Digital Marketing Social Media

Keys to Effective Social Media for Dentists

Another good article from my friends at TNT Dental.

The heart of social media is what dentists did years ago, long before dental marketing and social media. … years ago, dentists relied on networking and community outreach/involvement to gain patients.

Source: Keys to Effective Social Media for Dentists: The Fundamentals | Blog | Best Online Marketing Companies for Dentists | Custom Dental Websites | (877) 868-4932

A very important aspect of using social media is measuring success. Most of the time dentists do not do this. Tim Healy of TNT Dental makes the very good point that true success is new patients and added income not just activity. If 137 people “like” your post but no new patients or additional income results the post was not really a success.

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Hinman Dental Society March 19-21

I will be presenting sessions on Google Juice, Digital Workflow and Data Security.

The Thomas P. Hinman Dental Meeting is an annual tradition, providing dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants, laboratory technicians and dental office staff with the latest and most comprehensive continuing education in dentistry today. Our meeting is known for its Southern Hospitality, extraordinary educational programs, impressive roster of speakers, unsurpassed social events and all-inclusive technical exhibition.

Source: The Hinman Dental Society

Dental Speaker

The BIGGEST Barrier to going High Tech

Implementing new technology involves more than buying and installing a product – it also requires change. People resist change for a variety of reasons and overcoming that resistance, from both doctors and staff, is often more of a challenge than actually using the technology.

Source: Dental Technology Courses | Internet Presence | Paperless Records | Digital Radiography | Lawrence F. Emmott, DDS | Emmott On Technology

Digital Marketing

How do Patients Find You?


Two thoughts:

Word of mouth or in other words a personal referral is still the way most people find a dentist. Contrary to what some web sellers are telling us the population does not generally find a dentist with a random search.

However, even when they get a word of mouth referral most people still use the Internet to connect. That is to get your number and address.

The conclusion is that controlling your Internet presence – what shows up when you Google your name -and having a practice web site are important. Spending thousands on monthly SEO fees…not so much.

Digital Marketing Management Paperless

Communications in the 21st Century

E-mail58% of consumers start their online day by reading their emails. 

76% of dental patients say email is the best way for companies to communicate with them.


So the question is…are you using it? Or even better are you gathering patient e-mail addresses in order to use it?

Most Practice Management Systems like Dentrix have e-mail address as a field in the patient information field. Be sure you get it filled in. It has to be on your intake form, if you are still using the forms you had in 1999 you need to update.

All those existing patients who started with you last century and didn’t have an e-mail address need to provide it now. Make it part of your health history update. Ask for it and give the patient a good reason to provide it.

For example advise them that you will send e-appointment reminders rather than bother them with a phone call and most (76%) of patients will give it to you…but you have to ask. Another idea is to offer an incentive. For example: Dr. Digital has written a list of the five ways to save money on dental care. If you give us your e-mail we will send you a free copy.

Now that you have e-mail addresses how do you use them?

The best way is with e-services. Dentrix provides a good example of these services.

Appointment reminders are an obvious use for e-mail. However you can also use e-mail to direct patients to your web site to fill out forms.

NOTE: Online forms are not just for new patients, this is a great way to make sure all existing patients have up to date personal and medical information on file. And better yet it is on file in a digital format so you can eliminate those pesky paper charts.

E-mail is a great way to follow up with thank you notes, after treatment follow up including post op instructions, after treatment satisfaction surveys (which can lead to positive online user reviews), information on new treatments,  and acknowledging life events like birthdays and graduation.

Doing all this may seem daunting. After all you are too busy now how will you or the staff do all this extra stuff. That’s where e-services come in. For the most part e-services are automatic. You set it up once and then forget it. The service will send out reminders (or whatever) for ever after.

In addition to Dentrix some of my favorite e-services are:
Sesame Communications and Action Run,

Social Media? What about social media, isn’t that the 21st century way to communicate? Sadly no. Facebook is public and not appropriate for personal messages but even more significant is that Facebook filters your posts. Roughly only 6% of people who have chosen to “like” you on Facebook will see your posts.

Digital Marketing Internet Management

A Great Website is Useless

A website is useless if it attracts prospective new patients who never make an appointment or accept recommended treatment.

Many dentists are spending considerable time and money on websites, SEO and social media to attract people to the office. But what happens when the patient calls?

If your office is getting calls but finding it hard to turn them into appointments or if you are wondering why your team is spending so much time on the phone answering questions instead of scheduling appointments, you may be wasting all the time and money you have spent to develop a great Internet presence.

Follow this link for some communication and phone skills taught by my friend  and fellow AADPA member Danny Bobrow of AIM Dental Marketing. Be sure to check out TAFI (The Art of First Impressions) a complete training and coaching system.




It is a tired old cliché that you never get a second chance at a first impression. That is certainly true. However there is another side to it we also need to consider. We do get multiple chances to blow it and make a bad impression!

Each of these encounters is a “first impression” of sorts. If the dentist or the staff fails at any step the new patient relationship will suffer or worse yet never get started in the first place.

  • Web Page
  • First Phone Call
  • Arrive at the Office
  • Meet the Dentist

Great technology can only take you so far. In the end, it is still our personal relationships that make the difference.


Do You Own Your Website?

Sometimes when a business contracts with a web development company to create a web page the domain is registered in the name of the web developer not the name of the business. This can be a very big deal if the web developer goes out of business or if the business owner wants to change from one vendor to another. There is an online tool called whois you can use to check to see who owns a domain name. You can access whois from Go Daddy or any domain registry site. Just type in the domain and whois will tell you who owns it.

Also be sure and check the web development agreement. It is not unusual for the developer to claim ownership or copyright to all your web content.

Sadly I have heard from a number of dentists who report trouble from the vendor when they try and change providers. In some cases they even needed to get a lawyer involved and are still having problems.

Digital Marketing Mobile

Dentalfone – From the Chicago Midwinter

On of the dentists at my Chicago lecture told the group that 80% of the people accessing his web pages were doing so with a mobile device.

Patients love their smartphones. Your image on mobile is everything. The battle over patients using smartphones in your office is over – the patient won.

How can you embrace the smartphone and leverage this device to your success? Dentalfone turns your patient’s smartphone into an extension of your website. It becomes a tool that you can leverage to increase patient referrals, generate more 5-Star reviews, and improve your level of service with easy to access information such as post-op instructions.

Source: Dental Marketing Companies | Web Marketing for Dentists

Dentalfone is a mobile optimized dental web page. The designers have created unique, easy to use, visually compelling web sites, like the sample shown here, designed specifically to be used with a mobile device. This is not an app that the user needs to download but it looks and acts like one.

Typically web designers have started with a web site designed to be viewed on a full size screen. That full size version is then re-configured to fit smaller tablet and mobile screens as a responsive web site.

Dentalfone takes the opposite approach and designs for mobile as the primary device. Sites can be customized to feature the items important to each office but they all have a clean contemporary look with easy to use mobile optimized navigation

Digital Marketing Internet

Organic Results

No one really knows the exact process Google (or any other search engine) uses to deliver organic results. At best they are making educated guesses based on observations. Many web companies claim to be able to give you more juice, to improve or optimize your chances of a high search engine ranking. They sell this service as SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

At one time SEO for specific key words such as “dentist” may have been useful. Today in any big city it has very limited utility. The organic results for a keyword search like dentist will be less than 1/5th of the page and includes very few dentists. Instead of dentists the organic results trend to pages with much more juice than any dentist could ever acquire. Sites like Wikipedia, Yelp and the ADA.

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Technology on the Rocks 2017


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Google Results

When you Google some dentists by name you find a direct link to their web site at the top of the page. To the right is a big box with the address, phone number hours of operations and lots of patient testimonials.

This does not happen by accident. The big box is created by Google Business (was Google+). Reviews are generated by happy patients. But not just happy patients happy patients who have been asked to write a review.

Any dentist with a stellar online presence like the one described above created it with good planning, time and money. It is possible for a dentist or dental team member to create a positive online reputation using SEO (Search Engine Optimization), reviews and social media. However for most dentists it is much more effective and efficient to use a service such as Sesame Communications, Action Run or Lighthouse 360.

Digital Marketing Internet

Outdated Websites

According to the Smile Marketing Blog here are three items that indicate your web site is out of date:

  • Broken links: One of the biggest visitor deterrents on any website is to have “404: Page Not Found” messages and other errors all over the site. A dysfunctional dental practice website will limit the amount of visitors that actually convert into new patients. Scan your website on one of the many free online resources to identify any broken links.

  • Dated formatting: Attention spans are dwindling. Pages with huge blocks of text are going to send your visitors running. You want easy-to-scan copy that will keep readers engaged with your content.

  • Date-sensitive content: Events, promotions, holiday hours, and other content relating to past occurrences shows patients you aren’t maintaining your website. So whenever adding date-sensitive content to your site, be sure to set yourself a calendar reminder.

Look here for the rest of the article.

Outdated sites are less likely to show up on a Google search. But even worse a potential new patient will be turned off by a dated site and may decide that you are not keeping up. Your website will be seen as a reflection on your clinical skills.

For help check out my friends at TNT Dental. 

Digital Marketing

Online Marketing Dictionary for Dentists

From Smile Marketing:

Below are 11 words you might not find in Webster’s Dictionary, but they are essential to understand when it comes to marketing your practice on the Internet!

Source: Online Marketing Dictionary for Dentists | Smile Marketing

I imagine you have received numerous offers to market your dental practice from people all over the world just this week. I know I have. Online marketing can be a cost effective way to find new patients. It can also be a money pit.

If you want to use the Internet effectively and make wise economical choices you do not need to become an expert on marketing but you do need a basic understanding of the process. The linked article is a nice introduction to some of the terms and ideas you will need to consider.

Digital Marketing Social Media

Billion Dollar Bully

Management Software

Understanding decision making with the magic of Venn

From Rachel Mele in Dentistry IQ:

Armed with this competitive information, you may realize that much of the value you provide is matched by your competition. In other words, the value you provide is not actually a competitive advantage. Ouch. You may also find that your competitor is providing value that you do not.

Source: Understanding dentists’ decision making with the magic of Venn – DentistryIQ

Rachel wrote this for companies developing and selling products to dentists. Many dental high tech vendors read this blog and hopefully they will find this useful. However the same ideas apply to dentists.

What do you provide that is important to your customers (patients)? Is it that you take their insurance and give away a toothbrush? Or is it that you have same day crowns and online bill pay? How do you know? You have to ask.

Once you know what matters then you need to determine what your competitors are providing. The Venn diagram approach allows you to easily visualize what you are doing well ,what your competition is doing better and areas that you could improve.

Digital Marketing Internet

Dental Website Redesign

When did you last update your practice web site? For most dentists the answer is…I don’t know.

Do the people in the team photo actually work at the practice? Does your homepage have a whitening special from the summer of 2013?

As a general rule websites should be updated at least once a year and the best sites are updated constantly. Google (and other search engines) favor new material.

Then every two to three years you should consider a complete web makeover. Follow the link for some help from TNT.

Digital Marketing Internet

5 Must-Ask Questions for SEO

naomi-142x150From Naomi Cooper:

Question 1: Do they guarantee your website will rank number one on Google?

If they do, run the other way. A true SEO expert should clearly explain that it is impossible to make such a guarantee

via 5 Must-Ask Questions When Hiring an SEO Professional | Patient Engagement & Dental Marketing | Sesame Communications.

Naomi is pretty sharp, I can tell because I agree with everything she has written 🙂

Her five questions are really five warnings about what to watch out for. Question 3 is especially significant. I find many dentists are paying web companies to produce a web page for them only to find in the fine print that they do not own the web content or the web site URL.

e-Services Management

New or Re-Activate?

Many dentists spend countless hours and tens of thousands on marketing efforts chasing the elusive new patient while sitting quietly on a fortune.

The ADA estimates that the average dental practice generates between $700,000 and one million dollars’ worth of incomplete diagnosed treatment per year. 20% to 30% of your current patients are non-responsive yet most of them probably still consider you their dentist. Your existing patients are a rich vein of gold just waiting to be mined.

My favorite re-activation e-service is Action Run.

Digital Marketing Internet

Choosing a Dentist in the Age of Google

Selecting a dentist it is a very personal choice. All the research indicates a good majority – 60 to 70% – of people choose a dentist based on a referral. They are not just looking for a dentist; they are looking for a personal connection. They want a dentist they can trust, someone that their friends know and trust.

For that reason most people looking for a dentist do not simply search using a keyword like dentist. They search using a name.

If a patient gets a great referral to Dr. Steven Adams, he or she will type “Steven Adams dentist’, into the Google search box. They are searching not for a random dentist but for the phone number and address of a specific dentist.

What shows up when you type in your name is more far more significant than whether or not you show up with a generic keyword “dentist” search

Be cautious when spending on web SEO. Spend the time and money maximizing the results of a name search before worrying about keywords. The best and easiest way to get good name search results is to claim and develop your Google+ business page.


The selfish truth about word of mouth (why referrals don’t happen)

sethGA must read from Seth Godin:

Of course you will be eagerly and often referring your friends and neighbors to your dentist, insurance broker, lawn mowing guy and that book you just read.

Actually, not so much.

via Seth’s Blog.

He lists six reasons people are reluctant to refer, even if they really like the product or service. All of which apply to dentistry.