Two Inexcusable Breaches

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1. Reputation

“I refer to him all the time, and here I find out he’s dragging my name through the mud.”

“So that’s the end of that relationship, right?”

“Well, no… I’m going to sit down with him and see how we might work things out…”

This was an actual conversation I recently had. I was astounded that my friend had any intention of reconciling with someone who was bad mouthing him in the dental community.

Reputation is brand. There is quantifiable equity built into your brand. That means your reputation is an asset, just like your computers and dental equipment.

If a person were to come into your practice, dismantle your CEREC machine, take it out back, and drag it through the mud then you certainly wouldn’t remain in contact with that person.

When a peer publicly questions your reputation, it’s time to walk away from that relationship.

2. Finances

“I believe my office manager might be fudging the books.”

“What’s your timing for terminating her?”

“Oh, I’m not sure it’s really happening. I need to look into it more…”

Yet another actual conversation. Again, I was shocked that the dentist wouldn’t be more proactive about nailing down the problem and firing the employee.

Several sources report that 60% of all dental practices will fall victim to embezzlement. That’s just the identifiably criminal breaches.

Then there are the softer financial breaches. I once hired a contractor to help with financial projections for my firm. At one point, she suggest that I hire her as a full-time employee. Her plan was that I pay her two times what I was paying myself and stop servicing the business’s liabilities as we had once planned. It became clear to me that she no longer had my firm’s best interest in mind. As difficult as it was, I ended the working relationship.

Anytime you suspect questionable activity around the practice finances, it is critical that you investigate and, if the suspicions are confirmed, sever professional ties with that person.

You are the CEO of the business that is your dental practice. As CEO, it is your job to protect the company and be a good steward of its assets. To that end, there is no other choice when it comes to a breach in reputation or finances: end the contract.

What does any of this have to do with marketing?

First, marketing is the most public representation of your reputation. If people are talking smack about you on the streets, then your marketing efforts lose effectiveness.

Second, marketing is a big investment for your practice. If your finances are being eroded by people who have anything less than your best interest in mind, then your resources for investing into the growth and success of your practice dwindle.

Make it a practice to check behind the people who are the shepherds of your reputation and your finances. Ask your peers what they have heard about you, and follow any ill will back to its source. Once monthly, have a meeting with your financial person to go over your profit-and-loss sheet and your balance sheet. Go through line-by-line. Ask the uncomfortable questions just to be sure that everything is on the up and up.

And if you find anything that lacks integrity, question whether this person really has your best interests at heart. If not, move on.

You’re worth it.

Liven Up Your Practice’s Social Media Interaction

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Let’s get personal.

Is your practice’s Facebook page in the doldrums? Are you hearing crickets on Twitter because nothing’s happening? “Why is this?” you ask. From your perspective you consistently share interesting, informative and maybe even clever posts to the news feeds of your various networks. So why have you received little to no interaction from your client base? Read on for a few tricks from the experts that can kick-start your social media into a well-read storyboard about your brand.

Three words: pictures, pictures and pictures. And not just generic stock images, but real, live and relatable people! You can pretty much guarantee an increase in your social interaction by posting pictures of your staff, office happenings and happy patients. Just like positive reviews, successful “before and afters” and snapshots of smiling faces communicate that your practice is friendly and that your services are effective.

Keep your content light. Your average patient is clueless as to the latest research into dental implant technology and probably has little interest in learning about it. A good rule of thumb for sharing content is relating to the patients. Everyone, from the ten year old to the senior citizen, should be able to connect with your posts and have your messages leave them with a smile. Consider posting content like fun facts, jokes, tips of the week or simple reminders to share their smile with the world. If you’re keen about sharing more intellectual or academic content, try creating a LinkedIn account and posting to your professional peer groups.

Post regularly but not too frequently. It’s important to consistently update your social media pages to keep your brand visible and to appear “alive” when a patient decides to visit your page. Be careful not to post too much though. People can be very picky about what they see on their newsfeed. If they’re seeing too much irrelevant information from one person or brand they might un-like your page. Keep your posts short and sweet and share 2-3 days a week and you should be good to go.

If you’re having trouble finding time to update your social media pages or don’t have an in-house staff member to manage them, fear not! Contact Big Buzz today and we’ll formulate a social media strategy that works best for your practice.

Creating a Brand that’s Uniquely You

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On a recent trip Paris, our Client Services Lead, Molly, spotted a familiar brand while roaming the streets. Are you thinking you see Dolce & Gabana? No, that’s not a translation error. That sign says “Dolci & Gelati.” While perhaps equally indulgent, the store was in fact selling sweet treats, not luxury clothing. While the two companies have little in common, looking that similar to another brand can really confuse customers. The lesson here? Make your brand uniquely you.

How? Ask the people. We say it time and time again here at Big Buzz. Know one knows your brand like your happiest patients or clients. Instead of taking what’s worked for another practice or company, go out and ask what makes you so special! Ask them what makes you different from competitors, what you are doing best, and what their deciding factor in selecting to work with you was. You’ll be amazed by what they say.

What next? Take those repsonses and create a message and look that’s 100% you. With those two pieces, you can ensure that everything you produce for marketing moving forward matches and communicates one consistent and strong story.

Want to create a brand that’s uniquely you? Contact Big Buzz today to get started!

New Hires and Happenings @ Big Buz

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Big Buzz is excited to announce that we have invited Katie Weingardt, Christy Kruzick and Shannon Dils to join our team!

Katie began workinKatieg for Big Buzz as a marketing intern in January 2014, and quickly demonstrated a flair for writing content for blogs and websites. She was hired on at the end of March as a Content Coordinator, and busies herself maintaining client social media, developing brand messaging and analyzing marketing data. In her free time she enjoys hiking in the Rocky Mountains, cycling and gardening.

 

ChristyWe welcomed Christy to the team at the beginning of April as a much-needed Administrative and Project Coordinator. She assists with making sure that all client projects and meetings are clearly communicated, and she deftly keeps all things organized and running smoothly in the Big Buzz office. In her free time she enjoys road trips, skeeball and working on her music blog.

 

Shannon beganshannon at Big Buzz at the beginning of May. She comes with 10 years’ design experience including freelance work for small business entrepreneurs, proposal design for a Big 4 financial firm and business to consumer products design. Her goals are to learn more web coding, travel the world and learn to drive stickshift. She enjoys yoga, travel, camping, swimming, farming and eating delicious food.

 

 

 

We look forward to the strengths and companionship Katie, Christy and Shannon will bring to the office. We are so excited to have them here.

The valuable additions to our office has led to a few exciting rearrangements within our workspace.

After years of working and playing in the garage, our main space, our Client Services Lead, Molly, has moved into her own office! She wasted no time in the transition, promptly constructing new office furniture and hanging framed motivational phrases – a daily reminder to work hard and stay happy.

Our fearless leader, Wendy, has also migrated to a brand new space, the sunlit corner office. It’s clear to see that she loves the additional space that allows her creativity and laughter to flow freely, while she still remains close to the team.

So what else has Big Buzz been up to?

Working hard and having fun! And with spring in full swing, we now get to have our massive garage doors open, letting the spring sun and birdsong stream leisurely into our midst. Who says spring is just for the outside? Definitely not us!

 

 

 

Nobody “Likes” You: A Guide to Launching Your Social Media

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So you started your practice’s Facebook page and you are now looking at a daunting, blank business page with zero “likes.” There is no “Field of Dreams” moment here; just because you built it, doesn’t mean they will come.

Here are a first few things you can do to start getting some “likes.”

The lowest hanging fruit is your office staff.

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Step 1: Have each staff member like the page.

Step 2: Then have them invite their local friends to like the page.

This can be done once they like the page. There is a window on the right hand side of the profile that will allow them to do this. It states: “Invite your friends to like this page.”

Make it your goal to get about 30 “likes” in the next week or two.

Step 3: Start posting before you get patients to “like” you. Would you walk into an empty restaurant?

Step 4: Be transparent! Mix in photos of you, your staff, patients, etc. to get engagement. Your patients already know they need to “only floss the teeth they want to keep.”

Step 5: Offer a check-in or “like” prize. Advertise at the reception desk that you will give them a prize for checking into your practice on Facebook (this is not an official office check-in, just an announcement on Facebook that they are at your office.) Prizes can range from lip-balm to sunglasses and water bottles. Be creative and fun.

Why do all this?

Facebook is one of the best and cheapest ways to spark word-of-mouth. When one of your patients “likes” or checks-in to your page all of their friends on Facebook can see that.

Building your Facebook following takes time so stay patient and consistent. The best thing you can do is assign a staff member to own it and post consistently.

Or, contact Big Buzz to see how we can help get you to the social media cocktail party!

The Unexpected Perks of Being an Intern @ Big Buzz

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When one starts an internship what can they expect? Pop culture would have us anticipating a relentless stream of frantic yet trivial tasks for a barking demoness, as exemplified in The Devil Wears Prada. When I began my journey as an intern I was expecting just this, flavorfully seasoned with hours of tedious filing and coffee runs.

Of course there would be advantages as well, standard stuff, the reasons why almost every university career services center practically forces you into completing at least one term as an intern during your collegiate career. You can beef up your resume a little bit before you’re tossed capped, gowned, and wet behind the ears into the work world. Perhaps you’ll make a few connections in your neighborhood that could lead you to an entry level job, or better yet, discover a passion that will guide you in your career.

For me personally, being an intern with Big Buzz has delivered the unexpected. Sure, I have a better idea of where I’m headed career wise, and am on my way to earning another bullet point on my resume, but I’m hardly drowning in meaningless busywork like I anticipated.

 

Here are just a few wonderful little things that surprised me about interning with Big Buzz:

I am treated like a coworker. Not an underling. Not a peon. A coworker with insight, opinions, and valued contributions to the company’s services, in my case, copywriting. My second day here, I was directly asked to give my opinion on a project entirely unrelated to my current one. At Big Buzz there is pervasive sense that there is creative power locked in group thinking. The more contributing voices the clearer the message.

I am taught as I work. Yes, I work without pay. Yes, I work another job to support myself. No, this does not render my personal experience worthless. I came into this position knowing a lot about writing and nothing about marketing, and my knowledge of the two grows closer to equal with each day on the job.

I am one of two interns. Each one of us is nurtured in the symbiosis of work and education that’s called an internship. In a small business, interns can play a huge role, accomplishing simple, yet essential tasks that correlate with their specialty.

I have never made coffee. We’re mostly tea people, and asking an intern to go brew tea would be weird anywhere but Britain.

The environment is fun. This. Most of all. We laugh together, we eat together, and we work hard together. Jokes are welcome, nights out together are common, and we collaborate on almost everything. The office is well lit and colorful, located in the trendy RiNo district of Denver. I expected a cubical and a grimy 90’s era desktop. I received a desk situated in one massive, airy, room where I can work alongside and speak with everyone else.

They want my voice heard! I was personally invited to blog about my experiences interning with Big Buzz. Almost all of the professionals here were interns at some point in their early careers, and one actually started in the same position that I am currently filling! Needless to say, the value of the internship is recognized here, both for the twenty-something and for the business.

So get on board! Learning isn’t just for the classroom anymore!

Attention Specialists! LinkedIn is a Practice Open House Happening Online

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Attention Specialists! LinkedIn is a Practice Open House Happening Online

When I deliver my continuing education courses on social media to a group of doctors, a specialist will approach me to say, “Social media is only for the general practitioners, not specialists since our patients only come from doctor referral.”

Not so!

If social media is a cocktail party that’s happening online, then Facebook is the neighborhood party (better for generalists) and LinkedIn is the practice open house (better for specialists.)

And if you are not at the open house, you are missing out on big opportunities to connect with more referring doctors.

Here is a simple guide that specialists can use LinkedIn to build their practices:

Build your LinkedIn Network from Scratch
New to LinkedIn? Let’s get this party started! First, connect with those who already know and love you, then branch out:

  1. Search. In the search box, search for industry friends, competitors and current referrers. Anyone who you would invite to an open house today.
  2. Connect. Once you find people who are already familiar with you, click “Connect.” An invitation will be sent to them. Now sit back, relax, and watch as they accept your invitation and your online open house comes to life.
  3. Branch out. As your circle grows, browse your each of your connection’s contacts and connect with those folks, too. This is the same as introducing yourself to a friend’s friend at your open house. To do this online, first view your connection’s profile. Then scroll down to “Connections.” Search his or her connections and click “Connect” on potential referrers and anyone else you would like to get to know better. You can also send a private message to a connection, asking for an email introduction to a potential referrer who you see is a connection of theirs, but who you don’t yet know.

Build Your Network of Referring Doctors
Got the foundation down? Now, let’s make this open house work for us! Here’s how to attract more referring doctors than ever before:

  1. Drill down. Search for referring professions such as DDS or MD.
  2. Refine further. Limit your search to your city or cities from which you would like to receive referrals. Find “Location” on left side of screen and check boxes for desired cities. If your city is not listed, click “Add” and find your city or neighboring city.
  3. Go to the second level. Look for “2nd Connections” in the results and click “Connect.” An invitation will be sent to them. This time, watch carefully for acceptances.
  4. Reach out. Once they accept you connection request, send a friendly private message to their LinkedIn account (InMail). The notification of acceptance will have a button that says “Send a Message” – simply click there and follow the prompts. Remember to keep the email short, conversational and friendly – three to five sentences maximum. Ask for a lunch meeting or phone call and propose a date and time. And know that paying for an upgraded LinkedIn account will allow you to send an InMail to most LinkedIn members, regardless of degree of connection.

Once you get the appointment with your new connection, impress them with your affability and credibility and you will have a loyal referrer for years to come!

Clear Up that One Nagging Issue

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Clear Up that One Nagging Issue: A Straightforward 5-Step Guide to Finally Addressing Your Website Resolution

A friend recently reminded me that the word resolution comes from “to resolve,” meaning “to solve” or “to settle.” Your New Year’s resolution is just that – your commitment to solve that one burning issue, to settle things for good.

Perhaps you have been in practice 35 years and, thanks to strong word-of-mouth marketing, you have never needed medical website design. Until organized healthcare and the competition started creeping in, and now you may feel at a loss about how to begin entering the digital arena.

Or maybe you have been in practice with a group that no longer serves your vision, and you are ready to break out on your own. You know you need a medical website design from a reputable branding group, but you don’t know where to start.

Or perhaps you are starting a new practice, and you have so many to dos on your plate that medical website design has taken a back seat for now.

Whatever your case, there is a simple way to proceed. Get that website off your plate and up in lights online with these 5 easy-to-follow steps:

  1. Find a branding group that specializes in medical website design. Healthcare website developers are a dime a dozen, yet very few focus solely in branded medical website design. Ask around your community of fellow physicians for a referral to a group that will put a science, or brand, behind the development of your medical website design. When you stick to a branding group for your medical website design, you get a longer-lasting product, a more robust online image that stands out from the competition, and all the right complementary marketing efforts to supplement your website.
  2. Negotiate a budget that works for you. There are a thousand ways to develop a medical website. Any reputable agency specializing in branded medical website design will be able to give you a choice of website development platform (Drupal, WordPress, etc.), selection of scope (5, 10, 50 page website and everything in between and beyond), and customizations (professionally-shot photos of your office versus stock photography, etc.) With all those choices, you and your agency should be able to agree on a price that works for everyone.
  3. Appoint your office manager to be the point person for your agency. If you adequately share your vision for your medical website design with your agency and one of your staff members, you should only really have to be in a handful of meetings about the project over the course of development. And limit the playing field: have one or two staff members involved, but no more. Too many chefs in the kitchen, and someone is bound to get burned.
  4. Establish a deadline. While any good agency will do this for you, it’s always best to set clear expectations all around. Tell your agency point person and your staff point person precisely when you want the project finished. Be realistic – most good medical website designs take at least six weeks, start to finish. Once you nail down a date, ask your agency to work backward and show you in writing the various milestones to getting there. This becomes the entire team’s blueprint for getting from start to finish.
  5. Let them work their magic. If you selected the right agency and put all the right players onto your medical website development team, then you should be able to sit back, relax and let them do their thing. Here’s the way we like to say it, as written in our Commitment Manifesto, that we sign with each of our clients when they entrust their medical website design to us: “We are committed to taking marketing off of your plate and freeing up your time to do what you do best. We ask that you commit to giving us space and time to do our best work. You will receive high quality work and will be happier with the end result if we have the time and space necessary to make it happen.”

 It’s settled then. Go out there and get your website done!

 

Big Buzz Blog Tips and Tricks

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So you want to write a blog? At Big Buzz, we can help you create engaging and interesting content just right for you and your brand. Once the blog puzzle pieces have been sorted out, you will have created something worthy hanging on the everlasting wall of the internet for the world to view and appreciate.

Below, we have outlined some of the things you might want to consider when writing your blog. Read up and blog on!

How to get started?

  • Put time in your calendar so that writing your blog becomes a daily/weekly/monthly to-do. Having it in there on a regular basis makes it more of a routine task.
  • Look to content that you have already created: presentations, email blasts, newsletters. What can be repurposed for a blog?

What to keep in mind?

  • Blogs should be between 250-500 words, but if you have a quick thought you want to share, don’t be afraid to just post a short blurb here and there. The important thing is to keep your content fresh.
  • Your writing style can be casual, and conversational, as if you’re talking to your readers.
  • You want your blog to look good too! Use high quality images to make the content more visually interesting.
  • People may not know that your blog has been updated. Post a link to Google +, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Content Tips and Ideas

  • Bullet points, lists and steps are very easy ways to digest information. Example: 10 Tips for XYZ, 5 Steps to Achieving XYZ, 3 Ways to Get XYZ.
  • Myth busting is a great way to generate content. Clear up a common misperception in your industry, or clarify something that is often misunderstood by clients.
  • Take advantage of the seasons and use them as inspiration. Example: The 12 Days of Dental Practice Dilemmas, Solved!

Factoring in SEO

  • Link parts of your blog to other pages of your website or social media pages.
  • Use long-tail keywords as a way of building out your content. Examples: “dental office branding” or “medical website design Denver.” Be careful not to over-stuff your content with keywords, though.
  • Use long-tail keywords in subheads, image file names and your meta description.
  • If you want to drive more traffic to your website for particular services, use your blog to promote that information with relevant keywords.
  • Original content, rather than reposting published content, will improve your search ranking.

Happy blogging!

 

Transform Your Biz with these 10 Tips

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This crossed our desk at Big Buzz, and we hope you love it as much as we did…

Top 10 easiest ways to transform your business

If you need to be loved — adopt a dog

By Todd Ordal

Dr. Alan Weiss has a saying: “If you improve your operation by 1 percent each day, in 70 days, you are twice as good.” I hope one of these might be your 1 percent for the day:

  1. Work faster. If you use the same assets (for example, time, talent, physical resources and money) and work more quickly, your return is much higher. Longer is not often better.
  2. Speaking of longer… cancel the long meetings. Instead, have daily stand-up meetings with your team.
  3. Every year, spend a day with your senior team reviewing your “operating system” and ask, “What can we get rid of?” Just like the federal government, companies tend to layer on more and more.
  4. No one’s perfect, but when someone on your team is consistently causing more stress than adding value, it’s time for that person to go.
  5. You don’t have a work like, a family life, a personal life. You have a life! Find a way to make it work together. If you have the flexibility to do so, put it in the mixing bowl in a way that works and still accomplishes your business objectives. (I’m writing this in my slippers with a glass of wine.)
  6. The only extremely effective executives I’ve seen are exceptionally disciplined with their calendar. That doesn’t mean they schedule every minute, but it means they “calenderize” priorities.
  7. Learn how to ask great questions. They’re more important than looking for answers. If you ask the wrong question, the answer is always incorrect.
  8. If you need to be loved, adopt a dog. Kind leaders who speak the truth are highly effective. Nice leaders who always try to please produce less than optimal results.
  9. Leadership requires content (e.g. vision and strategy), but don’t forget about the process of leadership (such as meetings, quarterly business reviews, wandering the hallways, etc.), which you can “calenderize” (see No. 6).
  10. Don’t breathe your own exhaust. Get out of your office. Find a coach or advisor who speaks the truth. Expose yourself to ideas that make you think!

My advice to you? Pick one of these, develop some action items and then review No. 6.