Dentists: Is Your Dental Marketing Plan Ready for Google Plus?

Google PlusGoogle+ is in limited field trial and being tested with a small number of users, but it won’t be long before the Google+ project is the next big trend in dental marketing.

You might be thinking it’s just another Facebook.

Google hopes to convince you otherwise.

Google+ intends to set itself apart from Facebook by limiting the type of sharing that happens in Google+ to small groups — like a local photography group, your immediate family or the people you work with directly — instead of how it is on Facebook where what you share is shared with friends, friends-of-friends and the Internet at large.

Google+ users can be selective with how they share information within their social circles.

Rumor has it that once Google+ has worked out their beta launch tweaks for the user-side of Google+, they’ll be introducing brand pages for businesses. Google is promising that the business pages are going to be worth the wait because they will be integrated with both AdWords and Analytics.

Here’s a video Christian Oestlien, one of Google’s product managers created to help explain what’s going on with business identities on Google+:

Some dental practices may want to rush getting on Google+ by setting up a business profile as a personal profile on the user side of Google+. Don’t be tempted to do this. Google has warned that they will be deleting businesses who set themselves up in personal profiles.

Google already terminated the Google+ accounts of Mashable, Ford and Search Engine Land who attempted to create a business presence on Google+.

It’s not a smart dental marketing plan to risk getting banned by Google.

Instead of tempting your online fate with the Gods of Google by trying to launch a business presence, instead begin to prepare for the coming launch of Google+ business pages by making sure you, your employees and your favorite patients are signed up for user profiles as Google+ expands.

You might even consider holding a contest to see who the first dental patient is who receives a Google+ profile and invites you to join their circle.

The point would be to get on to Google+ as a person and begin building your circles so that when you launch your Google+ business page you can ask those in your circle to promote you to their circles and so on, and so on.

What are you thoughts on Google+?  Are you planning to use it?

10 Top Ways Dentists Can Engage Dental Patients on Facebook

10 Top Ways Dentists Can Engage Dental Patients on FacebookMany dentists worry about the number of Facebook followers when they really should be worrying whether their followers are reading and enjoying what they are posting on Facebook.

The difference between Facebook and other dental marketing efforts is that a dental practice needs to invest a little bit of time on Facebook.

This small amount of extra time can go a long way and can even provide a rewarding experience as dental patients begin to provide feedback and communicate directly with you and your dental practice.

It really doesn’t require more than an hour a week, but you have to know exactly what works on Facebook so you aren’t wasting your valuable time and dental marketing efforts.

The Top 10 Ways Dentists Can Engage Dental Patients on Facebook

1. Ask questions.
Asking questions of your dental patients is a great way to engage them on your dental marketing Facebook Page. Ask them fun questions like what their favorite dental chair is in your office, or what they think of recent changes to Facebook (there are always changes to Facebook that you can ask them about). Facebook users love discussing Facebook.

2. Share personal stories with photos.
Share images of you and your office staff on Halloween when everyone is dressed in costume, or St. Patrick’s day when everyone is wearing green, but use these fun images as a way to engage your Facebook fans into sharing what it is about your dental practice they enjoy.

3. Hold a contest.
Create a contest strictly for your Facebook fans. Maybe host a Facebook trivia contest where your fans are asked to guess something about their favorite dentist… your favorite color, your favorite restaurant, your favorite hobby, etc., and offer a prize to the winner. Maybe, if they guess the right answer to your favorite restaurant, you can team up with that restaurant to offer the winner dinner for two as the prize.

4. Cross-promote neighborhood businesses.
Is there a local restaurant where you always enjoy lunch, or a place you like to take your children? Why not promote their Facebook Page? Do some of your patients have businesses you enjoy?  Think about talking about them and their business on your Facebook dental marketing page.

5. Post Facebook content when your dental patients are online.
Most dentists post their Facebook updates during the work day — not before 6:00am or after 6:00pm. Marketing research has discovered that content posted outside of 9:00am – 5:00pm timeframe had higher user engagement rates than posts made during the work day. Many working moms like to visit Facebook before their kids are up in the morning or after they have gone to bed.  Think about offering them something during these hours.

6. Share employee recognition.
Is there an employee whom your patients seem to love? Do you reward your employees on a regular basis? Think about sharing this recognition with your dental patient fans on Facebook.

7. Highlight your community service.
Does your dental practice sponsor a local baseball team or high school football team? Think about posting their game schedule or their losses and wins and ask your fans to attend their games in support. Ask patients to upload photos of the games they attend.

8. Use check-in deals on Facebook.
Facebook allows people to check-in to a business using the mobile Facebook app on their smart phone. To encourage your dental patients to use this app and make an appointment with your dental practice you can create a check-in deal for your page. Maybe you offer those patients who use this mobile marketing app something extra at your practice like a teeth whitening treatment they can use within the year.

9. Offer dental care tips.
Post dental care tips detailing ways in which your patients can take care of their teeth to avoid cavities, or gum disease. Think about all the ways you can help your dental patients protect their teeth, or offer signs of dental problems to watch out for — especially with their children.

10. Ask your followers for content.
Ask your Facebook fans for sugar-free recipes — or for ways they have convinced their small children to brush their teeth before bed. Ask your fans to offer up solutions to common issues with dental care. Highlight and talk about the best solutions from your fans.

Sit down and think about how you are utilizing Facebook for your dental practice and come up with a plan for interacting with your dental patients online.

I hope this inspires you to engage with your Facebook fans in new and compelling ways that add to your dental practice bottom line.

Dentists Disagree on Which Dental Marketing Vector Works Best

marketing vectorsIf you listen to the buzz around the dental marketing on the Internet, dentists might be inclined to believe that traditional marketing channels such as direct mail, yellow pages and radio are dead.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

While it is true that the rise and popularity of the Internet and dental search has changed the game, it has actually opened up greater ways for you to connect with more dental patients than ever before.

Dental practices should be looking at an integrated marketing approach utilizing a combination of marketing vectors, both new and traditional, for a more effective market saturation over doing one alone.

Here at the Wealthy Dentist we decided to ask dentists which marketing vector has been most successful for their dental practice.

Here are the responses –

  • Internet 28%
  • Direct mail 21%
  • Yellow Pages 17%
  • Internal Marketing 21%
  • Radio 0%
  • TV 7%
  • Signage 3%
  • Referrals 3%

Here’s what dentists had to say about marketing vectors –

“Internet, direct mail, and internal marketing have been the best marketing vectors for us. The best marketing vector is internal marketing.” (Ohio prosthodontist)

“Patient referrals are first, then even tie between yellow pages and the Internet.” (California dentist)

“98% of our new patients still come from the recommendations of existing patients.” (Illinois dentist)

“We get some insurance referrals – we have one or two PPO’s.” (California dentist)

“Our direct mailer is supposedly still building up momentum…” (General dentist)

“As far as direct mail, Valpak has been surprisingly wonderful for us. I was very hesitant on doing Valpak advertising until I started collecting the data on our return on investment. Our Valpak ad has produced phenomenal results for our office!” (Ohio prosthodontist)

“I think the Yellow Pages are soon to be nonexistent.” (Oklahoma dentist)

Dental Marketing: Geo-targeted Local Search Strategies

Dental Marketing: Geo-targeted Local Search StrategiesAccording to Google, 97% of consumers search for local businesses online. A geo-targeted local search strategy makes it easier for your dental practice’s prospective new patients to find your dental website and your practice.

But what exactly is geo-targeted local search?

Local search happens when a person is searching for something specific online and they use a location with the search term. The location could be the city, neighborhood, zip code, the state, name of a street, or any geo-targeted term to help identify the location.

If a new dental patient is searching for a cosmetic dentist in a particular area, you might see search terms such as —

  • city name- teeth whitening dentist
  • city neighborhood name- teeth whitening dentist
  • teeth whitening dentist- zip code
  • teeth whitening dentist- area code

There’s also the ‘direct navigation’ method (Jupiter Research estimates that nearly 17% of users search with this method) —

  • www.citynameteethwhitening.com

This type of specific web address search behavior is said to produce more qualified leads for the business found in this type of targeted search.

What is the best strategy for a dentist to be found in a geo-targeted search?

By having dental websites with a geo-targeted domain names. Search engines place great importance on the keywords that appear in the domain name in determining where a website appears in search results. A geo-targeted location domain name helps search identify your dental practice geographically.

For example –

  • www.citynameyourbusinessname.com
  • www.neighborhoodnameyourbusinessname.com

A geo-targeted web address in today’s Internet dental marketing environment is a must for dentists who don’t want to suffer to consequences of having prospective new patients going to the competition just because they have a better local Internet presence.

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.

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