Why You Should Streamline Vendors

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Owning and operating your own business is becoming increasingly challenging. In small businesses such as dental practices, each employee must wear multiple hats. They must be dynamic, flexible and determined. Too, they must manage their time wisely. One of the greatest obstacles testing each of those traits can be managing multiple vendors.

In a small business, time is your most valuable weapon. If your time, as the doctor, treatment coordinator, front office manager, or anywhere in between, is spent connecting with, juggling, managing and communicating with multiple vendors, you are indirectly hindering the growth and success of the practice.

Chances are, as you’ve grown your practice, you’ve engaged with multiple vendors along the way. Perhaps you have an SEO agency, a direct mail house, an ad in the local newspaper, etc. Consolidating your vendors can have an invaluable impact on your business in three main ways:

Clear Billing and Reduced Costs
When dealing with a single vendor, billing is clear, easy to manage and can be tracked each month. Paying one vendor requires less time from yourself and your staff, freeing time (which is money!) to focus on other aspects of the business.

Cohesive Strategy
If you are working with multiple vendors, there are likely mixed strategies being implemented and mixed messages being deployed. Marketing is most effective when it is congruent and cohesive, so utilizing one team of experts to deploy the comprehensive marketing strategy will create infinitely better results.

Improved Customer Service
By working with one vendor, you will likely have one point person. This will allow you get to know one another, learn how you work best together, and set a solid foundation for the most fruitful and successful business partnership. Not to mention, you will always have someone you actually know to call or email, rather than struggling to find a customer service number or remember the name of your current rep. By working with a single point-person or vendor, the service and relationship will thrive.

Finding the right marketing vendor for your practice is no small feat. There are hundreds of dental marketing agencies that can offer a wide array of services, but only a select few that are full-service and can take all of your marketing needs in house.

Consider what it may look like to consolidate your vendors. If you would like support or guidance about what and how to ask, reach out to a Big Buzz expert today!

 

These 4 Marketing Mistakes Are Ruining Your Patient Flow

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1. Failure to embrace a hyperlocal SEO strategy

Where local SEO focuses on cities, districts and regions, hyperlocal SEO gets more granular, focusing on neighborhoods, towns, streets and areas surrounding well-known landmarks. The benefits of embracing a hyperlocal SEO strategy include:

  • A simpler search journey for the patient
  • Reduced competition among other practices in your location
  • High-intent phrases such as “near me” or “near to” are more often paired to hyperlocal locations

2. Missing out on voice and mobile search trends

A Forbes article noted that 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020, citing a ComScore projection. With the rise of smart home devices and with voice assist technology becoming more advanced, more users are turning to voice search. Local searches are now leading around 50% of mobile visitors to visit stores within one day, 18% of which convert to a sale.  It is more important now than ever to adjust SEO and PPC targeting to capture search phrases associated with voice and mobile search.

3. Following up less than 5 times

In a perfect world, a patient would contact your practice and schedule an appointment after one interaction. Sadly, that’s not always the case. In fact, nearly 80% of sales require five or more follow-ups after initial contact. In a recent report survey by Propeller, they discovered that nearly 92% of salespeople gave up before the fifth try! Getting even more granular, 44% of most salespeople gave up after the first attempt, 22% gave up after just two rejections, 14% after three and 12% stopped after four. That leaves only 8% of salespeople who followed through to the most important touch point for converting a potential patient. The “one-and-done” days of scheduling a potential patient are done.  This is why also why lead nurturing is so important as an internal marketing strategy for new patient increases. According to Propeller, nurtured leads typically resulted in a 20% increase in sales opportunities and tended to spend 47% higher on services in comparison to non-nurtured leads.

4. Focus on vanity stats

Although it’s not bad to monitor and track keyword rankings, traffic sources and engagement statistics, such as bounce rate and time on a website, the most important metrics are those that correlate to actions that result in added revenue to your practice.

  1. The Initial Action (a click) – When a user sees your brand or service do they take an initial action by clicking on the link?
  2. The Intent Action (a conversion) – Once a user performs the initial action, are they compelled enough to perform an intentional action? By intent action, I mean a call, a download or a form submission. In other words, this prospect has shown intent to become a patient of your dental practice.
  3. The Final Action (an acquisition) – Now that you have converted a prospect by getting them to call or submit a form, can you turn them into a paying patient?

Where a keyword ranking or changes in page views may be difficult to measure, action stats are easily quantifiable and relate directly to return on marketing invested (ROMI).

Eager to learn more? We’ve helped hundreds of dental practices just like yours increase patient inquiries.  Contact a dental expert for a complimentary 30-minute consultation. 

Guide to SEO

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Chapter 1: What is SEO?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is an online marketing tactic that focuses on increasing your web presence and boosting visibility of your practice’s website in the organic, non-paid areas of online search engines.

Search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo! are powerful forces in driving traffic to websites across the Internet. Because there is so much information housed in search engines, websites can get lost in the cracks or buried below other results. SEO helps to push your website to the top of applicable search results and ultimately increase attention around your services and offerings.

SEO encompasses various tactics, methodologies and strategies, all geared toward improving your website’s rankings, driving traffic to your website, and gaining leverage across search engines.

In its most simplified state, SEO takes into account these three aspects: • The quality of traffic visiting your website
• The quantity of traffic visiting your website
• The organic listings for which your website is appearing

There are many influencing factors to SEO, including, but not limited to:
• The content on each page of your website
• The external links (those not on your website) that are connected to your website • The structure of your website and ability for search engines to understand it
• Alternative text for when search engines cannot read the images on your website • Blog entries
• Online directories

Search engines are constantly switching up their algorithms, which makes keeping up on “SEO Best Practices” a full-time job.

 

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Using Video to Market Your Practice

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According to Entrepreneur, the average Internet user watches 186 videos a month. People engage differently with video than they do with photos and text. Videos show faces, voices and most importantly, personalities. So just how do you use video to market your practice? We’ve picked our favorite four ways from Entrepreneur to use video to market your practice.

 

  1. Offer a video tour of your office: Show potential patients what your office is really like by taking them on a virtual tour. Include the doctor and members of the team to showcase the practice’s culture and help bring the practice’s personality to life. Add the finished video to the “About Us” section on your website to break up text and keep website visitors engaged.
  2. Use customer testimonials: Ask your best patients if they will share their experiences at your practice in a short video testimonial. This can help bring authenticity to your reviews and ratings and allow viewers to relate to current patients.
  3. Introduce your staff: Take short videos of your team introducing themselves, sharing their background and giving a fun fact about themselves. Short, unedited videos like this can help bring a realness to your practice that potential patients will appreciate, especially when featured on social media. With video marketing, potential patients can establish a connection with your practice before even stepping inside.
  4. Request to take a poll or survey: Make your “Tell Us What You Think” page more personable by creating a video asking for feedback. Use it to let your patient know their opinion really matters and that you truly value it.

 

Using video to market your practice is a great way to increase new patient traffic. And it doesn’t have to be complicated! Stay relaxed and encourage comments or video shares which can help build brand awareness. Lastly, include a call to action. This can be directing the viewer to make an appointment, write a review or visit your website.

 

You don’t have to be a professional videographer either; an iPhone can do the trick. However, if you want something more polished, contact us and we’ll guide you in the right direction!

You’ve Been Burned by Marketing. Now What?

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We often hear from dentists that they are apprehensive to work with a marketing agency because they have done so in the past and have had a poor experience, or as they say, been “burned.” They’ve either lost time, money or sleep from signing on with a less than stellar partner. The answer, while tempting, is not to stop all marketing. The answer is to start marketing smarter and with strategy.

Here are 5 ways to make it happen:

  1. Strategize. Strategy for top marketing professionals often comes in the form of target market research. However, this is often a forgotten step if a practice has different agencies doing different things. Perhaps you have one company handling SEO and another doing direct mail. If neither vendor has taken a deep dive into your target audience and you’re not seeing great results, it may be best to start here. Survey your best patients to better understand why they chose your practice, where they look in the marketplace for other healthcare providers and how best you can encourage them to make a referral. Having this data will allow you to put your marketing dollars in the most effective places with the most meaningful message.
  2. Start small. If that “burned” feeling won’t subside, consider starting small. Perhaps you aren’t ready to dive into a comprehensive 12-month marketing plan but see the value in posting monthly blogs to the website because the majority of your patients reported finding you online. In that case, contract with a reputable marketing agency for content marketing support. They will be able to write the content, post it to your website, distribute it to your database and share it on your social media.
  3. Do-it-yourself. If you want a better grasp on what’s actually happening with your marketing efforts, consider bringing it in-house. We don’t typically recommend that you, the dentist, handle marketing (because you have your hands full!), but rather you hire a marketing coordinator or train someone on the team who can handle this task. With the right training, your staff should be able to handle basic website updates, social media posts, blogging and internal marketing, among other marketing initiatives.
  4. Appoint a leader. Poor marketing performance may be caused by too many cooks in the kitchen and no real chef. When the marketing is distributed among multiple vendors, the dentist and other team members, it can feel cobbled together. To create a more cohesive system that works efficiently and produces results, consider having one person lead the charge. Ideas and approvals will flow through this person, giving the entire practice a clear process for implementing, deploying and measuring marketing tactics. You can always appoint an outside leader, too. Even if you’re not ready to fully dive in with a marketing agency, many have experts on staff who can help you to create a program that runs on time and on budget and keeps the entire team accountable.
  5. Face your fears. When things don’t go as planned, it’s natural to feel fearful. Don’t negate those feelings, process them. Feel the fear in your body (tight shoulders, stomach in knots), then work to move that fear out of the way. Practice yoga, play an instrument, meditate. Calm the mind, and then fill it with all the good things you love about your practice. What’s working well, who is a great team member, how has your work changed someone’s life? All those good vibes will radiate out to the universe and help give that extra push your marketing needs.

We often say that marketing is the oxygen to your practice. So don’t stop! If you’ve been “burned,” take a moment to heal your wounds and get back into the game with the tips outlined above.

 

How to Use Social Media to Increase Website Traffic

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According to Mike Dane and Maximize Social Business, a study found that social media usage between 2005 and 2015 increased from 7% to 65%. People are spending enormous amounts of their time scouring social media sites, making it a perfect place to target potential website visitors.

How might you do this? It’s easy! Follow the guidelines below to see your website visitors rise.

  1. Make sure your website address is visible | Every social media site has a place for your website address (URL). Add that to your social media profiles and make sure it is visible when viewing your page. This will make it easy for visitors to learn more about you and visit your website.
  2. Share your blogs | If you write a blog post, share it on social media. New website content can not only help with search engine optimization, it can also work as a vessel for attracting more people to your site. By posting a quick intro and image representing your blog on social media, viewers may be included to read more, and when they do, they’ll be redirected to your website. From there, they may read more, explore other pages of the website and better yet, contact you for an appointment.
  3. Use images | According to Hubspot, visual content leads to more engagement and increases the chances of your post being shared. Be sure that posts include images that relate to your brand so that when they are shared, others can easily recall your practice.
  4. Refer people to your website | If a potential or current patient is asking questions about a specific treatment, you can (and should) certainly answer their questions in person, but also mention that they can find additional information on your website. Or, if someone is asking for directions to your office, let them know how to get to there and add that they can find an easy-to-follow map on your website, too.

Start bringing new visitors to your website through social media with these four tips. Social media is not only good for increasing website traffic, it can also boost SEO and help with brand recognition.

 

 

 

Get Patients to Yes!

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Last week, Big Buzz had the pleasure of speaking with Elliott Carson of Patterson Dental about how dental offices today are competing with consumer expectations now more than ever.

Consumers do not necessarily buy things for logical reasons. In many cases, it’s more emotional, which is a trend we’re more commonly seeing in the dental industry.

In the past, being clinically trained, taking CE courses and having a place to practice dentistry was enough to equal success. However, today’s patient seeks instant gratification – convenience, high-tech tools, quick turnaround. Simply put, today’s patient has high expectations.

There is a disconnect between how treatment plans and cases are presented by the doctor, and how they are received by the patient. Dentists live in a clinical world, which is likely not understood by the patient and may leave them feeling confused, fearful or anxious. When doctors find a way to communicate the patient’s situation, needs and plan of action in a way that resonates with them and is understood by the patient, acceptance rates skyrocket.

The environmental and cultural experience at your practice can set the tone for quality, and ultimately impact the buying decision that way. Compare this to any given restaurant’s environment: they may have the best food in the world, but if the environment is dirty, falling apart, not taken care of, or is misaligned with expectations in any other way, the restaurant will not succeed. In the same breath, how can you expect a patient to invest thousands of dollars in a single procedure if the environment does not align with that expectation?

Presently, the most successful dental practices have these traits in common:

  • The team is connected to the vision of the practice. They’re clear on who they are, what they do and what the practice is about. This team dynamic breeds success and a progressive culture.
  • The physical footprint of the office is up-to-date. It has stayed current with trends, techniques, procedures, offerings, etc.
  • The doctor and the entire team have an understanding of the evolving customer expectation. They have found a way to work in a manner that resonates with the consumer.
  • The doctor or owner is investing back into the business each year in a strategic way. Any business that refuses to evolve with market trends will suffer to stay relevant.

Imagine that each time you present a treatment plan, the patient is engaged and ready to move forward. Imagine what production and profitability would look like. Get your patients to “Yes!”

Elliott Carson is the General Manager for Patterson Dental’s Denver Branch covering Colorado and Southern Wyoming.

How to Maximize Your Per Patient Value

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Big Buzz had the pleasure of speaking with Robert Taylor of BuzzyDoc about the evolutionary shift of a patient acting solely as a consumer that is happening in the dental industry, and how practices can create brand loyalty to maximize per patient value.

Presently, there is a macro-shift in patient experience taking place across the entire healthcare industry. With the implementation of ACA, constantly changing and evolving healthcare rules and regulations and a great shift around fee-for-service environments to value-based care, now more than ever, there is an emphasis on taking care of the patient. That said, this allows and maintains the complete control of care to be in the patient’s hands, which may or may not enhance compliance.

Breaking it down a step further, in private practice, the patients are the consumer, the end all be all, and the ultimate decision maker. Because of the ability to infinitely shop around, utilize technology for instant gratification and constantly compare options, it is imperative for private practices to enhance brand loyalty and make patients feel like a VIP to retain and remain successful.

This consumer behavior shift in healthcare has caused a cultural and societal shift, much like that found in a retail setting: special offers, promotions, discounts, etc., that allow for patients to easily and affordably hop around from provider to provider. However, as patients, people would still prefer to stick with a single provider that they trust, someone who knows their medical history and who they have a relationship with.

Additionally, private practices don’t have the infrastructure to generate reward and loyalty programs like the big retail players – Target, Costco, etc.

There is an inordinate amount of time and resources being spent in dental practices to get foot traffic in the door, yet closing the back door, anchoring patients, and treating them like gold often falls by the wayside.

The answer is three-fold: enhance patient loyalty, engagement and compliance. Once you get patients further engaged in the practice and they intrinsically realize the benefits of staying with your practice, it helps them hurdle the budgetary boundaries of accepting treatment and they already trust and know you. This benefits your practice, but even more importantly it benefits the long-term health of the patient.

Robert Taylor grew up understanding the nuances of the dental industry living with his father who ran an orthodontic practice for over 30 years. Robert and his team’s efforts at BuzzyDoc to increase awareness about their platform, which provides the technology infrastructure for dental practices to engineer patient engagement programs, stems from their deep knowledge of the healthcare industry and business acumen necessary to help practices increase their bottom line through alternative marketing and patient retention strategies.

The Pros and Cons of Content Marketing

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Content marketing is the act of creating and delivering timely, relevant and valuable material consistently to one’s database in order to change their behavior without necessarily selling.

It is different from the promotional marketing you may do on the radio or the humorous posts you write for Facebook. Content marketing is a powerful tool that can change someone’s thoughts or behavior without them even knowing it. That said, it can also involve a lot of manpower.

Below are three pros and cons of content marketing for you to consider if adding this tactic to your strategic marketing plan has been on the brain.

Pros:

  1. It positions you as the expert. Associating your name with educational and relevant content shows your audience that you are experienced, skilled and knowledgeable, which gives them the confidence to take that next step with you. More casual posts on Instagram will help them to like you, but content marketing will help them to trust you. In order to do this, you need to be writing expert content. Content should not be promotional and should rarely even mention your practice by name. Share insights on the most common questions you receive or the fears you see in your patients on a day-to-day basis. Reaching deep down to hit on those emotions that are holding your patients back from proceeding with treatment will truly get those thoughts and behaviors to change. For example, if you want to attract more dental implant cases, skip the part about your state-of-the-art technology and share a case study about a patient who received a full-mouth-makeover and in turn got a new job or a new love – essentially a new life! These are the stories of transformation people can believe in.
  2. It helps with SEO. Adding new content to your website on a regular basis shows search engines that your website is alive and well. Among other metrics, Google looks at how long website visitors read your content to assess if your website is trustworthy. While straightforward topics such as “What You Need to Know About Dental Implants” are important, think creatively about how to engage your patients. How-to manuals, product reviews and videos are a few examples of content that will really help you stand out.
  3. It keeps patients engaged when they’re not seeing you face-to-face. Similarly to social media, content marketing can help readers to stay engaged with you and your practice well beyond the walls of your office. Consistent email blasts will make your name part of your database’s inbox on a regular basis. And when the time comes for them to make an appointment or finally get that nagging tooth checked out, they will think of you.

Cons:

  1. It can feel cumbersome. If you’re stumped at where to even start, begin with an editorial calendar. An editorial calendar will list all the topics you intend to write about and share over the next few months. It is best to schedule out a whole year, but if that feels overwhelming start with a quarter. Think of 12 topics you can send out weekly over the next three months. Again, think about frequently asked questions, challenges or fears your patients face before/during/after treatment or success stories you can share (with a signed consent form for HIPAA). Once you have that initial outline, you just have to sit down and actually write, which leads to con number two.
  2. It takes time. Content marketing is not one-and-done; it needs to become part of your weekly or monthly schedule of activities. This can sometimes feel like a task too big to bear for a lot of busy dentists. One way to make it easier is to crank out a significant amount of posts all at once. Spend an evening or Sunday morning with your laptop writing 5-10 posts that can be delivered over the next few months. Have another member of your team proof the content, add it to your blog page and send it out to your database on a weekly basis.
  3. It is a long-tail approach to lead generation. Content marketing is similar to SEO in that it is vital for success but can be hard to associate with new patients right away. It may take up to 12 months of educational and insightful content for a patient to realize that dental implants are right for them, but when that big case comes through your door, spending a few hours each month on content marketing will be 100% worth it. Don’t give up on content marketing if you don’t see immediate rises in new patient inquiries. It is a long-term approach to building brand awareness for your practice and establishing trust in your care.

If you are interested in content marketing and would prefer to have an experienced marketing agency handle it for you, contact Big Buzz today!

Beyond Page 1: What Truly Matters in SEO

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There are so many SEO (search engine optimization) “facts” that circulate the internet that it can be hard to distinguish the hype from what truly matters. Dentists are constantly inundated with marketing offers and exposed to new trends concerning search engine optimization. It is easy to get caught up thinking that getting “on page one” is the end all and be all of SEO. Many of SEO facts, including that one, are actually not facts at all.

Here are a few SEO myths debunked:

SEO is one-and-done. Continuous SEO management is critical to achieving a successful online presence. Search engines like Google and Bing are constantly changing their algorithms. Your website, and each individual page, are in constant competition with millions of other dental websites. The content of your website should always be up-to-date and accurately reflect your dental practice, the services offered, your team, hours, etc.
Being one page one is all that matters. There are so many varying factors that impact the ranking of search results. Search results vary from person to person, depending on each individual’s search history, location, exact keywords, etc. Having high-quality, pertinent search results based on keywords is much more beneficial and important to the long-term success of your online presence than just being on page one for a seldom-searched term or two.
SEO is a quick fix. There are several “black hat” techniques, like keyword stuffing and use of duplicate content, that may appear to be quick fixes for high website rankings. These techniques are unsustainable and will likely be flagged by search engines. If Google or another search engine suspects these techniques, the website will very quickly be pushed to the bottom of search results, and getting back on Google’s “good side” can be a very long, nearly impossible process. It’s best to be sure that your provider is offering “white hat” SEO practices, such as content marketing and backlink strategies.
Social media doesn’t impact SEO. Consistent and engaging social media activity (posting regularly, gaining positive reviews, etc.) can greatly impact SEO. Social media activity increases your web presence, increasing the opportunity for potential patients to land on your practice’s online profiles over a competitor’s.

SEO myths are plentiful and should always be addressed by a trusted SEO expert. If you have specific questions regarding your online listings, rankings, content, or website in general, our search engine marketing expert would be happy to help. For more SEO expertise, download the complete SEO Guidebook today.