Connecting the Dots between Social Media and Social Networking

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The terms “social media” and “social networking” are often used interchangeably. This is not entirely accurate, though, as both are different necessary steps to creating, engaging and maintaining meaningful relationships in this growing and changing social world. Connecting the dots between the two is imperative to your practice’s success with social engagement.

In short, social media entails the actual content that is posted and put in front of your following. Social media can include an article, podcast, blog, video, or photo. In the case of social media, you own the content and you are communicating it out to a mass of people, at a fairly regular frequency.

Social networking involves engagement and relationship-building with your following. Whether it is Facebook, Instagram, Google+, YouTube or LinkedIn, the focus is to connect with your audience and keep them engaged with your content.

For maximum effectiveness, a strategy must be created to align social media with social networking.

  1. Determine your method of connecting with your audience. Best practices say to vary the type of content you’re pushing out, as different media will draw in different people; an article one week, a video the next, a photo series later in the month, and so on. Consider who your target audience is (prospective and current patients) and what types of media will resonate with them.
  2. People gravitate toward what is relevant and relatable, and so will their peers. Think of your ideal patient, what burning questions they may have or what they are particularly interested in, and post about that. Their peers will follow.
  3. Keep in mind the ultimate goal: engaging users, remaining top-of-mind, positioning yourself (and your practice) as the expert, and building your following.
  4. Focus on interacting with your following and creating a sense of community. Once you have your content nailed down, all that’s left is the execution.

It is important to keep in mind that social media engagement is a long-term awareness tactic. While it will pay off in time, and the momentum will continue to grow, it will not necessarily result in an immediate influx of new patients. Stay the course to grow your online presence, build awareness around your services, and attract more potential new patients to your practice.

5 Ways the Dental Industry Will Change in 2018

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The dental industry is always changing and evolving, allowing for greater opportunity, growing competition, and more reason to be in-tune with the trends. Here are five ways the dental industry will change in 2018:

Online. Online. Online.

The Internet has changed the game in every industry, both for the consumer and the business. More than ever, consumers are scouring the Internet for information, education, and reviews before making a decision, especially in healthcare. This trend is only expected to rise, making it vital that your website is mobile-friendly, that you have plenty of positive online reviews, and that all of your online listings are accurate.

The Patient Experience Takes Precedent

It is imperative to ensure your patients have a timely, comfortable, and personable visit at your practice each and every time. Advanced technology, a modern office environment, and a welcoming atmosphere all add to the patient experience. Take it a step further by making each patient feel like your only patient; connect with them on a personal level and practice empathic listening.

Agile Financial Solutions

There is a significant lack of education among the general public about how dental benefits and insurance works. And with healthcare policies in flux, this will likely be an issue in 2018. Avoid the confusion and offer a variety of financial solutions, whether it be flexible payment options, in-house loyalty programs, or CareCredit.

The Rise of Group Practices

The number of single-doctor, single-location practices is shrinking, and will continue to do so. Much of this has to do with corporate dental, student loan debts, and the rising cost of opening a practice. By working in a group practice, you are entering into an already established patient base that likely has more capital to spend on things like marketing, coaching, consulting, etc.

Gender Shift

Historically, dentistry has been a male-dominated industry. The trends show that dental students as they enter school are essentially 50% male and 50% female, with a huge spike in young practicing doctors being female. As the older generation retires, the gender gap will continue to decrease.

 

Stay on top of the trends taking place in the dental industry to ensure your practice will stay ahead of the curve and continue to attract new patients.

Make Your Team Their Team: How to Establish a Relationship with Your Patients

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As a dentist and owner of a practice, your dental team may feel like family. Perhaps they helped you establish and grow your practice. Or maybe they have worked alongside you for decades. You likely see them as an extension of yourself and your brand.

It is important to keep in mind, however, that to new patients, your dental team is a group of strangers. It is vital to establish trust and rapport among your team and patients, especially when the patient may be signing on for a major procedure.

Let’s use implants as an example. As a dentist, you know the life-changing effects implants can have on a patient. You likely want more implant cases and get excited about the procedure. From the patient’s perspective, he or she is likely nervous about the procedure, worried about the pain, and concerned about the large financial investment.

By creating a bond between your team and your patients, you will establish a sense of trust and confidence. And that will result in increased case acceptance rates and long-term success for both parties.

Here are five ways to make your team, their team.

  1. Find common points of interest. Upon meeting with your patient or potential patient, engage in small talk to find common points of interest. Ask if he or she has kids or pets. Ask about what they like to do. Get excited. Introduce them to members of your team who may have similar likes and dislikes. Take five minutes to really engage with them. It will be worth it in the long run.
  2. Educate them. Show your patient your expertise. Talk them through the procedure with great detail and explain which members of your team will be doing what. Offer them web links, videos, and other material that you think will help them to make the right decision for their health. This will establish trust between the patient and your practice.
  3.  Let the patient talk. Ask questions and let the patient answer. Practice empathic listening – really putting yourself in the patient’s shoes to feel their challenges and concerns. It may sound obvious, but many of us tend to interrupt or zone out. Ask open-ended questions and listen, listen, listen. You’ll be surprised at how appreciated your ear will be.
  4. Repeat their concerns back to them. When you get into the nitty-gritty about the proposed dental procedure, make sure you repeat any concerns so that they know you are aware of any and all apprehensions. Use their language when answering any questions so that dental speak doesn’t overwhelm or confuse the patient more.
  5. Follow up. Have a team member follow up with the patient before and after their procedure. Beforehand, ask if there are any last minute questions they can answer. Reiterate pre-procedure instructions. Reassure them that they are in capable hands. After the procure, ask how their recovery is going and if they have any lingering questions. This attentive follow up will show your patient that you and your team genuinely care about his or her well-being.

A positive relationship between you, your team and your patients is likely to yield more positive results and outcomes. Bottom line: establish a connection between you, your team and your patient and something as simple as a cleaning will be easier, less stressful, and more successful.

Get Your Team on Board with Your Vision

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You didn’t get into dentistry to be average or just the same as the rest. Somewhere along the line, you established a strong, clear, and amazing vision for your practice and imagined the impact you wanted your dental care to have on your patients. In order to bring that vision to fruition, you need to have a driven, inspired, and equally amazing team backing you. Even more so, that team needs to be on board with your vision for your practice and your business.

A dedicated and hard-working employee can remain dedicated and hard-working without even being aware of your vision. In most cases, though, their dedication and hard work may be intrinsic. The first step, of course, is sharing your vision with your team. Beyond just reciting it, explain to them the reason behind the vision, how you came to it, and why it matters.

The next step is ensuring that each employee’s head and heart is connected to the business, the goals, and the vision. Show them how they have skin in the game – how they’ll benefit and advance both professionally and personally when the vision is achieved.

Further, people feel more fulfilled when they know the work they are doing is impactful. Working in the dental industry, this may seem obvious at times, but by keeping it top-of-mind and a main point of conversation, it will remain much more front and center. The work that you and your team do is changing lives; celebrate the successes, how you’ve impacted a patient’s life for the better, and how everything you do adds value to their lives.

Lastly, and maybe most importantly, always be listening. By establishing a culture of listening and understanding, communication will evolve and trust will naturally develop. All of the aforementioned traits allow for a positive working environment, which naturally fosters growth, unity, and success. Allow your employees to come to you with questions, concerns, thoughts, ideas, and inspiration. This reciprocal relationship is exactly what you need to build, maintain, and achieve a unified vision for your practice.

Top Challenges for Dentists (And Tips for Resolving Them)

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Affordable Care Act

March 23, 2010 – Date enacted

January 20, 2017 – Date an executive order to begin repealing it was signed

Dental patients are confused and/or fearful of these changes

“Dental insurance, for the most part, isn’t covered under the Affordable Care Act. However, children’s dental coverage is a required benefit included on all ACA-compliant plans and cost assistance can be applied to any Marketplace plan that includes dental.”[1]

Resolution: Education

Dentists are going the extra mile to over-educate patients on how dental benefits work and what plans are accepted. They are also offering in-practice plans to better serve patients.

Consolidation of Providers

25.8

Percentage of dental practices with 10+ employees accounting for percent of total receipts in 1992

 Independent dentists have trepidation about this growth.

“Though dentistry has traditionally been referred to as a ‘cottage industry,’ not only are the cottages increasing in size, but they are more likely to be part of large multi-unit dental firms.”[2]

Resolution: Differentiation

Now more than ever, independent practices are investing in target market research, professional brand development and reputation management efforts in order to differentiate themselves in the market.

Encroaching Competition

42

Number of dental schools in 1950

65

Number of dental schools in 2013

This means that the marketplace is flooded with new dentists.

“In addition, several universities around the country are in various stages of planning to open a new dental school, although there is a great deal of uncertainty as to the number of these plans that will come to fruition.”[3]

Resolution: Collaboration

Gone are the days of the single practitioner working as a lone wolf. Independent dentists are pooling marketing budgets for broader and deeper market penetration, starting small group practices and collaborating in other creative ways to stay ahead of the growing competition.

Shift to Digital Marketing (and More Marketing Needed)

2008 – ADA marketing guidelines for dental practices were still quite strict

2016 – The year that the ADA published a Managing Marketing Module

“Where is your next new patient coming from? Do you know why patients are loyal to your practice? How can you avoid losing patients to another practice? The one answer to most of these questions is likely an easy one: ‘Marketing.’”[4]

Resolution: Marketing Prowess

Practices are no longer cobbling together marketing solutions, but are now hiring full-service marketing agencies to drive patients and production into the practice.

Bring Passion Back to Your Practice and Your Life

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Do you wake up and feel the weight of the day you’re about to have? The weight of the day before? Does each day drag on, yet the weeks fly by? Are you or your team feeling stagnant in your roles?

The passion and initial spark that drove you into the dental industry are still there and deserve to be reignited. Reenergize your work, your team, and your life, so that each and every day can unveil a new adventure, excitement, and learning opportunity. Below are three tips to help you get off the treadmill of your day-to-day sameness to revive your special spark.

1. Take Back Your Excitement
Remember your first day of school, the day you opened your practice, or the start of your most recent vacation – what were you most excited about? What are you lacking today? Are you missing the challenge of doing something new? Is there less opportunity, less growth? Manifest that feeling you’re lacking, and focus on that excitement.

2. Learn, Learn, and Learn Some More
The brain thrives on education, knowledge and learning. By constantly learning and challenging yourself (and your team) you are able to exercise your brain, practice critical thinking, deploy your leadership skills, and constantly improve yourself both personally and professionally. It doesn’t have to be something overly complicated; learn how to utilize shortcuts on your computer, take a new way to work, or practice long division with your children. Watch excitement return to your life by continually learning.

3. Use Your Practice to Live Out Your Ideal Lifestyle
If you really want to make a difference in your practice, consider attending the Get Off The Treadmill Summit, featuring Chuck Blakeman and Craig Spodak, DMD, in Dallas March 31 and April 1.

This event will help you and your team make more money in less time, smile more often, and get your brains back. Having your own practice doesn’t need to consume your life. This unique learning experience will revolutionize everything you know about success as a practice owner. In this two-day seminar, you will learn how to:
– Evolve your already thriving practice into a time and money producer
– Reignite your passion for dentistry
– Increase revenue, reduce expenses, and attract the best talent
– Build an environment where everyone is held accountable and is working toward unified goals
– Develop and evolve your network and community within the dental industry

Register Here!

From “Meh” to Amazing: How the Dentist Affects the Marketing

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Everything that the dentist does has a trickle-down effect on the team and the practice.

Everything.

And as Fred Joyal famously said, “Marketing is everything.”

When the dentist is in chaos, the practice feels hectic, team members are disjointed and patients may be confused and disloyal.

When the dentist is apathetic, the practice becomes slow, team members have a sense of lethargy and it may become difficult to attract new patients, earn treatment acceptance or keep patients.

When the dentist is passionate and visionary, the practice comes to life and team members are animated, open and willing. People love this energy, and patients naturally flock to it and stick. This is where true growth, success, and prosperity happen.

Here are six ways to go from “meh” to amazing:

  1. Decide what you want – and why. It’s not enough to simply say, “I want more new patients.” Why do you want that? What impact will you have had on your corner of the world 100 years from now? What are your biggest dreams? Write down a decisive statement about what you want and why. For example:
    1. “I have decided to grow a multi-million dollar small group practice because the dental industry needs more dentists like me.”
    2. “I have decided to hire the best and brightest associates right out of residency because they deserve the experience of working for a practice like mine.”
    3. “I have decided to attract two implant cases every month because I am passionate about transforming smiles and the world.”
  2. Take action. Next, write down the specific actions you will take to reach your goal. Oftentimes we feel like we are in action, but we may not actually be, or we may be taking the wrong action. By outlining your action steps in written format, you will be able to regularly review your plan and adjust it as needed.
  3. Inspire your team. Regularly share your decisive statement and plan with your team. Invite them to help deploy the action plan. Delegate as much as you can so that you can stay focused on the big picture rather than getting lost in the weeds. Revisit the plan together at least twice monthly in order to stay on point.
  4. Find your tribe. Add to your plan a list of people who you can call on when the going gets rough or when you want to celebrate wins. Your team is certainly on the list. You might add mentors and coaches or consultants with whom you have worked. Consider including any spiritual advisors you may have in your life. And don’t forget your children, parents and/or significant other. Once you complete your list, contact each person in your tribe to share your decisive statement and plan. Ask if they will each support you in your journey to success. And reach out regularly to prevent isolation as a practice owner, which is very common and catastrophic to momentum.
  5. Mind what you feed your brain. Next, add a list of books, podcasts, TEDTalks and other media will best support your plan. If your plan is centered on growing a large practice and team, consider reading Total Leader, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and How to Win with People. If your plan is focused on creating wealth, you might read Think and Grow Rich, The Law of Success and Secrets of the Millionaire Mind. If your plan is about attracting more implant patients, try KABOOM!: The Method Used By Top Dentists for Explosive Marketing Results or Marketing Implant Dentistry.
  6. Go to night school. Keep your entire plan with the decisive statement, specific action plan, delegation notes, tribe list and reading list in a place where you can read it every day. The best time of day is at night just before lights out.

In working with hundreds of dental practice across the nation over the last 10 years, we find that the ones enjoying the best results from marketing are those that are lead by a visionary dentist. And by following the steps above, that can easily be you!

 

 

 

 

Track Your Results in Real Time

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We often hear from dentists and teams that they have a hard time seeing where their marketing dollars are going, and if their marketing efforts are providing a return. Dentists don’t have clarity on the new patient inquiries coming into the practice, and dental teams don’t see how they are progressing towards annual production goals.

A personal online dashboard can help with all of that. Personal marketing dashboards accurately track results and allow all key players to see exactly how their marketing tactics are performing and where they are in terms of meeting the goal. This allows both your dental team and your marketing team to use actual data to make sound decisions about when to refine your marketing program, where to invest marketing dollars and how to get the very best results. Plus, your personal marketing dashboard updates in real time, meaning you can check the status of your marketing success 24/7, 365.

What should your team be measuring to make sure they’re on the right track with marketing?

  • Revenue and production goals
  • New patients per month
  • Online advertising results
  • Online forms submitted
  • Website visits
  • Top keywords
  • Calls from direct mail
  • Social media statistics

Utilizing a custom dashboard to see how your marketing efforts impact your new patient numbers and move you towards your production goals can make or break your marketing plan’s success. Interested in learning more?

SCHEDULE A DEMO

 

How to Impact Your Team and the Dental Industry

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You are more than just a dentist. Your thoughts, your work, and your insights have ripple effects on your team, your community, and the dental industry on the whole. Here are five ways to positively impact everyone in your sphere of influence.

  1. Hire the best of the best. The very best dental team members attract and retain your patients, and thereby bring in more production to the practice. Beyond that, they are great to work with, which means you are more fulfilled. And when you have the production and fulfillment that you want, you are more able to have a positive impact on the world around you.
  2. Implement a rewards and incentives program. Even the very best employees get sidelined without clarity, direction, and incentive. Articulate your vision for the practice in writing and share it with the team. Help them develop individual action plans for helping the practice reach its goals. Work with each of them to develop clear benchmarks for success. (They will be different for each role.) Finally, show them what they will get when they reach and exceed those benchmarks. The rewards could be bonuses, gift cards, time off, etc. Once the action is tied to an outcome that directly impacts them, watch production and engagement soar!
  3. Learn and teach leadership. Read texts such as The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Think and Grow Rich and The Power of Positive Thinking. Immerse yourself in podcasts and videos to learn leadership skills such as proactivity, openness, willingness, big-picture thinking and inspiring others. Get into coaching with one of the masters at Fortune Management. (We don’t get anything for recommending them; we just love them.) When you truly learn leadership skills, you can then teach them to the dental team. A whole practice full of leaders is a high-impact practice!
  4. Become known for one thing. Maybe you want to be the implant dentist in your market. Or the go-to cosmetic dentist. Or the sleep apnea expert. Fine-tune your marketing strategy to attract just the right patient to your practice. Take it a step further by developing podcasts, videos, and lectures on your area of expertise.
  5. Back a cause. One dentist that we know started a dental clinic in Africa. Another sits on the board of Kids in Need of Dentistry. Another rehabilitates the mouths of recovering methamphetamine addicts. Find the one corner of the world that you wish was better and explore how you can get involved to inspire change.

As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

 

 

 

Win The Battle For New Patients

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Here’s a dirty little secret about dentists… the majority of them figure that if they just throw enough dollars at what’s hot in marketing, they will get ahead of the competition in the battle for new patients.

They are dead wrong.

The name of the marketing game is not to attract new patients. The goal is to attract your ideal new patients: those who pay on time, accept treatment, welcome your dental benefits policies and refer family and friends.

The right marketing solution is not that shiny new approach that the last sales rep called to promote. It’s a strategic marketing plan: the exact mix of everything possible in marketing expertly whittled down to precisely what is right for your practice right now.

And that strategic marketing plan is not an expense. It is an investment: it works on the practice’s behalf to more than pay for itself.

It’s a plan that cuts off “price shopper” patients at the pass before they waste your time and resources.

It’s a plan that honors potential patients and makes clear to them that they will feel right at home at your practice – even before they cross the threshold.

It’s a plan that attracts patients from miles away who are willing to pay fee-for-service and who respect you as the expert that you are.

It’s a plan that has the right patients flocking in the door on a regular basis.

It’s a plan that will make the competition obsolete.

More than all of that, it’s a plan that makes your practice more prominent and more profitable than ever before.

Your peers may not know that there are 50 possible marketing tactics that practices use to attract patients. They may be narrowly focused on only a few that they are trying on a darts-in-the-dark basis.

Many don’t know that there is a simple and quick way to strategically define which of the 50 possible marketing tactics will make their practices soar.

But dentists nationwide are making use of just such a strategy.

Want one?

Yes! I want a complimentary initial marketing strategy!