AIM Dental Marketing

AIM Marketing

Hitting Home

Hitting Home

Use What You Have, and What’s Available. To Make a Bigger Impact With Your Markting

The concept of market segmentation has been a part of the marketing scene since long before the phrase was coined. Any time someone with something to sell (or say, for that matter), identified and spoke directly to “…a sub-set of a market made up of people or organizations with one or more characteristics that cause them to demand similar product and/or services based on qualities of those products such as price or function“* they employed a market segmentation strategy.

Now one might reasonably ask “Why should I bother with all this? Why don’t I just market to everyone in the area, and let them decide whether or not to join my practice?”

The main reason a business engages in market segmentation is that, when correctly conceived and implemented, it increases ones return on investment in marketing by either reducing marketing costs, increasing response, improving the suitability or ‘fit’ of patients with the practice, or all three.

In reality, marketing to everyone “in the area” is a form of market segmentation: it’s simply segmentation along geographic lines. In fact, because convenience continues to be an important factor in one’s decision to join a dental practice, it is actually more than merely geographically driven market segmentation. And, if the target audience is defined based on research such as traffic patterns and other available data, it also qualifies as segmentation based on demand characteristics. “People who live or work beyond 3 miles of our practice, or 9 miles, when our practice is located between their place of work and residence” is an example of a well thought out and soundly arrived at segmented target.

But you can do even better.

Now that we know the Why and Who, let’s discuss How & What
Knowing who are your ideal target(s) is the first necessary step toward an effective market segmentation strategy. Your next step is to confirm the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of identifying a given target audience. For instance:
You may wish to target people who are prone to, or are already experiencing obstructive sleep apnea. While such lists are available, they come with rather hefty minimum rental requirements, so the cost per lead may be prohibitive. You may, instead choose to acquire a list of people in your community who are male, over forty years of age, and overweight (yes, this list is available).

Effective identification of your target audience often requires “putting yourself in the shoes” of your target audience member. An increasing number of dentists want to promote restoration or placement of implants. Many are investing considerable sums optimizing their website for terms associated with implant dentistry (sometimes they also optimize simply for ‘implants’ understanding fully this might attract people desiring implants of a different sort: they do this because these people may be interested in ‘augmentation’ above the neck as well. But I digress).

One way we’ve found to increase your production for dental implants is by optimizing your website, and in other ways promoting denture services. Why? Because, as you already know, implants and implant supported dentures are often a superior alternative to dentures themselves, but your audience may not yet know this. Once they’re in your practice or, if your team is well versed in handling first-time telephone callers, even before the appointment, the prospective patient can be educated about this option. But that will never happen unless you choose to speak in a language your target audience understands and finds compelling.

This leads us to how to reach your chosen market segments.

Web landing pages can be created that speak to your chosen market segment e.g. www.DrGreenman.com/SleepBetter, and your paid search or search engine optimization campaigns can be structured so the page web visitors are sent to by search engines is determined by the search term or phrase they use. This ensures your website ‘speaks’ to their concerns and desires immediately, which is more effective than their landing on your home page and trying to find what they are looking for.

Your practice management software and the existence of variable, sometimes termed, on- demand, print technology means you are able to cost-effectively tailor the message and offer of your print communications for each desired target audience. For instance, you can, in a single print run, create a distinct message and offer to: current patients, inactive patients, new residents, home owners, women aged 40+ and even more. How many people are in each group no longer matters because the print job is performed in a single run.

The Winning Equation
The days of ‘shot gun marketing’ are over. Technology now permits a laser beam approach to reaching your desired audiences with low cost precision. So take the time to identify your ideal target audiences, determine the most cost effective way to reach those audiences with a message and offer that ‘speaks’ to them, and consistently monitor the results. The payoff is a higher return on your marketing investment and, because your patients clearly understand what you are offering ahead of time, greater case acceptance. Sound good?
*Wikipedia

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Dentistry’s “Clean” Little Secrets

Dentistry’s “Clean” Little Secrets

Doing Well By Doing Good could be your best way to grow your practice now.

Americans give at an astounding rate. In 2007, U.S. citizens privately gave $295 billion to charity. That’s more than the entire gross domestic product of all but about twenty-five nations in the world.* And that does not account for the ‘in kind’ giving, that is, donations of clothing, services, and other non-monetary assistance.

My experience suggests that those in the dental profession are well above average when it comes to being generous.

Secret #1
Anyone who has volunteered on an overseas dental project, worked in a soup kitchen, raised money for a worthwhile cause, or performed some similar selfless act already knows that, when we give of ourselves, we invariably get much more than we give.

And that leads us to the second secret.

Secret #2
Studies have shown that, given a choice between similar service providers, consumers will choose the one demonstrating social responsibility. A survey by The Golin Harris Group finds Americans are sending a clear message to Corporate America: Do more, be authentic, and the business rewards will follow.**

Since 1998 the Climb For A Cause© / Smile Tree© Foundation has helped dental practices across North America realize the simple, but powerful truth that, when a practice commits itself to making a positive difference, practice growth is an unavoidable consequence of that commitment.

Don’t take our word for it.

Here’s what this esteemed publication’s Managing Editor wrote about CFAC in 2009: … In essence, CFAC helps dental practices follow Ben Franklin’s sage advice to “do well by doing good.” Each year, CFAC organizes an event that involves dental practitioners and other industry members trekking through a spectacular mountainous area and raising money to provide needed dental care in the process. …There are many ways to participate. To learn more, visit www.climbforacause.org, or stay tuned to future issues of Dental Economics®.
D.E. 5/26/09

And consider this excerpt from a Time Magazine poll (see 9/10/09 Issue):
we…look[ed] at how people are serving these days. The most striking results centered not on volunteering but on the cash register…[even] as people acknowledged that times were tough, 38% of Americans 18 and older, some 86 million people, reported…buying green products and goods from companies they thought had responsible values.

In other words, doing ‘good’ can also mean doing well.

Making It Happen
So, just how does one conceive and implement an effective cause-marketing++ strategy?

Let’s use the example of The Smile Tree+.

The Smile Tree offers practices the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of children in developing nations, while making a positive impact with their patients of record and their community too. It also offers fun and rewarding ways to show you care without ever having to leave your hometown. Practices simply agree to ‘adopt’ one or more dental projects and, by so doing, becoming a ‘Branch Office’ of the Smile Tree.

Currently, funds raised help maintain dental education and treatment projects in Guatemala, Nepal, and India.
Branch Offices receive an array of tools for sharing their good works with current patients, and the community at large. Some of these include: In-Office Display Materials such as posters, lapel buttons, floss cards, and more to communicate with patients the practice’s status as a Smile Tree Branch Office. Participating practices also receive press releases to local media notifying them, and the community they serve, of their status as a Branch Office, as well as a fund raising page linked from the practice’s website home page, which drives traffic to the practice site. Practices also receive periodic communications (letters, photos and drawings) from those whose lives have been touched through the practice’s involvement and generosity.

There are a number of fun and simple ways to ‘grow the Smile Tree’, that is, to fund raise. Examples include: offering patients the option of helping grow the Smile Tree by “adding a dollar to today’s treatment” and offering to match it, including a note on monthly billing statements thanking patients for growing the Smile Tree and inviting them to learn more by visiting the practice website, from which a link to the fundraising page resides. As people donate, their name is automatically added to the roster of giving patients.

But by far the best way to both generate funds and grow the practice is by having a party. Because I also run a dental marketing firm, I offer, as a token of our appreciation to the Branch Office, complimentary assistance with organizing, promoting, and staging a successful local event.

Don’t Just Do It, Do It Right

Whatever cause you choose to support, remember that the more people you involve in your efforts, the more good you do for your selected charity. Just don’t be surprised if, in the process, you also end up with a bigger, more successful practice.

*Marriott Alumni Magazine, Brigham Young University.
**GolinHarris 2006 Corporate Citizenship Index
+Smile Tree and Climb For A Cause are 501c(3) non-profit corporations.
++ I define Cause-Related Marketing as: The process by which an individual or organization seeks to
achieve one or more business objectives as a consequence of its commitment to some form of
philanthropy.

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Become a Dental Marketing Expert

Become a Dental Marketing Expert

Receive a FREE Subscription to Dentistry Marketing: Strategies, Tips & Secrets!

Complete the form below and each month, you receive insights for growing your practice gleaned from our 75+ combined years of experience in the ever-changing field of dental practice marketing.

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AIM President Kicks Off Inaugural U.S. “DSO Speed Dating” Event

AIM President Kicks Off Inaugural U.S. “DSO Speed Dating” Event

On September 26th, AIM Dental Marketing® President Daniel A. ‘Danny’ Bobrow, BS, MBA (finance), MBA (marketing) served as Keynote Speaker and Panel Discussion Moderator at Dental Forum USA’s Inaugural Event.
The Event provided dental industry participants with a unique forum to identify and address the ever increasing challenges facing health care in general, and dentistry in particular.

Four factors influencing dentistry’s future (Policies, Personnel, Payment, and Providers) were given top billing at this universally acclaimed Event.

“It was a true honor to have been asked to contribute to Open Forum’s first stateside event.” said Bobrow shortly following the Event’s conclusion.

The invitation-only Meeting delivered numerous opportunities for one-on-one interaction between top DSO management and dental industry service providers. Dental groups and suppliers connected and shared challenges, as well as networking opportunities, to build lasting partner relationships.

Bobrow’s Keynote Speech entitled This Expedition Called Life, was immediately followed by a Panel Discussion, moderated by Bobrow.

The Hilton Lake Las Vegas Resort and Spa served as the venue for the Event.

Learn More Here

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Web Design Enhancements, Trends, & Features For 2020

Web Design Enhancements, Trends, & Features For 2020

If your website has not been updated for more than 24 months, it’s time to do so.

Google’s algorithm is constantly updating, most recently it has made it clear that it will weigh more heavily the User Experience (UX) in its decision of which websites will rank highly in its Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). UX is quite important to your online dental marketing strategy.

The following are examples and illustrations of important criteria to consider.

Bold Typography

Oversized lettering is gaining in popularity as websites strive to enhance the User Experience (UX).

Large typography draws attention to your brand name or practice objective, and aids in message retention

 

Bold Colors / Gradients

As more brands seek to stand out among a sea of online competitors, more websites are adopting bold and bright colors and gradients to grab attention.

Web Design Trends For 2020

Background Images / Parallax Effects

The parallax scrolling technique entails moving the background at different speeds during web page scrolling: the result is a “pseudo-3D effect.”

 

Background Video

Moving visuals of various forms and formats have always been popular in web design. The latest trend is to use background video. Animation instead of static background brings your platform to life and encourages visitors to stay longer – this is a key criterion of Google’s ranking algorithm.

Even More Video Content

Enhanced video content is a market (web visitor) segmentation tool that caters in particular to the on-the-go audience (Millennials) that is accessing your website via handheld device; less inclined to scan a lot of text.

Google has made the move toward mixed search page results, featuring video content above standard web pages. Successful websites, ones that rank highly and encourage potential clients to click through, prioritize video production to make themselves easily searchable, offering content in the most efficient, shareable way.

 

Micro-interactions – Animations & Integrated Gifs

Micro-interactions are events with one purpose: to surprise the user with, for example, hovering and scrolling animations, and more. This is a way to engage your website audience by subtly transmitting information, and making pages feel a little “smarter.”

 

Minimalism, Big Images, More Animated Content

The fewer elements and content on a website, the less confused and distracted is your audience. Designed in this way, it will show the user exactly what he/she is looking for.

Animation and fade-in effects that make scrolling more engaging give web pages freedom to space out their content and thus result in more whitespace, contrast and clear typography.

 

dSplit Content

With the help of the split content web design technique, you showcase more than one important message at a time on a single page. It also makes your website look more appealing and well-organized.

 

More Effective and User-Friendly Navigation

Through the use of full-screen mode, images, maps, and nested links, your website is even more easily navigated by mobile device users.

 

Thank you for your interest in AIM Dental Marketing®’s Website Design Enhancement Service.  If you would like to know more, give us a call today.

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5 Online Dental Marketing Techniques to AMP Up Your Dental Practice

5 Online Dental Marketing Techniques to AMP Up Your Dental Practice

As a practicing dentist, office manager, or marketing director, you know how challenging it can be to manage a successful dental practice. While most people appreciate the importance of good oral health (notwithstanding reliable studies putting the percentage of those who do not at 40%), getting your website ranked high is a necessary precondition to delivering quality dental care to patients at a fee that permits the practice to prosper.

Competition in many demographics is fierce, making the key dental practice marketing challenge how to consistently and cost-effectively promote your practice in a way that substantively differentiates it from your competition.

Here are five ways to level the online dental marketing playing field.

1. Complete and Fully Responsive Web Design

A survey of 1,100 shoppers found that 98 percent are dissuaded from using a product or service if the website was not up to their standards. These standards include a site that provides insufficient detail, features incorrect information, or lacks the function today’s web surfer deems essential.

With the ever increasing percentage of web searches originating from a handheld device, it is equally important to ensure your website is fully mobile responsive, meaning it renders itself for both optimal viewing and function regardless of the device being used to view it. Being fully responsive also helps satisfy one of Google’s search ranking algorithms; increasing the likelihood people in your community searching for services you offer will find your dental practice.

 

2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Google, as the self-appointed Judge (and jury) of the Online Ranking Beauty Pageant, is constantly modifying its algorithms to yield results for its users that best match the searcher’s intent. Accordingly, the successful dental websites rank higher than their competitors for words and phrases being used by prospective patients searching for a dentist in their area.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a critical digital marketing tactic in ensuring a practice ranks highly in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Spending time with an SEO expert to work on on-page, off-page, and technical SEO techniques can catapult your website up Google’s rankings.

 

3. Pay Per Click (PPC)

While SEO is an outstanding way to organically enhance your website’s rankings, it takes time and that’s why it’s referred to as “organic”. Practices that want to see more immediate results in the form of prominent placement on SERPs should also consider Pay Per Click (PPC). For a new dental practice, getting your name out there early on to generate business can be paramount to its success.

PPC can help generate targeted web traffic based on the keywords for which you want to rank highly and are also proven to drive conversions.

For instance, if someone is searching for “cosmetic dentist” in your service area, and that term is part of your professionally managed PPC campaign, your ad will be featured prominently on Google’s SERP, bringing you that much closer to connecting with that prospective client.

 

4. Online Review Management

While it may not be intuitive, studies continue to show that people place their trust in online third party reviews at least as much as they do a recommendation from a friend, family member, or even a recognized authority. That’s why an automated review management system that consistently and effectively helps generate Google reviews, as well as reviews on other trusted online sources, is another key online dental marketing success criterion. Proper management of your online review system also entails coaching your team on the proper manner, method and timing for requesting reviews. For example, it helps to ask open-ended questions. Someone should regularly monitor review activity to respond promptly to all reviews, including the negative ones, and share every positive review you receive. All this feedback helps boost your online presence, especially on Google’s Map Pack.

As noted above, it is important to have a plan for responding to less than flattering reviews. It’s best to always respond to negative reviews. Bear in mind that your most important audience is not the person who posted the review; it’s the public, as in current and prospective patients, who may see it. Keep the response short, never argue, and offer to do whatever is reasonable to address the reviewer’s concerns, whether they are legitimate or not. It can also be said that, in countering negative reviews, the best defense is a good offense. By committing to a regular inflow of positive reviews, the negative ones get ‘pushed down’, meaning they lose their prominence and visibility. Your average score will rise as the ratio of good to bad reviews continues to increase.

 

5.  Social Media

While social media may originally have been used mostly by families and friends who wanted to reconnect and otherwise keep in touch, those days are over. Social media is now big business, and is only increasing. Savvy digital marketers have learned to harness the commercial potential to not only build one’s brand recognition, but also to actually drive qualified traffic to your website. Millions of businesses of all sizes use platforms such as Facebook to connect with their customers and clients. A great social media management campaign can greatly aid your practice.

Is your dental clinic utilizing social media properly?

Getting started with a winning social media ad campaign is not complicated, but does require working with someone who understands how to design and test effective ad copy, imagery, and offers, then target the appropriate audience, then monitor, evaluate, and modify the campaign to achieve optimal results.

Facebook is not the only platform to consider. Instagram can be successful as can Pinterest and LinkedIn, the latter if your target is professionals in your area. Start a page for your practice, present your services and procedures, and provide avenues for people to leave reviews, get in touch, and connect with your page.

 

What Next? AIM Dental Marketing® Can Help Your Dental Practice Grow

If you are interested in generating more business for your dental practice by attracting new patients, as well as encouraging more visits from existing patients, it is time to investigate some of the online marketing practices outlined above. AIM Dental Marketing® specializes in helping dental practices across the country utilize digital marketing to grow and expand. If you have any further questions get in touch with us today. We’d be happy to provide you with a free consultation.

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Your Integrated Dentistry Marketing Plan

By Daniel A. Bobrow, MBA (University of Chicago) & MBA (K.U.L. Belgium)

Congratulations!  When you have read this Installment, you will have successfully completed Strategies, Tips & Secrets.

If you’ve read and applied the information shared in previous installments, you may reasonably now consider yourself a dental marketing expert!  Does this mean you know all there is to know about dental marketing?  In a word, no, but you should know enough to stack the odds in your favor as far as conceiving, implementing, and evaluating a dental marketing plan.

Depending upon when you subscribed to STS you may or may not have received our Dentistry Marketing Plan, Budget, and ROI Calculator.  Whether you have or not, this final Installment is devoted to demonstrating how to put it to work to keep your dental marketing plan ‘on track.’

So, let’s review how to make this powerful tool work for your and your practice marketing.

First, download your Dentistry Marketing Plan. Next save your Plan with a name and at a location you can easily retrieve.  Then open it again and prepare to save it by another name e.g. TODAY’S DATE DRAFT.  That way, you can get comfortable using it without risking ‘messing up’ your actual Plan.

You will notice in the upper left hand corner of your Plan a place to enter your Annual(ized) Production, and under it, the percent of your Production you wish to allocate to marketing (this depends upon, among other considerations, your desired rate of practice growth). Once you’ve entered these, the program will automatically calculate your Derived Annual Marketing Budget.

The next step is to choose those tactics you wish to employ, and when to begin. Enter into Cell C10 the date (month) in which you intend to implement your Plan (in whole or in part).  Column B, beginning with Row 12 is where to enter the descriptor for each tactic comprising your Plan.  We’ve included a number of services, which typically comprise a dentistry marketing plan, as well as additional rows where you can add services and products not listed (you can also overwrite and replace the pre-populated services).

To help track both your cash flow and total investment, enter the monthly required investment for each tactic in the appropriate cell(s).  Your Plan will automatically calculate your total Investment, and compare it against your Budget.

Beginning in Column P is the Return on Investment Calculator portion of your Plan.  The first thing you’ll notice is that some tactics have ‘N.A.’ on their cells. This is because, try as we might, and hope as we may, some tactics do not lend themselves to ‘receiving credit where credit is due’ that is, having new patients attributed to them.  How, for example, does one quantify the number of new patients attributable to enhancing one’s professional identity, implementing an dental on-hold message program, or even coaching the team on effective call handling technique?  The answer is, you can’t (at least not consistently – someone may say that, were it not for how sweet Bill was on the phone, she would not have joined the practice, but this is the exception, not the rule).

In most cases, it’s simple to attribute new patients to a particular tactic thanks to tracking technology e.g. unique URLs and telephone numbers.

Row 17 on your Plan shows High Reach dental direct mail.  Over time, you will be able to know total production and how many patients were produced by that tactic.  Simply enter this information in cells P17 and Q17, respectively.  Your Plan will automatically calculate your per patient cost and return on investment as of that point in time (because you’re a graduate of STS, you know that the longer you wait to calculate this, the higher it will be).

We hope you’ve both enjoyed and benefited from Strategies Tips and Secrets.

If we might be of any assistance in growing your practice more effectively, do not hesitate to let us know.

In any case, we wish you only the best, and acknowledge you for your commitment to Improvement that is Continuous And Never ending, in other words:

I-CAN!

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Cause-Related Partnerships Are True Win-Win Partnerships

Cause-Related Partnerships Are True Win-Win Partnerships

Something magical happens when your practice commits to supporting a worthwhile cause. By working together toward something bigger than yourself, individuals become a cohesive team working toward a common purpose.

The secret to success is ensuring everyone involved feels they are ‘getting something’ in exchange for their support. For many, all they seek is the knowledge and satisfaction that come in, knowing you’ve made a positive difference.

Specific participants benefit as follows:
Attendees at your Event have a good time, meet new people, learn about the cause you’ve chosen to support, and appreciate that your practice not only good at what it does: it also has a heart.

Merchants, by agreeing to donate or offer at deeply discounted rates, food, entertainment, facilities, decorations, prizes, etc., gain exposure to a new group of prospective customers.

The media get a ‘feel good’ story to share with their readers, listeners, or viewers.

You and your dental practice benefit, not only because of the ‘good feeling’ and heightened appreciation participants have for you and your team: you also have the chance to spend non-clinical ‘quality time’ with current and prospective patients.
That’s really when the magic happens.

Your chosen charity receives far more in donations than if you simply wrote them a check out of your own pocket – there is strength in numbers!
All of this adds up to that elusive but desirable phenomenon known as leverage.

That’s why CREM does not simply make sense: it also makes dollars: the more successful you are, the more generous you can be. That makes your charity happy too!

“Each year I have participated [in Climb For A Cause] (five and counting), I’ve had a terrific time and great sense of gratification. Following the Mt. Hood trip, my local newspaper ran a five-page article on the Event I plan to participate as much as possible, as I can think of no better way to ‘give back.”

Grant Ritchey, DDS, Tonganoxie, KS

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