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.

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Billion Dollar Bully

Digital Marketing Internet

Removing a Google Review

As a business owner you can get Google to remove an online review. However you can not have a review taken down just because you disagree with it. Google has specific rules for removing reviews, which are copied below. Notice a review needs to be sexually explicit, obscene, spam or some other egregious violation. Just because a patient is upset and takes it out on you does not qualify the review for removal..Sorry.

We’ll remove content that violates any of the content policies below:

  • Advertising: Don’t use reviews for advertising, such as adding links to other websites or phone numbers. Reviews should be a genuine reflection of your experience with a place – don’t post reviews just to manipulate a place’s ratings.
  • Spam: Please don’t spam. Write a genuine report of your experience with the place. Don’t include promotional / commercial content, don’t post the same content multiple times and don’t write reviews for the same place from multiple accounts.
  • Phone numbers or URLs: To help prevent advertising and spammy reviews, we don’t allow phone numbers or links to other websites in reviews. If you want to add an updated number or URL for the business you’re reviewing, use the Report a problem link to report that information instead.
  • Off-topic reviews: Don’t post reviews based on someone else’s experience, or that are not about the specific place you’re reviewing. Reviews aren’t meant to be a forum for general political or social commentary or personal rants. Wrong location or the place is closed? Use the Report a problem link to report that information instead of writing a review.
  • Keep it clean: Don’t use obscene, profane, or offensive language. We’ll also remove reviews that represent personal attacks on others.
  • Conflict of interest: Reviews are most valuable when they are honest and unbiased. If you own or work at a place, please don’t review your own business or employer. Don’t offer or accept money, products, or services to write reviews for a business or to write negative reviews about a competitor. If you’re a business owner, don’t set up review stations or kiosks at your place of business just to ask for reviews written at your place of business.
  • Illegal content: Don’t post reviews that contain or link to unlawful content, like links that facilitate the sale of prescription drugs without a prescription.
  • Copyrighted content: Don’t post reviews that infringe others’ rights – including copyright. For more information or to file a DMCA request, review our copyright procedures.
  • Sexually Explicit Material: We don’t allow reviews that contain sexually explicit material. Also, we absolutely don’t allow reviews that sexually exploit children or present them in a sexual manner. For this type of content, we’ll remove the review, shut down the account, and send a report to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) and law enforcement.
  • Impersonation: Don’t post reviews on behalf of others or misrepresent your identity or connection with the place you’re reviewing.
  • Personal and confidential information: Don’t post reviews that contain another person’s personal and confidential information, including credit card information, government identification number, driver’s license information, etc.
  • Hate Speech: We don’t allow reviews that advocate against groups of people based on their race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
Digital Marketing Internet Social Media

Healthgrades Solutionreach

healthgradesHomepageLogoHealthgrades is where America finds a doctor.

Solutionreach and Healthgrades have formed a partnership to give our customers an unfair advantage on the nation’s number one resource for online provider listings and reviews.

via Healthgrades | Solutionreach.

Online reviews are powerful. In my opinion the three that really matter for dentistry are Google+, Yelp and Healthgrades. I like Healthgrades better than the others for many reasons. not the least of which is that user reviews are based on eight specific and consistent questions. Users cannot go off on a tirade.

In the past Healthgrades worked exclusively with Sesame. Now you can get an upgraded Healthgrades profile from Solutionreach as well.

Social Media

Is Twitter coming to an end?

twitter_logoFrom Daily Mail:

The once invincible Twitter doesn’t want to face up to the truth. It’s not just teens and hipsters who are fed up with tweeting. So are middle-class, middle-aged folk who, five years ago, were constantly checking their Twitter feeds during dinner parties.

Why? The novelty has worn off, as you’d expect. Also, Twitter is becoming seriously annoying. For lots of reasons.

Although Twitter is no longer cool, it’s infested with people who think they are.

via Is the infantile obsession with Twitter coming to an end? by DAMIAN THOMPSON | Daily Mail Online.

This s an interesting review of both the financial and social factors that are threatening twitter. Personally I tried to become a twitter fan but never found it engaging. Obviously many others do (or did) find it engaging. However I have never found a practice that had a consistent benefit from twitter.

Digital Marketing Internet Social Media

Online Reviews

healthgradesHomepageLogoFrom Sesame:

An astounding 70% of patients state that online reviews are as important as the dentist’s credentials when making a decision to choose a practice.

People think of online reviews in much the same way as they do a recommendation from a friend. It is a third party review that can be trusted far more than paid advertising.

The important thing is to have easy to find reviews on these three major sites:

  • Google+
  • Yelp
  • Healthgrades

These are the ones that show up in a typical search. The prospective patient will see the reviews glance at the average score and possibly read one or two.

If you have no reviews that is OK but is not a plus. If you have bad reviews then the potential new patient is likely to seek someone else.

Digital Marketing Internet Social Media

Online Ratings

Online reviews are the new word of mouth.

  • 62% of patients find a new doctor with online reviews
  • 19% of patients validate a tentative selection
  • 19% of patients evaluate existing doctor
Internet Social Media

Trust and the Internet

4-starsVery interesting article by former consumer reporter John Stossel.

I trust these ratings much more than any certificate of approval from the Department of Business Regulation.

via Trust – John Stossel – Page 2.

He makes several very important points that have a direct impact on dentistry. First, as a consumer affairs reporter he found that businesses that ripped off consumers were almost always small and local. A company simply could not survive and grow to become a national brand if it was cheating or failing to deliver as promised.

Second, Trust is absolutely required in order for business to function and communities to prosper. If everyone assumes that everyone else is always out to cheat them then business either ceases or huge additional costs are added. Dentistry is a trust business. Our patients cannot judge the quality of the work they receive they must trust the dentist. And the dentist in turn must trust that the patient will pay as agreed after the work is complete.

Third, trust must be earned. If a business (or a dentist) gets a reputation for dishonesty the business is doomed. The Internet provides a huge platform for building trust.

Online reviews and customer ratings build trust. As a buyer you are much more likely to buy a product online and send money to a stranger via E-bay for example if he/she has a high rating and a number of positive reviews from happy customers.

Medical Dental Research

The online review trust factor is very important in dentistry. Research indicates that one third of US adults have either gone to or avoided a physician based on online ratings.

Internet Social Media

Reputational Management

If you find that you have some negative malicious reviews online what can you do? Actually it is easier to tell you what not to do.

Don’t Sue: As reported in the ADA News Dr. Yvonne Wong decided to file suit when she received a negative review on Yelp which she thought was false and unfair. The result Dr. Wong lost the suit, she has no legal recourse and to make it worse, much worse, she was ordered to pay over $80,000 in defendant’s legal fees.

Don’t Preempt: There are services that sell dentists and physicians contracts and patient forms that supposedly will prevent patients from posting negative online comments. These are of dubious legality and for at least one dentist who tried to use them it was an unmitigated disaster.Stacey Makhnevich a NY dentist has been sued by a patient for trying to enforce an agreement preventing patients from posting negative online comments. This set off a firestorm of online news and universal condemnation from the general public. None of it is good news for Dr. Makhenvich who it seems has been forced out of the profession by the bad publicity and legal complications.

Don’t Panic: As professionals our reputation is precious and we never want to see anything negative said about us. The conventional thinking is that negative comments need to be removed at all costs. On the other hand recent research indicates that a negative online review is not always bad. In the right situation it demonstrates that the reviews are legit, not just reviews from staff and family. Some negative seems to have a “blemishing effect” that actually makes the positive reviews more persuasive.

The only thing you can actually do is to overwhelm negative reviews with positive ones. However even with this tactic dentists face obstacles. For example if you appeal to your happy patients to write good reviews and several of them do some review sites choose to consider a flurry of new reviews to be somehow illegitimate and they will “filter” them out.

Anti-Buzz Internet Social Media

Anti-Buzz: Public Journaling

Andrew has been writing Anti Buzz for 4 years resulting in almost 200 articles. For the next several weeks we will revisit some of these just in case you missed it.

Something very important: software metaphors.

Another piece of metaphorless software that you are likely familiar with, Facebook. Even with ‘book’ in its name, Facebook, and social media in general, don’t really look like anything you’ve ever used before. In fact, their ability to change their interface at will and still be Facebook is evidence that there is no real world template for what is happening online. You can see it as a completely new technology. Through the 20th century, nothing that resembled social media existed. We’re not talking about an electric typewriter or an information superhighway here, we’re talking about something for which there are no metaphors.

Most of what you read about the technology revolves around advice for leveraging it, (which is fine). Others are interested in trends. Not a lot of what you read tries to make literal sense of what the technology is. So, what, really, is social media?


Social Media is Metaphorless

What does that mean? First, it means that social media is completely new, not simply an old form of communication enhanced by the Internet’s connectivity. This, in turn, means that we don’t fully understand its potential, nor it’s dangers.

Second, the lack of metaphor contributes greatly to the sense of alienation it brings to some users, especially older ones. The generation gap between young Facebook addicts and their confused parents is in part created by the metaphorless interface. The same people who “get” email, word processing, and streaming television “don’t get” Facebook. The difference between an old technology revamped with modern enhancements and a genuinely new technology is huge.

Social Media is Public

Setting your “well, duh” aside, think for a moment how important it is for most people to feel like they are sharing an experience. One source of wedding planning agony for me and my fiance’ was, the choice of music during the reception. If your goal is to get everyone up and dancing, then good songs familiar to everyone are more valuable than better songs familiar to nobody. Familiarity is important. Sticking to music, many people just want to be aware of what the most popular music of the moment is, not because they even particularly like half of it, but because their familiarity with it will be shared with many other people. This familiarity produces talking points with both friends and strangers. Popular media in general maintains its popularity by promising a shared experience.

One of the biggest impacts of social media is that its persistent and public nature facilitates these sorts of comforting, shared experiences, but it does so without the expense of producing popular “lowest-common-denominator” entertainment to go along with it, (it has become abundantly clear that your average person can produce that sort of thing on their own). So, yes, obviously social media is very public, but the implications of this are not always taken seriously. If you’ve ever wondered about the difference between a Facebook addict and somebody who only uses it begrudgingly, you might consider it is not unlike the difference between somebody who listens to Top 40 Hits on the radio and somebody who could care less.

Social Media is Journaling

A common complaint I hear about social media is the quality of the content their friends produce. People who aren’t enchanted with the technology say things like, “I don’t need to know when my friends are at Starbuck’s” And it’s true; none of us need to know when anybody is at Starbuck’s. In my field I do occasionally come into contact with studies done on the content of social media, and if there is only one broad-stroked generalization to make, it is this: The vast majority of people who use social media spend the vast majority of their time journaling the mundane details of their day. The enormous bulk of all tweets are simply things like, “at work” “at lunch” “having a beer” and “thank goodness it’s friday.” All the minor goalposts of one’s day, summarized over and over again. As if I needed more validation of this, a friend of mine complained of the capriciousness of Facebook, saying he would post a nice photograph he took and get no response, but if he said he was eating lunch at some restaurant, he would get 30 ‘likes’.

Pooling the last two concepts together, what we get is that social media is really just a public journal. You write in your diary, but then you leave it on the coffee table and invite people to look through it. That’s social media. The catharsis of journaling, with the comfort and validation of sharing your experience. And yes, if neither of those things appeal to you, then the whole institution is going to look a little strange.

If I am to bring this back around to some practical advice: I was wrong so long ago. People will /totally/ become fans of their dentist. You might not generate a lot of traffic or interest simply by maintaining a Facebook page, but an active user will, when they come in for treatment, likely make a post or two about where they are. If they can link to you or your page, even better. If their friends kill five minutes by talking about dentists, you might earn a new patient. It costs you very little to simply make sure you have enough online presence to put an email address or phone number into someone’s hand. At minimum, social media allows you to maintain a magic billboard ad that will appear where ever people talk about you. Social media, and Internet connectivity in general, is about lowering barriers to information – so lowering the barriers to information about your business is a simple and easy extension.

Dental Speaker Internet

Google Juice Hands-On at CDA

I will be presenting two hands on Internet programs tomorrow (Thursday) for the CDA San Francisco Meeting.



Lawrence Emmott

Lawrence Emmott, DDS

 Dr. Emmott is one of the most entertaining speakers in dentistry. He is a leading dental high-tech authority with more than 30 years of experience as a practicing general  dentist.


  • Just Do It: Hands-on Social Media, Thursday, September 4, 2014, 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. (Social Media)
  • Just Do It: Hands-on Social Media, Thursday, September 4, 2014, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (Social Media)

Speaker List.

Dental Speaker

CDA San Francisco September 4-6

I am very excited to be presenting two hands on Internet programs next week for the CDA San Francisco Meeting.



Lawrence Emmott

Lawrence Emmott, DDS

Dr. Emmott is one of the most entertaining speakers in dentistry. He is a leading dental high-tech authority with more than 30 years of experience as a practicing general dentist.


  • Just Do It: Hands-on Social Media, Thursday, September 4, 2014, 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. (Social Media)
  • Just Do It: Hands-on Social Media, Thursday, September 4, 2014, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (Social Media)

Speaker List.

Dental Speaker Digital Marketing Social Media

The Truth About Online Reviews (and why no one can publish your surveys on Google!)

In case you missed it: The archived Webinar is below.

The Truth About Online Reviews (and why no one can publish your surveys on Google!) | Sesame Communications.

Digital Marketing e-Services Internet

Google + Places

You don’t have to have a website to sign up to Google+ Places you just need to be a business.

Claiming your Google+ Place is the second most important thing you can do to improve your online presence. Google+ Places was Google Local, this is the mini listing you have based on Google maps. The screen shot below is a Google map result for the word dentist in my town of Phoenix. Every red dot is a dentist.


Google has every dentist in town on the map even though at least half do not have a web page and most of them have not claimed their Place.


A Reading List of Books About Technology’s Impact on People

In case you missed it: Dentalcompare from September 2013:

“You are the same today as you’ll be in five years except for two things: the books you read and the people you meet.” – Charlie Jones

Here are three books that offer an insightful and a highly optimistic look into the future.

Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think by Peter H. Diamandis

Peter Diamandis and his co-author Steven Kotler make the case that things are better now than they have ever been, and what is more, we are on the verge of eliminating the scarcity economy that has ruled our existence. We are rapidly approaching abundance.

Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations by Clay Shirky

Here Comes Everybody is a fun easy read that uses stories to show you how the rapid, revolutionary spread of new forms of social interaction supported by technology and the Internet are changing the way humans form groups and how we exist within those groups.

The Man Who Lied to His Laptop: What Machines Teach Us About Human Relationships by Clifford Nass

Although this book is based on technology, what it really can teach us is how to better understand ourselves and how to interact effectively with the rest of humanity. The man who lied to his laptop did so in order not to hurt its feelings. You probably think that is foolish but after you read this book you will realize that we all do it, that is what makes us human.

via Emmott On Technology: A Reading List of Books About Technology’s Impact on People |

All three books listed above and others can be purchased from Amazon through the link on the right. Just scroll down ’till you see the “Book Recommendations” section. Thanks.

Management Social Media

Social Media Policies for Dentists

The ADA had published a sample social media policy for dental offices. If you are an ADA member you can access it at the link below.

If you put in place a carefully drafted social media policy for your dental practice, your employees will likely have a better understanding of what’s permitted and what is prohibited, which may help avoid legal problems down the road.

via Social Media Policies for Dentists | American Dental Association | Center for Professional Success.

The primary message from the article is to be cautious. There are many laws that protect staff members free speech and restrictive office policies may be in violation of these rules.

Digital Marketing Social Media

Facebook Tip

If you want your Facebook followers to pay attention to your postings include pictures. Posts with pictures and videos in them are more likely to catch your followers’ eyes, plus pictures and videos rank higher on Facebook’s newsfeed. In other words Facebook will choose to display your post to more people if it includes a picture or video.

Here is a sample screen shot from Pediatric dentist Dr. Mark Bayless.


Dentalcompare Digital Marketing Internet

Responsive Dental Websites

responsive1In case you missed it: Dentalcompare October

At this time we are using three distinct screen sizes, traditional desktop monitors, tiny smart phones, and in the middle tablets such as the iPad.

In general we can think of the three screens in this way: Desktops are for work and productivity; Smartphones are for communication; Tablets are for entertainment.

A person will sit down at the desktop to write a novel or run a spreadsheet. Although you could do that with a smartphone it would be silly. People use the phone to text, get directions, look up an address, check the weather and even to make phone calls. Tablets are in between. People use them to casually surf the web, read the paper, catch up on Facebook or watch a movie, but they don’t generally write a novel.

You should design your responsive web site for each screen. A person who opens the site on a full size computer is most likely sitting at a desk, they have time to browse. They have a business-like manner. They even might be at work. The research from Sesame finds that on dental practice websites after the home page, the most common page people look at is “about the doctor.” So you want to have a nice easy to find “about the doctor” page. The other important pages are “about the staff,” location and finances.

via Emmott On Technology: Get Responsive With Your Dental Practice Website |

A responsive website determines what type of device it is on and displays itself differently for each. A mobile should not be a tiny version of the full desktop site. People are using mobile devices, especially smart phones, more and more to access the web and having a responsive site is the best way for you to accommodate them.

In my opinion a responsive site provides far more value to a dental practice than a practice app.


Digital Marketing Internet Social Media

SEO Strategies to Help Patients Find Your Practice Online

Excerpt from upcoming Dental Economics article by Diana P. Friedman coming in January: (emphasis mine)

For most consumers, online reviews have become integral to their buying decisions. A recent study found that 90% of people are influenced by online reviews when deciding whether to purchase a product or service. More than 70% of consumers say they trust online reviews, second only to personal recommendations (90%) as the most trusted forms of advertising. Consumers searching for dentists are no exception to this trend since 70% of patients say that online reviews are as important as the dentist’s credentials.

It’s clear that prospective patients rely on online patient reviews as a key influencer when choosing a new dental care provider. The challenge for practices is to ensure their patient reviews get in front of the right audience at the right time in the decision-making process—those actively seeking to find a new dental care provider and schedule an appointment. There is so much discussion today around online reviews that it can be overwhelming at times.

 Diana Friedman is the CEO of Sesame Communications

Internet Social Media

Best LinkedIn Company Pages 2013


Best LinkedIn Company Pages 2013.