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!
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.
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.
There are a multitude of ways of doing this from storytelling, to testimonials/online reviews to marketing strategies and it is to the latter around which this blog post is focused.
All marketing strategies to attract new patients for dental practice should have the focus of reducing risk and increasing trust in order to build relationships and they typically recommend re-tactics:
A free consultation. This can be a great way to encourage patients to come and see you and often reduces risk to the point at which patients will take action.
Refund of initial assessment. Using this strategy the patient pays up front for the initial assessment but is then refund it against treatment (terms and conditions apply as ever).
Discounted new patient assessment. Many practices do this without even thinking, often discounting their new patient assessment by up to 75% based upon the targeted hourly rate. Think about how much you charge free new patient assessment, compare this to your targeted hourly rate and I would almost guarantee you are offering a large discount, all the marketing does around this is to be explicit about what you are already doing.
But which one works best?
I’m going to get jiggy with data now (That’s a technical term!), the best way to know which one works best is to measure, measure, measure… That’s what I’ve done and here are the results.
We don’t just put the wording on the website offering a consultation, refund or discount, we do it with a signup form which patients can download voucher entitling them to this particular offer. This has a few benefits:
We gather the patient’s name and e-mail address.
If we have the patient’s permission we can send further marketing communication.
It encourages people to take action there and then, right now, striking what the irony is hot on your website!
We can measure which one works better using digital marketing technology, such as Aweber (the software I use).
I ran a split test signup form for each of the 3 options above, a free consultation, refund of initial assessment or discounted new patient assessment. Each of them dropped into an automated e-mail marketing campaign and each of them counted as a new patient enquiry from the website.
I ran two different versions of this split test, one of them was a static form at the bottom of the page on the dental practice website, the other was a pop-up form which appeared once the user has been on the website for 30 seconds… I can almost hear you moaning now, people HATE pop-up forms… But hold fire, wait until you see the results!
This was what one of the static forms look like at the foot of the website, the software simply rotated each of the options and showed a different form to each visitor.
The pop-up form simply appeared once the user had been on the website for 30 seconds, the pop-up would appear once only to each visitor.
Static form results
You can see each signup form, discount, refund and free consultation. The probability is the percentage chance of each of these being shown, you can see I have set the software to show all of them equally (+/-).
We’ve had approximately 13,000 views of each of the forms to give a statistically significant result.
The conversion rate (S/D) can clearly be seen… The free consultation wins hands down with almost double the conversion rate of either the discount or refund. Even though the free treatment form is actually being shown fewer times than the other forms it has created 136 new patient enquiries, compared to 51 for the refund and 88 for the discount.
Pop-up form results
As you can see the number of displays of the pop-up forms is significantly less because people often bounce off the website prior to seeing this form… However, once again the free consultation gets a 40% higher conversion rate than the refund with a 1.4% conversion rate compared to 1% for the refund.
What’s really interesting here is that the pop-up form at 1.4% conversion rate actually has a higher conversion rate than the static form of 1.1%.
How interesting, so many people berate pop-up forms (Me included), but when they are done right they can actually have a higher conversion rate than your static forms, who knew!
What can you take away from this?
We could go on split testing more and more things, not only could we split test different forms with different offers, we could also split test different wordings within those forms, different colours of signup buttons can also have quite significant impact on conversion rates.
I would suggest you do your own testing and don’t rely on these results. Not every practice is in the same geographical location with the same demographic of patients so not all results are replicable, the answer, as ever is test, test, test… See what works, if it works do more of it, if it doesn’t stop.
That’s the basic rule of marketing really!
Do let me know your thoughts and any results of any split testing you have completed.
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…
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.
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.
Accompanying 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.
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:
There are four Golden principles with marketing which, if you choose to ignore you do so at your peril. HOW you choose to implement each of these four steps will be very personal to you, but whatever you do make sure you go through every step.
Those four steps follow the mnemonic AIDA
Step 1 – ATTENTION
Before anyone can take any action at all, before they can come to your dental practice, before they can phone, before they can visit your website you need to capture their attention. They need to know that you physically exist and that you are there.
The first stage of any marketing campaign should be to grab people’s attention. If you were at the recent dentistry show in Birmingham think big drums, bhangra music and oompahloompahs! Big drums, bhangra music and oompahloompahs may not be how you wish to grab people’s attention, that’s fine but the principle remains, in order for anyone to take any action at all they need to know you exist and this kind of marketing, along with people like Richard Branson and sailing around the world in a balloon is brilliant at grabbing people’s attention.
Step 2 – INTEREST
Once we’ve grabbed someone’s attention and they know you exist we can start to pique the interest. This is where marketing becomes far more subtle, this is where telling patient stories begins, this is where we begin to engage with a prospect, gently helping them solve whichever problem it is that they have… Missing teeth, crooked teeth, ugly teeth (In their eyes) etc.
This is using e-mail marketing on the website to collect prospects e-mail addresses in exchange for a free downloadable guide and then gently dropping them into an automated systematic e-mail marketing campaign, all very gentle and NOT SELLING!
Step 3 – DESIRE
Once we have grabbed someone’s attention and they know you exist and we have created some form of interest in solving their problem we can then work on the third stage which is creating desire.
Showing prospects before and after photographs of patients in similar situations to them can help create a desire. Talking about the problem and the solution is an important step here also.
Step 4 – ACTION
Without action the three previous steps become pointless, this is where using marketing speak and language is vital. When someone lands on your website or receives an e-mail, what do you want them to do? Call us today, phone us today, request a free consultation today are all phrases which can be used with great effect.
Incentives to take action can also work in the form of free consultations or refunds of initial assessment… Think about specific things which will prompt someone to take action… Simply having a request an appointment form on your website is NOT suggesting that someone takes an action.
The steps above are WHAT you should do, they do not in any way tell you HOW you should do them. Oompahloompahs and bhangra music may not be for you, you may choose something more subtle or even more outlandish in order to generate attention about your service/product.
What ever you choose to do remember, with out these four steps your marketing won’t work.
Do you use a live chat facility on your website? In my opinion, you should… And here’s why…And also how …(especially as you can set this up for free!).
In a service based industry such as dentistry it can often be very difficult for a patient to evaluate your services, one of the key ways they do this is by your RESPONSIVENESS. [SERVQUAL Parasuraman et al 1988].
Logic would suggest that if a patient wants to contact you they will phone or e-mail however, this is not always the case. Having run live chat for the past few months on the websites of 15 dental practices I can report that:
Patients often ask questions relating to the practice location/address (one would think that they could simply look at a map).
Patients want to request an appointment but feel more reassured when they do this live with someone via chat.
Patients want to know the price of various dental treatments, even though they are clearly displayed on the website.
Patients just find a live chat more comforting than sending an e-mail as they know that the message has been answered immediately.
Having a live chat facility engenders a considerable amount of trust towards your practice and reduces risk, I strongly suggest you set this facility up.
Setting up live chat
Setting up live chat comes in three simple stages:
Add the widget code to your website or send to your designers
Stay signed in to Tawk.to and you will receive live chat as they come in from the website
It really is that simple, there is even an Android and iPhone app.
Go give it a try, it’s free!
And yes, I appreciate that it might be difficult to manage this front of house… So if you’d like to run a website chat facility on your own dental practice website, give me a call/email and we can talk about managing this for you at very little cost.
Examples of REAL LIFE conversations
Here follows a couple real life transcripts, notice how often the patient is asking about prices, if one just simply answered with the price the conversation will probably be over, engaging the patient in conversation helps them understand your services and engenders trust.
The interesting thing is that this patient was asking about prices and yet was on the fees page of the practice website when they initiated the chat.
[16:36] XXXXXXXX: Name : XXXXXXXX
[16:36] Mark – Patient Support has joined the conversation
[16:36] Mark – Patient Support: hi XXXXXXXX, how may I help?
[16:37] XXXXXXXX: Hello, ow much are incognito braces roughly?
[16:37] Mark – Patient Support: I need a little bit more information… What is it that appeals to you about incognito braces?
[16:38] XXXXXXXX: Im 22 and last couple years top and bottom teeth have become over crouded and gone out of shape and im too old to wear traditionall braces
[16:41] Mark – Patient Support: okay, I see, that is very helpful to know. There are actually a few options which might be able to help, invisible braces could also work and possibly dental bonding or veneers on only a few teeth. This could bring the price down dramatically. I’m not able to discuss full pricing on this chat facility as every price is bespoke for each patient as we like to treat each individual in a tailored way. I can arrange for a free consultation, with no obligation if you would like one?
[16:43] XXXXXXXX: So your saying instead of braces it could be possible to target individual teeth? And where abouts in XXXXXX are you based?
[16:44] Mark – Patient Support: yes, it is often possible to target individual teeth, without actually seeing you it’s impossible to say whether this is an option though 🙂 this is our full address XXXXXX
[16:44] XXXXXXXX: Do you offer finance?
[16:44] Mark – Patient Support: yes, we are able to arrange finance 🙂
[16:45] XXXXXXXX: Could you book me an appointment? Please
[16:45] Mark – Patient Support: certainly, I just need some information from you, your phone and e-mail address
[16:46] XXXXXXXX: XXXXXXXX@live.co.uk. 075 XXXXXX
[16:48] Mark – Patient Support: brilliant, thank you, is there a best day and time for you to be seen?
[16:49] XXXXXXXX: I usually work shifts so im tuesdays or thursdays
[16:49] Mark – Patient Support: is there any time of day that works better for you?
[16:50] XXXXXXXX: Early as possible please.
[16:51] Mark – Patient Support: okay, wonderful thank you so much. I have sent all of your details through to the reception team who are now checking their appointment diary, they will be in contact with you very shortly. Is there anything else I can help you with today?
[16:51] XXXXXXXX: No thank you, you’ve been very helfull.
[16:52] Mark – Patient Support: wonderful, have a good afternoon/evening
[16:52] Mark – Patient Support has left the conversation
In this following example it could be argued that the patient could simply pick up the phone, however as you can see patients often like to chat with someone live via the website.
[09:54] V14: Hello, I recently moved to the area (and away from my family dentist!) and I am not the best patient… but I think it is about time to quit being a coward and get a new dentist.
[09:55] Mark – Patient Support has joined the conversation
[09:55] Mark – Patient Support: hi there, welcome on chat, may I take your name please?
[09:55] V14: XXXXXXX
[09:56] Mark – Patient Support: XXXXXXX, we can certainly help with this, whereabouts do you live?
[09:57] Mark – Patient Support: OK, you are just around the corner from us, would you like me to arrange an initial consultation for you?
[09:58] V14: Yes please
[09:58] Mark – Patient Support: please may I take a phone number and e-mail address for you
[09:58] V14: XXXXXXX – XXXXXXX @me.com
[09:58] Mark – Patient Support: is there a better day and time for you to come?
[10:00] V14: On my way home would be appreciated… maybe a 17:00 appointment on any weekday but Wednesday?
[10:00] Mark – Patient Support: okay, one quick question, how did you hear about us?
[10:01] V14: I walk passed your surgery each day!
[10:01] Mark – Patient Support: lovely, thank you, XXXXXXX. I have passed all of your information on to our reception team, I don’t have full access to the appointment book at my location, they will contact you directly. Is there anything else I can help you with today?
[10:02] V14: No thanks! G’bye
[10:02] Mark – Patient Support: thank you, have a good day
[10:02] Mark – Patient Support has left the conversation
So many people are working really hard to collect as many Facebook and Google reviews as possible, but what can you do with them once you’ve got them?
Of course they look great on your Facebook and Google profiles but here are a couple of examples of how you can use them in other situations.
Encouraging more people to request an appointment
I’ve written many times about the issue of trust in dentistry; reviews add social proof to your website and this proof that you are trustworthy can increase conversion rates.
Whenever we ask someone to do something on our website, for example request an appointment, using social proof next to the ‘call to action’ can increase conversion rates.
Here’s an example of using Google reviews right next to an appointment request form.
Adding value to your fees/prices page
One of the most visited pages on any dental practice website if the fees page. If all you list are just your fees without adding value then you are doing yourself a disservice. Without letting patients know what they get when they spend an amount of money is a surefire way of making yourself look expensive!
A great way to add value to the service you offer is to let your happy patients do that marketing for you. A simple way to do this is to add Facebook reviews directly to your website, Here’s an example.
How to add a Facebook review to your website.
Locate the reviews on your Facebook page, once you have done this click on them.
Choose the review you wish to embed, then click on the little arrow top right to bring down a list of options.
Click on the embed option.
Copy the code and paste this into your website on the fees page.
You now have an interactive review on the fees page of your website which goes a significant way to reduce risk.
Advantages of using embedded reviews are:
They are much harder to fake, anyone can make up a review, but not anyone can get a review from a real person on Facebook.
Because people can interact with the review by commenting it demonstrates a trustworthy organisation that is open and transparent.
Because there is openness and transparency the patient can see that this review is not being manipulated… unless it’s obvious that you have reviewed yourself 🙂