Category Archives: Social Media Marketing

Dental marketing blog posts categorised as Social media marketing

Why you should never be post dental staff on social media

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

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

However, you are wrong in this assumption!

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

People with emotions.

People with feelings.

People who want to interact with a person.

Remember,

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

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

You ware just talking AT them, not WITH them.

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

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

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

Business relationships grow through three distinct stages [1].

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

You cannot, I repeat CAN NOT bypass this process.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So the simple rule is this…

Stop selling and start engaging!

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

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

Buy or sell

How to Sell Your Services – REALLY?

I was recently approached by a prospective new client who said something along the lines of:

“Mark, I’m running a course for dentists in three months time… Can you help with your marketing to fill it for me?”

Now equally, this could have been any one of the many dental services on offer, or even something completely different.

I asked what they had in mind for the marketing? They responded with ‘a series of e-mails, Facebook messages, Twitter tweets and the like.’

Okay,  so essentially they want to sell their course using online marketing.

But wait.

Who do we send those e-mails to?

Who is going to see those social media messages on Facebook or Twitter?

Aha, now we get to the nitty-gritty of the problem. We either have to use an existing e-mail database or buy one, and we have to pay for messages on Facebook or Twitter as we don’t have a particularly good Facebook following.

And if we suddenly start bombarding people that have never heard of us before with marketing messages trying to sell a new course, what does that do to the amount of trust they have in us?

Marketing in this style is what gives social media and e-mail a bad name. People say they’re bombarded with messages they hate and perceive as spam… And to be honest, that’s exactly what many messages are!

An alternative way of marketing – Switching from hate to love

Hate love switch

Switching the style of marketing we use can have an enormous impact, but it’s not a quick fix and you can’t suddenly think “Hey, I want to sell a course how can we fill it?”

The secret starts months possibly years earlier than the course/service you want to ‘sell’.

Marketing isn’t something you do… It’s something you are!

Here is a simple step-by-step list of how you can go about selling a course/service with no spam and without upsetting people:

  1. Identify the problem your target audience is trying to solve. DO NOT MISS THIS OUT! What is their problem? Is it that they want more confidence? Are they looking for more time? Are they looking for more money? Are they looking for a new partner? People go about solving these problems in a huge variety of ways, from looking for a new dance class to having teeth whitening… All to solve the same problem! Once you have identified the problem that people are trying to solve you can move on.
  2. Create a social media channel focused around solving this problem.
  3. Create a free guide focused around solving this problem and put it on your website in exchange for an e-mail address.
  4. Begin handing out useful, free and relevant advice helping these people solve this unique problem. Put that advice on your social media channel and write blog posts about it.
  5. Do this consistently and continuously all of the time. It should be your raison d’être. Hand out useful, free and relevant advice which helps that person go some way to solving their problem.

Doing this increases trust and reduces risk which means that when you have a specific service to sell, such as a course, you have an engaged audience which trusts you (after all, you’ve been giving them free information for ages now) and sees you as a low risk option (after all, you been giving them free advice and asked for nothing back).

With this engaged audience, whose problems you understand and have demonstrated you are an expert in it’s a logical and simple step to suggest that they take action to solve their problem with you.

And that’s how you use e-mail and social media to sell your course or service. It takes time to build and grow, but once it does it becomes an unstoppable machine which works 24/7, the best time to start is always now…

 

Why you need to stop that dental marketing right now!

As a dental marketing expert you might wonder why I am suggesting that you should stop your dental marketing right now. Well, I’m talking about a very specific type of marketing and that is marketing which treats dentistry like it is a product.

Buy one get one free.

Only 15 10  2 remaining Invisalign treatments available.

Both of these are examples of using ‘product’ style marketing techniques, these techniques work excellently if we are trying to shift products from our store as they incite the buyer to make a snap decision. Purchasing products is low risk because:

  • We can review the product prior to purchase to ensure we are happy with its quality.
  • We can take the product back afterwards if we are not happy with the quality.
  • The quality is almost guaranteed to be exactly the same between all products due to the industrialised manufacturing process.

This means purchasing products is generally low risk, even if price is high. Consider this, if I’m spending £15,000 on a new car I can test it beforehand and take it back afterwards if it doesn’t meet the agreed criteria all safe in the knowledge that every single car manufactured is almost the same. Purchasing a £15,000 car is, in general, a low risk decision. (It may have high-risk financial decisions but the actual decision to purchase the car is low risk)

Services on the other hand are high risk because:

  • The service cannot be reviewed before hand, as the service provider delivers the service, the user consumes the service at exactly the same time. Think about teaching, as the words come out of the teachers mouth the person listening absorbs and consumes the information.
  • Once a service has been delivered it cannot be given back. Think again about teaching, once you have listened to the words you cannot ‘unlisten’ and give the knowledge back again.
  • The service quality will change dependent upon the person delivering the service.

This is completely opposite to marketing a product.

So now think about purchasing a £200 treatment from the dentist. That new white filling cannot be reviewed before hand, you cannot make the white filling to stock and put on a shelf, the patient cannot give it back afterwards if they don’t like it and finally the patient will know that the quality of that filling can change dependent upon the operator delivering the service.

For this reason purchasing a £200 white filling from the dentist is a higher risk purchase than purchasing a £15,000 new car.

It’s not about the money, it’s about the risk.

Product marketing is about getting people to make a snap decision because risk is low, service marketing is about increasing trust and reducing risk and if we get the two mixed up we will end up commoditising the service..

We all know that dentistry is not a product, we all know the patient cannot review the treatment beforehand, we all know that the quality can vary dependent upon the operator, we all know the patient cannot give back the white filling afterwards so please stop treating dentistry as a product and trying to get patients to make a snap decision.

This is why online marketing is perfectly tailored for dentistry as it allows us to gently build a relationship with a patient, all the while demonstrating that you genuinely care for their oral health, we work on increasing trust and reducing risk not trying to get patients to make a snap decision.

Focus your marketing on increasing trust and reducing risk and the profits will follow.

This is in your hands, you decide how you want to portray your industry… Let the comments flow!

Here’s a video which explains this further.

Google Plus, Facebook and Search Engine Optimisation for Your Dental Practice

If there there was a simple way to get more people to your website would you be interested to find out about it?

As you may know I am a keen blogger, blogging allows you to demonstrate to your potential customers that you know what you are talking about and engenders trust. It’s also a great way to get people to visit your website, and in my opinion is a vital part of any online marketing campaign.

Many dental practices are not keen on being on Facebook, and even if they are they are often not very interactive or engaging with their fans. However there is another way that one can use the power of Facebook connectivity without actually being involved in Facebook itself.

Facebook is essentially a database of connections between people and Google plus is their equivalent of this connected database. It is possible, without actually being on Facebook itself, to make use of this database and to allow other people to do your marketing for you.

And how do you go about doing this?

Simply add a share function to your blog, similar to the sharing function at the top of this blog post. This has many advantages, such as

  1. As people share it, or like it, the Post has the ability to go viral and attract many visitors to your website.
  2. The more people that share the post, the more this generates social proof for future visitors. Think about it, you land on the website and can see that many people have already shared it, it makes the website look interactive and ‘lived in’.
  3. Google loves seeing the fact that your site is being shared, it is an indicator to Google from a search engine optimisation point of view, that your site is popular. Google wants to send visitors to popular sites, and so this sharing is a great signal to the search engines that your site is a good one.

So how do you go about getting these share buttons?

There are two basic ways, you can either download the code from each of the various websites.

However, this is a rather cumbersome way of going about it, as you need to visit each one, configure the button and then add them individually to your website or blog.

By far the simplest way of doing it, and my personal favourite, is to use the AddThis set of buttons.

The great thing about AddThis is that you can install analytics, it will then send you an e-mail letting you know the number of people that have shared each individual page and the resultant number of clicks. If you have more clicks back then people visited, then the blog post has gone viral and AddThis will report it back to you.

If your blog is on WordPress, then simply go to the ‘add plug in’ section and search for AddThis. Configure the plug-in to go on every page and every blog post to ensure maximum sharing ability and maximum search engine optimisation from the post.

Since I’ve been doing this, and then sharing my own posts on Facebook and Google plus I’ve noticed traffic increase to clients websites from these social media platforms. It’s a great way to utilise the database of connections without having to get involved in the conversation yourself, although being involved in the conversation magnifies the effect even more!

Are you using social sharing on your website and blog? What effect have you noticed?

 

 

Drivers, Passengers and Hedgehogs

In dentistry there are 3 types of dental practice – drivers, passengers and hedgehogs.

Drivers lead a business and decide where they are going. They chose the destination and make it happen, navigating the route their own way. They decide on the method of transport to get to their destination and are in total control.

Drivers use online marketing because they understand it, they get it and they make it work for them.

Passengers follow other practices, they still get to the destination but only because the drivers take them there. They don’t decide on where the destination is for their business, they simply go with the drivers as they have no other choice. They have no idea where they are going and just sit back and wait for it to happen.

Passengers use online marketing because they’ve seen the drivers doing it so figure it must be a good idea, they don’t get it so it doesn’t work for them.

Hedgehogs get squashed.

Which are you?

P.S. If you’d like a Social Media and Online Marketing Survival Kit, please click here now.

Social Media Marketing Doesn’t Work

I saw a newsletter the other day that suggested Social Media Marketing doesn’t work because it can not be proved with a spreadsheet in precise numbers & every new patient precisely allocated to that referral source.

That lead me to wonder, can we all precisely measure the exact ROI of

  • A stunning dental brand & logo and the few grand it cost to design
  • That drink in the pub one night with a patient that went on to refer all his friends
  • The polite way the staff answer the phone and deal with enquiries so well
  • The many thousands that practices pay to coaches each year
  • The time and money spent to differentiate your practice from the one down the road
  • Designing the outside of the practice for excellent curb appeal
  • The Moulton Brown soap in the bathroom
  • That clinical course you just went on
  • The charity work you do
  • Being part of the local community and helping others
Perhaps we should stop all those too unless we can exactly measure them?

6 Traits of The Successful Social Media Marketing Strategy

Over the years I’ve found there are a few traits that set the successful marketing strategy apart from an unsuccessful one – and if you want to avoid failure then I suggest you read, absord, understand then do!
Trait 1 – Think Holistically
Social Media is not the ‘be all and end all’ of your online marketing, it should form part of a comprehensive online marketing strategy that includes as many marketing channels as possible.
In my opinion this should include:
  1. Google Plus
  2. Google Places
  3. Twitter
  4. Facebook
  5. YouTube
  6. Blogging
  7. Email
  8. Your Website

It may also include Facebook adverts and Google Pay Per Click (No, PPC is not dead.. only doing it wrong is dead!)
The sequence of these is important and social media only seeks to widen your sales funnel. The goal should always be to drive potential patients down the sales funnel and down the list above.

Trait 2 – Use Social Media to Drive Traffic to Your Website

Your website is an integral feature of your online marketing strategy and should include visitor data capture mechanisms (like email) and the facility to request appointments online.

You can then drive traffic to your site from social media by suggesting people book online or download information – and in return you get their email address and the ability to continually build relationships with them.

Trait 3 – Engage

The clue is in the title here, it’s SOCIAL media, not BROADCAST media, so engage, be personable, chat and help others. This will build rapport and trust and enable the local people to feel like they know you, making the decision to come to see you a logical one.

The key is a 2 way conversation, not one way. We buy from people we like, so help other to like you!

Trait 4 – Reduce Risk for Patients

Dentistry is not about shifting products. It’s about delivering a service.

Products marketing is different, as products can be evaluated before hand and returned to the supplier if you don’t like them or they don’t work as you thought. Think buying a TV for example.

Services on the other hand can’t be evaluated before hand and can’t be taken back. Think listening to a lecture.

Product marketing often requires a shop to encourage people to make a quick snap decision – buy one get one free, buy today and save ££ss, special offer today only etc etc

Services marketing often requires a provider to reduce the risk for customers, after all they can’t evaluate the service before hand (their new teeth) and can’t take them back.

So shift your marketing focus on to reducing risk for patients, NOT shifting products!

Trait 5 – Know The Answer to This Question – “WHY YOU?”

When I see a new client I always go through a full marketing audit ( I majored in marketing on my MBA) and ask this question – “WHY YOU?” – it’s amazing how many dental practices can not answer that question.

So layer in the things that are unique to you, this could include:

  • Unique products and services you offer
  • Your education
  • Your training courses
  • Your materials
  • Your gadgets
  • The way you treat patients
  • Trademarks
  • Special Techniques you use e.g. Wand, Sedation, Hypnosis etc
Then come up with a simple phrase or statement that encapsulates that and have everyone in the practice know it. 
You MUST be totally clear as to why YOU are the best in your area and be able to convey this message on Social Media
Trait 6 – Patience
I find social media is slow burn marketing and often take time to build ‘traction’. But once traction is achieved there really is no stopping it. So you do need to commit to the project and be prepared to look at it in the long term and keep going.
Gently hand out great advice, reduce risk for patients, help them like you, engage, drive them to your website, think holistically and I know it will work for you.
—————————–
So there you have it, my top 6 traits for a successful social media campaign, if you feel you’d like more guidance then why not book on my latest Social Media Kickstart Course.
James Russell – The London Smile Clinic said “Mark really knows his business! This turns social media into something really powerful – not just for playing with.”
Places are booking fast, so click here to reserve your place today.
We’ll go through everything above plus a ton more useful stuff too.
“This course will open your eyes to the inifinte possibilies regards social media marketing”
Martin Cox – Forndale Dental Clinic

A Facebook Experiment – my Results

People say that you need to post on Facebook pages frequently in order to build your fan base, but is this true?

I’ve no idea, so I decided to run an experiment.

For the first 2 weeks of November I posted relatively frequently, typically 2 posts per day to my Facebook fan page. Then on 9th November I stopped altogether and didn’t post anything until 21st November – you can check these dates out by scrolling down on my page to see when the posts were made.

Now, if you have a proper business page on Facebook you can check your stats (with a personal profile you can’t do this), and here’s my result.

You can see a MASSIVE drop in total fans reached, right up to the point where I started posting again and fans started to be reached again. It’s kind of obvious really, if you don’t post anything people won’t see it, but these are all missed opportunities to build your brand and create exposure for your business.

This also seems to show that people don’t go visiting your Facebook pages after they have ‘liked’ them (or fans reached would remain constant) – so it’s not like a website where people might go back time and time again – the only way on Facebook that you keep fans interacting and seeing your page is by posting content – period.

So, based on these findings I’ve introduced a new Auto Managed service for dental practices on Facebook and Twitter to help you guys out with content – it’s an automated service that will keep your content fresh and relevant. Please do visit the page now and take a look through what is possible.

You’ve seen the results of what happens when you don’t post, so it’s vital that you do – so take action now!

Facebook Lists and Privacy Settings

Facebook’s new privacy settings have been all over the news recently, and I have to say I quite like the new way of posting status updates.

Historically if one had a load of ‘friends’ on Facebook, but only 100 were ‘actual’ friends (in the old style meaning of the word) and the rest were just aquaintances or business contacts it was difficult to really separate the streams of content that each group saw.

Facebook’s privacy has allowed you to block lists and individuals from seeing photos and updates for a while, but it was always generic – in other words if you block a list from your status updates then ALL your updates are blocked – not great really.

The new privacy settings now allow you to chose who sees what on an update by update basis – and this is direct response to Google +1 Circles I would imagine.

In this video I show you how you can manage this privacy setting, plus give a top tip for managing your list for business… enjoy…

And if you want more about Facebook for Dentists, do check out my website

If the video above doesn’t display, click here to watch on YouTube

Dentists, if you only read one blog post this year, make sure it’s this one

What are your patients and prospective patients doing online?

Here’s the answer, I saw this infographic today and think it is one of THE most powerful and compelling arguments for a dental practice to get marketing online TODAY.

Take a look at what your ideal market is doing online…

Most dental practices would argue that their ideal age group of patients is around the 55+ age bracket, I’ve also heard dentists suggest these people aren’t doing much online, but look at what these people spend most of their time doing online… researching Health Care…. and what business are you in?
I can hear it now… [Clang… the sound of a thousand pennies dropping!]
80-90% of your target market are online and looking for Health Information, so come on guys… give it to them!
How do you do this?
  1. Write a blog and add it to your website as ‘Free Hints, Tips and Advice’
  2. Ensure you dominate Google with your great Dental Health Care content
  3. Get on to Facebook and populate  a page with advice, hints and tips on Dental Health Care
  4. Use Twitter as another mechanism to hand out advice and dominate a Google search

How do you think it will make these people feel when they find such a brilliant dentist handing out useful, free and relevant advice? 
Do you think it would set YOU up as the expert in your local area?
Do you think the prospective patient would be pleased they’ve found what they are looking for?
I’ll leave you to answer those questions now…

If you want to find out more about how to hand out useful, free and relevant advice online so you can attract these patient, then sign up today for my Social Media Kickstart Course – it could just be the best £250 you ever spend!