Category Archives: marketing

Dental marketing blog posts categorised as Marketing

Stop selling treatments – PLEASE!

As the UK comes out of lockdown and dentists are beginning to think about what happens from here on in. I’m seeing more practices (and indeed more marketing agencies showing me adverts on Facebook) talking about selling more treatments.

Facebook seems to be awash with marketing agencies exclaiming they can make you £X,000 by selling specific treatments using their magic formula. If only you knew the secret!

In this blog post I’m going to explain why this is a damaging and wholly inappropriate marketing strategy for dentists.

The thing is, selling treatments is what is known as transactional marketing.

Transactional marketing is a business strategy that focuses on single, “point of sale” transactions. The emphasis is on maximizing the efficiency and volume of individual sales rather than developing a relationship with the buyer.

Transactional marketing is used in the high Street for selling things like computers, mobile phones and sofas. In transactional marketing we focus on:

  • The features of the product we are selling.
  • The benefits of the product we are selling.

In such transactions the customer is able to undertake certain key functions:

  1. Know that the product can be made ‘reliably and repeatedly’ (known as the ‘promise’), they can verify this because they can see the product on the shelf.
  2. They can try the product before they buy, this, therefore, reduces the risk to the purchaser.
  3. If, after purchase, the product does not live up to expectations they can take the purchase back. This ultimately reduces risk to an extremely low point, regardless of the value of the purchase.

For these reasons, a transactional sale is low risk to the purchaser and requires little trust in the person making the sale. Remember this, as I’m going to come back to it later.

Transactional marketing’s focus is simply “buy my product and sod off!” A little bit blunt, but you get my point?

Let’s flip the tables on this. Now we know what transactional marketing is about let’s ask those same questions about dentistry.

Key questions to ask in dentistry about transactions

  1. Can the purchaser know that the person delivering the dentistry can ‘reliably and repeatedly’ perform the ‘promise’ over and over again? No. The purchaser will inherently know that dentistry is performed by a unique individual every single time and therefore the quality of service will inevitably fluctuate. This is known as a service heterogeneity.
  2. Can the purchaser try before they buy? No.
  3. Can the purchaser take back the purchase (think about a white filling for example) can they ask the vendor (YOU) to take the filling back and restore all of the decay so that they can go elsewhere? No.

One can easily see that these questions are almost completely the opposite to those posed in a transactional sale.

This is because dentistry is a SERVICE!

Thinking about the questions above one can also easily notice that the 2 factors, risk and trust are also completely opposite to a transactional sale.

In the example given above risk to the user is high (because they cannot try before they buy, they know that the promise delivered can vary and they can’t take their purchase back afterwards for a refund)… Because of this they will require high trust in the person making the sale – that’s you!.

We are now no longer looking at transactional marketing… We are looking at relationship marketing and it is this we should focus on in dentistry.

What does this mean for marketing?

In simple terms, a transactional marketer will offer sweeteners (pardon the pun) and incentives in order to reduce the risk of the purchaser to such a point that they cannot refuse to buy.

Think about purchasing a sofa, a salesperson may include an extra armchair, free cleaning after a period of time or discounted insurance. All of this is done because the salesperson knows that trust doesn’t need to be very high and that purchasing risk is low.

Relationship marketing is almost the complete opposite.

In relationship marketing we can’t use the same (high pressure) incentives because the purchaser needs to develop trust with the person making the sale, coupled with this the purchase is higher risk.

Relationship marketing is about marketing the RELATIONSHIP between the players, not the goods/services being exchanged.

What should dental marketing focus on?

Dental marketing should therefore only focus on 2 things:

  1. Increasing trust.
  2. Decreasing risk.

End of.

So, stop selling treatments – PLEASE!

Waking up to a Brave New World Post Covid-19

Everyone can see that the world has changed. Let’s look at this from a marketing perspective, particularly the 4 C’s of marketing.

  1. Customers
  2. Convenience
  3. Communication
  4. Cost

It wasn’t too long ago that:

  • No one would have known what a zoom meeting was. The ability to communicate conveniently from the comfort the patient’s own home has increased exponentially. This makes the cost to the customer considerably lower, particularly in terms of time.
  • Many would have said it was impossible to run businesses which were classically face-to-face in a more hands off way. Yoga teachers, dance teachers, restaurants and pubs have all been thinking out of the box to deliver their services with little or no contact making their offering much more convenient to the customer.
  • The older demographic wouldn’t have known how to use the technology. The customer is now more competent as they have been communicating with the family.
  • Patients (customers) have become conditioned to be concerned about personal contact, it will take time for this conditioning to ease in their mind.
Infographic: Zoom Grows Exponentially | Statista

The customer‘s expectations of how a service can/should be delivered has changed – in order to keep up we need to step into the mind of the customer.

The ability to offer services in a more convenient manner has had a paradigm shift.

People have become more used to communication digitally, they have become tech savvy and now know how to use that technology.

Customers have got more used to reduced (time) cost by not having to travel, for example restaurants (they get a takeaway instead), yoga classes (they join a zoom meeting instead)

What will the brave New World look like?

I predict that:

  1. Patients will now expect at least part of their journey with you to be digital.
  2. Patients will be more tech-savvy and be able to use digital media to communicate with the practice.
  3. Patients will be more aware and concerned about close physical contact, at least in the short term. They will therefore expect physical contact to be kept to a minimum.
  4. The context we live in has changed. Patients have become used to fast moving and fast changing social context and will be therefore more open to adaptation in your new patient journey. This makes it an ideal time to move into the digital era, be more relevant and efficient.

Get planning

I therefore suggest you get planning, I recommend the following:

  • Create a new patient journey flow
  • Draw a diagram to represent this flow
  • Which parts can be made digital?
  • Which parts can other people do with training?
  • In what way has the social context changed? Create a list, for example:
    • people don’t want to leave their homes
    • social distancing is the new normal
    • concern and feeling scared about spreading or catching the virus and creating a 2nd peak
    • convenient solutions now required in a different way to before
  • Think about how the new social context is relevant to you, your practice and how you can use technology to improve things.

This is how I imagine the New World will be

Patients will continue to use practice websites as the primary mechanism to investigate their dental problems (Google optimisation), identify possible solutions as well as evaluate alternate providers (remember, whenever we make a purchase decision we will always have a list of potential solution providers, we may come to an answer about which provider we use very quickly – sometimes in milliseconds, or, it may take us some time – sometimes years).

They will continue to evaluate providers but have a different criteria for comparison.

In order for a dental practice to make it onto the list of potential solution providers when the patient is evaluating, the practice will need to fulfil the new patient’s criteria of:

  • “Allowing me to be as distant as possible so as not to spread the disease.”
  • “I’m scared of catching the disease, so I don’t want to see too many people.”
  • “I want the lowest time cost option as I’ve become used to spending more time at home and doing the things I want to do.”
  • “I’ve got used to using technology to communicate, I think it’s relatively quick and simple to do.”

The primary mechanism to encourage prospective patients to take the next step is therefore going to be a virtual consultation.

Patients will be happy to contact the practice either using a virtual chat system (this can be automated) or by completing a form on the website.

The consultation will be offered via a Zoom (or similar) meeting, it will be the 1st part of your new patient consultation where you can have a broad discussion about patient concerns, possible treatment options and get the patient booked in for the 2nd part of the consultation which will be clinical.

The booking for the new patient video consultation and booking into the clinic will all be done virtually with participants in any geographical location, not necessarily at home or in the practice. This video consultation may or may not be done by a clinician. The patient has then spent the least amount of time out of the house, keeping them safe but also allowing them to do more of the things they want to do in their leisure time.

Follow-up e-mails will be sent to patients after their virtual consultation to follow up on the process and ensure they have no unanswered questions.

A reminder e-mail will be sent to patients prior to their clinical assessment, reminding them of how the practice is taking social distancing seriously helping to keep the patient safe.

When the patient comes into the practice the e-mail marketing system will be automatically updated, removing them from any prospecting list and adding them to a patient list.

Once they have been in for their appointment the e-mail system will automatically ask for a review.

Resources you could use

  • Aweber – for e-mail marketing. Plans from $19 per month.
  • Calendly – for virtual consultation scheduling. Free plans available.
  • Zoom – for virtual consultations. Free plans available.
  • Zapier – for linking virtual consultations into e-mail marketing. Free plans available.
  • Manychat – for virtual Facebook chat bots.

So, are you ready for the brave New World?

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!

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.

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 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 🙂

 

Golden principles of dental marketing

The 4 Golden principles of marketing which shouldn’t be ignored

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.

Summary

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.

Period.