More and more dentist have become very familiar with the term “SEO”; but exactly how familiar are they with the work behind SEO?
The Search Engine Optimization (SEO) industry is forever changing. This means that whatever you think you know about SEO, as a dentist, probably changed a while ago. Actually, believe it or not, I’m still talking to dentist who think having an optimized website isn’t that much of a big deal!!
That’s pretty much saying, wherever your physical dental practice location is at, pretty much isn’t a big deal. I bet the guy who has his practice on the 144th floor of a building in Antarctica gets as much traffic as the dentist who has his dental practice in the most crowded shopping mall (little exaggerated example but still)…. NO!
Making sure your website is optimized is super important! Not only that but also make sure you have appealing content to go a long with your website, but that’s another topic for another post.
SEO work also has much more to do than just trying to rank for the keywords YOU (the dentist) think that most people type into search engines to find a dental practice. You first need to do research to see what your local community is looking for and then start doing a keyword analysis. But guess what? This isn’t even 15% of the whole SEO work!
As a dentist, understand that this is a whole new and different complex job! The days where bidding for back-links and keyword stuffing is long gone my friend!
You need to build links, create content, keep doing keyword analysis, review your website analytics, and continually keep up with the forever changing algorithm of the search engines!
I know by now your thinking “Dude… your speaking GREEK to me! Just tell me if I really need SEO on my website!”
A QUICK 30 SECOND TEST
Do me a favor; Google or type into any search engine “dentist (and then your city’s name)”. What do you see on the first page? Probably a bunch of ads but then look at the names that aren’t ads;
Do you see your name?
Do you see your practice’s name?
You’re already losing out on so many new patients.
Now click on page 2.
Do you see your name?
Your practice’s name?
Guess what? Half of your city, if not more probably don’t even know you exist.
Put it this way, when you look for a veterinarian or doctor in your city, are you looking on page 3 of Google?
According to Matt Sharp at http://www.protofuse.com/blog/first-page-of-google-by-the-numbers/
- 90% of clicks happen on the first page of organic results (“organic results” mean the results that show that are NOT ads)
- 10% of search engine users only advance to the second page!
No doubt, having your practice’s website up in the search engine rankings will bring in more patients; patients that are actually looking for you!
What is the best thing to do if my dental office’s name didn’t show up?
If you are one of the dentists who looked up your name or your dental practice’s name and couldn’t find the results you wanted, don’t worry! This post was not meant to stress you out! This doesn’t mean I want you to spend an all-nighter trying to optimize your website (because that means you’ll have to spend all-nighters ALL the time).
I recommend going with an agency who knows what they’re doing and can prove it! Do you research and find the best SEO out there for you. This may take some time but, ask yourself:
“Would I rather sacrifice a couple of hours researching the best SEO agency for my practice OR try doing it myself, spend countless hours EVERY SINGLE DAY trying to optimize my website, and losing out every day on new patients looking for a dentist near them”?
I think we both know which one you’d pick!
Hopefully, through this post I can motivate you to see just how important SEO is for your website and how essential it is for growing your practice with new patients.
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Have you ever wondered why when you buy a new pair of shoes, buy a new car, or buy a certain brand of clothes… then you see EVERYONE driving that new car, wearing those new shoes, or wearing that certain brand! That’s because before you bought it, it really wasn’t too aware in your mind. Once you bought it, awareness happened, it’s in your life, either on a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly basis, you are now aware of it and that awareness can either create a sense of urgency or kill of the matter in total. You can either say: “oh man everyone has this car now, they’re seeing how awesome it really is” (although let’s face it, these people probably had the car before you) or say “ugh, why did I get this car everyone has it, it’s so played out”.
We want the same thing to happen with our dental practice. We want potential patients and existing patients who haven’t visited in a while to be aware of us. This is done through many avenues. But for the sake of the length of this post we will discuss one which is effective email marketing.
If you have recalls this means these patients were/ are your patients; which also means you should have all their info including their email! You need to create a system and strategy to constantly (weekly, daily, every 3 days) send out emails to patients.
DON’T SPAM THEM!
Send creative, funny, interesting emails. You do not want to constantly send emails about sales or discounts either; this not only de-values your practice and product but also gives the patient a reason to not open your email or to start thinking “ehh I’ll wait for that Christmas special to get my work done”.
Remember we want action NOW!
So be consistent with your emails, understand the personality of the office and be transparent and translate that in your newsletter.
Use effective subject lines.
Think about it, more people are looking at their emails through their mobile cell phone. So the subject line has to be even shorter than on a desktop and much more attracting.
Remember people love seeing their name. Although this technique has been a little saturated still don’t be afraid to add their first name in the subject line.
Use a call to action subject line. A good example is something like : ”Bob, here’s your dental procedure” or “Billy, your bleach trays are at our office”. Even if Bob or Billy haven’t been to the office in years, these subject lines give them a sense of awareness to see and say “huh? what’s going on”.
Once they open the email then you can have some visuals (pictures) and state the procedure you found best to fit them or how you can introduce the new whitening procedure you found that fits them best.
Always start the email with a nice question like “how was your weekend/ presidents day/ your taco Tuesday”? Use whatever question you’d like! Also always finish with a question such as: “whats your thoughts?” or “actually (office manager’s name) would like to show you your revised treatment plan that fits into your budget WAY better, so give us a call at this time 00:00 if we don’t hear from you ,not to worry, we will call you around 00:00”.
However always remember to build a relationship with these patients through email. Just like conversation with friends, share with them the latest dental news, dental memes and cartoons, or your social media.
Try using these techniques when doing email outreaches or email re-calls.
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As a dentist, there comes a time when you will always bump into the patient who doesn’t care. You probably bump into this patient every single day. Or maybe your whole patient base is the type of patient that just seems like they don’t care about the options you give them, the treatment and procedure, or their teeth!
This can be insanely frustrating, even discouraging at some points because you feel like this patient needs veneers, and this other patient needs implants, and this other patient needs invisalign to correct major periodontal issues and so on and so on but each patient either does not care or does not see the urgency or treatment the way you do.
This is because patients see that there is no need. They feel like they have lived their whole life perfectly without this procedure (unless pain is involved) and everything will be ok. The patient we are diagnosing may even think we are making up stuff and we are just after their money! There are endless possibilities of why the patient you are diagnosing does not want to continue with treatment.
So, what do we do? Do we just give up? Treat them as “pending treatment”? Give the patient with the HUGE filling that fell out the option to re-fill it instead of putting a crown on it?
No… if we see that the patient feels that there is no need; we convince them that there is one.
A BRILLIANT MASTER PLAN
Let me tell you an experience that the book The Marketing Blueprint by Jules Marcoux shares.
“In the 1900s the velvet industry was struggling. Experts, designers, and fashionistas were all claiming that the velvet industry was dead! Nobody cared for it and nobody wanted velvet. This went on for sometime… until they hired a “persuasion expert”! Once they hired this expert they decided to target two regions; Paris and the United States.
The persuasion expert went to go see and build rapport with top fashion designers to promote velvet. The persuasion expert built and negotiated many deals and partnership agreements for the fashion designers. Once the persuasion expert did all this, he then went to go see the most popular top models and influence them to wear velvet; especially by the top designers he recently visited who had partnership agreements and deals.
Can you guess what happened next?
VELVET WAS BACK BABY! Back and more popular than ever! Magazines and fashion journals were putting out “Velvet is back!” and this caused even more velvet sales to skyrocket.
Now, the point of this story is to tell you the amazing thing that happened. They created a need, when there absolutely was none! This is what, you as a dentist and business owner, needs to focus on.
HOW YOU CAN CREATE THIS NEED FOR YOUR PATIENTS
You and your team need to persuade the patient about the treatment that they will take and figure out how you will present it to them. There is always a strategy to persuade and convince, so make one for every patient BEFORE you present treatment.
Each patient who needs an implant, ortho, invisalign, or veneers, should be thinking about how they can fill their need….. how they can fix their situation…. And then this is where you present to them their treatment plan; then the patient finally has their needs met and are 90% more inclined to accepting treatment.
Don’t just present treatment as you go with your exam, be smart and have someone in your office specifically hired to create a need for the patient. Have this person be the “persuasion expert” and create a strategy so that the patient can be persuaded to accept the treatment you first mention.
Every morning when you have your morning meeting before the patients come in; make sure your persuasion expert or marketer or whoever you have doing this understands each of the patient’s situations and what they need. Make sure each patient fills out a “Smile Evaluation” form (or something similar) asking them more intimate questions like “What would you change about your smile?” Once your employee has this information, it’s time to get to work and build a strategy, this strategy needs to be built to the point that the patient feels that this need has to be met immediately and in the best way possible.
If you don’t have an employee that can do that then hire someone or do it yourself but this is important! I know you’re tired of diagnosing great treatment and it never being accepted. I know you’re tired of doing filling after filling after fillings only. So do this!
Have your staff create a need for each individual person and fill the patients need.
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However, out of all this mess there is some beauty to it. This is your starting point in creating an effective and beautiful marketing campaign to attract new patients into your dental practice. Don’t be a dirty dentist briber, be a dentist who markets correctly for people to come in! So what I started doing is telling them:
ME: “you know what, if you come in and get started on your dental work immediately I’ll give you some cash, could be more than $100.00”.
EMPLOYEE: “You would really give me cash? Ok let me see… put my name and number down.”
So these employees (most, not all) started coming in, and we started to notice that… THEY NEED A LOT OF DENTAL WORK!
So if they came back to start then we would give them a discount instead of cash. AND THEY AGREED AND ACCEPTED!!
The point is to get them into your door! Get them in!
You see once they saw the severity of their dental issues, we were able to create a sense of urgency and awareness in them, they started to think less of the financial bribe and more about their dental health.
But notice the script I used first:
I used a financial bribe as bait to reel in the new patient (2nd factor I mentioned in previous article), I said:
ME: “if you come in immediately”
I also mentioned we could pay MORE than what they were getting (3rd factor I mentioned in previous article) and seeing the employee signing up lets me know that the they weren’t loyal to their dentist (1st factor I mentioned in previous article)…. Which means they are unconsciously still looking for a new dentist *evil laugh*
So the moral of this story/ rant is that more and more dentist are becoming desperate for new patients (which I don’t know why there are WAY more than enough people in this world who can be your patient) and also that these people are left with impressions that you owe them something, or you need to give them an incentive to come in.
Does the doctor pay you to go to their office? Does Rolls Royce or Ferrari pay their potential customers to come in and bombard them with “sales”….NOPE!
So don’t do that. Instead find ways to create opportunities to bring in the patient you want. If you can’t find ways or your having a hard time coming up with a script, marketing strategies, or advertising ideas… then just come here or listen to the dental marketer podcast and you’ll not only come up with something but execute it effectively!
So if you’re thinking to market at any major retail company, take into consideration this post!
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So, as you know, being ground marketers we tend to get into a lot of companies and market inside of these companies and businesses. Whether it’s setting up a booth and advertising a dentistry in the companies break room, warehouse, or even advertise outside of company’s building!
Anyways, we tend to get invited to Costco quite a bit which we love and appreciate! However, over the months I come to notice some things. I am only going to state one in this blog post but there are several I will share with you throughout the time you are following me, so I guess you can call this part ONE!
When we market for dentist in Costco we mainly go into Costco’s break room and set up our booth and get ready for the employees to ask us any questions and concerns and sign people up to visit the dentist we are marketing/ advertising for.
Sounds simple right?
These employees already have their dentist and most of them like their dentist but for all the wrong reasons!
What I learned is that some dentists give their patients extra benefits, and I don’t mean a “free whitening” or a 30% discount off of treatment.
Some of these dentists become desperate and start waiving co-pays to attract new patients, or work around insurance companies to maintain the patient happy. I even heard of dentist PAYING the new patient $100.00 to come in for their first visit! (and that’s not even guaranteed that they’ll stay!)
Do you want to know how I know this?
While I was marketing at Costco, employees were coming up to me, but not for any dental questions and concerns (well some were but most weren’t). These employees came up and asked me “If I become your new patient, what are you going to give me….as far as cash?”
This has spread!
I hear this a lot now and not just from Costco employees anymore but from larger corporations! There are dentist out there actually paying people hundreds to come into their practice and be a new patient!
When these employees ask me what am I going to give them to be one of our new patients I just say something along the lines of honesty, loyalty, great care, affordable prices, financing, every ethical thing you can think of…. But they don’t care about that. Heck, they don’t want to hear that!
They want to know what you can give them NOW. In that moment, something that will benefit, not their dental health, but benefits them financially.
This made me realize 3 very important factors when thinking of dental marketing strategies.
- More and more people are becoming less loyal patients
- People only want financial benefits
- People want that benefit as soon as possible.
Every single person (and I mean every single person WITHOUT FAIL) that asked me “what would I give them in order to come to our dentistry” was willing to leave their dentist on the spot for a better financial deal.
I asked the employees if their dentist is any good and why they want to leave their current dentist and they reply with: “he/ she is a fantastic dentist but they only pay me whenever I come into my major appointments; if you pay me every time I make an appointment then I would switch to you!”
Now not everyone replies this way but majority will leave their family dentist for a better financial bribe, even though their dentist is great! They would rather get $100.00 now, just to show up to their first visit at a new dentistry, than get 30% off their needed dental treatment with their local family dentist who they have been visiting for years.
Sounds ridiculous right!? It is.
So what I am saying here is find a way to beat these dentists who are causing these employees/people to be less loyal patients. These dentists are causing a chain reaction to where people won’t go into the dentist (even if they have to) unless they see some sort of financial bribe.
The good side to this.
The good side to this is that these types of dentist don’t last long, or if they do last long their work eventually diminishes or their bribes go away which leaves VERY angry patients! So guess what? These patients start to look for another dentist with a financial bribe.
BE THAT FINANCIAL BRIBE (in a good way). Don’t be desperate and offer them cash to come in at every appointment or anything like that. These people are going to you for a reason, because the world still needs a dentist. Remember that, you have the upper hand, they need you! Just use the right bait (financial bribe) to reel them in. So do your research and see what bait is appropriate and obviously ethical to attract these new patients but just make sure it is; a financial benefit, a benefit that happens ASAP, and a benefit that you can see will build trust and a loyal patient.
Don’t worry though guys….
I ALREADY did the research for you!
I already know, tried, and currently use the RIGHT bait to attract these employees to become your new patients. I know what to do and it’s all done with a simple script!
But I will share this with you in PART 2 *cue the exiting music* ..so be looking out for the marketing strategy I created next week in the What I Learned Marketing At Costco PART 2
To be continued……