Category Archives: Uncategorized

Dental marketing blog posts categorised as Uncategorised… I really should categorise them!

cheap dental marketing

Is Your Website Working in These 5 Key Performance Areas? [PART 1]

Are you looking for the quickest most cost-effective way to attract the right type of new patients in to your practice?

Perhaps you want more people to take action from your website, rather than just read it and bounce away again?

Making your website work for you is a simple way to ensure you have a marketing machine that works 24-hours a day, even whilst you are asleep and on holiday.

The 5 Key Performance Areas of a Dental Website

There are five key performance areas of a website, each of them need to be working in order to get the best result:

FINDABILITY

How easy is it for people and search engines to find your website? Is it search engine optimised adequately?

USABILITY

How easy is it for people to navigate your site, read the content, engage with the content and find what they want?

SHAREABILITY

The easier your website is to share the more people will do so and recommend it to others, this is the power of online referral marketing, are you making it easy?

EFFECTIIVENESS

How effective is your website at informing, educating and getting people to take action and come to the practice as a patient? Is it conversion optimised adequately?

LONGEVITY

A poor website allows people to bounce away, how good is your site at capturing attention and engaging over the longer term? Absolutely vital in the arena of relationship marketing.

Overt the next few blog posts I will be going through each of these areas individually, this time it is findability  that I will focus on.

how to make a website findableHow to make your website more FINDABLE

Meta data on your website

The simplest place to start is with the meta data on your website.  At the most basic level of optimisation you need to ensure that these elements include geographical locations and specific treatments e.g. teeth whitening London.

The specific meta data that needs to include these terms are:

  •  <title> –  This is the main browser title that will be shown when each individual web page opens, each page will more than likely have the same geographical location but have a different treatment.
  • <description> –  This is what Google will probably use to describe your website in the search results.
  • <h1,2,3> headers –  These are the headings and subheadings within the main content of your page.
  • <alt> image alternate tags –  These describe each image in a couple of words, they will be used on a website if the image is unable to be shown for any reason.

Main Body Text

You will also need to ensure that the main body text of each individual page includes words and phrases that patients will use to search, you should think about different geographical locations and also different ways that patients may phrase treatment.

Some examples of how patients may phrase different treatments, using orthodontics as an example.

  1. The cost of teeth braces
  2. invisible braces near me
  3. tooth braces at home
  4. cheap braces

If you are to be found for these various search phrases then you need to ensure that they are included on your website somewhere.

You can also use bullet points, numbered lists and bold text to highlight phrases that you want the search engines to pick out.  (Scanned through this blog post to see which words I have made bold  or used in bullet points or numbered lists)

 Other factors which ensure your website ranks highly

Links

We all know the importance of referrals for a dental practice. You know that if a patient refers  a friend to you then that is a good recommendation. Google also knows this, if someone talks about you online then Google views this as a referral or vote, in search engine optimisation speak we call this an ‘inbound link’.

The more votes/inbound links you have (people talking about you) the more likely your website is to rank highly as Google will view it as a good website. After all, it must be good as people are talking about it!

But as you know, not all referrals are good. You may have a patient that sends very bad friends to you that don’t pay or don’t respect your fees… Not all referrals are created equally and in the same respect not all votes are created equally.

Google recognises that different votes have different qualities, in summary, Google will look for:

  • Total number of inbound links (votes) –  You ideally want the maximum number of links from good quality sources. Just having quantity is not good enough, they must be quality also.
  • Links follow/no follow –  In the code of a link it is possible to tell Google not to follow the link to another website, as a human you will simply see a link, but behind that link is a little bit of code. If that code has rel=”nofollow”  then Google will disregard that vote. Many low quality websites use no follow links.
  • Link authority –  If the website that links to you has high  authority, such as the BBC or a recognised university then that link/vote will be worth more than if it comes from an unknown or less respected website. One link from the BBC could be worth 1000 links from poor quality websites.
  • Varied anchor text on links –  The anchor text on a link are the words that the link is constructed from.  If all of your links say “Dentist in London”  then it is clear to Google that this is not natural and that you are trying to fool the system. If people are genuinely talking about you then these anchor texts will be varied.

Referencing

As you will know, good quality articles and academic pieces will be well referenced. This demonstrates that you have researched your subject and also makes the page more informative if you have linked to other articles.

Each page on your website should be a source of information to answer people’s problems, part of answering their problems will be referencing back to your own website (perhaps to previous articles you have written on your blog) and to other external websites which provide useful resources.

Take a look back through this blog post, you will see that I have linked to external websites to provide information which backs up what I am saying. I have also provided links to other useful articles that I have written in previous blog posts and to useful resources within my main website.

More help and advice on making your website more findable

Lowe cost dental marketing logoWebsite audit

How well does your online marketing and website work and could it be improved? This comprehensive website audit will give each of the five key areas of performance a rank so that you can take action.

What’s included in the audit?

46 individual elements of a successful website will be assessed and ranked in the following key performance areas:

  • Findability
  • Usability
  • Shareability
  • Effectiveness
  • Longevity

Within each of these Key Performance Areas I will rank 46 Individual Elements, each element will be given a score.

traffic light warning

These 46 individual elements will then come together to give you an overall score for each of the key performance areas.

You can then see which area of your website needs the most attention to ensure you get the maximum return on anything you spend.

What do you do with the audit?

Once the audit has been completed you can either make the changes yourself, send them to your web designer for their opinion or contact me and I can make the changes for you as part of my Light Package – I’ll then refund your £35 audit fee.

The audit forms the basis of the overall Light service. When you ensure these five key performance areas are performing to the maximum and you have an active, engaging and effective social media stream you will find that your marketing efforts begin to work 24/7/365.

CLICK HERE TO GET STARTED FOR £35

Mark Oborn light website audit

Is your dental practice verified_

Is Your Dental Practice A Verified Local Business on Facebook?

Is your dental practice a verified local business on Facebook?  If you have a Facebook business page you ought to be ensuring that it carries the Facebook verified checkmark, this  ensures that your local patients find the right and authentic account for your practice, rather than an out of date business page or one that has been set up by accident in the past (or even maliciously by someone else).

Kirsten Bury,  A Facebook product marketing manager for pages told Marketing Land recently that verified pages will show up higher in Facebook search results.

“At scale there will inevitably be duplicates and multiple entries for the same business,” said Bury, noting that there are 45 million business Pages on Facebook. “So this is one way businesses can make it easier for people to make sure that they are finding and communicating with the right Page.”

 Verified local business page on FacebookYou can tell if your page has been verified or not as it will have a little grey tick next to the page name… No tick? Then your page is not verified which may be perceived as a non-authentic account.

At the moment it is only possible to verify a local business, in other words if you have chosen categories of your business page such as a brand, product, cause or community then you will not immediately have access to verify your account.

When creating your account you need to choose local business or place in order to have the facility to verify. Create a page on Facebook

How to verify your Facebook page

To verify your page by phone:

  1. Click Settings at the top of your Page.
  2. From General, click Page Verification.
  3. Click Verify this Page, then click Get Started.
  4. Enter a publicly listed phone number for your business, your country and language.
  5. Click Call Me Now to allow Facebook to call you with a verification code. verified by calling

To verify with documents

Sometimes practices find that their reception desks are very busy places with multiple people answering the phone, if you think verification by phone may be a little difficult then you simply click the ‘verify this page with documents instead’ link.

You will then be prompted to upload documents.

 Verify page with documentsThe verification process is actually very simple and doesn’t take too long to complete. Verification by phone can lead to almost instant verification whereas verification by documents can take a couple of weeks.

More info here on social media marketing for dentists.

Hope that helps,
Mark Oborn
Mark

 

Dental virtual reality

Virtual Reality for Dentists

As regular readers to my blog will know my focus in dental marketing is not to go out and out selling dental treatments… Rather, it is to gently inform and educate patients about their dental health by reducing risk and increasing trust.

When you demonstrate that you are a low risk choice and are trustworthy you become an easy option for a new patient to choose. Your marketing then becomes effortless and off the back of that your business succeeds and profits flow.

Everyone is looking for new ways to increase trust and reduce risk, one of the best ways is reviews from happy patients and a hot second is allowing the patients to actually see inside the practice and meet the team beforehand – you know, those funny sliding images that many dental practices have on the homepage!

Think about it now, how about if you replaced those sliding images on the homepage with an interactive tour of the practice! The patient would be able to see how much time and effort you have put in to creating a warm and friendly environment, you would immediately increase trust and reduce risk.

I’d like to introduce you to a good friend of mine, Luke Woods. Luke is a Google Certified photographer specialising in virtual tours and virtual reality, read what he has to say about how this can now be used in your dental practice.

================= Luke writes:=================

official text

“We search with words but respond to pictures”Google virtual tour facts

Hello everyone, thanks Mark for giving me the opportunity to reach out to the world of Dentistry. I have spent a couple of days conducting some research here in the UK and consulting my colleagues in Canada for qualified opinion and facts about how a Virtual Tour window into your practise can not only answer a lot of questions but calm and reassure any patient concerns to a hugely wider audience. I assume everyone knows what we talking about here? We all know Google Street View? the thing on top of a car that captures everything ready or not – grey sky or blue. Well, for 3 years there has been a program contracting established professional photographers like me to come into businesses and capture the very best of your business space for all the world to see.

Seeing is believing – click to see on Google

https://goo.gl/gkcH1i

These Virtual Showrooms are great for welcoming in clients from website to waiting room, here’s an example of a virtual tour at a dental practice.

Dental virtual reality

 

In the past two years since I have been working on the Google program I have captured some truly beautiful spaces and it seems that with all industries- progress is consumer driven. People in general are becoming much more familiar with using the internet and their mobile device to not only shop but to verify and answer any doubts they may have especially before entering into a big spend. Hotels and restaurants are examples that most people have seen here in the UK but why not clinics of all kinds? A year ago it was the same in Canada and the USA and in the last 12 months a lot of practises large and small needed to show just a little more than a few flat photos or have a Hollywood Commercial – a Virtual Tour fills that gap nicely – people can view in silence at their own pace and really connect with where they will be treated – I call this the Clinical Barrier and you can be among the first to gain that valuable patient trust.
gogle-stats-number-one

For me there are several areas where I start to wonder “what it is like ?” I know if I could see the clinic I would feel a lot more at ease the first time. Knowing the layout too is a difficulty many can be helped to overcome and getting lost can be embarrassing. Right from the car park if possible to seeing the doorway on the street, knowing what the reception looks like -seeing a waiting room where we all sit waiting for that peak anxiety moment – hearing our name – all this gives us that which cannot be put into words so easily – that feeling that says – “It’s Okay”

 

Google statistics

Things are moving fast these days and I am now working with a Google team developing Virtual Reality – many Dental Surgeries have comforting features – for children, a play area or room perhaps? It’s not just the younger generations that are looking – the biggest growth group is currently 54-65 year olds and 39% of people over 55 have smart phone and can check out things for themselves quite well. For all patients there can be no better experience than to preview the very chair you will be treated in – a full 360 degree view right from the chair.

There are also Search Engine Marketing advantages that are very real not promised and rarely delivered – without going into too much detail – everyone searches on Google these days – a website is not hosted in Google – these are, helping to get you found in local and voice search fast   “As seen on TV” 🙂


I would be delighted to hear from and help all of you lovely people who have looked after my white toothey treasure all these years.

My best, Luke Woods.

=================

To find out more about having a virtual tour of your practice please contact Mark on 0845 259 1232 or email info@markoborn.comStudy on virtual tours

Should you have a mobile or responsive website?

Okay, first of let me make it clear that I’m not a website designer. I don’t design websites and I don’t create websites but I do work on websites all day that are designed and created by other people, what I do is ensure that the maximum number of people go to them and then take action once on the site.

Deciding whether to have a mobile or responsive website is a critical decision when you’re having a new one built, it also dramatically affects my ability to optimise the site to get it found on Google and also to optimise the site to increase conversions – so you need to get the decision right.

Responsive or Mobile websites?

This is the real hot one at the moment as more and more people decide that they want to have a mobile or response website, but what is the difference?

Mobile

A mobile website is a separate website to your main one. There will be a little bit of code on the website which detects the device that is being used, if that code detects a mobile device then the user will be bounced off of your main website onto a mobile friendly one.

You effectively have two separate websites, one designed for a full screen and one designed for mobile devices.

Responsive

A responsive website on the other hand is one single website. The website detects the screen width of the device being used and responds to this width. If it detects that a widescreen is being used such as a desktop then you will see the full site with all of its navigation, if it detects that a smaller screen is being used such as a tablet or phone then the site will show relevant navigation, shrink the images and show you content in a different format.

You only have one website which is responsive and modifies itself dependent upon the device it is being viewed upon.

How to test if your website is responsive

Of course, the simplest way is to look at your website on your mobile phone. But if you want to truly test if the website is responsive, you can actually test it live and see it respond as the screen resolution changes… Here’s how.

In your web browser you need to click the “Restore Down” button in the top right-hand corner of the browser.

Restore down button

Click the button in the middle

This will then enable you to change size of the screen on your desktop. You can then grab and drag the width of the screen to make it smaller. If your website is truly responsive you should see the various elements on your website resize and then move around to fit the screen.

You should also see the menu go from the traditional desktop menu to a single button click menu suitable for a mobile phone. Here’s a little video which shows this in action.

The advantages of having a response website versus a mobile one.

The advantages are quite numerous:

  1. When you add content to your website, if your website is responsive you simply need to at least once. No matter whether your visitor is on a mobile phone, tablet or desktop your new content will look good. If you have a responsive site you need to add content twice, once to the desktop version and once to the mobile version.
  2. You suddenly have two websites to optimise. You may find that one website appears better than the other in mobile search results, if you have a single response website you only have one website to worry about.
  3. Your links may not work.You may be sending people into the middle of your website from around the web. For example, you may want to run a social media campaign on Facebook and place links to your Invisalign page. If someone clicks on this link from a mobile phone they will Land on your website, it will detect that they are on a mobile device and automatically send them to the homepage of a mobile website, not the Invisalign page that you intended, suddenly your website visitor is confused. With a responsive website, you can copy the web address from the desktop and it will work exactly the same on a mobile.
  4. Your search engine optimisation and inbound marketing may not be quite as good. Google recognises if your website is important if people are talking about it around the Internet. As those people talk about your website online they may be mentioning a specific page. You may have written some excellent information about dental implants which a patient of yours shares with their friend. If they share that page from a desktop but the friend is using a mobile, that link may not work if they are redirected to a mobile website. A responsive website uses exactly the same web address for mobile or desktop.
  5. You may keep costs down with a responsive site. If you pay for someone like me to optimise a site, get more people to it and more people converting then the fee is often lower for a responsive site. That person working their magic on your website only has one website to work on if it is responsive, if you have a mobile site also then they may need to work on two websites… Potentially doubling their fee!
  6. Your ongoing web design costs could be lower. Let’s say you take on a new treatment and want to add it to your website. If your site is responsive then you add the content once, if you have a mobile site then you need to pay your designer to add it to both websites!

In my experience of working with many websites the ones that are easiest to optimise (from both a search and conversion point of view) are responsive websites. There are so many advantages to responsive that, in my opinion, this is the way you should go if you’re looking at having a new website built.

So who would I recommend for your new responsive website?

There are plenty of people to choose from that are creating and designing websites for dentists, here is my recommendation based on the fact that I’ve worked with these guys on numerous projects and never had a problem. Listed in alphabetical order.

 

How to Use the New Facebook Call to Action Button

If you log into Facebook this morning and check out your Facebook page you should notice a new call to action feature. Any marketer will know that one of the most important things you can do in any marketing communication is include a call to action, telling people what you want them to do when they engage in your marketing communication is so often missed out but is so important to include.

Facebook clearly recognise this and have now included a range of options in all Facebook pages, here is how to setup the new Facebook call to action button.

Add a call to action button to your page

When you first login to your business page this is the new little message that you will see.

Adding a Facebook call to action button to your page

 

Simply click the create button.

You will now be encouraged to ” create call to action” simply click this button.

Creating a Facebook call to action

On the next screen you will be guided to choose a button, select from a range of options including:

  • Book now
  • contact us
  • use app
  • play game
  • shop now
  • signup
  • watch video

Simply select the option most suitable for you, for a dental practice probably book now would be best.

Deciding which call to action to use

When you click the book now button you will be prompted to enter your website address, remember enter the full web address of your booking page. Don’t just put in your basic web address as this will lead them to the homepage, remember, you are suggesting that they book now so use a direct link through to your booking page.

If you have a separate mobile website then also enter the booking address for this.

Enter in the destination for your new call to action

When you click next you will be presented with the destination for people using Android and Apple devices. If you have an app running on either of these systems you can direct people directly through to the booking page within your app.

If you don’t have an app then keep the destination selected as ‘website’.

If you use an app selected this as the destination

When you click next you will be prompted with the screen to say that your call to action button is ready. To edit it simply click and you will be presented with an edit option.

Your Facebook call to action but is now ready

When you click next for the last time you will see your new call to action on your Facebook page. To the right you will also notice in the insights section the number of people that have engaged with your call to action button.

Screenshot 2015-02-24 08.40.36

 

Using a call to action in all of your marketing communication is an excellent way of encouraging people to take direct action. I urge you to get onto your Facebook page this morning and setup this new feature, why not come back here and post your Facebook page into the comments so we can see what you have done…

Update Facebook’s Algorithm for Business Pages: Important Information

Many people mistakenly believe That everything they post to their dental practice Facebook business page is shown to all of the fans, they think that because they’ve got 500 fans that 500 people are going to see what they post… This simply isn’t true.

Think about the number of people that are on Facebook, it currently stands at over half the UK population, that’s more than 30 million people!

With so many people on Facebook, Facebook needs to use some form of calculation to decide which messages are important, which messages are not, which messages to show people in which messages to hide. This is where Facebook’s Edgerank Algorithm comes in, please scroll to the end of this blog post to see a very useful info graphic generated about this topic.

The algorithm has been around for some time now and people are getting used to how it works but there is a big change afoot, in fact it  happened in January of this year.

What is changing?

Facebook quite rightly say that people go on to see things they are interested in. They don’t necessarily want to see out and out promotion of products and services, the problem has been that many business pages have simply tried to sell stuff.

This has resulted in the quality of some posts from businesses being extremely low, they simply post updates telling people about their latest offers, deals and incentives and make no attempt to engage with their fans, this fundamentally goes against the engagement principle of Facebook. Facebook have been looking at ways to stop this and this has now been implemented.

As with immediate effect if you post purely promotional updates the chances of these being seen by your fans is extremely low, so what makes a promotional post? Facebook say that promotional posts are:

  1. Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
  2. Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
  3. Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads

It seems that Facebook are going to be looking at adding some additional functionality to their business pages, this could be an exciting new era in Facebook marketing if we are able to do more complex and fun things from a business page.

What can you do about it?

Put simply, avoid just promoting your business. Look for ways to create engagement with each post and get your edge rank higher. If you do want to do posts which promote treatments, services, products or special offers and accept the fact that you’re going to have to promote these with paid ads.

Read more about managing Facebook adverts.

With regards to each individual post you could try varying the things you post along the following lines:

  1. Create images which encourage engagement. Not necessarily dental ones but images which make people laugh, joining and feel part of the community.
  2. Use questions at the end of the post. Questions are far more likely to generate engagement than simple statements.
  3. Tell stories using your happy patients. Create a series of posts which walk potential patients through the thought process and treatment of existing patients. Create engaging stories out of the real lives of local people.
  4. Hand out useful, free and relevant dental health advice. Use the amazing information stored in your head to genuinely help local people, when you hand out useful and free relevant dental health advice you set yourself up as the local expert that can be trusted.
  5. Educate people about the risks of not looking after their teeth and the benefits of having a healthy smile. When you create engaging content like this people are more likely to interact with comments, likes and shares.

The trick is to get people engaging and interacting with your posts. If you do this Facebook will recognise that your updates are popular and ensure that they reach more people.

What is a Edge Rank?

edgerank

Image via Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

What Seems to Be Working Best to Attract New Patients at the Moment?

Female doctor consulting patientWorking with many dental practices throughout the UK helping them reach the local people is a great privilege of mine, we are finding we are able to distribute our dental health message far and wide making a considerable difference to the local communities.The payback to this is, of course, a successful dental practice with a good number of the right type of new patients each month. But what seems to be working best?

I thought it would be good to write a little summary of some of the things that practices are doing which is helping them reach more of the people that matter.

Lower priced dental health checks.

When a patient first visits your website they are faced with two dilemmas:

  1. How do they know you are trustworthy?
  2. How can they lower their risk by coming to you?

Good-quality dental marketing is always about increasing trust and lowering risk, This is how serviced-based marketing should work on these two factors are one of the most important things you need to address in any marketing the dental practice.

One of the ways of doing this is to offer a free consultation however I’ve noticed, certainly over the past year or so, that this technique of attracting new patients is becoming less effective. There could be many reasons for this, my guess is that patients are just worried that a free consultation will mean a hard sell!

What I am finding however, is that reduced price dental health checks and working extraordinarily well. I have one practice which offers them for £15, deliberately to compete with the NHS. They get an excellent conversion rate from patients that coming and then join them on their patient plan.

Other practices offer this dental health check for around £25-£45, doing this lowers the risk for the patient but at the same time increases trust that you are only providing them with a dental health check, rather than just giving yourself the opportunity to sell extra treatments.

The way I prefer to work this is to ask the patient to download an online voucher entitling them to this discount, this then becomes an online discount only and encourages patients to visit your website. We hand the voucher out in exchange for an e-mail address.

The e-mails are then automated to follow-up the patient at scheduled intervals, with more follow ups being gentle and educated in their nature. The software I use for this is Aweber, it’s available from around £19 per month, there is a really low cost way to begin managing your e-mail marketing.

Using e-mail automation like this means that your marketing works 24 hours a day and enables you to focus on what you’re good at, delivering great quality dental health to local people.

Facebook offer advertising.

blog_facebook_offersWhen people sign up to Facebook they tend to tell it where they live, how old they are and what gender they are. Whether we like it or not, this allows advertisers to target those individual people, and we can take advantage of this opportunity if we so wish.

I recently ran a targeted Invisalign promotion for a client. We had a budget of £200 and ran the offer over a two-week period targeting people aged between 21 and 55 living within 10 miles of the dental practice. During this time we had 332 people claim the offer and it was viewed by 51,136 local people.… Quite a result!

Now, I’m not expecting all 332 people to go ahead with treatment, but even so this is a remarkable number of people we have been able to reach.

An interesting phenomenon was that local people were commenting on the add and tagging their friends, thereby ensuring the ad went even more viral and was seen by more people than we had actually paid for!

Here is Facebook’s help centre for creating offers.

Here is Facebook’s help centre for setting up advertising.

Writing blogs.

Writing blogs for a dental practice is another great way to demonstrate you are the low risk option that patients can trust.

What I’m also finding is that blogs are an excellent way to get found on Google, many practices I’m working with are seeing more than 100% increase in web traffic after they start writing a useful blog.This is mainly due to the fact that blogs can be highly targeted and focused.

If you wanted to write a page about dental implants you need to keep it fairly generic and answer a range of questions, Google will then read this page and probably rank it for “<< dental implants >><< Local area>>”, which often is fine, however people are tending to search for much longer phrases for example:

  • How much do dental implants cost?
  • Do dental implants hurt?
  • What are the alternatives for a dental implant?
  • How do I go about replacing missing teeth?
  • What are my options for missing teeth?
  • Is a dental implant better than a dental bridge?

Trying to answer all of these questions on one single webpage can be difficult for the patient to navigate to find the exact answer they are looking for, but writing them in a blog post which focuses specifically on that particular area means that that webpage is highly optimised and relevant for that specific search.

This has a double impact:

  1. The webpage is more likely to be found when people search for that phrase because it is highly targeted.
  2. The webpage is more likely to be relevant to those people when they land on it because it is highly targeted.

We then get a snowball effect occurring. Google sends traffic to the webpage, people like it, Google knows this (By looking at the number of pages people read, the amount of time they spend on the site and whether they bounce back and do another search or not) and sends more… And so the cycle goes on.

All you need to do is make sure that your blog (which should sit on your main website) has good conversion mechanisms such as the low price dental health check which drops that person into a robust yet gentle e-mail marketing program.

Optimising their website to be found on the search engines.

We all know that if we want to find something out we Google it. Your patients are doing the same!

Being found in the search engines is absolutely vital for any online marketing strategy, writing a blog will help enormously as will engaging on social media and creating links back to your website using Facebook and Twitter etc.

You all is so need to be engaging in good old-fashioned PR, but with an online marketing spin. PR is about getting articles and blogs written about your practice, conventionally this went into print media, but the modern way of doing it is to use the online world. Google reads these PR releases about your practice, recognises that they are about you which then let’s Google know you are important and worth sending visitors to.

Read more >> Top tips to optimising your practice website.

It’s a minefield as to how you get these news releases out there, but that’s the job of an optimisation specialist and online marketing consultant such as myself!

====================

I hope you have found this blog post useful, I’ve included many links to additional resources (Some of them my own and some of them external resources) to enable you to continue to help the local people with their dental health, simply by being found!

What type of person is looking at your website – and how can you use this data to improve your marketing?

Wouldn’t it be good if you knew the type of person that was looking at your website? If you knew that they were interested in films, technology, celebrities or shopping it would enable you to focus your marketing around these areas wouldn’t it?

Think about it, if someone is interested in films they’re more likely to watch videos, someone more interested in technology is more likely to want to know about the techno gadgets you have in the practice and someone interested in celebrities may be more interested to read a blog post that you write which looks at various celebrities and the dental treatment they have had.

You may have been told that a key demographic in dentistry is the 35-year-old female, but is this correct? Is this actually right for your website and your business, if only you could know exactly who those people were that were looking at your website it would enable you to be more accurate in all of your marketing, perhaps people visiting your website are 50-year-old men?.

Information and data is key to informing your marketing and making the right decisions, everyone knows that, and now it’s possible… Here’s how.

Google audiencesGoogle Audiences & Interests

If you look in your Google analytics account (you do have access to this don’t you!) You will be able to see a section which says “Audiences”.

If you click on this, and you have this function setup, you will begin to see the analytics for the Age, gender and interests of your website visitors.

If you don’t already have the setup you will need to modify the analytics code within your website. If you have access to your website itself it’s actually pretty simple, if you don’t then here are some instructions to send to your web designer.

Dear <<Web designer>>,

I would like to begin using Google’s new audience and interest facility in my Google analytics but I need you to modify the analytics code in my website, As follows.

If we are using Google’s universal analytics please can you insert the text in bold in between the ‘create’ and ‘send’ commands in my analytics code.

ga('create', 'UA-XXXXXX-XX', 'example.com');
ga(‘require’, ‘displayfeatures’);
ga('send', 'pageview');

Here is a support document which should help you if you need it https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/2444872?hl=en&utm_id=ad

Once you have modified the code you will then begin to see data in this section, here’s some interesting data that I have collected for one of my dental practice websites.

Gender of website visitors

This kind of challenges the notion that your target audience might be female doesn’t it? Certainly this dental practice has 71.6% of its visitors which are male… Extremely useful information to know when designing and creating additional marketing.

Here is more information that we have gleaned from the same website:

Interest categories

  • Movie lovers 1091 visits.
  • Technophiles 1052 visits.
  • News junkies and avid readers/entertainment and celebrity news junkies 949 visits.
  • Shoppers/shopaholics 936 visits.

(Visitors can exist in more than one category at a time)

So we know that the top visitors to this website are movie lovers and technophiles. I wonder how interested these people would be in watching videos on the website?

I also wonder how interested these people would be in knowing which gadgets the practice are using, perhaps digital dentistry, CEREC, digital imaging, digital x-rays etc. If these other people visiting your website shouldn’t you be mentioning these services as a priority?

Having information like this to hand not only lets your designers know how your website could be designed from an aesthetic point of view, but it lets you know the kind of content you might want to have and indeed can inform your wider marketing decisions about who your target audience is.

How does Google gather this data?

Here is what they say:

When someone visits a website that has partnered with the Google Display Network, Google stores a number in their browsers (using a “cookie”) to remember their visits. This number uniquely identifies a web browser on a specific computer, not a specific person. Browsers may be associated with a demographic category, such as gender or age range, based on the sites that were visited.

In addition, some sites might provide us with demographic information that people share on certain websites, such as social networking sites. We may also use demographics derived from Google profiles.

Have you set up this kind of analytics for your website yet? If you have let me know, and if you are happy, share your experiences of the information you have found…

Happy data mining 🙂

 

Why you should write a dental blog?

Many dental practices are now catching on to the idea that writing a blog post is good for their practice, but why is this? Why should a dental practice bother writing a blog?

There are two primary reasons for setting up and writing a blog:

  • It is the perfect way to demonstrate to the local people that you genuinely care about their dental health when you hand out useful, free and the relevant dental health advice on your blog.
  • Google loves blogs!

Let’s take each of these in turn.

Writing a blog for dental health.

With so many dental practices having a website you need to do something different to stand out from the crowd. Writing a good quality dental health blog, and having it easily visible on your website, demonstrates to your website visitors that your practice is actively helping the local people with the dental health… Something that everybody wants.

A blog helps your website to look lived in, it helps it to look fresh and keeps you up-to-date with relevant information for your visitors.

Here are a few examples of typical blogs which would make good reading:

  • How to spot oral cancer.
  • When to take your child to the dentist.
  • What to do if your gums bleed when you brush your teeth.
  • How to prevent halitosis.
  • How to clean your teeth properly.
  • How to floss.
  • How to prevent the buildup of plaque and why this is important.
  • Why bother going to the dental hygienist?
  • How to replace missing teeth.
  • The ways to straighten crooked teeth.
  • Why are crooked teeth healthy teeth?

As a dentist, you will be answering patients questions all day long, these kind of questions make excellent blog posts and demonstrate that you genuinely care about the local people… Because you do, don’t you?

Writing a blog to rank higher on Google.

This is where things get really interesting. Think about it, Google has its customers that visit its website, Google’s customers want high-quality websites – so what would denote a high-quality website?

  • A website with lots of activity on it demonstrates that it is an active part of the business.
  • A website that has people interacting with it demonstrates that people like it and that the content is relevant.

A blog fulfils both of these requirements perfectly. It is the perfect way to show Google that your website is active and up-to-date, Google wants to send people to websites that are up-to-date and blogs by their very nature fulfil this requirement. If you add sharing functionality to your blog, then people will share it which Google will also see as a vote. The more votes you have, the higher up the search results you will be.

Here’s an example of exactly what I’m talking about.

In October 2012. Facebook launched their emoticons, I wrote a simple blog post about Facebook emoticons and look what happened to my website traffic.

After I wrote this blog post. It took approximately 2 weeks for Google to begin to rank it. At the beginning of November, web traffic started to rise from a typical month of approximately 600 hits and by the end of December I was getting over 6000 hits per month to the website.

This was 6000 hits to a single blog post, and all because it was a hot topic at the time.

How to write a blog post that gets found.

I recommend that you keep your eyes and ears open for hot dental news, things like a recent systematic review which informed WHO guidelines, The Journal of Dental Research talked about the effects of restricting sugar intakes in various age groups – This kind of material makes an excellent blog post as people will be searching online for the amount of sugar in food.

Watch out for celebrities having dental treatment. As soon as it hits the headlines that someone from X factor has had teeth whitening, then people will be online and searching. When you see this happening, write a blog post about it.

Why would you want random people on your website?

Many dental practices get hung up about the keywords that people used to type into Google to get people to their website. They get obsessed with ranking number one for things like ‘dentist in <<location>>’ – Now I’m not saying that ranking for this isn’t important, it absolutely is. But focusing on this phrase alone misses out on many longtail keywords which can equally end up in searches and then result in patients coming into the practice.

If you have a local person searching for “Why do my teeth bleed when I brush them” and they find your excellent dental blog then you have managed to expose your brand to this person at a point where they are actively interested in their dental health.

If your website converts well, you will be able to get this person to engage with your site, possibly by connecting with you on Facebook, Twitter, or Google plus or perhaps by suggesting that they download a free guide and therefore give you their e-mail address. Think about adding sharing functionality with tools such as share this or addthis, both of these tools are free to use and so on no-brainers!

You could also consider using Google remarketing, Here is what Google say about remarketing (I’ve changed the words to be dentally related):

Remarketing lets you show ads to users who’ve previously visited your website as they browse the Web.

When you use remarketing, you’ll tag pages of your site that correspond to certain categories you want to promote. For example, you could add a “dental implants” tag on all of the pages where you talk about implants. You can then create an AdWords campaign to show highly relevant messages (such as ads displaying a special offer on implants) to people who’ve visted these pages as they browse sites across the Google Display Network.

Here’s a little video which explains more remarketing.

Summary.

So you see, is not just about having a blog and writing useless blog posts which talk about what you did at the weekend. It is about using a structured approach, to write blog posts which are relevant to what people want to know and then have systems in place to ensure that the capture details as much as possible, which will then work to convert this website visitor into a patient over the long-term.

Have you used a blog successfully? Let me know in your comments, perhaps post a link to it so we can discuss it…

Should you put prices on your dental practice website?

I’ve actually lost count of the number of times that I have been asked this question, so after finding an amazing post on Hubspot which tackles the point directly I thought I would do the same for the dental industry.

What struck me about Hubspot’s blog post was that they encounter exactly the same objections as I do every time I suggest prices are put on a client’s website, remember, these guys are not talking to dentists and look at the objections that their clients give… They sound all-too-familiar!

Reasons that Hubspot clients give for not putting prices on a website

1) “It’s not done in our industry”

2) “What happens if my competition sees it?”

3) “All our pricing is custom, nothing is standard”

And then simply:

4) “We would never do that”

WOW, so you thought that dentistry was unique, well it is, but so is every other industry!

I’m going to use the same format as the original post because I think the points are extremely relevant but I have a few additional things to add from my own dental experience.

Own the price conversation

As Ashley Latter says “Price is an issue but is rarely the issue” – and I completely agree with him on this particular point. We are all concerned about how much things are going to cost us and failing to put your prices on the website means you are missing out on the conversation, and without the conversation you have no ability to be involved in the pricing decision of anyone surfing the Internet.

By being upfront with your prices and clearly letting people know how they might have to pay from ( even if it is a basic guide) means that you have taken ownership of the pricing conversation at an early stage.

As you know it’s not about the price per se it’s about the context of your price within the service that you offer, otherwise known as value. Having prices on your website is a perfect opportunity to demonstrate how good value you are even if your prices are higher than those of the competition. Your website is the perfect place to demonstrate your ability to deliver excellence which as you know comes with a fee. By not putting your fee you are not owning the pricing conversation.

One of the reasons that many people cite for not putting a price on the website is that they want the patient to call the practice so that they can have a conversation to convert the patient.

I accept this as a valid point but you need to get the patient on the phone in the first place. Most people, yes most people will not phone anywhere if they do not have prices on the website, embarrassment is often put forward as the reason, if they find out that you are far too expensive for them and they can’t afford you then they are embarrassed. To save themselves the embarrassment they don’t phone in the first place.

Without the patient on the phone you can’t do anything to convert them, and you just lost them from your website too!

What if people are scared off by your price?

If all you have is a fees page with a list of fees then they probably will be scared off, especially if you are more expensive than the competition. The key is to talk about what you add for that price so that the website visitor can see the value you bring. It’s all about managing expectations.

If you have a member of staff and you tell them they are going to get a £5000 pay rise but after you do the budgeting you realise you can only give them a £3000 pay rise they will be disappointed. But if you tell them you’re going to give them a £2000 pay rise and realise after the budgeting you can afford £3000 then they will be happier. The result is the same, all that has changed is the expectation.

So what can you do to demonstrate that your fee is worth it?

Social proof is enormously important and consists of things like:

  1. Written testimonials from patients.
  2. Video testimonials from patients.
  3. Results of surveys you have done which show that X% patients rate you as 10/10 etc
  4. Before and after photographs. (No check retractors please, teeth are not a thing of beauty to most people even though we think they should be!)

Your dental services are impossible to judge prior to experiencing them, so you need to give your website visitors the ability to judge you based on the results of other people. Always place testimonials, videos, before and after photographs around your pricing page so that people can see what they actually get for the fee.

 A little lift on Google.

Everyone want to be top of the search engines right? Well, you need to use the phrases that people are searching for and very often those phrases include the words ‘cost of…’. Cost of dental implants, cost of teeth whitening, orthodontics cost etc.

Placing your fees on your website is an excellent opportunity to attract Google and website visitors to the site. If your website is optimised for conversions also then there will be a mechanism by which these people are able to enter into your marketing funnel and you can work on them over a period of time to convert them into a patient.

This is where e-mail marketing and social media coming, they are mechanisms by which we can continue to build a relationship with any website visitor over a period of time so that eventually they convert into a patient.

Trust me, I’m a doctor

The 2 big marketing factors for a dental practice are:

  • Reduce Risk
  • Increase Trust

You are going to ask a patient to lie on their back in their most vulnerable position, you are highly likely to cause some amount of discomfort to them and to really help the communication process you’re going to cover half of your face with a mask!

If you want people to do this they have to trust you 100% and in my opinion hiding prices from your website damages trust. Not putting prices on your website demonstrates that you are an opaque organisation which does not hand out all of the information, this again, in my opinion damages trust.

Summary

I had believed for a long time that prices should be on dental practice websites, and it was good to stumble across this blog post on another website by another online marketer experiencing the same resistance that I have.

Read the Hubspot article here.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, do you put prices on your website? Or if you don’t why not?