Where to Put Your Marketing Dollars: Indirect vs. Direct Marketing

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There are over 50 marketing tactics that a dental office could deploy and it may be difficult to know for sure which tactics are best. Marketing typically falls into four categories: brand/awareness, traditional, online/digital and internal. More simply put, marketing can be either indirect or direct.

Indirect marketing may include things like SEO, social media, or patient appreciation events. These activities are a softer sell, and often reach people who may already know of your brand. For example, let’s say you are running SEO on your website. If someone is searching online for a dentist near them, your practice may appear in the search listings and they may visit your website, along with four to five others.

Direct marketing includes things like online advertising and direct mail. These activities speak directly to consumers’ needs and wants with more of a hard sell. For example, if that same online user from the SEO example is searching for a dentist near them, they may click on an online ad first. That online ad will go to a custom landing page that explains the patient’s first visit, introduces the dentist, and describes the new patient special. The messaging on the ad and landing page will be much more direct and targeted than what is written on your website and will likely attract a more intentional customer.

This is not to say that only direct marketing tactics are the right ones. Awareness or indirect marketing is extremely beneficial, especially if you’ve recently rebranded, moved to a different location, hired an associate, or know that word-of-mouth is a big driver of new patients.

How do you know what’s right to do then? Ask the people. We say time and again that no one knows your practice story like your happiest patients. Ask your patients how they heard about you, what stood out most about you, what made them stay, etc. They will light up with enthusiasm and gratitude about how you changed their life for the better, and you can then put those messages to market using the media they (and their friends and family) pay attention to most.

Ensure you are running the marketing tactics that make most sense for your practice, your goals, your budget and your target audience. Need help? Contact a dental marketing expert today.

How Patient Tracking Can Raise Revenue

By | Advertising

For the past 10 years, Big Buzz has helped dental practices nationwide to attract new patients to their doors. Using online marketing, social media, direct mail, and more, Big Buzz had implemented strategic marketing plans that yield real results. How? We ask the people.

Our most successful clients start with the Marketing Platform, which begins with Big Buzz surveying the practice’s ideal patient base to uncover trends and perceptions related to the practice’s unique brand. We ask how they found the practice, what attracted them most to the practice, what types of marketing they pay attention to, what they like and dislike about the practice website, and so much more. Using this data, we can pinpoint the marketing media and messaging that will resonate perfectly with your target audience.

How can you take advantage of this concept right now? 1. Contact us about creating your own Marketing Platform, or 2. Start tracking new patients on your own.

If option 2 is the best place for you to start, keep these ideas in mind:

Each time a new patient calls your office, make it a must for the receptionist to ask, “May I ask how you found our office?”

On all patient intake forms, make it a requirement for new patients to answer the question, “How did you hear about us?”

Implement call tracking software on your online ads and website to track where calls are coming from.

Why?

Once you uncover where new patients are coming from and how they are finding your practice, you will know precisely where to invest your marketing dollars in order to reach more potential new patients just like them. And that level of precision not only makes money, it saves money. No more throwing darts in the dark hoping you hit the marketing bull’s-eye.

Where your current patients are spending their time and seeking out healthcare information is where potential new patients just like them are also spending their time and seeking out healthcare information. If you’ve been running a television ad but realize that all your patients are finding you via Google search, reallocate those funds into quality SEO. If you thought you’d try Yelp ads but your patients are more active on Facebook, implement a Facebook ad campaign instead.

Ask your patients where and how they found your practice, record their answers, and implement changes based on what you learn.

So simple, yet so often overlooked.

Easily track new patient sources with your own custom dashboard. Schedule a demo to learn more.

The Top 3 Questions We Hear Most Often

By | Blog

Since the launch of Big Buzz over 10 years ago, we have worked with hundreds of dental practices nationwide. Over the past 10 years, the questions we hear most often have remained consistent.

How do I set a specific, quantifiable goal?

The initial need for marketing is generally to increase new patient traffic. Often, it extends beyond that, to hire an associate, grow a specific side of the practice, expand to a second location, etc. At the heart of it all, though, is one uniform, underlying goal: new patient traffic needs a consistent, sustainable boost. In setting this goal, we find it most effective to picture the end result and work backwards. When you are reaching your goal, what will you be able to accomplish that you currently can not? When you are reaching your goal, what will that allow you to do in your personal or professional life? Now, in comparison to current new patient traffic, how many new patients will you need to see per month to make that vision a reality?

Why isn’t my current marketing, or marketing-to-date, working?

Marketing is effective and successful when it is comprehensive and consistent. If you are working with multiple vendors, cobbling together solutions from a direct mail house, an SEO firm, and the local newspaper, they are likely deploying and delivering mixed messages with incongruent strategies. If you can have one team of experts utilizing a comprehensive strategy and working together to deploy specific tactics, your marketing will be infinitely more successful; and, you won’t have to spend your precious time communicating and coordinating with multiple vendors!

Which marketing tactics will provide the quickest and healthiest ROI?

This is the most overlooked aspect of marketing. Throwing darts in the dark will not provide a healthy or sustainable return on investment. Trying the latest and greatest marketing tactic will not provide a healthy or sustainable return on investment. So, what will? Ask the people. Get in the habit of asking your patients regularly how they found you, what types of media they consume, what marketing they pay attention to, and where they look to find other healthcare practitioners. Even more granularly, deep dive with your ideal patients, those who you would love to replicate and attract in droves to your practice. In doing so, you’ll uncover exactly how, where and why they found your practice, and will be able to market directly to more potential patients just like them effectively and assuredly.

Marketing should be an investment, not an expense. Every tactic should be tracked and analyzed on a regular basis to ensure it is driving traffic, boosting awareness about your practice, and ultimately providing a return on investment. When implemented effectively, marketing will run like a well-oiled machine that is consistently bringing in new patients and those visions will become your reality.

 

What’s In It For Them? Use Your Team to Reach Your Goals

By | Blog, Uncategorized

As a dentist and business owner, you are capable of reaching your goals, whether they include attracting more new patients, increasing online reviews or growing the cosmetic side of your practice. However, it doesn’t mean you have to do it all alone. Having a strong team behind you not only allows you to focus more on dentistry, it also helps you to reach your goals in a more effective, efficient, and enjoyable manner.

Here a are three ways to do this:

1. Incentivize: Incentives can be a great way to encourage team members to work harder and stay motived. Once your team is fully motivated and engaged with the practice goals, the whole office can begin to reach its full potential. It is important to use incentives as rewards for stellar performance, not acknowledgment for status quo efforts. Together as a team come up with reachable goals that will be rewarded when met. For example, if the goal is to increase referrals each month, give the staff member who asked for the most a gift card to their favorite restaurant. When the staff feels appreciated and reaps the benefits of reaching the practice’s goals, they will work harder to achieve them.

2. Celebrate Wins: This is important no matter how big or small the win is. While it is nice to celebrate a big win, they are often only occasional. The celebration of a small win can have the same positive effect as the celebration of a big win. According to The Harvard Business Review, small wins can increase people’s engagement in the workplace and also their happiness while at work. Celebrating small wins evokes a sense of pride in an employee’s work making them want to create that feeling again by winning more. Small, but continuous steps forward by an entire organization result in larger goals being met or even exceeded.

3. Provide Feedback: Feedback lets your staff know how they are doing and allows for improvements to be made. Without feedback your staff has little to no idea how they are performing, which hinders progress towards your goals. When employees are provided with constructive feedback, the result is greater efficiency, higher functionality, and increased productivity. The staff is also happier because they have a clear picture into what they are doing correctly and what they can work to improve on. Constructive criticism is just one part of feedback though. Be sure to provide praise for actions that help the team to reach the practice goals. Reinforce those actions and you will see them multiply.

In the end, using your staff to help reach your goals will help more than just you; it will create a team that is excited, happy and motivated to work towards something bigger than themselves.

Create a Practice Manifesto and See Production Rise

By | Uncategorized

We’re approaching Q4 and the New Year is just around the corner. Are you on track to hit your goals in 2017? Have you even thought about your goals for 2018? If you feel a bit in the dark about where you stand, we have a starting point that will either revitalize your end-of-year strategy or jumpstart your 2018 production goals: create a practice manifesto.

What is a practice manifesto and why is it important?

A practice manifesto is similar to a mission statement in that it acts as you and your team’s guide for treating patients, living fulfilled lives, and achieving profitability in your practice. It is the compass from which each decision is made. It is the platform from which all care is delivered. Your manifesto may be written down, it may be verbally communicated, or it may be a series of images that visually represent your message. The important thing is that you have a manifesto and that each and every team member understands its meaning and is on board with putting it into practice on a daily basis.

In Stephen R. Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, he tells a story of visiting a hotel that amazed him with its employees’ level of customer service and anticipation of customers’ needs. As he peered through the back door to the kitchen, he saw a sign that read, “Uncompromising, personalized service,” and when he asked one of the managers about it, the manager whipped out a full written mission statement that the entire hotel chain adhered to. Everyone who worked for the hotel believed in the idea of “Uncompromising, personalized service.” That was their manifesto, and it emanated out of every customer interaction.

Similarly, in a dental office, your manifesto may culminate in the idea of “Superior and Distinguished Care” or “Enduring Relationships, Lasting Confidence.” The core idea in your manifesto should be what permeates throughout your dental office. It is the feeling that each staff member puts forward and the differentiator that crosses each patient’s mind.

How does this increase production?

Once you have a manifesto, one that radiates throughout the practice, your employees and even your marketing (especially your marketing!), your ideal patients will flock to your office. The patients you desire value what you value. They want to receive the kind of care you offer. And more of your ideal patients means more productivity and more profitability.

Enlist a branding expert to help your office create a manifesto that will produce real results. Speak with a member of our team today.

 

 

Promote Your Practice on Social Media to Gain Patients and Increase Production

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Social media marketing is becoming increasingly important within the dental industry. Millennials and the Gen-X group are looking to social media to connect with others, seek advice and research information. When looking for a local dentist, many are looking to platforms such as LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook. Many dentists are unaware or unsure of how to maneuver social media sites or do not have the time or interest to put in the effort needed to see results. Below, we have outlined five ways to promote your practice on social media that are easy, quick and require minimal effort.

  1. Take photos of your practice. When your potential new patients are looking for a dental practice, they will want to familiarize themselves with the team and the aesthetics of the office before making an appointment. Did you get some new furniture? Post it. Hire a new receptionist? Tell the world. Make sure photos of the practice show it in its true light; fast paced and full of bright, healthy smiles.
  2. Take photos of your happy patients. There is no better way to advertise than to show real photos of your success stories. Post before and after photos, or share pictures of laughing children with genuine smiles. The photos can be anything from a patient in the dental chair, to someone simply smiling with a staff member in the reception area. Be sure to get written permission to post patient photos to social media.
  3. Designate one staff member to be in charge of social media. We have found that social media activity tends to be forgotten, especially when no specific person is in charge of the practice’s social media presence. Remedy this by designating one staff member to take on social media. This person doesn’t have to be a marketing coordinator; assign the front office person or patient coordinator to take on the task of posting to social media profiles. Start by asking your staff if anyone wants to spearhead social media and go from there.
  4. Like and share. Social media promotion is about more than just posting to your page. It requires interacting with other pages, too. Be sure to like other posts on Facebook or share fun dental facts on LinkedIn. These interactions don’t have to be 100% dental oriented. Be sure that you are interacting with your following in a way that interests them and you’ll be good to go.
  5. Follow the 80/20 rule. To follow this rule, post health facts and tips, photos of happy patients, and informative dental articles 80% of the time, and promote your practice 20% of the time. For example, once every two weeks, post that you are accepting new patients, ask for referrals, or tell your following to call to inquire about your new treatment offering. Your other posts should be upbeat and informative, and published about three times a week.

Social media doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Do you need some inspiration? Check out Dr. Hall of Hall Family Dentistry’s Facebook page. He does a great job keeping his following engaged. Regularly posting on social media will keep your practice top of mind for patients, so their chances of forgetting to show up for an appointment are reduced. At the end of the day, promoting your practice on social media will attract new patients and increase revenue for you and the practice. If you find that you still need help managing your social media page and attracting new patients, call Big Buzz at 720.350.4484.

Dentists Who Make an Impact

By | Blog

Dentists come to us because they want to implement a marketing strategy that helps them attract more new patients to their practice. After diving deeper into their vision and goals, we often uncover additional core motivations and desires, all of which drive these marketing needs. Most often, our dental clients want to spend more time doing what they love, practicing dentistry, and less time running the business.

When the marketing, operations and financials of a practice are buttoned up, time can be spent actually practicing dentistry, enjoying time with family and friends, and giving back to the community.

Dr. Thomas Jennings and Dr. Bradley Perrett of Pinnacle Dentistry in Colorado Springs, Colorado, believe and emanate excellence in everything they do, both inside and out of the practice. Dr. Jennings served in the US Army, providing dental work to his fellow service men and women.

Dr. James Kearney of Austin Bluffs Dental, also in Colorado Springs, runs annual drives at his practice to give back to his local community. He and his talented team are currently collecting donations for people with Alzheimer’s.

Dr. Clarke Stevens of Braces Omaha in Omaha, Nebraska, has been on several dental and healthcare related mission trips, one of his most noteworthy being a leadership seminar in Togo, West Africa in 2015.

Dr. Brett Kessler and his team at Town Center Dentistry and Orthodontics in Denver, Colorado, complete free dental work, including full mouth reconstruction, for addicts in recovery each year.

Without a comprehensive and automated marketing strategy and business plan, these dentists may not have the opportunity to let their philanthropic passions thrive.

How are you building your business so that your potential can span well beyond the dental chair? Speak with a dental marketing expert today.

Create a Home Within Your Practice for You and Your Team

By | Blog

Those working in the dental industry spend a great deal of time at the office. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average adult spends over eight hours a day at the office. This means you may be spending over 2,080 hours at the practice over the course of one year. If you don’t love your office environment, that figure may be a tough pill to swallow. It is important to create a home and a family within your office, so that you, your team, and your patients feel happy and at ease while there. Patients will be able to feel that warm, welcoming energy and will in turn, be more likely to return for their appointment, accept treatment and refer others.

Connect with your staff and connect with your patients. According to Dentistry IQ, one of the top reasons that patients don’t accept treatment is because they don’t feel a connection. Create a warm, family-like culture within your office and urge your staff to not only empathize with each other, but to empathize with patients. Your patients will be able to sense this familial environment and feel more comfortable.

Plan events outside of the office. This is one of the most successful ways to bond with your team. The day-to-day activities of a dental office can be fast-paced, leaving little time to build relationships. Try planning a lunch, summer barbeque, or monthly book club. Make sure its something that isn’t related to work. At these events, ask the staff questions and encourage them to get to know one another on a personal level. According to Forbes, socializing with coworkers is essential to a more efficient workplace. Knowing coworkers on a deeper level contributes to communication, trust and overall happiness at the workplace. After all, we’re humans; we live to connect with others. 

Enhance the office space. One’s environment can have a huge impact on behavior. Create a home within your office by decorating it as such. Hang up photos of happy patients, paint the walls a fun color, and invest in comfortable, fun furniture that the entire staff has a hand in choosing. Not only will this create a cozy environment for your staff, but it will also put your patients at ease.

Reward your team. Make sure your dental staff knows how much you value their hard work. On occasion, reward them with a small bonus or a gift card. It doesn’t have to be huge, just enough to let them know that your appreciate them.

You spend so much time at work, so make sure that time is enjoyable. You, your staff and your patients will be happier for it.

Cookie Cutter Content is Hurting Your Practice Website

By | Blog

Have you heard of cookie cutter content? It is website text that is derived from the same outline as many other dental websites, often including word-for-word duplicate sections. Many website and SEO companies will offer a one-size-fits-all solution, giving the same content outline or even the same exact words to many different practices. From an SEO perspective, this will ultimately be detrimental. Your content must be more than informative, it must be unique, original, and let the practice’s personality shine through. Why? Read below to find out.

  1. It can lead to poor rankings. Search engines such as Google and Yahoo do not know which website the duplicate content belonged to first, so each website may be at risk for penalization. When you publish content that is very similar in wording to another website, Google crawls your website and sees the text as duplicate content. This can put a big red bulls-eye on your website to be penalized by Google and hinder your listings.
  2. Content may be stuffed with keywords. Much of the time, we see that cookie cutter content is stuffed with keywords, which can get your website flagged by search engines and removed from listings altogether. While it is important to have keywords throughout your site, be sure the content reads easily and is not saturated with keywords. It should read as naturally as possible, as if you were conversing with a patient in your office.
  3. Potential patients may look elsewhere. If your potential patients find your website organically and it’s full of cookie cutter content, you will likely be providing them with very little unique information about you and your practice. Topics like, “Why to floss your teeth?” and “Worst foods for your teeth” are everywhere. Content topics such as these can be found anywhere and are usually monopolized by bigger corporations such as Colgate and WebMD. And while those can work well for blog inspiration, the meat of your website content should be about your specific offerings. Feature content that is unique and enticing, and that answers all of your patients’ burning questions.

Remember that cookie cutter content is not always obvious. That is, it’s not always word-for-word blogs or service descriptions. Look for similar titles, meta data, descriptions and keyword tags. Identical page outlines may also be flagged. Share your dental expertise while letting your personality, writing style, and practice culture shine through. Ask your SEO provider if your content has been used elsewhere and do your research. Take some time to write your own unique words and do some investigating on how to produce impactful and engaging content.

Enhance Your Social Media Presence to Attract More Patients

By | Blog

When a practice is yearning for more patients, social media may not be the first marketing tactic that comes to mind. But it should be! As one of the most cost-effective and simplest forms of online marketing, social media is a great way to capture new patient leads right away.

Here are 4 ways to maximize your social media usage to get more new patients now:

  1. Run a Facebook advertising campaign to get more likes on your page. Getting more likes is the first step towards broadening your audience so that you can get in front of more patients like the ones you have now. For as little as $5/day, you can target Facebook users based on location, occupation, age, gender and more. From that criteria, you can attract more of your ideal patients to your page. Once those individuals have liked the page, you can market to them for free, 24/7.
  2. Ask all your patients to write you a Facebook review. More and more patients trust social media when it comes to selecting places to eat, shop, and yes, receive their dental care. Because reviews are tied to actual people, the feedback often feels more genuine and those authentic praises can be what pushes a potential patient into becoming an actual patient.
  3. Post real photos of you, your team and your patients. The best social media posts and those that gain the most traction are almost always photos of real people. Social media was created to connect people with one another, no matter their location, so use it to stay in front of your patients even when they’re not in the office. If you went to Hawaii on vacation, post photos. If one of your younger patients visited you after crazy hair day at school, post a picture of her do, with written consent from her parent of course. Use social media to show the authentic you, and it will gain likes and comments that further your exposure on the digital platform. Need an example? Check out this page.
  4. Promote last minute openings. Do coveted morning, evening and lunch time appointments open up during the week due to cancellations? Post those openings to social media so that patients perusing their feeds see that they can get their cleaning done at a time that’s convenient for them. Boost the post for even more exposure.

Social media is a cost-effective marketing tactic that has the opportunity to garner real patient traffic. Someone in the practice just needs to have a pulse on the office’s happenings so that they are posted and seen by those who matter most – current and potential patients. Keep users engaged with your page, and they’ll continue to remember your practice.