Top Trends in Dental SEO in 2019

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The most recent numbers suggest there are nearly 200,000 practicing dentists in the United States. That’s a lot of options. With such a crowded playing field, how will your practice stand out when someone searches online for “best dentist” in your city or town?

 

The answer is search engine optimization, or SEO. SEO helps fine-tune your website and match it up to the results page of someone searching for related material online. As technology improves and algorithms change and evolve, so too do the best SEO practices. Read on to examine some of 2019’s biggest projected trends, and how you can use them to your practice’s advantage.

 

Video Content:

We have discussed it in previous articles, but the importance of video content in today’s marketing landscape cannot be stressed enough. Not only does it improve your user experience and help your brand stand out among the competition, it enhances your standing on search engine results. In fact, your site is 50 times more likely to appear on the first page of Google’s search results if it features a video.

 

Voice Search:

Over the past few years you’ve likely encountered a voice assistant like the Amazon Echo (Alexa) or Google Home, but you may have not considered that these products are playing an increasingly big role in SEO. In 2018, 58% of those who owned these devices used their voice search function to look for information about local businesses. It will be valuable to ensure your website is optimized for voice search, as voice recognition is projected to become a $601 million industry this year.

 

Microformats:

Microformats are essentially pieces of code used to mark up your website which help convey unseen information to search engines, essentially labeling or tagging them. The more thoroughly your website’s content is labeled like this, the more likely a search engine is to match your site to a search. Microformats can be especially helpful for businesses with brick and mortar locations who want to display their business hours… dental offices, for example!

 

Mobile Friendliness:

As consumers increasingly shift to mobile searches in lieu of desktop searches, it’s essential that your website is geared towards mobile searches as well. If your site is not optimized for mobile viewing, search engines are less likely to show it to those searching. Google is rolling out its mobile-first indexing system, meaning google will search for the mobile version of a site first. According to the company, “Since the majority of users now access Google via a mobile device, the index will primarily use the mobile version of a page’s content going forward. We aren’t creating a separate mobile-first index. We continue to use only one index.”

 

Take stock of these items and make sure your website aligns with them. Stay tuned to our blog for more industry tips and insights!

Is Your Money Safe?

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The word “embezzlement” usually conjures images of shady bigshots high up the corporate ladder, but the truth is, it’s a lot more common than you might think.

 

What’s worse: it often happens within dental practices. And the numbers are alarmingly high.

 

It’s thought that three out of every five dentists – or 60% – will be embezzled at some point over the course of their careers. However, some experts estimate that the number might actually be closer to 80% due to undetected or unreported cases. It should also be noted that while stealing money is the most common form of embezzlement, it can manifest itself in other ways – such as employees ordering extra medical items or equipment in order to sell themselves.

 

According to leading dental embezzlement investigation firm Prosperident, the crime often goes undiscovered for nearly two years, and the average amount stolen is $109,000. This is why it’s so important to take stock of all the moving parts and employees that make up your practice. It’s easy to think that this is a crime that only happens to other practices, or that it’s a big-city crime that could never happen in your rural office. It’s also easy to fall victim to “illusory superiority,” which Prosperident describes as “a basic human characteristic where we overestimate our capabilities relative to those of others.” That is to say, it’s easy to assume we have the knowledge and perception to catch the crime before it happens. This is a mistake.

 

While these facts and figures can be alarming, there are steps you can take to both prevent embezzlement and red flags to look for in the unfortunate event that it’s happening to you.

 

Screen Every New Employee

 

It may go without saying, but even if you are hiring a close friend or family member who you’ve known all your life, it could be a costly mistake not to do your due diligence. In addition to criminal and credit checks, you would be wise to confirm their stated education history to ensure they were honest in their application process and talk to past employers to make sure they haven’t had any prior issues.

 

Avoid Single-Person Control

 

Do not let one single person control the finances of your practice. Instead, delegate different tasks to different employees so that each function gets performed but no one person has the opportunity to manipulate or reroute any resources. You can also provide opportunities for employees to review each other’s work,

 

 

 

 

Stay Aware of Abnormalities

 

Keep your eyes peeled for an increase in patient refunds, adjustments or debt write-offs, or for an above-average number of accounts being transferred to a collection agency. Also make sure there are no inconsistencies between accounts receivable records and patient statements. It’s always smart to print out your own computer reports so you get the full picture straight from the source. Also review and initial day-end reports.

 

Keeping up practices such as these and staying aware of your practice’s financial goings-on can help you thwart embezzlement. Stay tuned to our blog to keep up with the latest industry pointers and insights.

5 Ways Marketing in the Dental Industry Will Change in 2019

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The dental industry, and the marketing thereof, has seen some big changes over the last year. Some of these trends are expected to continue into the new year while new ones will emerge. In this age of technological improvements, new digital platforms and evolving audiences it’s more important than ever to anticipate change and stay one step ahead of the curve. Read on to examine 5 predictions for changes to marketing in the dental industry in 2019.

 

Video Content

We touched upon this in our roundup of 2018, but the importance of video content in the digital era cannot be stressed enough. More than 500 million hours of YouTube content is consumed daily, and more than 500 million people watch videos on Facebook daily. In this digital era consumers want fast and easy access to information, and they want to consume that information to be as easily as possible.

 

Influencer Promotion

The importance of using influencers as marketing tools is on the rise, especially among young people who often turn to prominent social media figures for insight and direction. But “influencer” is a term that spans far beyond viral personalities and Instagram superstars. Local influencers can be invaluable in helping a practice achieve good positioning. Not only that, practices themselves can become influencers as well.

 

3D printing

While the rise of 3D printing is not a new concept in and of itself, it’s set to reach a new level of ubiquity in dentistry in 2019. In fact, a group of Texas prisons will use 3D printing to produce dentures for inmates, a move that will ultimately save money and time spent transporting inmates to offsite dental offices and clinics. Such a large-scale utilization of the practice seems to almost guarantee that it will be a prominent fixture in dentistry at large. Marketers would do well to educate themselves about the process as it becomes more commonplace.

 

Group Practices

The shift from individual practices to group practices has been emerging and looks to become a trend in 2019. There are a lot of benefits to joining a group practice, especially for younger dentists fresh out of school. Some of these include:

 

  • Paying off student loans
  • Lower overhead
  • Shared costs
  • Use of staff
  • More flexible schedule
  • Larger patient base

 

Marketers should keep this shift in mind as different dentists within the practice may have different needs.

 

Social Media Algorithms

Over the past few years, changes have been made to the algorithms of leading social media sites which are still affecting how dental groups and practices market themselves, and confronting these changes should be a top priority in 2019. There is no one solution, but some remedies may include increasing your social media ad budget or curating your content so that it resonates more with your new or smaller audience.

 

Keep these 5 predictions in mind as we head into 2019 and stay tuned to Big Buzz for more industry predictions and insights.

2018 Dental Marketing Year in Review

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It goes without saying that the marketing landscape is in a constant state of transition due to evolving technologies, shifts in consumer behavior and more. As with any industry, it’s imperative that dentists and dental practices stay current in their familiarity with these trends and changes to keep their practices visible and new patients coming through the door. A good place to start is examining the trends that either began or gained prominence in 2018, so as to accordingly develop marketing approaches and areas of focus for the new year.

 

One of the fastest growing trends in marketing is the importance of video content. 85% of the internet audience in the United States watches online videos, and their use can be mutually beneficial for potential patients and dental practices.  practices can reach and actively engage a wider audience – potentially bringing new patients into the practice – due to more easily ingestible content which allows  the viewers to have an easier time researching a new dental office or practice with more easily digestible content.

 

Additionally, video content gives doctors and practices an opportunity to showcase their personal brand, something that simple photos and text may fail to do. Showcasing your personal brand is not a new concept for 2018, but its importance has become heightened due to the crowding of the dental marketing space. Viral dental practice associate Tracy Driver, one of the speakers at the 2018 Dental Digital Marketing Conference, advised that your practice “[has] to find something to share on social media that sets you apart from other practices. Do something you love, something you’re comfortable with, then push yourself beyond that.” In addition to promoting your personal brand, sharable video content reaches a wider audience, resulting in more people talking about your practice. As Mark W. Schaefer, another speaker at the 2018 Dental Digital Marketing Conference, pointed out, “The world is moving away from big advertising – people don’t trust ads anymore… but when your patients post stories about your practice, it gets 600-700% more traction than if you did it yourself.”

 

Of course, videos aren’t the only way to employ a word-of-mouth approach. While every dental professional undoubtedly understands the importance of referrals, it’s important to recognize that they’re becoming more crucial by the day, and dental software can help capitalize on this. Between 2010 and 2016, the average number of patients referred by someone else rose by 13,000. Explore how your dental software program can help you track your referral sources.

 

To that end, brand advocates have become invaluable in 2018. While these individuals may be known by other names like brand evangelists or ambassadors, they all accomplish the same thing: promoting and advocating your practice to others in their daily lives – beyond having just been asked to refer a friend or family member for a gift card or discount. To quote dental marketing guru Jack Hadley, “Ultimately, the goal of digital dental marketing is not just to attract and retain new patients. It’s to turn those patients into advocates for your practice. That’s the core of digital marketing.”

 

Keep this information in mind as we head into 2019, and stay tuned to the Big Buzz blog for more news and insight into developing dental marketing trends.

2019 Aims To Be The Biggest Shift In Digital Marketing To Date

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Big Buzz has been working in the dental marketing space for over ten years and from what our team can tell, 2019 aims to be the largest shift in marketing that we have seen to date. For years we have written topics discussing the future trends of the industry; 3D printing, online review management, AI, consumer behavior and more. Yet now, we are seeing the “trends to watch” have become fully integrated into the marketplace.

Whether It’s Cross-Channel, Multi-Channel or Omni-Channel, It Comes Down to Capturing Micro-moments

What is a micro-moment? A micro-moment occurs anytime someone has a specific question or interest in a piece of content relating to your product or service. We can break these down into four main types of micro-moments:

  1. I want to know… seeking further information about a topic.
  2. I want to go… local business, travel, booking.
  3. I want to do… YouTube, how-to videos.
  4. I want to buy…best products and services, reviews, features and specs, comparative.

With the mobile explosion, people are seeking information on the go, in many environments influenced by a range of stimuli. This means we as organizations have to rethink the user journey from the first touch point to the final conversion. Savvy marketers will need to capture potential patients earlier in the decision-making process through content that targets users during these micro-moment interactions.

Artificial Intelligence Will Streamline Everything

Marketers are leveraging Artificial Intelligence to automate a range of tasks, gain and improve consumer insights and streamline workflows. According to Salesforce, over 50% of marketers currently utilize AI technology with 27% expected to incorporate it into their technology by 2019.  AI is transforming marketers from reactive analysts to proactive planners by assisting them with more efficiently planned campaigns in segmentation, tracking and keyword/ content tagging. For example, AI could stitch together an editorial calendar with the right images based on increases in demand for particular subjects. While the human element will always be necessary, AI aims to significantly cut down on production times and automate a large portion of redundant tasks so that marketers can focus more on creativity and less on administrative tasks.

Move Over Millennials, Gen Z is Here

Gen Z was born just after Millennials, between 1996 and 2010. It may be easy to complain about the “overly sensitive youth on their phones” who seem more interested in experiences than saving money, but the truth is, they are shaping the future. According to the International Business Machines Corp. and the National Retail Federation, over 70% of Gen Zers influence their families’ spending. Some things to know about the Gen Z audience:

  • They are more emotionally intelligent than previous generations.
  • They rely more on image- and video-based experiences than text.
  • Gen Zers latch on to social media influencers.
  • The want you to care about what they care about.
  • They want authentic, easily digestible content. Quickly.
  • They want to experience things.

Gen Z would seem like a gold mine of a target audience. They are emotional, connected, glued to their devices and they crave a life full of new and exciting experiences. However, they interact and digest content much differently than generations past. To effectively target what could be the most exciting generation for marketers yet, we have to take the time to understand how and why they seek out content.

You Need More Than a Brand, You Need a Brand with a Personality

New data suggests that nearly 95% of purchasing decisions are subconscious. If you want to be successful in marketing to your patients, you need to first personify your practice and connect with your target audience in a meaningful, memorable way – on a positive emotional level. When marketing a product to a consumer, it’s most effective to target the subconscious mind versus the rational mind. Below is information taken from Sprout Social regarding social media platforms and brand personalities. Facebook and YouTube were clear winners for platforms on which organizations can showcase their personality

Below is a chart of consumer sentiment based on the type of social media behavior.

Brand personality is unique and therefore a clear differentiator from competitors when it comes to how consumers perceive your brand. This doesn’t always translate into farfetched or radical personalities either. Looking at the graph below, the top behaviors that determined consumer purchasing behavior were honesty, friendliness and helpfulness, followed then by humor and trendiness.  Sometimes consistency pays dividends over outlandish antics.

“Consistent brand presentation translates to 23% average revenue increase.”  (Source: Lucidpress)

For more information on brand personality, you can check out this great article by Sprout Social, Consumers Aren’t Looking to Buy From Brands That Are “Cool” on Social.

Live and Ephemeral Video Content Is the Gateway to Authenticity

Instagram Stories now account for over 300 million daily active users. That’s 60% of Instagram’s total daily active users and nearly double that of Snapchat’s 188 million.  Facebook accrues more than 8 billion video views per day with a huge uptrend towards live streaming. Since its launch in August 2015, Facebook Live has seen a 330% increase. Why? It’s simple: Authenticity. According to Livestream, 80% of people would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog, and 82% prefer live video from a brand over social posts. With the rise of fake news, people demand authenticity and interaction more than ever. Ephemeral videos are a great example of this, as they show only a short clip or “story” before vanishing. This increases the urgency and anticipation of the content but more so gives the viewer an organic glimpse into the lives of someone else.

Final Takeaway: The True North Metric

In dental marketing there are really only two questions we should be asking. What is it that the practice wants to achieve? And, what is it that the patient wants to achieve? The sheer amount of data and evolution of AI-assisted tools and technology has muddied the waters when it comes to marketing metrics, overloading it with insights, analytics and trends. This is why many organizations have embraced a true north philosophy, choosing only a few KPIs that correlate directly with the goals and vision of the practice and their target audience and focusing solely on the achievement of such. Don’t get lost in the noise. Embrace changes in consumer behavior, technology and content preferences. Remain focused on who your organization targets and what the goals of your organization are. Shifts in the marketing landscape happen rapidly but understanding how to adapt and survive can keep your organization from becoming the wrong colored Peppered Moth, working against its environment.

 

The Power of One Brand

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These are the top 3 most powerful brands in the world, as reported by Forbes:

  1. Apple: Brand value $154.1 billion
  2. Google: Brand value $82.5 billion
  3. Microsoft: Brand value $75.2 billion

What do these mega-brands have in common?

Singularity.

Imagine Google using multiple sub-brands to “stand out” in front of various industries, like this:

What a mess!

These various identifiers don’t, in fact, make Google stand out at all. What makes Google stand out is the one thing they do best that can’t be found elsewhere: Google makes a positive impact on people’s lives by organizing the world’s information and making it easily accessible. The company does this across industries, for everyone – in more than 200 countries, regardless of what industry employs them. That brand essence is precisely what the company’s one logo represents. Here it is, in all of its singleness and glory:

The same is true for all brands. Too often in healthcare, we believe that adding specialties, locations, services or industries under the logo helps to clarify the brand when in fact it almost always just muddies memorability.

Even worse is the brand that has multiple logos for what is truly a single offering.

It’s true – even marketing agencies err in this way. In fact, ours did. As our marketing agency began serving various different subsets of the health and wellness industry, my team and I launched a whole mess of sub-brands:

Now, we are cleaning up our act. We know for sure that the one thing we do that can’t be found elsewhere is this: We are the most agile marketing team in the nation, moving strategies to market with greater speed and ease than any of our competitors. We do that across all of the industries we serve, for everyone – in more than 35 states and several different countries, including Jordan, Japan and Australia.

That brand essence is precisely what our company’s one logo will represent.

It’s coming soon!

 

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.

 

See More Work!

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.