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.

Five Predictions For Ortho Marketing in 2018

It’s that time of year when prognosticators read the tea leaves to make their predictions for 2018. Since we’ve been following the trends in dental marketing all year, we think we have a good grasp on where things will go over the next 12 months. Keep reading for our take on what you need to put into action to make your practice successful in 2018.

1) Content Marketing

Creating useful, relevant, informative content will never go out of style. The way it is delivered might change (anyone still subscribing to Poor Richard’s Almanac?) but the old adage that content is king still rules. Content is a win/win/win. It’s an SEO strategy that benefits all parties: the producer, the consumer and the search engine (primarily Google). People love searching for free stuff to read online when they should be working. If it delivers value and helps instill trust in your practice, then all the better. But there’s a new reason to double down on content in 2018: ad zappers. Ad zappers are software that seeks out and removes ads from the websites you visit so you don’t get deluged with annoying banners while you read your nifty content. It’s debatable if these ad zappers are good or bad for business but the bottom line is that in lieu of throwing money at local advertising that might never get seen, you will want to divert some marketing funds toward creating content to attract visitors organically. Read more about ad zappers and how content can help fill the void here.

2) Social Media Marketing

Again, nothing new here. We’ve been promoting social media marketing for orthodontists for years now. What we predict for 2018 is the growing importance of social media as a first stop in finding your practice online. That’s because Millennials aren’t necessarily going to your website to research your business. In a recent survey, 45% of Millennials say they begin researching a company on social media first. So if you’ve let your social media presence go stale it’s time for a refresh. Fill your page with useful info about your practice, links to your blog posts, and pictures of happy patients. You need to engage your audience in new ways to encourage sharing so when they ask, potential patients have a place to go on Facebook to do their research. Read more on this social media marketing and Millennials here.

3) Micro-moments

The future of marketing is the acceleration of what we already have in place now. That’s right things are moving even faster in 2018. Don’t worry, you won’t need to be a speed demon to keep up, you just have to be there with useful information when your next patient is looking for a dental practice in her hometown. Google defined micro-moments as the extension of an already empowered consumer now armed with the web at her fingertips on a mobile device. You get your info wherever, whenever.  “Waiting has become a thing of the past. That translates into today’s pervasive micro-moment behavior—immediately turning to a device to know, go, do, and buy… In short, marketers have had to start being a lot more assistive.” Producing good content, having a dynamic social media presence, and making sure your practice shows up in Google results with lots of positive reviews are three strategies to capturing the mico-moment. Will your practice be the one a parent picks when she Googles “orthodontists near me”? Find out more about micro-moments and how they will affect your marketing here.

4) Engagement

You can’t just sit idly by waiting for the calls to come in. In 2018 you will need to be fully engaged with your current customers so they can evangelize your practice on social media and review sites like Google Business and Yelp. Being present on social so that you can respond to questions and comments goes a long way to humanizing your practice. It also lets potential clients know there is a real doctor behind the page who is knowledgeable and friendly. Social media is a powerful tool to communicate the value of your practice if done right. We have some ideas about how to engage patients on social media on our blog here.

5) Live Video

When Facebook first unveiled its live video feature, it didn’t make much of a splash as it was limited to celebrities and people with verified accounts. Media companies and marketers tried to figure out how to use it. Fast forward to today and live video streaming is available to everyone on the platform and it’s become a hot way to communicate on social. And it’s only going to get hotter in 2018.

It’s not just Facebook that has realized live video’s potential on social media. Now, SnapChat, Marco Polo and other many apps have come to develop their own versions of shared video on social networks. (For those keeping score, even before Facebook Live there was a live video service called Periscope that integrated with Twitter.) Videos on Facebook don’t have to be watched live either. When you’re done filming they’re archived on your page for later viewing just like any other post.

Live video is easy and fun thanks to integration right in the Facebook mobile app. Just go to your page and start filming your patients with their new smiles, having fun in your office around the holidays, or finding out they just won a prize in one of your contests. Click here for a simple and easy intro on how to jump into the live video frenzy from Facebook.

Are you ready to take your marketing into the future? Contact People & Practice today!

Beware The Dark Side of Content Marketing on Facebook

Don’t give in to the temptation to post questionable content on Facebook. It could cause long-lasting damage to your practice.

Good content gets noticed. If it’s informative and relevant, then you’re sure to get clicks that convert into patients. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true as evidenced by the proliferation of fake news and clickbait marketing, especially on Facebook. Yes, people like useful content but they also like provocative news that confirms their beliefs. But in the era of “alternative facts,” People & Practice is firmly in the “just the fact, ma’am” camp.

Facebook has taken to the road to convince publishers that this is also their opinion. The company released a 50-age document explaining what they think works on their platform and what doesn’t. And, they have taken steps to target the bad actors disseminating fake news. They offer three things to remember when producing content for Facebook:

  • People on Facebook value content that’s meaningful and informative
  • People on Facebook value accurate, authentic content
  • People on Facebook value standards for safe, respectful behavior

While these are meant to be directed at the media, they apply to anyone who produces content for self-promotion, including those in the dental community.

Don’t give in to the Dark Side. While the quick and easy path might offer a short-term benefit in hundreds or even thousands of clicks, the long-term damage to your reputation can be irreparable. It’s not worth going viral for the wrong reason. We constantly advise practices to put in place our system that captures negative reviews before they’re posted to a site like Google Business or Yelp. A bad review can become a big headache. Anyone engaging in clickbait marketing techniques risks causing even worse damage to their reputation.

Facebook is possibly the largest and most effective direct distribution channel for online content in the world right now. It can be hugely beneficial to those who know how to use it the right way with a mix of good content and targeted advertising.

People & Practice specializes in advising practices about how to promote themselves with online content that resonates with prospective patients in a positive way and communicates the values of your doctors and staff. We 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, contact us at 888.866.DOCS, or by email at hello@pplpractice.com.

Are You Ready to Capture Your Next Patient in a Micro-moment?

Mobile has changed the rules in online marketing.

In a very familiar scene, a group of parents are gathered together and the conversation veers toward braces. Instinctively one or two parents go to their smartphones to search for local orthodontists. A list pops up and the results show local practices with 5-star reviews on Google Business, social media business pages, and online content addressing topics of concern to parents with children who need their teeth straigntened. A parent clicks on the site that seems the most appealing and starts doing research right there. Based on a decision he made in only a few seconds, one practice that paid attention to its marketing is getting a call for a consultation the next day, or maybe two calls. The others have lost an opportunity.

This is called a micro-moment. It’s a natural evolution in the era of the empowered consumer. Someone who is armed with the web at his fingertips on a mobile device with a mentality that everything should be available right here, right now. Mobile usage has changed the game in online marketing and you have only a matter of minutes or even seconds to a capture the attention of this potential patient. Are you ready?

According to a report by Google, “people today want to be empowered to make the right decision, big or small—and they’re turning to their phones for advice to guide them.” People search for “best orthodontist” to start their short list of research. Google reports that mobile searches for “best” have grown 80% in the past two years. “It’s not just for high-consideration items or weighty topics,” the report states. “Because they can, people are turning to their phones for information on just about everything.” And there’s no need to put in a location qualifier anymore like “near me” or in a specific town or zip code. Because of GPS tracking on mobile phones, people are used to results being tailored for their specific location. (Try it!)

How does a practice complete at the speed of light? Don’t worry. You really don’t have to be a speed demon to keep up. With help, practices can position themselves to anticipate the micro-moments of potential patients and embrace the pace of today’s busy consumer. Producing useful, informative and relevant content, having a dynamic social media presence, and making sure your practice shows up in Google results with lots of positive reviews are three strategies to capturing the mico-moment before it passes by.

You can be ready to capture your next patient in a micro-moment. 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, contact People & Practice at 888.866.DOCS, or by email at hello@pplpractice.com.

Digital Ad Zappers Make Content Marketing Even MORE Important

In the online battle for clients’ attention, fight ad blocking with content!

Ethan Zuckerman has said that he’s sorry. Ever heard of him? Probably not, but he has apologized to you anyway – actually he apologized to the whole world of which we assume you are a part. What egregious sin made him proclaim his mea culpa so publicly? Mr. Zuckerman invented the internet pop-up ad.

Yep. Now you get it.

In a lengthy essay Mr. Zuckerman explains how and why he invented arguably the most despised form of advertising ever created. It’s a good read if you’re into that sort of thing. So what does this have to do with marketing for the dental industry? We’ll get to that.

Ad zappers

If enough people hate something, other people will try to stop it. Online ads are no exception. Many people know about the pop-up ad blocking feature on their favorite web browser. They stop websites from opening those annoying windows that propagate across your screen like little roaches. Well, ad blocking didn’t stop with pop-ups. Programmers invented new ways to monetize the internet and they created all kinds of other advertising techniques. And other people have found a way to block those too.

According to Pagefair.com, a service that says it is an ad blocking authority, 615 million devices now have some sort of ad blocking on them. In 2016, ad block usage grew 30% globally, as reported by the New York Times. On mobile devices, usage grew by 108 million to 380 million individual devices. Pagefair.com says that usage of ad blocking is now mainstream across all ages. In short, everyone is ad blocking and it’s a pretty big deal to people who want to advertise online. Psst… that’s you!

Did you pay for some banner ads on a local site to promote your practice recently? Have you considered it? You might want to rethink your strategy. Digital advertising isn’t dead yet. (And we’re not talking about promoted social media posts here just banner ads.) There is still a place for it, including Google Adwords and Facebook advertising, all very popular and effective marketing tools. But, if you’re spending all of your precious marketing dollars buying banners and other digital ads, you need to expand your horizons and get a bit more sophisticated.

Content marketing to the rescue!

Good content marketing attracts users to your site through organic search, link sharing, and, yes, targeted ads on social media websites. We’re guessing one of those three methods got you to find this very blog post.

Content marketing is the technique of generating relevant, informative and interesting material that people want to read and share, whether it’s a blog post, bylined article, infographic, or other type of communication. If you regularly serve up good content, people will continue to come back to your website, social media page and open your emails. With your content, you can educate prospective new patients about your expertise before they need your services, so that when it’s time to make a choice, you’re the one they already know and trust.

An active and engaging social media presence supports a good content plan and communicates the value of your practice to friends of current patients, potentially reaching new ones. Marry this with a program to curate positive online reviews on sites like Google Business and Yelp, and you have a powerful combination that is ten-times stronger than running banner ads by themselves.

With the rise in ad blocking software, good content is a more important part of your marketing than ever before. People actually seek out good content instead of trying to zap it away. Good content builds trust in a way that banners and pop-up ads never could. Don’t get us wrong. Your marketing mix should still include online advertising, but you also need to develop a good content plan if you want to really connect with future patients.

Are your ready to fight the ad blockers with good content? 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.