The Most Important Dental Marketing Vector

The Most Important Dental Marketing Vector: Internal MarketingIn a recent The Wealthy Dentist survey, the respondents pointed to internal marketing as their most important dental marketing vector.

As dental practices have been forced to focus on increasing dental practice revenue, one of the key components, it seems, has been internal marketing.

Internal marketing relies on dental patient referrals. If the dental practice lacks in quality customer service, or does not build strong dentist-patient relationships, then any attempts at internal marketing will likely fall flat.

In the most recent the Wealthy Dentist survey we asked dentists what is the most important marketing vector for their dental practice.

67% of the dentist respondents answered that internal marketing is their most important dental marketing vector. 19% responded that Internet dental marketing is their most important marketing vector. 7% felt direct mail marketing was the most beneficial, while another 7% felt traditional media like newspaper, TV and radio were the most important.

Here are some of the comments we received from dentists on this survey:

“Internet and internal marketing are neck-and-neck, followed by direct-mail marketing.” (Arizona dentist)

“Internal marketing and word-of-mouth clearly bring in the BEST new patients for us. We receive the most new patients from Internet and direct-mail marketing. Printed dental phone book marketing is fast becoming one of the least important marketing vectors for us because the return on investment is getting smaller and smaller.” (Ohio prosthodontist)

“How do you define important? The internal is the the most important, but the Internet brings most of our new dental patients.” (General dentist)

“Direct mail marketing but with more of a focus on growing online marketing.” (Minnesota dentist)

“Word-of-mouth marketing, with the Internet a close second.” (North Carolina dentist)

“Internal marketing followed by our dental website.” (Pediatric dentist)

“If you treat your dental patients like you would treat your family, then the best ‘marketing’ or good word-of-mouth takes care of itself! We really only market our dental practice by being active in our community and being very good to our patients and we get about 30 new patients every month.” (Alabama dentist)

“The newspaper works well in conjunction with our website and TV advertising.” (California dentist)

Internet dental marketing, but it should be referral from other patients and that does not seem to be happening.” (Illinois dentist)

“Word-of-mouth is always number one and under that would be focused direct mail marketing, although Internet marketing is catching up but the quality of dental patient seems to be always less.” (General dentist)

“Our website.” (California orthodontist)

While there are many dental marketing vectors, they have to be utilized properly to get the desired results. Remember, quality dental marketing combined with a quality dental practice are critical to implementing a successful dental marketing program.

Together, they will grow your dental practice, which ultimately leads to more dental referrals and greater profitability in the long run.

internal dental marketing and communications campaign

Check out The Wealthy Dentist’s full internal dental marketing and communications campaign for a 4-phase program designed to add 10 additional patients per month to your practice.

Dental Marketing with Facebook

Dental Marketing with FacebookDoes your dental practice have a Facebook Page?

If so, are you leveraging your dental practice Facebook Page to attract more new dental patients?

If not, maybe now is the time to consider it as a part of your overall dental marketing plan.

With the Facebook IPO launch last Friday, Experian Hitwise, the company that measures traffic and activity by people on the Internet, released their updated U.S. data showing the impact Facebook has online with its growth over the years.

Here are 15 stats from the May 18th IPO:

  1. Facebook.com received 9% of all U.S. Internet visits in April 2012.
  2. Facebook.com received more than 1.6 billion visits a week and averaged more than 229 million U.S. visits a day for the year-to-date.
  3. 1 in every 5 page views in the U.S. occurred on Facebook.com.
  4. Facebook.com has received more than 400 billion page views this year in the U.S.
  5. The average visit time on Facebook.com is 20 minutes.
  6. The Facebook.com audience skews more female (56%) than male.
  7. Facebook.com became the #1 ranked website in the U.S. on March 9, 2010.
  8. The term ‘Facebook’ is the most searched term in the U.S. and has been for the past three years, starting the week ending July 18, 2009.
  9. Facebook-related terms account for 6% of the top searched terms in the U.S. and Facebook-related terms made up 4 of the top 10 U.S. searches (among the top 100 search terms for the 4 weeks ending May 12, 2012).
  10. Facebook.com users are highly loyal to the website; 96% of visitors to Facebook.com were returning (defined as visited within past 30 days) visitors in April 2012.
  11. 10 states account for 52% of visits to Facebook.com – California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, North Carolina based on year-to-date average.
  12. The top states where users are more likely to visit Facebook.com versus the online population are: West Virginia, Kentucky, Maine, Vermont, Arkansas, Iowa, Indiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Alabama based on year-to-date average.
  13. The New York City DMA provides the largest volume of traffic to Facebook.com and the Charleston, WV DMA is the area where users are most likely to visit compared to the online population.
  14. Facebook.com is the top social networking site in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Brazil, France, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Singapore markets.
  15. Facebook.com is the top overall site in the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore. Facebook.com ranks 2nd in the U.K., Brazil, France, and Australia.

Facebook Pages have proved to be more successful for many brands over Facebook advertising.  For this reason, just before the Facebook  IPO offering GM pulled out of their Facebook ad campaign.

Facebook Pages appear to be more successful at engaging dental patients than paying for a Facebook ad. This is most likely because Facebook Pages feel more personal to the general public than Facebook ads.Facebook Dental Marketing

The Internet Dental Alliance  has been helping dentists maximize their Facebook presence for years. IDA dental websites are more than just Facebook compatible – they’re designed to look great and attract patients within your Facebook profile.

Stop by the Facebook Marketing for Your Dental Practice Page on the IDA website today.

To view the Hitwise stats see: 15 Stats About Facebook

Menopausal Patients Linked to Increased Risk for Gum Disease

menopause and gum diseeaseCase Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine and the Cleveland Clinic say that menopausal women may need to see the dentist as many as four times a year to control dental plaque.

Leena Palomo, an assistant professor of periodontics, and Maria Clarinda Beunocamino-Francisco from the Center for Specialized Women’s Health at the clinic completed a comparison study of women on and off bone-strengthening bisphosphonate therapies for osteoporosis.

In the women they studied, they found a marked increase in dental plaque levels, which could endanger the jawbones of postmenopausal women. (Dental plaque is a biofilm that develops naturally on our teeth. If the plaque is left on teeth too long, it triggers gum disease.)

“Menopausal women at risk for osteoporosis also are at risk for periodontal disease, which affects bone that anchors teeth,” says Palomo. “To keep jawbones strong and healthy,” she added, “means getting rid of the dental plaque by seeing the dentist as many as four times a year for deep periodontal cleanings.”

Do you find that your menopausal patients have more problems with dental plaque than their younger counterparts? What do you recommend to your female patients over 50?

For more on this subject, visit Science Daily.

Dental Marketing: Have You Put Dental Work on Sale? (video)

dental sales and promotionsDental marketing sales and promotions on dental treatment can bring more patients into a dentist’s office. But if you run the wrong promotion you might be overrun by the wrong kind of patients.

25 percent off dental hygiene can be a good practice promotion. Free painkiller prescriptions with every appointment would not be a good promotion.

“Discounting only works if you are trying to attract new patients.” said an Illinois pediatric dentist.

“For higher-end practices, you have to be careful so promotions don’t come off cheesy.” wrote a Pennsylvania dentist.

The Wealthy Dentist conducted a survey that asked dentists if their practices are running any sales or promotions. This survey found that 1 out of 3 dentists is currently running sales or a promotion.

Click on play to watch the survey video –

102-Dental_Marketing_Sales_Promotions.mp4

Dentists offered several promotion suggestions –

“We offer discounts of 15-20 percent, but only for those without insurance. It has made a difference with patients getting the work done, as they feel they are getting some help with the economy.” said one Arizona dentist.

“One ad offers $100.00 off any dental service. Another ad is good for $50.00 off every $500.00 spent. ‘Free whitening for life’ works as well as in-office patient referral system,” wrote one Colorado dentist, “Another offer that’s working is $1,000.00 off on any Invisalign case with up-front payment.”

When it comes to promo offers you really just want to make a token offer. Giving patients a small discount can be a great way to show appreciation and good faith. If you offer up a huge discount, you’re only going to attract those patients who really don’t want to pay for care.

So be cautious in your dental marketing when making a promotional offer.

If you’d like to learn more go to Dentists Putting Dental Work on Sale, or sign up for our free wealthy dentist newsletter to cast your own vote in future surveys.

Dentists: Fake Negative Online Review Nets Business Owner 150K

Dentists: Fake Negative Online Review Nets Business Owner 150KOver the past three years The Wealthy Dentist has covered stories regarding negative online reviews and how dentists should handle them as part of an overall dental marketing strategy.

We’ve agreed that no one should be allowed to post an anonymous reviews against a dentist, because the costs to a dental practice can be high, and the dentist has little hope of investigating the circumstances to turn the situation around.

Not to mention the real possibility that the dentist might be dealing with an anonymous derogatory review that is actually fake.

The best a dentist could do was soften the impact of the negative review online is by responding with positive attributes about his or her dental practice. Any attempt to sue over a negative review always seemed to favor the poster of the review — not the recipient.

But it seems the courts are finally starting to take notice.

Recently, the Missouri Court of Appeals upheld a $150,000 putative damage reward to a plaintiff for defamation caused by 3 fake online reviews.

In 1999, Peter Mitchell and Michael Hosto co-founded a property damage restoration company. Their restoration business was so successful that in 2003 they created BoardUp, Inc., a lead generation service for restoration companies covering five area codes that encompassed significant portions of central and eastern Missouri and the southwestern portion of Illinois.

The partners successfully ran the companies for 4 years until a deterioration in their relationship and the commencement of litigation forced Mitchell and Hosto to dissolve their business associations by entering into a Settlement Agreement in 2007. As a result of the agreement Hosto ended up with BoardUp and Mitchell ended up with the restoration company.

But Hosto was apparently not happy with how the settlement came down.

Hosto went online and posted 3 fake negative reviews about Mitchell and his restoration work. According to court records the first two reviews were posted on March 31, 2008, on Google and Yahoo, respectively. In those fabricated reviews, Hosto used the names of prior customers of the restoration company to create detailed accounting of dealings with Mitchell that encouraged potential customers to avoid contracting with the company.

Here are 2 of the fake reviews:

1. 1st Review on Google (there were 2) –
Grade: F. Dealing with these people was the single biggest mistake I have ever made in my whole life. I[t] was a miserable experience and the job was done so poorly we decided to sell the house. They were great salesman [sic] but their workman [sic] were idiots and the owner was not willing to help in any way. I was so happy just to get them out of my life I paid them much more than I should have because their law firm threatened to lien my house if I disagree[d] with any part of their bill. All I can say is if they show up in your front yard in the middle of the night after your house catchs [sic] on fire, RUN! Do yourself a favor and call your insurance company and get a referal [sic] for legitimate business people.

2. Review on Yahoo –
They were a pain in the neck when I least needed one! Like the other guy [,] The Fire Works Restoration Company showed up in the middle of the night while the firemen where [sic] still putting out the fire. Their emergency board up guys were great. I liked them so much I decided maybe they weren’t so bad when a salesman from the Fire Works Restoration Company showed up the next day. Then they offered to do a “Free Estimate.” So [F]ire [W]orks was a lot higher than the other company. [T]hey got into a long drawn out fight about 1) the cost to remove the water and 2) the cost to dry out the house and 3) the cost to rebuild the house and 4) the cost to clean our stuff. The whole thing turned out to be such a nightmare that I figured it was just easier to deal with the insurance company contractor (the one these guys told me was gonna rip me off!!!!). [S]o when I told them I was not going with them then they sent me a bill even bigger than the first that the insurance company already said they didn’t want to pay. [T]he [F]ire [W]orks guy said it was a “supplement” and the first bill was not complete. [T]hey wanted an additional $1,700 more than the first bill (which was already too high!!!). Moral of the story–––people that seem nice usually are nice but not always.

As soon as Mitchell discovered the negative reviews, he initiated a “John Doe” lawsuit to ascertain the identity of the poster of the online reviews. Yahoo identified Mitchell’s ex-partner, Hosto as the person who posted the negative review on its website. Ultimately Hosto emailed Mitchell admitting that he had posted the negative reviews. Mitchell then brought a defamation suit against both Hosto personally and his company, BoardUp. In response, Hosto filed a counterclaim alleging defamation against Mitchell.

A jury agreed with Mitchell in his personal defamation claim against Hosto and only awarded him $1.00 in actual damages, but awarded him $150,000 in punitive damages. In addition, the jury rejected both Mitchell’s defamation claim against BoardUp and Hosto’s counterclaim against Mitchell.

At first review it might be hard to understand why the jury only awarded Mitchell $1.00 in actual damages, but this may be because it is difficult to prove that a potential customer who Mitchell has never done business with actually decided not to employ the services of his company based on a negative online review.

But the $150,000 in punitive damages does send the message that online posters are responsible for the negative reviews they leave online.

In a research study by Cone, Inc., they found that 80% of consumers have changed their mind about purchases based on negative information that they found online and 87% claimed that positive reviews reinforce their purchasing decisions.

In the future a dentist may very well be able to prove that his or her dental practice was adversely affected by a false negative review and will receive a more sizable actual damages amount.

Have you ever experienced a fake negative online review? How did you handle it?

For help in handling negative online reviews, see The Wealthy Dentist’s dental marketing article, Dental Marketing: A Guide for Avoiding Negative Online Reviews

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