal example of myself… yes, I want to explain to the world how it will be a better place for me having lived in it… And at the same time I want to give you an example so that you can use this in your own business.

I’ve been reflecting considerably over the past 6 months or so… And this is what I have discovered.

Mark Oborn Ltd… Indeed ME… is all about connection.

Marketing isn’t Something You do, It’s Something You Are

Marketing isn’t simply a function of your business, it isn’t something which gets done for half an hour once a month or which gets discussed at your monthly marketing and business development meetings… No, it’s far more than that.

This is what I mean.

Fundamentally my business is about connecting dental practices with local people that have a dental problem and are looking for a solution. It’s simply presenting the dental practice in the right way and communicating with the right people at the right time and in a way that makes sense to them.

And yet, this connecting isn’t something I do when I’m working day-to-day, it’s something I truly am.

  • I dance. When I dance (at least twice a week for 3 hours each time) I’m dancing with a single person for a three-minute track, during that time I have a deep connection with that person and in that dance. Such joy.
  • I buy locally. When I buy locally I looked the person in the eye that has taken to the time to source these amazing goods for me, I truly connect with them and an able to thank them. Such joy, in their eyes and mine.
  • I ride my motorbike. When I ride my bike I am connecting with the world around me and the road, without the safety blanket of a metal box around me. Such joy.
  • I’m a member of a local Community Supported Agriculture scheme. When I buy my vegetables from Adam and Dee I’m able to connect with them and look them in the eye, and thank them for sustaining me. Such joy, in their eyes and mine.

Connection to other people, the planet, my work, my friends and family and the world around me is incredibly important.

Marketing isn’t something I do, it’s something I am… And what I am is about connection

What is important to you? How does this come out in your business? Is your business just something that you just do (like dentistry), or is it something that you are?

Making a Practical Difference

So, you’ve taken some time to think beyond what you do day-to-day and have begun to think about who you are (and I don’t mean a dentist or a marketer) and you now know how the world will be a better place as a result of who you are

How do you make a practical difference?

Again, I’m going to use a personal example. I suggest, as I did, you then begin to look at the world around you in terms of:

  • How will you impact the people you work with?
  • How will you impact your customers?
  • How will you impact your suppliers?
  • How will you impact the local people?
  • How will you impact the local economy?
  • How will you impact the local environment?
  • How will you impact the wider environment?
  • How will you impact the planet?

Knowing who you are (remember, I’ve said I am about connection) you can then look at this as a frame of reference for the questions above.

Here’s what I came up with… And I’m going to share these images on social media over the coming weeks and months.

What is really important to note is that some of this may not resonate with you… And that’s fine, the point is that you use the following as an idea and as the starting point for you to think about your own business and yourself, and who you are and what motivates you…

If I am to truly connect with my clients I need to have a code of honesty with them, if they upset me it doesn’t benefit either of us for me to keep quiet… And the same works the other way round, if I upset them it doesn’t benefit either of us.

With gentle and honest communication, even through difficult subjects we can truly connect with our clients and the people we work with.

Like I said, honesty is important, and that includes money and pricing. I have never and will never offer any form of discount on my services. I want to be totally honest all of the time and transparent, this then enables me to connect with not only existing clients but prospective clients.

Everyone knows they pay the same and that the whole pricing system and structure is fair, honest and open.

My personal belief is that the planet around me sustains me. I eat a very healthy wholefood diet which is predominantly sourced locally. This doesn’t mean I’m going to take a horse and cart everywhere but it does mean that I will do what I can to limit my footprint and include the environment in EVERY business decision, thereby connecting more with the planet which sustains us.

What is the local environment like in which you live?

I live 0.8 miles from the sea and I’m painfully aware that if I put lots of chemicals into the sewerage system they could easily make their way into the sea. If we connect to the damage we can so easily cause we can find ways to help prevent it.

I do what I can to limit the amount of electricity and gas I use at home and this has to be the starting point… Just use less fuel!

I accept I need to use fuel so I buy it from an energy company which produces energy in the UK (and thereby helps to sustain the local economy) which is also renewable and/or carbon neutral.

I’m a digital marketing agency after all! But going digital means we can cut down on envelopes in the post, cheques going backwards and forwards, letters being sent etc. I’m about 95% digital at the moment and am committed to getting this to 100%.

A finally… This is the really big one for me. Dentistry is about connecting a local business (YOU) with your local community…

Like I said, marketing isn’t something I do… It’s something I am…

… and connecting with the local people in my home and personal life when I purchase from them gives me a deep sense of joy…

Where is the joy in what you do… Indeed where is the joy in who you are?

How to Get Your Website Working for Each Category of Visitor

When someone visits your website do you know where they are in their decision-making process?

Not everyone that visits your website is going to be ready to click the request an appointment button or the phone call button, in fact, this is likely to be the largest cohort of website visitors… People that are NOT ready to take any immediate action and contact you.

Unless you have something explicitly on your website for them to do then you have lost this visitor and lost an opportunity.

Patients that visit your website may not all be ready to book an appointment straight away, They may:

  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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 and gone some way to solving their immediate issue, at the same time we get to collect their information!

For the respective categories this should be:

  • Free guides and downloads for patients wishing to solve a dental problem. Handed out freely in exchange for an e-mail address (GDPR compliant, of course)
  • 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.
  • Request an appointment facility. This needs to drop into an automated e-mail campaign where patients are followed up if they don’t come in to see you.

All of these 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.

Using free information downloads & free consultations etc 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!

With a system such as this, you now have something for everyone to do on your website, no matter where they are in their decision-making process, the prospective patient is happier as they have received the information they want and you are happy as your marketing is now working more effectively!

Goodbye Anoop

I had the pleasure of meeting Anoop Maini on only a couple of occasions and yet, awaking to the news this morning that he is no longer with us fills me with a recognisable sense of loss.

I have a small insight into the pain his family will be feeling at this moment, that pain is is unreal.

I know the questions they will be asking of themselves, of him and of God and the universe. Questions that have no answers.

Every fibre of my body this morning feels compassion and love towards these people whom I do not know.

His death has surely rocked the dental world, and once again I’m reminded of the fragility of our grip upon this place we call home.

For the family and friends of this great man I say this…

“You can shed tears that he is gone,
or you can smile because he has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that he’ll come back,
or you can open your eyes and see all he’s left.
Your heart can be empty because you can’t see him,
or you can be full of the love you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember him only that he is gone,
or you can cherish his memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind,
be empty and turn your back.
Or you can do what he’d want:
smile, open your eyes, love and go on.”

Sending all of the Maini family love, peace and metta.

Free Facebook live event

Creating an online marketing machine never sleeps

Click the get reminder button below to ensure you are reminded at the correct time.

How to create an online digital dental marketing machine that attracts the right type of patients 365 days a year…
…without sleeping, moaning or pulling a sicky!
After working with multiple dental practices around the world for the last 10 years…
… regularly generating 40-50 new patient enquiries per month continues to prove my theory that:
You should look at your digital marketing the same way you do your dentistry, in a holistic way…
…simply because things work so much better as a complete system rather than the typical piecemeal style of marketing.
Here’s why:
In order to work digital marketing needs to be connected as a complete system…
… not a random spread of different marketing techniques dotted around the Internet
A prime example is:
“I’m doing social media” or “I’ve got an e-mail newsletter” or “I’m spending lots of money on Google Adwords”.
Yet so many practices I come across are trying to cast their net far and wide with this randomised style of marketing…
…because they think that they really do need to be doing something, because something is better than nothing, right?
When in fact this only makes it more difficult to track, more difficult to keep on top of, more difficult to follow-up any leads and really hard to track your return on investment, because…
… how can you track things across so many different platforms?
And all of that work then just doesn’t seem that effective, or worst of all your efforts go completely to waste.
As a result these practices then either give up with their marketing, or label social media or e-mail as ineffective and not working…
… when actually, it’s not the specific platform or media that isn’t working, it’s the marketing strategy.
So here’s what I do to ensure my dental practice clients get the best results.
I took a long look at the academic theory of how relationships are built, as well as the psychological elements that the brain needs to make a decision and put this all into a system.
This resulted in a neat system of interlinked websites/social media/e-mail/paid advertising, in order to meet prospective patients “where they’re at” in terms of their…
– Primary problem they want to solve- Primary aspirations- Primary challenges- And naturally helping them to make the right decision
Doing this allows your marketing to be far more effective, working all the time whilst you sleep to…
…look for more of the right type of new patient that fulfil your own specified new patient profile.
Which in turn drops patients into a gentle follow-up process that does most of the hard work for you.
This isn’t like a secret money bean this formula that you hear some gurus talking about.
This is a scientifically-based system that naturally brings people to a point of logical conclusion instead of trying to…
…force our sales message on them (really not good for health care!).
I want you to understand how all of this works together, that’s why I’ve put together a free Facebook live event to explain how this marketing system links together and works to prove that it isn’t just some random idea I’ve just had.
On this event I’m going to reveal:
1. How to optimise your digital marketing to increase traffic (the digital version of footfall)
2. How to optimise your digital marketing to increase conversions. Traffic is pointless unless that traffic converts, you see!
This isn’t a Facebook live event that is hosted by some random marketer that thinks they know how dentistry works. It’s hosted by me who has:
– Over 30 years experience in dentistry as a London-based dental technician. I understand dentistry!- An MBA majoring in marketing and creativity. I understand business and marketing!- A qualification as a Master Practitioner Neuro Linguistic Programming (communication modelling system). I understand communication!
So if you’re having to regularly come up with new marketing ideas every couple of months because your current ones run out of steam…
… And you want to find out how to work as a holistic marketer, just like you work as a holistic dentist…
… Then make sure you join me on 23rd of July at 7:30 PM on this free Facebook live event, click the get reminder button



looking forward to seeing you…

Tips for getting more from Instagram

How to get more on Instagram and use Instagram for marketing – 3 Top Tips

Instagram is on the increase (BIG TIME) but how can you use it for marketing? In this video I go through 3 top tips for improving the effectiveness of Instagram, if you don’t want to watch the video and would rather read the transcript I have also included is below.

Transcript

Well, hello there, peoples. Instagram. Instagram, Instagram, Instagram, that’s all we hear nowadays. But how can you use Instagram to build a following, to educate people, to get them to take action? In this little video I’m going to give you three little tips, little sneaky things you can do on the Instagram to do exactly that, and if you’re watching this on Instagram, remember to click the follow button. If you’re watching this on Facebook, click like, and make sure you click on the notifications to see first. And if you’re watching on YouTube, subscribe and hit the little bell button to make sure that you get notified as these videos go live.

So, Instagram. What I’m going to do is, I’m going to show you a little Instagram page that I set up, actually exactly one month ago, it was about the 28th of April I set this page up. And it’s nothing to do with dentistry, it’s nothing to do with marketing. It’s to do with healthy living and eating good quality food, specifically vegan food. That’s not the reason I’m showing you it. I want to show you what I’m doing from the marketing side of things. I want to show you three little tips that you can use to build your Instagram following, and to get people to take action and to visit your website, and to do more.

What I’m going to do is I’m going to share my screen with you. This is my little Instagram page, and you will probably know that the best way to interact with Instagram is if you use it on your phone. Far easier to do on your phone than it is to do on a computer, but for the purposes of this, the computer screen actually works really well. What we’re going to do is we’re going to look at this page here, and you can see if I highlight, I haven’t got that many followers, 213, but that’s okay. I’m quite happy with that after the first month. But some little tips, some little tips.

One of those tips is to always, always, always use hashtags. Hashtags are these little babies, these little babies here that go after your content. Put your content in, and then use hashtags. Use hashtags that other people are using that you want to be found for. So, my little tip, my sneaky little tip, is to look for other people that are successful in your niche, whether that be vegan food, whether that be dental marketing, whether that be dentistry, look for people that are successful, people that have got lots of followers. Look at the hashtags they are using, then create a little text file and put those hashtags into the text file. Let the text file grow and grow and grow, more and more hashtags. Then, every post you use, use those hashtags.

And I’ll show you the reason why this works really well. The reason why it works well is because you can search for hashtags on Instagram. You can see this is one of the hashtags I used, vegetarian recipes, and you can see it’s had 848,000 posts. Let’s go for another one. Let’s go for vegan food. You can see we’ve had 15 million posts. Now, on Instagram, you can follow a hashtag. What that means in reality is that various followers can follow not only you as a person, but follow the hashtags you are talking about. If you don’t use the hashtags, you miss out on a whole load of people that will see your post. I used these vegan hashtags, and within seconds–oh yes, I mean seconds–I’ll have 30 or 40 likes of a particular post. That’s without having the followers. That’s just getting the likes of that post.

Here is the proof. Let me go back to my page here and have a look here. I’ve got 176 likes of this one, 52, 140, 49, 63. Didn’t use hashtags in that one. That was because it wasn’t about vegan food, that was as restaurant I visited. Sixty-three, and so on and so on, 21, 113, 63, 74, 68, 73. You can get a lot of likes through relatively very few followers by using hashtags. That’s tip number one.

Tip number two. Tip number two is to update your story. You’ve got two types of posts on Instagram. You can have your regular daily posts of the images that I’ve just shown you with a little bit of text and your hashtags, and you can have stories. Stories are little snippets of video which you can put daily, and you can highlight. If you update your story and you think you’ve done a particularly good one, you can highlight it. If you go to your profile page on the phone, you will see where you can highlight the story. When you highlight a story, you can name that particular highlight, and you can group highlights together, give them a little name, and you can even upload a little logo.

Here is what I have done. I have created stories. Some around motivation to be vegan, some around food ideas, some around store cupboard essentials. If I click on this, essentials, I’ve got to log in to see the story, but when you log in, you will see that story. Same with food ideas, you got to log in to see the story, and same with motivation. What we can do is we can group stories together. When you do your posts, your regular posts, use the hashtag, use nice images, and when you do a story, make sure your story’s around a particular theme.

If you’re in dentistry, you might want to do a very short 15-second video about replacing missing teeth, one of the options, perhaps implants. Then give another one the next day about bridges, another one the next day about dentures. Same with straightening crooked teeth. You might do a little story, 15-second blast about Invisalign, next one about [inaudible 00:06:31], next one prevention orthodontics, and so on and so on. Then group those stories together in highlights, and create little story highlights as I’ve done here, and create them and upload little logos to them. It can be a really good way of people finding quality content that they’re looking for on your Instagram page.

And the final thing to do, if you look here, is to have your website. You must put your website in there. Make sure you have a business Instagram account. That’s very easy to do, go to the settings, make sure you switch it to business. It will then link it through to a Facebook page. And make sure you have a link. The link to your website is really important because unless you pay for links on Instagram, this is the only place you can get a link in, so get your website in there. At the moment, I don’t have a website for this particular project, I just used my Facebook page, but get your website in.

So, there are your three top tips for Instagram. Use hashtags, lots of them, store them in a text file, put them in every post. Group together your stories, do them as highlights, upload little logos for each highlight, and think about how you’re going to group your highlights together. And get your webpage link into your bio. Please do let me know what you think. If you are already on Instagram, make sure you follow. If you’re on Facebook, make sure you follow and click notifications, select see first so you get updated. And if you’re on YouTube, click subscribe and hit the little bell button. See you soon.

10 Years 10 Business Tips – #10 – Maximise your own skills and outsource the rest

This is the final blog post in my 10 years celebration series and oddly, lands on my birthday!

So, it’s happy birthday to me, and happy birthday to my business. Although I’m a little bit older than 10!

So this post is about maximising your own skills and outsourcing the rest.

I first came across this principle whilst reading the E-Myth by Michael Gerber, so many small businesses try to do EVERYTHING themselves. I realised very early on that I simply couldn’t do this.

Within one year of starting my business and was still working full-time in the dental laboratory I employed a virtual PA to work within my marketing business.

She worked around 10 hours per month and sorted out all of my accounts and dealt with phone calls and managed my diary. I still have a virtual PA to this day and simply couldn’t do without one.

You MUST invest in your business!

I’ve also invested heavily in technology.

I started managing my client work manually on a spreadsheet but it soon got out of hand, I use Act! Premium a customer relationship management software to keep track of prospect and clients… I seriously could not do without this piece of software.

When I first started I also did a lot of my tasks manually, for example I used to search monthly for the range of keywords my clients want to be found for, I did this manually on Google and entered the results in a spreadsheet.

TIRESOME!

There is now extremely powerful software that can not only search for hundreds of keywords but also compare where clients rank against competitors, there is so much data it simply is not possible to do this manually.

Website design is also something I’m not good at. I can do the content and make it work but I’m not a designer! I see too many small businesses attempt to do websites themselves, believe me I can tell when I see one.

I firmly believe it’s worth investing in a good website designer as well as branding designer to get things on point, looking good and working well. I’ve got a few on the recommendations page of my website.

So the key is, understand what YOU can do uniquely that NO-ONE else can do… And then outsource or delegate (to either a human or software) the rest.

That way you can build a successful business which is scalable beyond what you could do on your own.

SORTED…

10 Years 10 Business Tips – #9 – Develop a positive mindset

It sounds simple doesn’t it, think positive… But I realise it is not always quite so straightforwards.

It takes time.

It takes effort.

But it’s worth it.

When Bill Gates created Microsoft he wasn’t thinking “This is pointless, no one in the world has a computer”, rather he was thinking “How can I make this new product accessible so everyone in the world DOES have a computer!”.

When Steve Jobs created the iPhone he wasn’t thinking “This is pointless, no one knows how to use a touchscreen phone”, Rather he was thinking “How can I make this new product so intuitive that EVERYONE CAN use touchscreen phone”.

If you ever think “This won’t work” then STOP.

Reframe.

Re-think the question to “How can I make this work?”

If you have a product or service that people want, if you have a way to deliver it that is uniquely yours and if you have the passion behind your idea then you will not fail!

10 Years 10 Business Tips – #8 – Don’t get stuck in the box

Think outside the box.

What box?

Who cares about a box?

Even thinking about the box puts in boundaries, forget it even exists.

Dare to be different.

Dare to be YOU.

Dare to challenge the norm.

Dare to change.

Do away with labels. I’m not a ‘marketing consultant’, that constrains me. I am who I am and do what I do in order to benefit my clients.

I refuse to be constrained.

I refuse to be normal.

And that’s what sets me apart, that’s what gives me a competitive edge. I have remained a small and agile company for a reason!

Are you stuck in your box?

10 Years 10 Business Tips – 7 – Develop your network

This is one of the oldest tricks in the book but is also one of the most important.

The first step is to identify similar businesses which share your customer demographic. The trick is to be really clear about who your ideal customers are, where they hang out, what they like to do etc?

Once you know who your ideal customers are you can then identify similar businesses which do not compete with you directly but share the same customers.

Examples that have worked really well for me are:

  • Video production companies.
  • Business coaches and consultants.
  • Training and education businesses.

In some instances I’ve been approached by these businesses looking to share common interests with me, other times I have approached them.

The key is to have something which is mutually beneficial to offer both your clients, that way you get a win/win situation for both your business, their business and all of your clients!

It’s about looking for commonality between businesses and then helping each other.

An example could be that I could approach a video production company and ask them to give me some top tips on how to produce videos for a business website. I could then reciprocate this and write them some top tips on how to market and attract more customers to a business.

We could reciprocate these articles, perhaps on our own blogs.

The video production company gets some excellent content helping their customers with their marketing.

My customers get some excellent content helping them with their video production.

It’s a win/win/win for both companies and all customers.

Working together like this also engenders a sense of friendship, trust and community and I found the building my business based on these values has been both sustainable and beneficial.

Begin working together… Sharing together… And building the rewards together!

10 Years 10 Business Tips – Tip #6 – Save for tax

Sounds a simple doesn’t let you? But so many people just don’t do it.

From the word go, and yes I mean my very first month in business I began saving for tax, even though I knew I had 18 months in order to pay after my year-end because I was a new business.

Being incorporated meant I could easily work out the business tax of 21%. I simply took my profits each month and put 21% of it into a savings account.

I do exactly the same today but include an additional 20% for VAT [thanks Mr Taxman, I really enjoy being a revenue collector for you… NOT].

In all of my 10 years in business I’ve never once worried about tax due dates as I’ve always had the money in advance.

It’s a very stressfree way to manage your finances.

I earn money out of HMRC

Yes, you read that right. I pay my corporation tax early and earn 0.5% interest! The earliest HMRC will usually pay interest is from 6 months and 13 days after the start of your accounting period.

So there’s even a financial benefit from being organised!

Find out more about HMRC interest rates for late and early payments