Marketing Strategies for a Successful Orthodontic Practice

The right mix can create a marketing masterpiece for your orthodontic practice.

We speak with orthodontists all the time who bemoan the loss of their tried and true referral sources and feel like they are facing the abyss when thinking that the only way to survive is by slashing fees. This is simply not the case. People and Practice has proven that, with the right mix of marketing online, a practice can not only survive it can thrive. You do not have to give up on the high value of service you have been providing to your patients. Your reputation does not have to take a hit in order to bring in new clients. What you need to do is make sure you are communicating why you are worth paying more for and connecting that message to the right customers. That’s where People and Practice excels. We know how to put together a marketing plan that will produce more patient conversions.

Social media leads to patient starts

It’s not just “nice” to have a social media page it’s essential. Studies have found that in the orthodontic industry one of the biggest opportunities for growth has been through social media. It has become one of the most common marketing strategies among practices and reports have shown that social media had a positive effect on new patient starts.

In a survey conducted by the Journal of Clinical Orthodontics, 94% of respondents say that they have established a company page on Facebook to support their practice. Among the types of advertising orthodontic practice owners say that they have stopped using are Yellow page advertising, newspaper ads and direct mail – no surprise there. The question is, do you know how to replace these older forms of advertising with a more dynamic and interactive marketing channel like Facebook?

At People and Practice we work with each individual office and optimize a Facebook page to hit the right audience through interactive and shareable content. We support that effort with advertising that is targeted to reach a specific audience in your geographic region – people who are within driving distance of your practice.

Reviews are essential to converting customers

A potential patient won’t even think about calling your office unless they see positive reviews on Google, Facebook or other review sites and they want to see a lot of them. More than half of consumers that were surveyed said that a businesses rating was the most important factor in deciding where to go. The number of reviews was the second biggest factor in decision-making. Not only that, the number of consumers who want to see business responding to reviews is on the rise. And guess what? You cannot rest on your laurels because only 4% of consumers said that they pay any attention to reviews that had been submitted over a year ago.

People and Practice has a proprietary system to consistently capture positive, starred reviews and encourage patients to post them on Google Business and other social media websites. On the flip-side, we are able to head off negative reviews and address concerns before they are posted online.

Content is key to building trust

Trust is has always been an integral part of the transaction. That used to come from personal referrals and trusted centers of influence (dental offices) sending their patients your way. As the business of orthodontics changes we need to adapt to survive. Dentist are offering orthodontic services in-house, Dental Service Organizations are pounding potential clients by advertising low fees and quick turnaround, and mail order orthodontics – it’s a thing now. A practice has to cut through the clutter to communicate its value and build trust in a patient before they even walk in the door. The way to do that is by crafting educational content that positions you as an expert in the field of orthodontics and posts that show the value you and your staff bring to a patient’s experience in your office.

All good things deserve a boost

The greatest content in the world means nothing if no one sees it. Facebook and Google allow targeted advertising to show up in front of the specific audience you want to convert. We these powerful marketing tools to create and audience segment that is centered geographically in your office’s neighborhood and who are primed and ready to interact with the content we help create for you. Before they even walk in the door they have build up trust in your practice because we have served up useful, educational content the is relevant to them, giving them the tools to decide on their own if yours is the practice they want to bring their kids to.

If we build it they will click

People and Practice takes a multi-channel approach to marketing for orthodontic practices. Each strategy will work on its own but we believe that our marketing program is much more than the sum of its parts. By encouraging current patients to share posts about your practice on social media, making sure positive, starred reviews show up online about your office, crafting educational content, and making sure the right people are seeing that content when they need the information the most, we help you put more patients into chairs at your practice.

Want to learn more about putting the power of our marketing program in place for your orthodontist practice? Get a free marketing analysis, contact People & Practice today at 888.866.DOCS, or by email at hello@pplpractice.com.

AAO Lecture: Future-proof Your Digital Marketing

Join People & Practice’s co-founders, Dr. Leon Klempner and Amy Epstein, MBA, at the 2018 AAO Annual Session in Washington DC for one of two lectures on what works and what doesn’t in digital marketing in the age of technology.

Saturday, May 5, 2018
3:40 PM – 4:40 PM
Orthodontic Staff Program
Room 145 – Street Level

Sunday, May 6, 2018
8:00 AM – 9:00 AM
Orthodontic Staff Program
Room 145 – Street Level

About the sessions

With the growing prevalence of retail dentistry, solo practitioners and small group practices are at risk of becoming commoditized in the eyes of the patient. If the perception is that the standard of care and experience is the same everywhere why wouldn’t you choose the practice with the most flexible hours and lowest prices?

To avoid being commoditized and forced to compete solely on convenience or affordability you must build trust with potential new patients before they step through your door. That means activating online so that you show up in a positive light when a new patient searches for you, and proactively reaching out to those people who you know would make the best new patients.

This lecture will demonstrate how to accomplish this by solidifying your online reputation, connecting with your current and prospective patients on the media they use, and educating your target audience using the most effective online marketing tools available today.

After this lecture, you will be able to:

  1. Introduce, educate and build trust with your target audience members through patient education
  2. Ensure all of your digital and analog “touch points,” or ways a prospective new patient interacts with your practice, are managed
  3. Activate current patients to market for your practice, serving as brand champions that refer you to friends

To register for the 2018 AAO Annual Session click here.

Increase Patient Conversion With These Facts About Online Reviews

New data suggests that reviews are getting shorter, positive and social.

A 2018 study published by ReviewTrackers found that online reviews are changing – for the better. Literally, reviews are getting more positive. They also found that people are using fewer characters to get their point across and that review-only sites are not growing as fast as social media and Google. We’ve talked before about how important it is to get good reviews on Google and how social media is the first place many go to find out about your practice. Below we present three of the findings that ReviewTrackers highlighted about the direction online reviews are going this year and how they can grow your practice.

More poetry than prose

Reviews are getting shorter. This is good news. People don’t have to slog through a rambling review to find out what the person wants to say. ReviewTrackers reported that “Reviewers are writing simpler and more to-the-point reviews. The average review has gotten 65 percent shorter since 2010 and is now roughly the size of a tweet.”

How this helps: With the rise of the tweet, people are learning to write succinctly about the businesses they visit. In this time-constrained, mobile world, we just want to know the facts. It also means that the barrier to entry is lower. We can ask patients to write short, factual posts quickly. It also means that people can read more positive reviews about your practice in less time (see point three below).

Rise of social and search

Review-only sites like TripAdvisor aren’t seeing as much growth in reviews as Google and Facebook. In fact, ReviewTrackers reports that Google and Facebook are now the No. 1 and No. 2 for online reviews.

How this helps: People & Practice dedicates its marketing efforts on a client’s Google MyBusiness profile and Google reviews. We also help practices develop and maintain an engaging and robust social media presence on Facebook – including targeted educational advertising. The data supports our findings that these are prime online channels for patient outreach and referrals.

The future is bright

Reviews are more positive than ever before. ReviewTrackers said in its report that “reviews are increasingly shifting from being a place where consumers air their grievances to being a place to recommend businesses after a positive experience.”

How this helps: Positive reviews convert people into customers. Other surveys have shown that half of consumers look for a 4-star rating at a minimum before they choose a business and 73% said that positive reviews make them trust a business more. Reviews are a serious business.

Want to learn more about reviews and reputation management for your orthodontist practice? For a free marketing analysis, contact People & Practice today at 888.866.DOCS, or by email at hello@pplpractice.com.

Social Media: Your Orthodontic Office’s Digital Welcome Mat

If you don’t think you need a social media page for your orthodontic practice, think again!

Many young parents will research a company on social media before they go anywhere else. They will not search on Google or ever visit your website. They go right to their favorite social media page and start looking to see if you show up doing as much research as possible to find out what kind of practice you run.

If you do not have a vibrant presence on social media then you might as well not exist to an up-and-coming demographic of parents looking for braces for their kids. That’s why you need to roll out the welcome mat on social media and ensure that you list all of your vital information like business hours, contact info, and a button to click if they want to get in touch with you directly. Your Facebook page will allow you to put all this information onto your business page so you need to make sure you’re taking advantage of it and keep the info up to date. (There’s nothing worse than calling a business during its published hours of operation and finding out they’re not open.)

Social media page has gone from superfluous to a super important. Even serving as your first point of contact with your next generation of patients. A social media presence is just as important as having a website and can contribute just as much to patient conversion.

Of course, starting a social media account alone isn’t enough. You must maintain it with a constant flow of engaging content that encourages patients to share with their friends who might be potential clients.

Without a social media page that is enhanced and engaging, you might as well be hanging up a “No Trespassing” sign on your door. You want to dress up your page so that people want to hang around and find out more about your practice.

Want to learn more about how to use social media to convert more people into patients? For a free marketing analysis, contact People & Practice today at 888.866.DOCS, or by email at hello@pplpractice.com.

Online Reviews: Five Things You Need to Know For Your Ortho Practice

Consumers say that they want to see ratings on review sites before they even think about going to a practice. A survey by BrightLocal.com showed that half need at least a 4-star rating before they choose a business and 73% said that positive reviews make them trust a business more. Reviews are a serious business.

Are you getting the maximum star rating on Google and Yelp? Are your reviews positive or negative? Do you even know? People and Practice is the expert on reputation management for orthodontist practices. We have put our SmartReview™ system in place at offices across the country to boost positive, 5-star reviews on Google and minimize negative ones.

Below we have outlined five things to know that will help with your online reputation. Want to learn more? Click here to contact us today!

Spot Fake Reviews

Are there fake reviews about your business online? Most consumers admit they can’t always tell a fake review from a real one. You need to be vigilant about monitoring your online reputation. Bad reviews and fake reviews have a negative impact on patient conversion from the web.

Encourage Positive Reviews

Happy patients aren’t clamoring to sing your praises on review sites like Google or on social media. That’s why we designed our SmartReview™ system to get you authentic positive reviews, fast. Most consumers report leaving a review when asked by a business for their feedback. Take advantage of that and increase your online cred.

Head Off Negative Comments

Capturing reviews at point of contact can help head off most negative reviews before they hit the net. Our system helps to avoid bad reviews being posted. You can address the patient’s concerns directly, offline.

Update Your Info

There’s nothing worse than an out-of-date phone number or email address on a review site. It’s your job to make sure this data doesn’t lapse. Regularly go to every website you can find where your contact information is listed to keep it up to date. Don’t only rely on your website. Most people say they look for contact info in places other than a business website including Facebook and Google Business listings.

Increase Number of Reviews

Last year the average number of reviews that people read before they trusted a business was six. This year it’s seven. It’s getting harder for a practice to gain trust online. With reviews on the right mix of websites you can get ahead of your competition. Speaking of that we have a bonus fact for you…

The Right Sites

According to the BrightLocal.com survey the top three most trusted review sites are Yelp, Google and Facebook. You need to make sure you put most of your attention on the big three.

Want to learn more about reputation management for your orthodontist practice? For a free marketing analysis, contact People & Practice today at 888.866.DOCS, or by email at hello@pplpractice.com.

WATCH: AAO Webinar on Ortho Marketing

Why isn’t your digital marketing converting new patients? What’s missing from your plan that other practices are doing to get results? Watch our latest American Association of Orthodontists webinar to find out. 

With the growing prevalence of retail dentistry, solo practitioners and small group practices are at risk of becoming commoditized in the eyes of the patient. If the perception is that the standard of care and experience is the same everywhere why wouldn’t you choose the practice with the most flexible hours and lowest prices? To avoid being commoditized and forced to compete solely on convenience or affordability you must communicate why you’re worth paying a little extra for. That means differentiating your practice from low-fee and other local competition to attract more private-pay patients and patients who understand the value you provide. This webinar will demonstrate how to accomplish this by solidifying your online reputation, connecting with your current and prospective patients on the media they use, and educating your target audience using the most effective online marketing tools available today.

After this lecture you will be able to:

  1. Discuss how digital marketing can be used to introduce, educate and build trust with a practice’s target audience members
  2. Explain how all the digital and analog “touch points,” or ways a prospective new patient interacts with your practice work together
  3. Activate current patients to market for the practice, serving as ambassadors that refer the practice to friends

Click here to learn how to convert more patients with an effective digital marketing plan.

5 Ways Orthodontists Increase Patient Conversion With Social Media

We all know that social media is integral to practice marketing but part of the trick is getting patients to engage with our posts. If you want to make your Facebook page more exciting (and help convert more patients) then we suggest trying a few of these strategies:

Give a little of everything

Surprisingly, a lot of people aren’t just going to your website to find out about your practice, especially Millennials. Many say that they start researching a business on social media first. So as they say in show business, give ‘em what they want. Put all the pertinent information about your practice right on your Facebook page, including contact information. Make it easy for someone to go right from social media to their first appointment. Facebook offers plenty of fields to fill out on your profile so make sure you are using them all, including the option to add a free Call-To-Action button that encourages people to contact you.

Read more about how Millennials use social media to research your practice.

Surprise them

Do something a little different on your page. If you are posting a constant stream of photos then slip in a fun survey or a contest. Give them something they did not expect.

Just make sure to stay away from anything too tricky or contrived. Read our blog post on what not to do on Facebook.

Teach them

A great post has a good takeaway. Dig up an interesting orthodontist fact or even some history. Make a short list of true and little-known facts related to teeth or orthodontics. People love to share these lists with friends and family. While you are educating and entertaining potential patients you are also building trust before you even meet them for an initial consultation.

For more on building trust with online content, click here.

Video

Live video is becoming one of the best ways to increase engagement on social. The best social media marketers know how to maximize live video by directly engaging with viewers. Set specific times you will be going live with an announcement, some educational facts or just a fun feed from the office around the holidays. Then when you get viewers – whether it’s one or a hundred – start chatting with them right on video.

Read some of the things that will change with Facebook’s new algorithm and how live video fits in.

Encourage reviews

Almost a quarter of people surveyed said that they use online reviews as a first step when seeking out a medical provider. Good reviews actually don’t just happen on their own. You need to ask patients to post reviews for you if they feel your practice deserves it. Google and Yelp aren’t  the only places to get reviewed. Your social media page has a review section and it’s important to make sure you are managing that space as well. People & Practice has a SmartReview™ system that’s designed to capture authentic positive reviews at the point of contact in your office.

Read more about how online reviews help a practice succeed.

Want to learn more about how to use social media to convert more people into patients? For a free marketing analysis, contact People & Practice today at 888.866.DOCS, or by email at hello@pplpractice.com.

READ: Go High or Go Low Just Don’t Get Stuck in the Middle

The Progressive Orthodontist magazine just published our feature story about how to survive as an independent practice without getting squeezed in the middle from above by large corporate Dental Service Organizations (DSOs) and from below by low-cost, so-called DIY orthodontics. Written by our co-founders, Dr. Leon Klempner and Amy Epstein, MBA, the main idea is to teach orthodontists how to break from the pack with a marketing program that differentiates a practice and attracts more qualified patients.

“As the orthodontic business model becomes increasingly competitive, prospective patients have many lower fee options. Traditional private fee for service practices are finding themselves squeezed in the middle, steadily losing market share. Large, corporate, DSOs and insurance companies are pushing down fees while overhead costs keep going up. Computer generated tooth straightening applications in the form of so-called do-it yourself orthodontics are commoditizing services into a point-and-click shopping experience. Adding to the burden is a surplus of competition and mounting debt that orthodontists need to carry in order to remain technologically competitive. Orthodontists are definitely feeling the pressure from every side.”

Read the full article on Progressive Orthodontist website here.

When you are finished reading the article, come back and read more marketing advice on our blogFor a free marketing analysis, contact People & Practice today at 888.866.DOCS, or by email at hello@pplpractice.com.

Facebook’s Recent Algorithm Update: Don’t Panic!

Facebook recently unveiled that it was going to change its news feed, a change designed to head off criticism directed at the powerful social media platform about polarizing media and interruptive business posts. Their strategy? Prioritizing content from friends and family over posts from companies to encourage “meaningful social interactions,” according to Facebook’s CEO and Founder Mark Zuckerberg. Translation: more photos of friends skiing and fewer articles about congressional investigations.

We think that’s just fine. If it enhances the patient and/or parent experience, it keeps them engaged on Facebook’s platform. That’s what we want, because it’s primarily where patients and parents choose to be social online!

All of that said, some subtle shifts to accommodate the changes can ensure that practices like yours are relatively unaffected by the algorithm adjustment.

Boost more posts

Prioritize boosted posts and advertisements in a marketing plan and post fewer without ad dollars backing them (a.k.a. organic posts). Facebook is telling agencies they won’t see any major changes for paid posts, although ad rates might increase in the long run. (Digiday). People & Practice strategy for its clients already includes posts that are nominally boosted or take the form of educational or promotional advertisements. Read more about boosted Facebook posts here.

Focus on engagement

Posts from practices that don’t get any meaningful engagement won’t appear as prominently in users’ news feeds compared to posts from friends/connections. But posts that people actually comment and share could be favored more highly. (CNBC)

People & Practice crafts posts for orthodontists that are designed to encourage engagement (comments, tags, shares with friends). Our social strategy involves reaching your friends-of-patients group via social media, often by patients sharing your posts on their network. This is an approach that will be rewarded by the new algorithm adjustment. Check out our five social media ideas for orthodontists here.

Go live with video

Shoot live video instead of pre-recorded. Zuckerberg also said his team has found that users interact more with live videos as opposed to produced ones (you can like and comment in real-time when live). The interpretation is that businesses should focus more on live of content going forward. People & Practice advises practices on ways to incorporate Facebook Live into posts, particularly for contest winner announcements and at events. Read our blog post on five social media marketing predictions for 2018 where we talk about how live video is going to be hot this year.

The more things change…

Always keep in mind that technology changes. Often. That’s why we don’t throw our tried and true strategies out the window as soon as social media giants introduce a change, but rather methodically and measuredly make tweaks that will ensure your practice remains visible to the people that matter most to you: patients and prospective new patients.

Want to learn more about how your practice can not only survive but thrive on Facebook, Google and other online media? For a free marketing analysis, contact People & Practice today at 888.866.DOCS, or by email at hello@pplpractice.com.

What Happens if You Don’t Get Good Reviews on Google?

Nothing happens. And that’s bad.

Bad reviews can be bad for business. Despite a recent research report finding that online physician ratings are not a good predictor of the quality of a doctor, people continue to rely on feedback they find on Google, Yelp and social media to make choices about which businesses to patronize and which doctors to visit. In fact, a survey by Bright Local found that a whopping 97% of consumers read online reviews about local businesses, with 12% looking for a local business online every single day, almost a third of them doing their research via mobile apps.

Chances are that most of those people didn’t get around to reading the research paper.

There’s an old adage in the ad game that asks what happens if a business doesn’t advertise? Nothing. Same goes for online reviews. What happens if you don’t get any good reviews on Google? You guessed it! Nothing.

People will not call. They will not come back to you after an initial consult or they will cancel appointments. Many consumers read an average of 7 reviews before trusting a business – that is up from 6 last year! More people are using online reviews more often and basing where they take their family for orthodontic treatment on what they read.

If you aren’t doing anything about your online reputation then don’t wonder why people aren’t calling for consultations. Almost a quarter of people surveyed said that they use online reviews as a first step when seeking out a medical provider. Good reviews actually don’t just happen on their own. You need to ask patients to post reviews for you if they feel your practice deserves it. People & Practice has a SmartReview™ system that’s designed to capture authentic positive reviews at the point of contact in your office.

Want to learn more about how you can supercharge your social media? Our work builds trust in your practice online to help you get new patients in a digital era by convincing them (before even meeting you) that you’re the practice to choose. For more information, or a free marketing analysis, you can contact People & Practice today at 888.866.DOCS, or by email at hello@pplpractice.com.