Archive for the ‘How To’ Category

How To: Get the most out of Social Media

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & Google+ are sites visited by thousands of people every day.

By creating a profile on each of these sites, you will build new opportunities for potential patients to find your practice, as well as increasing traffic to your website.

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Any type of local business that uses social media will almost always see a significant increase in monthly website traffic – and all it costs is a little of your time (or your dental nurses, or reception staff…).

By creating and sharing good content and interacting with your patients online you will build your reach to their friends and family. The internet is the first place people look to for answers if they have a question, so make sure you’re there when they need you!

If you have any questions about where and what to post, get in touch with us and our Social Media expert Graham will be more than happy to help.

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How To: Create a Practice Event

At the moment we’re helping several clients to create and promote open days. This is a great way of showcasing new treatments as well as building relationships and rapport with patients.

To help you create an event for your practice here’s a list of the things you’ll need to think about:

Your Event Checklist

  • Select a main theme
  • Decide on a special discount for selected treatment
  • Prize draw to win e.g. free tooth whitening
  • Post updates on Facebook & Twitter
  • Create momentum prior to the event
  • Press release sent out to local media
  • Book photographer / ask a team member
  • Print leaflets for local businesses
  • Promotional merchandise ordered
  • Print posters for your windows
  • Patient e-newsletter / newsletter update
  • Motivate staff and assign roles
Need help with your events?

To celebrate our sixth anniversary we’re offering six FREE half hour slots for consultations at Dental Showcase in Birmingham, so book soon to avoid disappointment!

Book an appointment with our lead consultant Steve Davey at Dental Showcase on 23rd & 24th October. Get in touch via email or call us on 0845  287 3051.

How To: Create Affiliate Links Locally

This is possibly the best marketing tip for any business on a tight budget; and it is a great way to encourage patient referrals from local businesses to your dental practice.

What are affiliates?

Individuals or companies who promote your treatments on their website, in their premises or via their newsletter in exchange for discounts on treatments for their customers or referrals from you.

Having a team of affiliates marketing your practice to potential patients is invaluable as the recommendation comes from a person or company that they already know and trust.

There’s no limit to the number of local businesses that you can have promoting your practice.

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We recommend the following local businesses for dental affiliates:

  • Hair salons
  • Florists
  • Gyms
  • Vets
  • Spas
  • Hotels with gym/spa facilities

What do I do?

A cheap and effective way to work with local businesses is to produce a joint venture flyer branded to your practice.

For each affiliate you amend the flyer template to feature their logo (as well as yours), a tagline aimed at their customers and an offer ‘exclusively’ for their customers to use at your practice.

For guidance on practice affiliates simply get in touch via email or call us on 0845  287 3051.

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How To: Win Back Dormant Patients

Keeping in touch with your patients, whether current or lapsed, is one of the best ways to keep your patient lists full and appointments booked.

Sure, breakthrough thinking and new ideas are the lifeblood of really successful businesses – and dental practices are no exception. I talk to numerous practice owners and business owners from several industries, however, and they are often so busy looking for new out of the box ideas that they miss the clear opportunities staring them in the face – the “in the box” profit opportunities.

A great example of this is attempting innovative ways to bring in new patients when you have an under-tapped patient list. In other words; putting too much emphasis on new patient acquisition and not enough emphasis on patient recall.

At Smile we regularly encounter these issues that represent wasted opportunities:

  • Not enough communication with patients
  • A recall process that isn’t robust and doesn’t include all patients
  • Giving up too soon on patients coming back for treatment
  • Poor recall letters and emails – I see many that are ‘cold’, matter of fact and unfriendly
  • No newsletter to ‘up-sell’ your treatments – many of your patients simply do not know everything that you offer
  • Little or no ‘ownership’ of recall within the practice
  • No segmentation of your patients – they are not all the same!
  • A practice website that lacks key patient information (treatment, team, prices)
  • Patient plans and membership schemes that are not well promoted

These are all “in the box” issues that can be addressed and are guaranteed to help build income and patient retention.

And here’s the thing. Generating income from your own patient list almost always costs much less than finding new patients.

For a FREE practice marketing Health Check call 0845 287 3051 or info@smiledentalmarketing.co.uk.

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How To: Manage a Door Drop Campaign

A great tool for any local business, door drops can get you in touch with your local community.

1. Who do you want to target? What is your ideal patient type?

We use patient mapping to assess where your current patients live, showing any gaps in your local area to target. Then we run socio-demographic profiles on the local area and target all the areas that fit with your ideal patient.

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2. What will you send?

It’s always a good idea to have an offer as this attracts more patients quickly and improves your ROI (more on that later!). A succinct offer and a strong call to action – your phone number and website – are key to a successful door drop. Keep the design ‘on brand’ and use a suitable image for the offer you’re providing and the audience you’re targeting.

3. Get it printed with a quality and finish that reflect your practice.

Although it’s tempting to go for the cheapest print option to save on costs, you need to think about the kind of patient you’re trying to attract. If you’re looking for high value patients e.g. implant or orthodontic cases you will need to get a quality paper and luxury finish. In fact for all patients it’s still worth investing a little more on your print as it will improve your response and the quality reflects on your practice.

4. What is your Return On Investment (ROI)?

This is where a good promotion or offer comes in, with a simple code to quote when booking or inquiring you can easily keep track of which patients and calls are from the door drop. It’s important to keep track of the journey of these patients, as you’ll need to know how much money they have spent with you to work out the return you saw from the initial door drop investment.

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Remember to keep this information safe for next time you’d like to campaign for new patients, you can create a more successful campaign every time by improving on what worked last time.

If you’d like a successful door drop campaign but don’t have the time to implement it yourself, call us on 0845 287 3051 or email us.

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How To: Manage a Practice Blog

A blog is a ‘web log’ – effectively an online diary about your business. There are some very good reasons for your practice to have a blog:

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  • It’s a great way to keep your patients up to date on details of your practice that are too long to tweet
  • It helps your websites SEO as you’ll be updating your website every time you write a blog
  • You can write detailed articles on hygiene, how to floss or anything that you feel would benefit patients
  • To keep your patients up to date with the practice, staff and new treatments

If you are going to create a blog for your practice you need to do the following:

Host the blog on your own domain. (For example – www.YourBusiness.com/blog). Whoever set up your website can easily add a blog for you to use. Alternatively you can open a WordPress blog and have a link in your site navigation that directs people there.

Thinking of something interesting to say each time you blog is the tricky bit. You need to be able to write good content that will be interesting for your patients. They won’t read a long sales pitch.

Keep it up! Posting on a blog once is pointless, you may as well have just created a webpage for that post. You can write about anything related to dentistry, your practice or your local area, for example:

  • Jenny our dental nurse is going on maternity leave and will be replaced by Kim
  • Did you know? (you should brush for 2 mins, you need a pea size amount of toothpaste)
  • A coffee morning for charity will take place on 26th May at 10am – there will be cake!
  • How to floss like a pro
  • Our new implantologist

If you like the idea of a blog but need more direction and assistance in the set up and management then get in touch.

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How To: Write Practice Press Releases

It’s a great idea to get local PR for your practice as it reminds your potential patients that you are an established and respected dental practice in the community. It also supports your brand and communicates how you help people to improve their confidence and improve their smile. For your current patient list, great PR confirms in their mind that they have chosen a quality practice.

Firstly you need to think about how to get the press excited, you need news that the editor thinks will benefit readers.

New treatments or a new clinician at your practice may be news to you, but not to a reporter who has hundreds of releases about new products and services to read.

Imagine an Orthodontic practice has just added lingual braces to their treatment offering and as part of the launch has decided to offer patients a free initial consultation. Here’s what not to do:

Orthodontic Practice Launches Invisible Braces

(Name) practice, based in (place) is now offering invisible braces. As part of the launch, the practice is offering a free initial consultation……”

You’re more likely to get a story printed and generate interest by changing your headline and first paragraph to focus on the offer and what’s in it for readers.

Orthodontic Practice Introduces FREE Consultation for Invisible Braces

For adults who’d prefer a discrete brace option, (named) practice, based in (place) is now offering the latest in invisible braces. As part of the launch, the practice is offering a free initial consultation……

Before you start writing the release, choose the best angle from the patient’s point of view. If you will be sending your release to various media (local newspapers, dental press, local radio and local blogs) you may have to use different angles for the different media.

For help with a PR strategy or news article writing, contact us.

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