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!

The Three Be’s to Build Trust in Your Practice

How do you gain the trust of potential new clients? Be authentic, believable and present online!

Marketing expert Seth Godin wrote on his blog that the math has changed when it comes to measuring effectiveness of advertising online. If you’re optimizing your ads simply for likes then you’re chasing the wrong type of attention. Sure, you can get attention easily with controversy or being really bad at what you do. But who wants that kind of attention? As an independent practice you can’t afford costly mistakes to your reputation.

The most important thing you can get from an online strategy is trust. How do we build trust online without the benefit of face-to-face contact or sometimes even context to our words? Follow the three Be’s of building trust.

Be authentic

In a study on trust conducted by the public relations and marketing firm Edelman, the company found that 60% of individuals think a real person – someone just like themselves – is a credible source of information, as credible as any expert. Think about it. The opinions of peers carries just as much weight as a professional. The lesson here is to speak in a natural, friendly voice. Be authentic. Be real. Speak (or write) like you would to a patient chairside in your practice or to a close friend when you’re giving advice.

People can tell when a company is not being authentic and they don’t like it. In a survey conducted by Stackla, a content marketing firm, they found that 70% of people can tell when a brand-created image is trying to pose as if it’s a user-generated pic. People also reported that they unfollowed a brand on social media when they felt they were trying to fake it.

Be believable

You can build trust in your practice with a good social media marketing strategy. In their survey, 61% of consumers told Edelman that a company’s social media page is more believable than its advertising. The fact that social media invites two-way conversation is probably a big reason. Customers like to be part of the conversation. Fun posts that show the human side of your staff and patients, cool contests and informational content all build trust in your practice with potential clients.

Be present

No matter how many ads you run, you can’t buy trust. You have to engage constantly on social media with patients and potential new clients. Because they are always connected to their smartphones, a consumer is aware of the difference between authentic content and when they are being sold something. In fact 70% of consumers have said that they prefer to get to know a brand through constant content than campaigns. Don’t let your online presence go stale. Whether it’s your Facebook page or your Google Business listing, active engagement is another key to building trust.

Want to learn more about how you can supercharge your marketing? 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.

Boost Your Facebook Posts for Maximum Performance

If you run a Facebook Business page then you have come across the boosted page post many times but you might not even know it or understand what it means. As a page administrator, Facebook will ask you every time you create a post if you’d like to boost it to reach more people. It appears as a little button in the bottom of your published post that only you can see. Once you click it, a box pops up that gives you options of how you’d like to boost the post.

Why pay to promote a post?

Before getting to the nitty gritty, let’s stop a moment and look at why you’d want to do such a thing in the first place. In other words, if I already have a page with lots of followers, what’s in it for me to play money to boost my post?

Facebook puts the brakes on organic posts

The truth is, only a very tiny percentage of your total fans actually sees your posts. Facebook is generous with the features it offers to businesses for free but one thing they have done is limit the number of people who can see the posts you put on the page. This is called throttling, meaning that Facebook throttles down the impressions it gives to posts you create for free, also known as organic posts.

You have already been asking yourself why all the terrific, engaging posts you’ve been crafting for social media are falling kind of flat with few likes, shares and comments. Throttling is the reason why.

Why are they doing this to us?

Facebook is a business, after all, and they want to make money somehow. So to have more eyeballs view your posts Facebook charges you to show them to more people, known as boosting a posts (or sometimes referred to as paid posts or promoted posts.) This lets more of your fans see the post, even if they like your page already. So, even though they make it fun and easy to post all kinds of content to Facebook on your business page, your masterpiece won’t really be seen by all that many people. Seems like they let you set this great table and then yank the tablecloth off just as you hit send.

Parts of a Facebook boost

If you look closely at the dialog box that appears when you chose to boost a post, there are a few options to help expand and convert your audience.

Call-to-action button

Facebook allows you to add a button to the boosted post that will entice people to take an action. There are a few different ways to use buttons to help make a boosted post more effective.

  • Direct traffic to your website – There is a “learn More” that is useful if you want to include a custom link in you post that directs people to your website. For educational or informational content, the button can let people click to get more information about your blog post or specific page on your website.
  • Book a consultation – For more promotional type posts, you can encourage potential patients to book a free consultation with a “Book Now” button.
  • Find your practice – A “Get Directions” button will send people to your practice’s physical address.

Call-to-action buttons are extremely effective as they are telling the viewer what they can do next if they are interested in your post.

Audience

Facebook allows you to customize the audience you want to promote the boosted post to. The audience can be a certain demographic in a specific geographic area or it can be just promoted to people who already like your page. Each audience type is geared toward different results. The audience option is where you will optimize for results.

  • Existing followers – For example, if you want to promote a post to people who like your page already, then you can chose to boost your post just to that audience. When current followers engage with the boosted content, their friends on Facebook will see that activity on their pages, increasing your reach naturally. The trust that your followers already have in you practice will be transferred to their network.
  • New followers – If you want to expand your reach beyond your existing followers you can target a broader demographic, promoting a post to people who live in towns surrounding your practice location. This will create awareness of your practice outside of your existing network.
  • Visitors to your website – It’s a little bit more complicated but you can put code on your practice’s website so that when people visit they will be retargeted with a boosted post from your Facebook page. Like we said, it’s a bit more complicated and you might need to get your website developer to help you but this is a very effective way to re-capture that traffic on social media.

Budget and duration

Facebook advertising isn’t like buying a page in a coupon mailer or Pennysaver. You chose a budget you want to spend to reach the people you’re targeting. Once your boosted post reaches the end of the budget, it turns off. You can also select a specific duration the ad will run so that once it reaches the end of that timeframe (ex. 7 days) then the ad shuts off, even if you haven’t spent your entire budget. In the end you are charged based only on ad performance.

Set your strategy

Facebook boosted posts are very powerful tools for the small business. All the available options help you target a very segmented group for very specific results. Best of all, you set your budget and you can use it to test a post’s effectiveness. If you find a particularly engaging post you can increase your budget or boost it to different audiences and keep optimizing it for the best results.

Want to learn more about how you can supercharge your marketing? 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.

Dentist practice transitions

Dental Economics invited our founders, Leon Klempner, DDS and Amy Epstein, MBA, to address the benefits of having a good communication plan in place when bringing on a new partner or when there is a change of ownership at a practice in an article for the magazine.

It’s never too early to start thinking about a communication plan when a change of practice ownership is in the works. Patients don’t like surprises, particularly when it comes to their doctors. Letting them in on the news as early as possible will help mitigate any stress patients may have about a management transition. If you keep them in the dark because you’re afraid to tell them, get ready for the inevitable backlash—lost patients, hesitant referral sources, negative word-of-mouth, and erosion of the reputation and trust you spent decades building.

Read the full article on the Dental Economic website here.

Get Your Patients to Post For You

Here’s a secret: there is no secret to get your social media content to go viral. No one knows the magic formula. Sometimes it’s accidental and sometimes the stars just align. So, while there’s no guarantee your followers will repost all your great content, there are ways to increase your chances. Below we provide a few quick tips specifically for orthodontists to get patients to start posting online about your practice.

Encourage selfies

If there’s one thing people love more than great pictures, it’s great pictures that they’re in. That’s why selfies are so popular. People will check into your business when they take pics so make sure there are strategic places around your office that encourage selfie-taking, especially on big days like when braces come off. Social media is a very visual medium and a picture is worth a thousand likes. We hope!

Create shareable content that’s fun

How-to posts about braces and educational content do not have to be boring. Make the tone of your posts fun and even go off-topic a bit if appropriate. Add an image to every blog post and keep them short. People tend to skim online when reading so it’s best to keep posts very short and break them up into lists or small sections. Also, spend time brainstorming some topics you want to talk about and keep them aside for times when you’re struggling for ideas. The key here is to make everything bite sized.

Remind them what to do with your content

Believe it or not, people need to be told what to do with your content on the web. Don’t be afraid to include a call to action at the end of your post asking people to share. If you have a blog on your website make sure you use a service like ShareThis or AddThis so it’s easy for people to share it to their social media networks. When you post content on social media, politely ask people to like and share. Remember, it never hurts to ask!

Engage with your fans

Even orthodontists have fans. If you have invested some time in making your pages active and fun there will be people who come back to see what’s new. Engage with your most active users and tag them in posts. Make sure someone is always monitoring your social media accounts. If anyone comments on your page, reply in a timely fashion. If someone tags your business in a post, share it to your page and comment on it thanking them. Social media is a two-way communication tool so you have to do more than just post your latest news. Talk to your patients on social media. Don’t be shy.

Want to learn more about how you can supercharge your marketing? 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.