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.

AAO 2017 Annual Session: Learn The New Tools You Need To Grow Your Orthodontic Practice

How can the average orthodontic practice compete in a world where social media and online reviews have allowed consumers to take choosing an orthodontist into their own hands? Resources like Google Reviews, Yelp and Facebook have empowered patients to share their experiences and opinion of your practice with friends and neighbors at the push of a button – for better or for worse. That is why I started People & Practice, a team of digital marketing experts that specialize in specifically helping orthodontists understand the rules of the new marketing playbook. As a business owner or staff leader you have the power to help shape the message online about your practice, leading to more qualified patients coming through your door who are ready to accept your treatment plan.

We will be speaking at the AAO 2017 Annual Session in San Diego, CA at the San Diego Convention Center. The CE credit-certified session is called “The New Marketing Playbook: How to Grow Your Practice with a Digital Strategy” and will outline the pillars of a successful digital marketing strategy for orthodontists and how to best implement each. If you are attending the conference this year don’t miss this valuable class. Key takeaways will be how to:

  • Identify an orthodontic practice’s target audiences and what works best to connect with each
  • Determine the different elements of how a new patient chooses one practice over another
  • Recognize which would be the most effective marketing vehicles for your orthodontic practice and how they interplay

The New Marketing Playbook: How to Grow Your Practice with a Digital Strategy
AAO 2017 Annual Session
San Diego Convention Center
San Diego, CA
Monday, April 24th, 4-5PM
Speaker: Leon Klempner DDS, CertOrtho
For more information about the conference click here.

Can’t make it to San Diego? Contact People & Practice for a consultation on how you can grow your practice with our proven integrated digital marketing program. Increase the quality of your new patient calls, transform existing patients into influencers and establish brand equity for your practice.

Email hello@pplpractice.com or call 888-866-DOCS (3627)

Why Doesn’t My Social Marketing Attract New Patients?

Watch the video above for CEO of People & Practice’s full answer to this important question. 
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Why doesn’t my social marketing bring in new patients? The short answer is that you are not using all of the available marketing tools necessary. You need a coordinated combination of collecting multiple five-star public Google reviews, initiating a robust social media engagement program and effective content driven targeted Facebook Advertising.

Today, let’s focus on Facebook Advertising.  Facebook currently has over 1.7 billion users. You may be surprised to learn that the best growth opportunities are to target those that do not even know you exist. Facebook Advertising enables targeting potential new patients within a 5-10 mile radius of your practice, categorized by whatever age, sex, or income you desire to attract.

Read our article published in the September issue of the McGill Advisory – linked here: McGill Advisory article

Interested in a free marketing analysis of your practice?  Contact me directly.

Leon@pplpractice.com, 631.974.7511(c)
#mktg4docs #practicemanagement
Facebook Boosting and Facebook Advertising

When & Why We Recommend Boosting vs Facebook Ads

At People & Practice we often find our clients are confused by the difference between Facebook Boosting and Facebook Advertising. Since they’re both paid advertising through Facebook, shouldn’t they do the same thing? Shouldn’t they have the capability of reaching the same target audiences? Unfortunately the answer is no.

We thought it would be helpful to give a clear definition of the differences between Facebook Boosting and Facebook Advertising. Here goes!

Facebook Boosting is the option to increase the visibility of a social post on your business’ page. The goal is to get more people to like, comment or share your post – in other words you’re boosting engagement on a post.

Boosting allows you to do minimal targeting with three distinct options: (1) People who like your Page; (2) People who like your Page and their Friends; and (3) People you choose through targeting. While options 2 and 3 seem tempting because you’re hitting a larger audience, the goal of this paid advertising isn’t to increase awareness, it’s to increase engagement. That means that if someone likes your post who hasn’t liked your page (aka someone who is a Friend of someone who likes your Page – option 2), they’ve engaged with you, but they’ll never see another one of your posts because they haven’t been encouraged to like your Page. In other words, you’re paying for clicks but not increasing your audience. 

That said, Boosting isn’t all bad! Engagement is important! It shows that your fans are excited about what you’re doing and boosting makes sure more of your fans are seeing your posts. Because Facebook wants you to spend money with them, their algorithm is set so that your posts don’t reach everyone who likes/follows your page. By choosing Option 1, Boosting ensures that many more of your Fans see what you have to say.

Here are our rules for boosting:

1) Only boost posts once you see that they’re already doing well. In other words, don’t boost a post right off the bat. Make sure you’re fans are interested, otherwise you’re throwing money down the drain.

2) Only use Option 1 (People who like your Page) when boosting.

Ok! On to Facebook Advertising. This is a much more sophisticated tool. Because we, as users, use Facebook to broadcast everything going on in our lives from our interests to our relationships to where we’ve eaten or traveled, Facebook has a TON of data that it can use for sophisticated audience targeting. This type of targeting is only available using Facebook Ads.

Some of the biggest benefits to Facebook Ads:

    • You can set your objective. Whether you’re looking to get more page likes, send people to your website, reach people near your business or get people to claim an offer – you get to set the goal of your campaign and Facebook will help optimize your Ad to achieve that goal.
    • You can narrow down your target market by specific demographics. Want to reach parents of kids approaching middle school within a 10 mile radius of your town? No problem! Want to target newly engaged couples who might want their teeth straightened before the big day? You can do that too.
    • You can hit an audience outside of your followers. You’re not stuck getting people to like your page via their friends, you can reach out to them directly.
    • They’re optimized for mobile, side bar and in-feed ads. You can run tests within the Ads Manager to see which ad location is performing best and decide to spend your money where it is most effective.

To wrap it all up: if you’re looking for engagement from your current audience – you want more of your fans to see your post, like it, comment on it and share it – boosting is great. If you’re looking to drive traffic to your website, your Facebook Page itself, or to an offer – especially among a new audience – Facebook Ads are the way to go.

For more help with Facebook Ads or for questions around marketing your medical or dental practice, please contact us! 347-762-6330

Implications of Facebook Dislike For Your Practice

If your office is utilizing Facebook for its online marketing (and it should be!) you may be concerned about the rumors of a new “Dislike” button coming to the platform.

As social media specialists for many orthodontic and dental practices across North America, we’ve given this some serious thought. While no one (except the inner circle at Facebook itself) really knows what this new button will look like, we should be comforted a bit by Zuckerberg’s comments from last December when he intimated that Facebook is conscious of the negative repercussions that could occur with something like a Dislike option.

Regardless of what this new Dislike button looks like, we’ve put together some best practices to ensure you’re moving forward in the most positive way possible with your social media efforts:

1. Skip Controversy. As much as it may be tempting to post controversial content, stay away. As a service business it’s your job to maintain an open and comfortable environment for your patients. Don’t risk alienating current or potential clients with controversial posts.

2. Engage. Specifically ask for engagement with an open ended question. By doing so, you will encourage your followers to comment rather than like or dislike.

3. Take it Off-Line. Again, it may be tempting to respond to a dislike comment right out in the open. You think you’re nipping it in the bud, but in reality you’re helping that comment to gain steam. Facebook’s algorithms see any activity on a post as a reason to show it to more people. The best thing to do with something negative is either to delete it using your administrator page or reach out to that patient by phone to address their problem or concern.

4. Understand Your Audience. Are you posting information that is relevant to your audience? Do you know who your audience actually is? Many orthodontic practices that reach out to us for help think their audience is teens because the majority of their patients are teens who need braces or Invisalign. We remind them that teens aren’t the ones paying for these services – nor are they the decision makers about which practitioner they will see. Parent’s are your true audience – specifically moms. Make sure your content is relevant to the mom’s of your community and you’ll get many less dislikes.

5. Don’t Overdo It. Many practices think that more is better when it comes to social media. Not so. It’s important to understand the posting etiquette of each platform before starting. For Facebook think 2x a day, Twitter as much as 5x. If you post too many times, people will start to ignore, unfollow or dislike. Keep it light, keep it positive and don’t overdo it.

Follow these social media best practices and regardless of what this new Dislike Button looks like, you should be in the clear and set up for success.

Social Media too overwhelming? No time to keep it going? We help Orthodontic and Dental practices market themselves online and would love to see if we can help you as well. Contact us today for more information and a simple quote.

Implications of Facebook Dislike For Your Practice

Implications of Facebook Dislike For Your Practice

Game of Thrones and Google Have Something in Common

Game of Thrones and Google have something in common now: the Army of the Dead.

Last Monday Google announced that it had disconnected Google+ Social from websites in regards to SEO impact from posts and is planning to phase out Google+ as a social platform altogether. That said, they’re keeping the Google+ Local functionality: that’s the My Business page where your reviews show up and how you’re found in a Google Local search. With these changes Google has put Google+ in limbo-land…not quite dead, not quite alive…much like the Army of the Dead (those zombie like creatures that the White Walkers use to do their dirty work).

Let’s dive into limbo land: on one hand, the social media function of Google+ is dead.

What does this announcement mean for small businesses? It means that active use of Google+ by your business page – making comments, posting statuses or articles – no longer has an added benefit to your website. Previously Google put a premium on Google+ activity and considered it as content connected to your website (it does not do this for other social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter). With this change, Google+ is just another social platform that has no relevance to your SEO.

So what do you do? Blogging will become even more important to keep the content on your site fresh. Since one of the things that affect SEO is how fresh and relevant your content is to your service, you’ll want to create a blog schedule and stick with it – no more relying on your Google+ posts.

On the other side of limbo-land: Your Google+ My Business page is very much alive and still relevant.

As a small business receiving Google+ Local reviews is critical. Not only do they help with your local search results but once you reach the threshold of 5 reviews on your page you are rewarded with **actual stars** showing up next to your business in search results. Not only do these immediately draw the eye of prospective clients or patients but they also indicate how much your current clients like you. NOTHING today holds more weight than positive personal referrals.

How to fight the changes?

Just like there are ways to fight the White Walkers and their Army of the Dead, there are ways to combat the ever-changing rules from Google. Keep your site’s content fresh with consistent, relevant blog posts and get as many positive Google+ reviews as possible.

Feel like Jon Snow?

People & Practice is here to help. Reach out today for more tips on how to promote your orthodontic or dental practice online. www.pplpractice.com

What takes years to build and seconds to destroy? Your Reputation.

Your reputation is your most important business asset.  What are you doing to get your patients to publish great things about you and your practice on public review sites like Google and Yelp?  Equally as important, what are you doing to help prevent your patients from writing negative reviews about you and your practice?

A recent study on local consumer decision-making mentions a few statistics that underscore this point:

➢ 85% of your patients say that they read online reviews for local businesses

➢ 73% of your patients say positive customer reviews make them trust a business more

➢ Only 12% of patients said they take no notice of online reviews

The bottom line is that people go out and look for reviews before making decisions.

We know that there’s a lot of apprehension and discomfort around asking patients for reviews, and for good reason. It can be awkward in the best case and nerve wracking in the worst, as it feels like there’s little control over what people decide to write. It’s true that negative reviews can be very damaging…you’ve spent years building up your reputation and it’s a shame that a comment or two can tarnish it. The truth is that you can’t please everyone. A bad review will come…the key is to be prepared.

The way to defend against negative feedback is by proactively buffering your online review pages with positive feedback. This makes a single negative comment look like an outlier. That’s why we’ve developed a Reputation Management program that “catches” negative feedback before it goes public, allowing for timely off-line resolution.  It also pinpoints your happiest patients and turns them into brand ambassadors that promote you to friends, family and neighbors.  We will also monitor all of your public reviews across the web for any potentially negative comments that were present before we began working together or that didn’t go through our system. If you do receive a public review that’s less than ideal, the best approach is to take it offline quickly and find a resolution that reflects you and your practice in a positive light.

Contact me directly for a free practice analysis and pricing information.

Dr. Leon Klempner, Founder – People & Practice, LLC – leon@pplpractice.com

Watch free webinar -Sponsored by Henry Schein Orthodontics – Dr. Klempner – Protecting Your Online Reputation

 

Why Your Orthodontic Practice Can’t Survive Without Social Media

I’ve been practicing orthodontics for over 35 years and have seen many changes in our field. But nothing I’ve experienced is like what’s happening in the online marketing industry.  In one of my social media lectures I have a slide that says, “no one likes change… except a wet baby”.  But in this arena, change is really the only constant.

There is a cat and mouse game underway between SEO (Search Engine Optimization) experts and Google.  The game is to trick Google into rewarding our websites with high visibility by using a series of back-end programming techniques.  It used to be that by investing your marketing dollars solely in SEO you would be way ahead of your competition. However, Google has recently changed the game with a recent update called Penguin.

The Penguin Google update was specifically developed to reward quality, unique content and designed to showcase sites with active user social participation (your patients on social media). At the same time it penalizes websites using “black hat” techniques such as “keyword stuffing” and overuse of back linking.

This change is a great thing for those who have happy and engaged patients. Now, it’s not about hiring someone that can help your website manipulate Google, but rather about activating your patients to talk about you online.

At the same time, it’s now crystal clear that SEO and social media are not two separate marketing approaches with separate budgets and separate campaigns.  Progressive orthodontists realize that combining the two are essential if we are to successfully promote and grow our practices in this new era of social media.

 

 

Three Common Missed Opportunities in Social Media

I’m fortunate enough to be invited to lecture to my colleagues on social media, and it provides me the opportunity to meet and talk with orthodontists across the country.  I am always amazed at the number of my colleagues that don’t take advantage of even the most basic online marketing opportunities that are so readily available.  Here are the three easiest and least expensive marketing tips ignored by most of your colleagues:

1)    Claim your Google+ Local business page
Google Places have been replaced by Google+ Local.  This is Google’s entry into the social media arena and is very important for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) due to its integration with Google search, Google maps and Zagat. This is a free service and it’s very likely that orthodontists with an active Google+ social network presence will enjoy higher visibility and more online reviews than their competition.  Click here for more details.

2)    Set Up Google Alerts
Reputation management has always been important, but with online reviews it is now imperative.  All orthodontists must continually monitor the web for all positive as well as potentially negative comments.  I’ll discuss how to respond to negative reviews in another blog post, but the point is that you need to be the first, and not last to know.  Fortunately, Google has a free service that will immediately email you whenever your name or office is mentioned. Click here to set up your Google alert.

3)    Demand Geographic Exclusivity
Online social media marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) are currently recognized as crucial components of any orthodontic marketing plan.  Let’s face it; this is a competition for patients.  It makes no sense to hire a company that also represents your competition. There’s an inherent conflict of interest. However, most orthodontists are represented by companies that provide the identical services to their local competition. Orthodontists should demand geography exclusivity. Click here to find out if your location is available at People & Practice.