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.

Customer journey

The Customer Journey: Leading Patients to Your Practice

In order to be effective in marketing to potential patients, you need to think like they do.

Simply defined, the customer journey is the sequence of decision-making and research steps someone will go through before buying a product or service. Along the way the customer has a series of touchpoints where they interact with your practice, from the time they click on your website to your billing department after they commit. Each interaction is a part of that journey and influences how they think and feel about your practice.

Think like a patient

To bring in new business you need to think less like an orthodontist and more like one of your patients. What motivates a patient to pick your business over another? There are many influences, but we have found that trust in a practice and its staff is very high on the list.

Building trust with a potential patient you haven’t met yet isn’t easy but it can be done and done well. Patients need to see that you have plenty of positive reviews on third party sites like Yelp or on your Google Business listing. They need to see that you are an expert in your field, answering their questions and allaying their concerns. Your content needs to communicate the value of your office over the competition, especially when independent practices are competing against corporate Dental Service Organizations.

The customer journey doesn’t end when they sign on the dotted line. A patient must continue to be engaged with you on social media and contribute positive reviews to online review sites. Our research shows that personal referrals are a vital decision point in the customer’s journey to choosing an orthodontist. If your current patients aren’t singing your praises, then you need to find ways to get them to start.

Waypoints on the customer journey

To connect to potential new clients you need a multifaceted approach that involves social media marketing, online reputation management, a constant flow of interesting and useful content, and targeted Facebook advertising. This strategy creates awareness, captures attention, instills trust, and puts patients in chairs.

Social media

Your social presence should be active and encourage sharing, creating a constant flow of engagement between your office, patients and potential clients. It also allows you to be found and recommended by others and enables patients to interact with you in a place they feel most comfortable. New patients will become part of the marketing process, engaging with your social media posts and exposing your practice to their network of friends online who are also potential new clients.

Content

Educational content on your website positions you as a caring and knowledgeable professional that a customer can identify with before she even steps foot into your office. A constant flow of content is also great for getting your website up to the top of the results page in Google searches.

Facebook advertising

You can then expand your social media presence and drive traffic to your educational content through targeted advertising. Facebook’s powerful ad program allows practices to promote themselves by targeting a highly segmented demographic based on age, interest and location.

Reputation management

A practice should also have a system in place to encourage patients to share positive reviews online and intercept negative experiences to resolve issues before they become a problem. Positive reviews on services like Yelp and Google Business influence a client’s decision. We have mentioned this before, but it cannot be understated: surveys have shown that 84% of patients use online reviews to evaluate doctors.

The journey begins and ends with you

Once a new client discovers your practice, she begins to take a journey with you. Some are long and winding roads while others are very direct paths. It’s important that your marketing efforts guide her to your practice.

Are you ready to take the journey with your next patient? 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.

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.

Online reviews and reputation management

Ignore Online Reviews at Your Own Peril!

Take our advice, you ignore online reviews about your practice at your own peril.

First, the bad news. According to Brightlocal.com, a negative review will drive away about 22% of your customers. These are people who go to an online review, read something bad about your business (deserved or not), and then never even call you. That’s bad.

Here’s the good news. The same site said that consumers will probably spend about 31% more on products and services at a business that have good reviews. That’s good.

If you’re ignoring online reviews, don’t have a system in place to capture positive reviews to post online or intercept negative reviews before others read them, you could be damaging your practice and not even know it. Online reviews are important especially in the healthcare industry where patients are extremely sensitive to online reviews. In fact, a recent survey by a medical software company found that 84% of patients use online reviews to evaluate doctors. And, a majority of customers say that they trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation! That’s powerful. Moreso when you factor in the influence that Millennials are bringing to the web. Millennialmarketing.com reported recently that 70% of Millennials felt a responsibility to share their experiences with a company, good or bad.

You might think, “So what? I checked and I don’t even have any reviews. I’m safe.” Not so fast. People also tend to shy away from businesses that don’t have any online reviews. Bottom line is that you have to do something if you want to grow your practice. Don’t let the marketplace define you. Millennials and Generation Z are communicating how they feel about your practice, as decision makers and as the young patients you’re helping to give a better, healthier smile. With a single online post they can make or break your business.

People & Practice specializes in online reputation management for orthodontic practices. Prospective patients do their online homework, and they trust peer-to-peer feedback above all else. One negative review can significantly damage your reputation, especially if there are no positive ones. That’s why it’s vitally important that your practice have many positive public reviews across different review sites. Our SmartReview™ system is designed to get you authentic positive reviews, fast.

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.

Millennials Are Not Simply Going To Your Website!

Millennials do not research companies on the web the same way other generations have. They go to their social networks to find out about you before they even search Google or click on your practice’s website.

Capturing the attention of Millennials is all the buzz nowadays. This is a demographic that is disrupting the way businesses market products and services and the dental community is no exception. New research by a B2B marketer now suggests that Millennials research a company on social media before they look anywhere else. In fact, 45% of Millennials surveyed say they begin researching a company on social media first!

That’s right. Before they turn to Google and click on search results that take them to your brand spanking new website, Millennial parents are going to social media to see if they can find out about your practice. Respondents gave a number of reasons why including the fact that they did not want to be tracked by a website while doing their research. Millennials are known early adopters of technology, and they also know how to get around many of the tricks marketers are using to hit them with targeted advertising. If you do not have a vibrant presence on social media then you might be invisible to the Millennial parent. A social media page has gone from “nice to have if your have the time” to a huge business legitimizer. Possibly even your first touch point of contact with your next generation of patients.

Millennials have lots of Facebook friends and are still a large audience on the network. In fact, a survey by millennialmarketing.com found that 46% of Millennials have 200+ Facebook friends. That’s a large network of potential referrals you can capture with the right social media marketing strategy that encourages and incentivizes sharing of your content.

It’s a different way to put patients into chairs. Millennials needs to develop a rapport with you first in their own space before they will commit to following you to your website. They may even bypass your website altogether and contact you directly from information provided on your social media page, if your page is active, engaging and relevant.

Want to know more about creating a social media presence that encourages patients to share content and brings in more clients? 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.

social media for orthos

5 Social Media Marketing Ideas For Orthodontists

Although essential to the success of any small business today many have no idea how to go about marketing their orthodontic practice online. We’ve found that now more than ever, solo orthodontist offices and small group practices are at risk of becoming commoditized in the eyes of their patients. The web has allowed for greater transparency and access to information but this means patients have more choices and do more research before deciding on a practice. The rise of retail orthodontic offices has added to the noise making a marketing program even more vital to your success.

A good marketing program can differentiate your practice to attract more patients who understand the value you provide. Below we have provided five ideas for orthodontists to kick-start their marketing effort on a blog or social media.

1. Before and after smile selfies – Post a collage with before and after pictures comparing a patient’s first day in the office to their new smile. The sheer number of selfies out there tells a lot about how people feel about sharing their smiling faces on the web. When people share your content they are giving a thumbs up to your practice to friends and family. (Tip: Have patients use their cellphones to post to their FB page and tag the orthodontic office FB business page.  Then share the post on office page for maximum visibility.)

2. Highlight your do-gooders – Write short blog entries and social media posts about people in your practice who do good things like walk for a charity to raise money or help out at a soup kitchen. Everyone has a cause they believe in and want to promote. Giving staff members a time to shine online will help patients connect to your practice in a positive way that has goes above and beyond price.

3. Tidbit of the week – Post your office tidbit of the week whether it’s a quick video on how to floss properly with braces or a meme that tells a fun fact of the day. These posts show that you are knowledgeable and care about your patients. People like to look for information themselves before having to pick up the phone. Make your website and social media networks a resource of good advice and DIY videos!

4. Customer testimonials – Post a quote from a customer about what a great experience they had at your practice and how they recommend you and your courteous staff. Remember to put a face to the words and snap a picture of your new office evangelist to post on social media.

5. Fun survey – Post a survey to Facebook and then post the results. The survey can be around a fun theme like “What forbidden food are you most looking for to eating after your braces come off?” or “What are the best color rubber bands for the weekend?” Or you can make it a test quiz and post the results to see how many people knew the answer.

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About People and Practice: People and Practice is a marketing agency for orthodontists and general dentistry. We help increase the quality of new patient calls, encourage current patients to become brand influencers who refer you more customers and establish strong brand equity for your practice.

Want to learn the marketing tools you need to grow your orthodontic practice? 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.