What 10 Years of Healthcare Marketing Experiences Means for You

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Big Buzz founder and CEO Wendy O’Donovan Phillips started her marketing career at an agency that worked on Fortune 500 accounts like Microsoft and Wells Fargo. She distilled the strategies she learned there to the essential parts. This essentialism allows the team to remain agile.

We’re always ready, moving more quickly and easily than our competitors to achieve the best results with our clients.

For over 10 years, our team has served hundreds of healthcare organizations, including private practices, medical device corporations, memory care communities, sports medicine clinics and more. This breadth and depth of healthcare marketing experience has allowed us to serve a variety of different companies across the nation with strategies backed by real research, performed with the utmost agility.

 

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5 Signs Your Company Needs a Website Refresh

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Content is Dated

Think back to when the last time your business’s website was edited. Has it been five or more years? It’s time for a refresh. The field of web development is consistently changing and upgrading the world wide web to become more modern, concise, and user-friendly. If there’s attachment to the current website, try browsing competitors and compare your website to the clean and responsive layouts of modern websites. So many more factors come into play than just a visually aesthetic design, such as its capability to expand and update outdated content. A developer will do this by focusing on how the current strategic marketing plan will influence a site redesign by adding content that reflects how you communicate with all users in a visually pleasing way. Most often, look for a developer that uses a WordPress theme that’s customizable and editable without the need for advanced coding knowledge. Having the confidence within your team to be able to edit small sections of website content, while knowing the overall design won’t be impacted, is a great way to keep content fresh and reliable.

No Value Proposition

As business leaders, it takes time and expertise to come up with vision and mission statements and their benefits to keeping the team on a collective track to success are bountiful. Successful website content is inspired by supporting a set value proposition that should relate to both statements as a way to describe why your business is the best choice. Any user should be able to identify a specific key message or trait about your business after visiting the website. Consistent and unique copywriting is required in order to help reinforce this message to users so that they leave with no doubt about what your business is all about. Design also plays a role in conveying the value of the message through graphics that communicate effectively within an interface that is responsive, fast, and user-friendly.

The Bounce Rate Is High

The bounce rate of a website measures the percentage of interaction on a single-page before a user came and left without interacting on the site. This could measure both fresh new users or examine how existing users interact with webpages over a period of time. It’s important to notice trends in high bounce rates, which is an indication that users are either becoming overwhelmed, or the website failed to provide the information they were looking for. Poor usability in on any webpage can be detrimental as on average a “website’s bounce rate is 45%.”  An ideal goal is to aim for is under 40% by giving your website a refresh and giving more attention to the homepage. Increasing relevant content will keep users intrigued and creates educational value, but a lack of an effective web interface will result in a poor user experience.

Ineffective Calls to Action

Looking more in depth at the homepage, it should include effective calls to action (CTA’s) that help move users down the business funnel. The most effective CTA should live on the top of the homepage above the fold, so a user is introduced to make the particular action without having to scroll if necessary.

Although there can be a plethora of useful CTA’s, the most popular include awareness CTA’s, consideration CTA’s, and decision CTA’s.

  • Awareness CTAs– These calls to action should link to a landing page offering a piece of content that helps your website visitor gain more information on a certain topic. Examples of awareness pieces of content are ebooks and white papers.
  • Consideration CTAs– These CTAs link to pieces of content that help solve problems that your website visitors have already defined. Examples of consideration pieces of content are testimonials and case studies.
  • Decision CTAs– Decision CTAs link to something such as a demo or a free trial of a product or service. Website visitors who have already decided on a solution strategy to their problems are trying to narrow down their list of vendors; decision CTAs highlight how you can help.

Depending on your message, it can be valuable to use multiple types of CTA’s, however we recommend keeping it down to two. If the homepage contains multiple sections of content, contrast can be added to the CTA’s by using brand accent colors. Once there is confidence in funneling with CTA’s on the homepage, you can continue to add them to your content on other relevant webpages so that you’re always allowing users to act.

It’s Not Responsive

In the modern age of web development, it’s important that your website layout can adapt to any device a user may be browsing on. For example, a positive experience when browsing on a Google Pixel phone means that users will not have to worry about altering their screen in order to view any website content such as text or images. There are still many outdated websites that were developed with a fixed-width layout, meaning that content is coded based on not having to worry about the effects of multiple screen sizes. Any current website that includes separate coding to make up for a lack of responsive layouts may end up being double the cost, and hard to keep content updates continuous on each screen size. Instead, it’s recommended that a new website is developed using a mobile-first approach that will ensure that the rising rate of mobile website users don’t miss any bit of content. In fact, Google continues to push forward new initiatives to penalize businesses that don’t include a fully responsive mobile experience, especially when “52% of all website traffic comes from mobile devices, and Google is now basing its rankings on the mobile version of a website.”

3 Things You Can Do Right Now to Overcome a Patient Slump

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Athletes go through slumps all of the time. Nick Anderson, a former guard for the Orlando Magic bricked four free throws at the end of Game 1 in the 1995 NBA Finals, costing his team the game and ultimately the championship. Nick Anderson never bounced back from his slump, but you can. If you follow these three steps, you’ll be out of your slump and on your way to a full schedule in no time.

  1. Set up a Nextdoor accountNextdoor is a powerful social media app used to refer people to local businesses. The app allows people to recommend businesses they like to other people who ask for recommendations. For example, if Timmy chips a tooth, his mom Jenny can go onto Nextdoor and ask for a cosmetic dentist recommendation. Morgan can then see Jenny’s request and tag her favorite dentist who specializes in cosmetic dentistry. Over time, after a business becomes recommended enough, they become a neighborhood favorite, exposing the practice to even more people in the community.
  2. Ask for referrals – One of the best ways for a dental practice to bring in more new patients is through referrals. In our ten years of dental marketing, we have surveyed hundreds of patients and found that one of the most popular ways someone finds a dental practice is through word-of-mouth or a referral from a friend or family member. One way to ask for referrals is to find a moment of connection between the staff and the patient and kindly let them know you are accepting new patients. You can also provide a small thank you to patients who refer someone such as a gift card to a local coffee shop or restaurant.
  3. Go live – Social media is a low-cost tactic that can put your brand in front of a large number of people. If your office is full of spunk, be sure to show that to the world. Use live video to show a quick tour of the office or offer a “behind the scene” look. Take it a step further by engaging your audience by hosting a Q&A showing off your two-way communication.

Don’t stay in a slump for long – try these tips to give your practice the boost it needs. If you are still having trouble getting your schedule filled, give Big Buzz a call at 720-350-4484. We have helped practices across the nation overcome patient slumps and fill their schedules!


 

A Mobile Friendly Website is No Longer an Option, It’s a Necessity

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According to Statista, over 50% of worldwide online traffic comes from a mobile device, and of the websites Big Buzz manages, about one-third of traffic comes from mobile devices. Those are both numbers worth knowing. Have you looked recently to see what percentage of online traffic to your website is coming from mobile users?

In this day and age, mobile-friendly websites are not an option, they are a necessity if you want to continue to succeed. Here are three reasons why:

  1. User experience is key. With more people searching online for goods and services, it is imperative those people have a positive experience with your brand no matter what kind of device they are using. According to CEO Magazine, “Consumers have been spoiled with convenience and speed for so long that, according to Kissmetrics, a single second delay in website loading time can see a 7% reduction in customer conversions.” If the website doesn’t load properly on mobile devices, is difficult to navigate or if critical information isn’t presented correctly, potential patients may turn to a competitor.
  2. Search rankings will be impacted. As recently reported by minttwist, Google has started to assess websites for ranking purposes based on their mobile versions rather than their desktop versions. Regardless of how great a website views on a desktop, the user experience, load times and responsiveness of a website on a mobile device will continue to strengthen in importance, especially as mobile website searches continue to rise. In order to look good to Google, a website will need to look (and function) good for the mobile user too.
  3. It takes you one step closer to a mobile app. What’s better than a mobile-friendly website? An app. According to Mobile App Daily, 90% of mobile users’ time is spent in apps. Apps give the opportunity to gather user data, send push notifications and much more. Think beyond the basics of a mobile-friendly website and envision the impact that could be had if users could access custom content even when offline.

Mobile-friendly websites are becoming the standard in development which is why it is critical that if necessary, you are working to get your website where it needs to be to keep up with technology, your competition and your audience.

Build an Effective and Efficient Referral Network

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Building an effective and efficient referral network is all about just that: building.

Building takes time and thought, and too often people go at it with a transactional approach, thinking quantity over quality, and not putting any strategy behind it.

Humans are designed to interact and relate with one another, especially when it comes to business. Referrals can be the lifeline of many businesses, especially dental practices, with referred patients often morphing into high-quality, long-lasting relationships.

In order to keep your dental practice growing and evolving, your referral network should mirror that continued growth and evolution. Keep these tips in mind when building your referral network and see new patient numbers rise.

Listen, listen, and listen some more.
When meeting a potential referrer, perhaps the property manager of a new apartment complex next door, the most important thing you can do is listen. Ask them questions about how they got into their career, what their passions are, what they like to do in their free time, etc. Follow the 80/20 rule: let them talk about themselves and their business 80 percent of the time, and you reciprocate and keep the conversation going the other 20 percent. That way, they’ll undoubtedly walk away from the conversation feeling valued, heard, and appreciated.

Remember them.
After having a conversation with a potential referrer, go back to your CMS software and take notes on their contact profile. Jot down anything that stuck out to you, especially their interests, passions, etc. That way, you are engraining what you learned in your memory, and allowing room for them to remain top-of-mind for you. For example, perhaps the potential referrer told you he has a 10-year-old son. Might his son be in need of orthodontic treatment? What about his son’s friends? Or his son’s soccer team? Staying connected to that one referrer you talk to can open even more doors.

Reach out, not about business.
Any time you come across a news article, blog post, video, meme, or anything else that reminds you of that potential referrer and would resonate with them, reach out with a simple, “I came across this and thought of you, I hope you’re doing well!” The 80/20 rule applies here too; 80 percent of the time reach out with genuine, thoughtful and meaningful points of conversation, and then the other 20 percent of the time warmly mention how your practice is always accepting referrals, and how greatly appreciated theirs would be. Additionally, this keeps you top-of-mind so that when a referral opportunity comes along, it’s a no-brainer who they think of.

If you are constantly building relationships and having meaningful interactions, new patient referrals will flood the office.

How Strategic Marketers Connect Communication and Marketing

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Communication plays a significant role in our daily lives, whether as a means of connection between people or places, or for a conveyance of thoughts and emotion. Communication helps us promote the development of relationships with others as well as initiate the sharing of knowledge and information. Every interaction has a common need for the ability to communicate in a clear and effective way.

Communication is the baseline for marketing. In order to drive patients to your practice, increase case acceptance, or build awareness within the community, communication is needed on different levels to accomplish the task at hand. Rather than guessing as to what that type of communication should be, strategic marketers leverage the communication styles of patients to develop a unique message.

An effective way to do this is to survey your current patients to gain insight into their opinions of the practice. Survey participants should share traits that positively influence the practice (they show up for appointments, they refer their friends and family, etc.) and they should be open to providing constructive and honest feedback that will aid in the development of your messaging. Research among this targeted group will help to provide the type of communications that your marketing should include, what they should sound like, look like, read like, and on what media they should appear.

Once research has been conducted, it is important to keep the brand messaging in the forefront of all communications. Your audience has shared what is important to them, why they chose your practice, what differentiates you from others; it is vital that these messages be continuously communicated throughout your marketing materials in order to attract more patients to your practice.

Why Branding is Important

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According to Brandingmag, branding Is defined as, “a marketing practice in which a company creates a name, symbol or design that is easily identifiable as belonging to the company.” Beyond your name, symbol or design, your practice brand is made up of multiple other elements that work together to establish a reputation for your practice. The culture of your office, your reviews on Yelp, the posts you share on Facebook, and so much more impact your practice brand.

Here are five reasons why this is important:

  1. Branding builds recognition.
    With a strong, memorable logo, you are helping to build brand recognition, since a logo typically serves as the “face” of a business. Make sure your logo aligns with your practice’s brand essence, and value proposition so it becomes known for the right reasons.
  1. Branding builds trust.
    When making buying decisions, people typically buy from companies they know and trust. Having a strong brand with which many people in the community associate positively builds trust and can also help bring in new business from referrals.
  1. Branding supports advertising.
    Branding is a key component of advertising. Having a strong brand will ensure any promotional materials speak the same marketing language, use similar types of images and include the key value proposition for your practice. This way, your advertising strategies are delivering a unified, appealing and appropriate message to your audience.
  1. Branding creates financial value.
    When you think of big brands like Nike or Starbucks, you are likely willing to spend more on their products even though you can get a similar version for half the cost. This is one of the benefits of branding. Position your practice as the crème de la crème and you will attract patients who seek that type of service, rather than just price-shoppers.
  1. Branding can bring in new patients.
    With a strong brand, referrals are easier to generate. People can’t refer you if they can’t remember who you are, so by building a strong brand, you are helping to engrave your practice’s name into your patients’ brains, bringing in a steady flow of referrals into your practice.

Branding is important to your practice for many reasons and can help to bring in new patients and more revenue. There are many areas to develop when building your brand, including but not limited to, advertising, customer service, promotional merchandise and your reputation. We have helped hundreds of practices across the nation build strong brands to bring in more new patients. Click here if you need help building your brand.

 

Identifying your Competitive Advantage

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How does my dental practice stack up to the competition?

What’s the competition doing that I’m not?

How can I be sure to stand out from other dental practices?

These are just a few questions that we are regularly asked by the dentists we serve. The key to identifying your competitive advantage is research. Here are 4 exercises you can do now to be sure your practice stands out and stacks up:

 

Exercise Time Needed Instructions Desired Outcome
1. Complete competitor research 2 hours First, make a list of all dental practices in the area that your patients may have considered before coming to you. Next, visit each of their websites and answer these questions: 1) What is the #1 value they claim to provide? 2) Is that similar or different than what your practice claims as its #1 value? You will have a definitive list of attributes for which your competitors are currently best known (or think they are best known). You will have clarity on whether your practice is truly different than others in its value proposition.
2. Ask the people 3 hours Start by emailing 25 of your ideal patients a one-question survey: “What do we do best as a dental practice?” Then read all the responses in one sitting and look for a common theme. Finally, ask yourself whether the #1 attribute your best patients remember about you, as shown in the survey responses, is clear across your website and marketing materials. You will validate and likely strengthen your practice’s value proposition and differentiators.
3. Understand the market 1 hour Call any reputable dental marketing firm and request a demographic report. Several agencies provide this as a complimentary service. In reviewing the provided data, you will be able to see from where in your community patients may come, from where your competitors are drawing patients and what new opportunities there are to reach beyond a 5-mile radius of the practice to attract new patients. From this, you can make hard and fast decisions about how to improve your competitive edge.
4. Understand your practice 1 hour Pull practice reporting to understand from which marketing sources most patients are coming, who the loyal referrers are and how the front office is tracking these metrics. Where needed, work with a consultant to add internal systems and structures for better tracking in the future. Based upon this data, refine marketing spend to only those tactics producing healthy returns and ramp up referral strategies for even more of a competitive advantage.

Dentistry is a highly collaborative industry. At the same time, with more dental students entering the market and more corporate dental practices opening than ever before, it’s a critical time to identify and claim your competitive advantage.

What is a Mood Board and Why is it Important to Your Brand?

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Building a brand doesn’t happen overnight. Target market research, data analysis, internal interviews, and much more go into the brand creation process. Beyond the hard facts and figures, though, is another brand-building tool: the mood board. A mood board is a collection of designs, images, shapes, symbols and colors that represent your brand. A mood board will typically stem from brand messaging or a unique value proposition, and from there, it will likely evolve into a style guide, giving the brand a foundation go off of when creating new marketing materials, products and more. Having a mood board for your practice ensures all marketing and promotional materials are consistent and portray the same message.

Here are four more reasons to invest in a brand mood board:

  1. Collaboration becomes easier.
    A mood board clearly shows a practice’s design principles, making it easy for anyone on the team to build materials consistent with the overall brand.
  1. Time is saved.
    A mood board helps to build a library of approved images, patterns and fonts, saving time on managing opinions and approvals down the line. Instead of spending time deliberating over the type of look of a certain Facebook ad should have, the mood board helps guide the process, getting your message to market faster.
  1. A strong visual framework is built.
    When your brand’s look and feel is clearly communicated across your team, it makes any decision that affects your brand’s image a no-brainer.  You can rely on the mood board for inspiration and guidance.
  1. Your patients and staff members are represented
    When you build your mood board based on the practice’s brand messaging or unique value proposition (which is gathered via survey data), you are building something that represents the thoughts, opinions and values of your patients and staff members. For example, one of our clients ordered a large-scale print of one of the images featured in their mood board and hung it in the office’s reception area. It so perfectly reflected what the practice was all about and resonated deeply with the target audience.

The development of a mood board is an integral part of the brand-building process. Do the work upfront and save time, money and frustration on future marketing projects.

Struggling with your mood board design? Contact Big Buzz at 720-350-4484. We have designed mood boards for hundreds of practices to help them establish a design foundation.

A Guide to Marketing Your Practice

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As the owner of a dental practice, you may be involved with all facets of the business: staffing, scheduling, bookkeeping, accounting, IT support, and so much more. With all that on your plate, marketing may not be a top priority. In order to attract new patients and keep the schedule full, though, marketing is vital. If you are just starting to market your practice, here is a three-step guide on how to do just that.

Step 1: The first step in marketing your practice is to conduct a SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis identifies the following for your practice:

  1. Strengths – Look at what makes your practice unique. What do you offer that your competitors don’t? List out everything your practice does better than the rest.
  2. Weaknesses – When identifying your practice’s weaknesses, be honest with yourself. What could you be doing better? What’s hindering your success? Think about it from a patient’s perspective (wait times, ease of scheduling, hours, etc.).
  3. Opportunities – Look at the areas where your practice could grow and expand. Perhaps you’re now in a position to hire an associate or expand into a second location. Think of how these areas can help your practice grow.
  4. Threats – When you look at threats, what can you anticipate or prepare for that may impact your practice? Is there a new practice opening next door? Is construction happening, making your office difficult to locate? Are you experiencing heavy turnover? Be sure to look at both internal and external threats.

From this analysis, you will be able to determine where to focus in order to yield the most success long term. You can look at what you’re already doing well in terms of attracting new patients and keep doing that, and you can also look for areas of development to see where you might need to invest more to grow.

Step 2: Once you have finished the SWOT analysis, you will want to build out an ideal patient profile. Having an ideal patient profile will help you identify the types of patients you want to replicate and uncover how they found you, where they look for healthcare resources, what would inspire them to make a referral, etc. Survey this list of ideal patients in your current practice to pinpoint the kinds of marketing they pay attention to so you can invest your marketing dollars there.

Step 3: After you have gone through the SWOT analysis and have created an ideal patient profile, now it’s time to construct your marketing plan. Based on the research conducted in steps one and two, your marketing plan should unveil itself – you’ve answered the questions such as “What’s worked well in the past?” and “How are patients currently finding you?” Identify the handful of tactics with which to proceed and then measure results for three to six months to properly assess if your plan has worked. Do the heavy lifting upfront and you’ll see your efforts pay off!

Still having a tough time building your marketing plan? Contact Big Buzz at 720-350-4484. We have built hundreds of marketing plans for practices nationwide and would love to help ignite your practice’s marketing and fill your appointment list!