Eliminating Noise in the Marketplace

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Every year, countless dollars are wasted on ineffective marketing efforts in the dental industry. When marketing tactics are disjointed and incongruent, the results they produce (or don’t) pale in comparison to those of strategic and comprehensive efforts. As competition grows, the need for a well-oiled marketing machine is becoming even more significant.

Big Buzz has identified three key factors that help to eliminate noise in the marketplace:

  1. Staying ahead of the competition
  2. Consistently gathering data
  3. Refining your marketing plan based on the trends in the market

Staying Ahead of the Competition

This is a two-step process. The first step involves finding out who your new competitors are in the market and the second step involves staying on top of current competitors. In both cases, you must thoroughly understand what competitors’ unique selling points are and then determine your differentiating factor in a single statement. This message needs to be crystal clear, extremely succinct and should be evident in every single patient, referrer and employee interaction. Be sure that this differentiating factor aligns with your patients’ expectations and the original mission of your practice.

Gathering Data

Any successful and thriving business is constantly gathering data based on customer experiences, evolving preferences, the changing market, etc. Apple is a perfect example – they are constantly gathering customer feedback and input and then using that information to update software, release new products, create new services and refine their brand – all based on said data. Dentistry is no different: give your most loyal patients what they want, and they’ll sing your praises for life.

Refining Your Marketing Plan

The final piece is evolving and refining your ongoing strategy based on what the competition is doing and what the market research tells you. It is important to address trends over individual incidences – if competitors are increasingly utilizing Yelp for their practices and the market research is indicating an increased allegiance to or trust in Yelp, it is likely time to invest more heavily in this marketing tactic.

By staying deeply in-tune with your patients, your competition and the marketplace, you will be able to deploy a strategic marketing plan that will produce effective and sustainable results that will allow your practice to thrive.

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.

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.