Read: Journal of Clinical Orthodontics Article Written by People & Practice

The Journal of Clinical Orthodontics invited our founders, Leon Klempner, DDS and Amy Epstein, MBA, to write an article about marketing a practice to the Millennial generation. In his preface to the article, Contributing Editor Robert S. Haeger, DDS, MS, praised the piece. He said that “after reading (and re-reading) this article, you will have a much better understanding of the space Millennials operate in, which platforms to target, and what information is important to them, as well as the relevance of staying current with technology to market your office.”

Millennials are not only sharing on the web, but they are making purchase decisions based on recommendations from friends on social media and reviews posted on sites like Google and Yelp. If you are not managing your practice’s social presence and online reputation, you will be invisible to the Millennial consumer. This generation’s consumers are spread thin in terms of time commitment: they depend on virtual interactions such as depositing checks through a mobile app, ordering groceries through Amazon’s Alexa, or resolving billing issues on a virtual chat bot. To connect with them, you need to be technology-enabled and interactive in the way you run your practice and in your marketing.

Head over to the JCO website to read “The Future Is Now: How Millennials, Tech, and a Chess-Playing Computer Are Changing Orthodontics.”

 

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.

Snapchat logo

We’ve Taking Over Snapchat!

Well, not really.

We’ve only taken over the Rocky Mountain Orthodontics (RMO) Snapchat account for the week. People & Practice was invited  to take over their account to promote our upcoming talk at the RMO/Dental Monitoring Symposium being held Oct. 6-7, 2017 in Las Vegas where our CEO, Dr. Leon Klempner, will speak about how Artificial Intelligence software is being used to assist orthodontists in their practices, including the Dental Monitoring imaging system. He will also review advanced marketing techniques that will help independent orthodontists attract and retain Millennials as patients. Snapchat is an example of one of the new tools available to connect with potential patients in a genuine way and tell your practice’s story.

Snapchat is a multimedia messaging application for your smartphone. It allows you to share pictures and short videos that you dress up with filters and other fun add-ons. Users chat with each other through these mini messages and once you view them they disappear in a snap-after about 10 seconds or so-hence their ghost logo and their name. Get it? Snap. Chat.

Download the Snapchat app onto your smartphone and head to the RMO account at rmosnaps. Then check out our Snaps and find out what all the buzz is about with this hot social media channel.

The McGill Advisory Invites People & Practice to Pen Article on Differentiating Your Practice With Social Marketing

People & Practice was invited to write an article for The McGill Advisory–the monthly newsletter of The McGill & Hill Group, a dental practice advisory group–about the importance of social marketing. In this article, titled “Increase Your New Patients By Differentiating Your Practice Online,” co-authored by our founders Leon Klempner, DDS and Amy Epstein, MBA, they wrote about the mix of strategies used to gain the right new patients when competing against corporate dental practices.

The full text of the article that appeared in the April issue of The McGill Advisory is posted below with permission from the publishers. You can also read this article on The McGill Advisory website (subscription required) by clicking here.

Increase Your New Patients By Differentiating Your Practice Online
By: Leon Klempner, DDS and Amy Epstein, MBA

In today’s world, traditional practices are not only competing against each other, but also against corporate dental practices, also called Dental Service Organizations (DSOs). DSOs typically have the advantage of a much larger advertising budget and generally charge lower fees. How can you succeed in gaining new patients when competing against these Goliaths?

Delivering Superior Quality of Care

If you plan to differentiate and grow your practice, the delivery of high quality care is non-negotiable. Any marketing strategy will be short circuited without good clinical and nonclinical care.

While doctors base their perception of a high-quality practice on the level of clinical care provided, patients use a totally different yardstick. Since most patients are not able to evaluate clinical care, their evaluation is largely based on several nonclinical factors.

One critically important factor is your staff. Patients want staff members that are well-trained, friendly, courteous, compassionate and offer the highest level of customer service. Do your staff members make scheduling an appointment quick and easy? Does your practice respect the time of your patients and run on time, or with only minimal wait times?

Another factor influencing patients’ evaluation of your practice is how trustworthy they feel the doctor is. It is very important for doctors to build trust by establishing a strong personal relationship with the patient. It only takes a minute to look the patient directly in the eyes, address him/her by name and show your interest in them as a person. That could be as simple as asking about family members, job and other personal matters, all of which can demonstrate that you care about them and their well-being. The doctor should take time to thoroughly explain to the patient their dental symptoms, recommended treatment options, and communicate the negative impact of not accepting treatment.

Your competitive edge over low fee competition is your ability to build strong long-term relationships, and those relationships are built on trust. Now, let’s talk about how to leverage that trust, which translates into a competitive edge, using social marketing.

Power to the Practice

In today’s competitive dental marketplace, it’s essential to have a carefully crafted digital marketing plan to effectively communicate your superior quality of care, and differentiate your practice from your lower fee/lower quality corporate competitors. Below are three strategies to harness the power of patient referrals, tell the story of your practice, and capture the attention of potential new patients cost-effectively.

Reputation Management: In Reviews We Trust

Potential patients trust online reviews and often base their decision on what others say about your practice. A recent survey by BrightLocal.com found that 84% of those asked said they trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. That’s the same as a friend telling them that they should call your office. The same survey showed that 74% of consumers reported that a positive review will make them trust a local business more.

Your future patients are researching practices online and will make a decision based on what they find, particularly on review sites such as Google and Yelp. Just going from 0 to 1 favorable review increases the rate that online practice shoppers will contact your practice by 65%. And to be truly effective, you need to generate at least 20 favorable Google reviews. This creates a cycle – the more reviews, the more new patients joining your practice, leading to even more reviews, and higher search engine rankings.

The survey also revealed that a majority of patients will leave a review for your practice, if asked. This highlights how important it is to have a system in place to amplify positive comments you hear in your office and help “catch” potentially negative experiences before they go public.

It’s not as hard as you may think to convert an offhand comment into an authentic, five-star public review so that potential new patients can read it. At the same time, it’s important to offer a sounding board to patients in case their experience wasn’t perfect, giving them a chance to vent before they take to the Internet to air their grievances.

Social Engagement Done Right

There’s no better way to add value to your practice than having current patients share your content with their social media friends. Actively engaging with your patients through social media will reap benefits exponentially if done right. A Facebook page must not only have a regular stream of updates, but also must be interactive, encouraging current fans to like and share your post on the pages. This helps reach their network of friends, increasing the number of potential new patients aware of your practice.

The content needs to be personalized, informative, or entertaining to be good enough to share. A contest that incentivizes patients to like and repost to their own page in order to have a chance to win is just one of many great examples of interactive, shareable content.

Facebook Advertising: Choose Your Audience and Get Clicks With Educational Content

Facebook’s dynamic ad platform allows doctors to target a specific audience and potential new patients who are in need of your services, and live within a short distance of your practice’s physical address. These ads can be directed back to educational content on your website, with forms that are specifically designed to capture new patient data delivered right to your inbox.

Stronger Together

While these strategies can operate independently to boost your practice’s referral rates, they work best together. In conjunction, reputational management, social engagement, and Facebook advertising form a digital marketing plan that’s unmatched in communicating your competitive advantages in expertise and experience to deliver personalized customer service that’s superior. This will help you compete and win against DSOs in converting more new patients.

Download a PDF of the full article.

McGill & Hill Webinar featuring Leon Klempner, DDS