Educating Your Patients

Make sure you keep your patients informed about oral health. The BDHF released some interesting facts about oral health in Britain to make people more aware of their oral health.

  1. 74% of all British adults have had a tooth removed

    That works out to more than 60 million adults who have lost a tooth, this can be changed with regular visits to the dentist.

  2. 27% only visit their dentist when they have a problem

    More than half of us have admitted that we wished we had care for our teeth better and prevention is almost always better than cure.

  3. 50% of Brits are unhappy with their smile

    A BDHF survey found discoloured/crooked teeth are the biggest reason we are unhappy with their smile, 1/3 said a good smile is the most important attribute in attractiveness.

  4. 10% would cut oral care items from their shopping to save money

    Keeping your smile maintained is relatively cheap with a tube of fluoride toothpaste and a toothbrush, compared to ongoing dental costs and painful treatments later in life.

  5. 1/3 of children are starting school with visible signs of tooth decay

    If something is not done this figure will continue to grow.

  6. Healthy’ alternatives are not always what they claim to be

    These can be as damaging to teeth as sugary soft drinks. Some fruit juices, while 1 of your 5 a day, can contain more sugar than the same amount of fizzy drink.

  7. Brits do not have the worst teeth globally

    Research shows 92% of American adults show signs of tooth decay – 28% in England.

  8. 2/3 believe their teeth affect their prospects at work 

    Many people feel employers will overlook them for promotion if they have poor oral health.

  9. 14% of people are frightened to visit the dentist

    Trips to the dentist ranked top in a poll on what make people nervous, this was more popular than heights and nearly 10 times as many compared to the doctor.

  10. UK tooth whitening market is worth an estimated £40 million

    This industry has soared in recent years as more people desire the ‘perfect smile’.

  11. Only qualified professionals can legally whiten teeth 

    It is illegal for anyone other than a dental professional to perform tooth whitening.

  12. Women smile more than men

    In general women actually smile more than men with studies showing this starts from when they are babies.

Smile leaflets web montage

Why not post this blog to your practice Facebook page or website? If you’d prefer a print version we can design and write patient-friendly copy for oral health educational literature, call us on 0845 287 3051 or email info@smiledentalmarketing.co.uk for more information.

http://www.dentalhealth.org/news/details/872

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Blog Lesson 1: Show Your Knowledge

Your dental website cannot contain all of the details about everything you know without losing its overall effectiveness as a key communication to patients and prospective patients.

One of the best things about a blog is that the small, focused nature of each article allows you to expand on one specific aspect of dentistry and go into detail about it.

Most blog set-ups will allow you to categorise each one so that people can find the articles on a specific topic easily.

Blogs are the ideal platform to show not just how much you know about dentistry in general, but how in-depth your knowledge is about the areas of dentistry that interest you most.

Having a store of good quality dental blogs can answer questions that your patients have and follow up from specific conversations either with them or staff at the practice.

Sharing your dental knowledge on your blog will help to ensure that patients feel they have a truly skilled and experienced dentist.

http://www.smiledentalmarketing.co.uk/services/seo-copywriting

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SEO for your Practice Website

Google’s Algorithm Updates Explained

Panda, introduced Feb 2011, hits weak and duplicate content and stops them from appearing in Googles top search results. This increased the ranking of news and social networking sites as they are content heavy and regularly updated.

Panda is occasionally updated – in one instance to help small business websites do better within the Google search.

Penguin, introduced April 2012, hitting unnatural links that don’t follow Google’s quality guidelines. Whilst Panda is getting softer over time on it’s work against poor content, Penguin is getting stricter. This shows that Google is gradually lowering its tolerance of webspam. Black hat SEO tactics have been targeted e.g.:

  • Keyword stuffing
  • Link schemes
  • Cloaking, “sneaky” redirects or “doorway” pages
  • Purposeful duplicate content

Hummingbird, introduced August 2013, is about Google being able to catch users’ actual search intent and find the content that matches this intent the best. Using semantic search it works out the context of the search query, not just the individual terms.

Hummingbird is more than an update, it’s a new algorithm to ensure that Google understands your entire sentence, not just the words you used.

Pigeon, introduced July 2014, aims to provide more useful, relevant and accurate local search results by connecting web search and map search in a more cohesive way.

While it hits local businesses, Pigeon is also a unique animal because it allows Google to adapt to our behaviors and uses location and distance as key part of search strategy.

For more information about SEO tactics and creating great
web content get in touch via email or phone us on 0845 287 3051.

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Are dentists doing enough marketing?

The answer is, many or even most, are not.

With businesses that are classed as SMEs (small & medium-sized enterprises with up to 250 employees), research shows that investment in marketing is often too low and that this hinders growth. Private and ‘mixed’ practices without NHS contracts fit into this category.

Here are some facts about SMEs:

SMEs report that they could raise sales by an average of 15% if they maximise the impact of their marketing effort

The average SME only achieves 39% of their planned marketing activity 

11% do NONE of their planned marketing

1/3 rate their marketing efforts at under 5 out of 10 yet 77% recognise it is important to the success of their business

Reasons for not doing enough marketing: 36% say there isn’t enough money, 21% there isn’t enough time

The average SME spends £23,810 a year on marketing

Every £1 spent on advertising benefits an SME 8 times as much as it would a larger firm

Of course, it’s not solely about making a larger investment to help build a dental business. It’s about spending it wisely through careful marketing planning and avoiding costly mistakes.

For a no-obligation chat about your objectives contact us on 0845 287 3051 for a free initial consultation.

Sources: Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) Advertising Association

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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.

Marlow Door-drop-spread

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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The Best Free Marketing Tool

A great way to create trust in your brand is by asking patients for testimonials.

It costs nothing and can sway potential patients to visit the practice when they see other people like them have had a good experience in the chair.

You could email your patient list, ask patients when you see them for their appointment or have testimonial cards on your reception desk and encourage patients to share their thoughts.

Here’s some examples of our recent testimonials:

Great service….we launched our practice and August 2014, Steve and the team looked after our marketing needs from flyers through to referral packs.  They were efficient, competitive and the end result was of a very good quality.

Parmajit Kaur Athwal | Wightwick Dental Practice

I have worked with Smile Marketing for over 5 years as regards marketing all 6 of my practices and the results have been that each of my practices’ turnover has increased by over 10% each year. It’s nice to work with a marketing team that has a thorough understanding of dentistry. 

Dr Mitesh Badiani | Devon Dental Centre of Excellence
Dental Awards Winner | Dentist of the Year

Not sure how to best to approach patients for testimonials or not sure what to do once you have them? Get in touch for a no obligation consultation.

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National Smile Month 2015

NSM Smile Logo BDHF

May 18 – June 18

It’s your time to shine! Promote your practice locally to attract new patients & encourage preventative oral healthcare.

National Smile Month promotes 3 key messages, so make sure your promotions are in line with these:

  1. Brush your teeth last thing at night and on at least 1 other occasion with fluoride toothpaste.
  2. Cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks.
  3. Visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend

The aim is to ultimately improve the UK’s oral health.

Dentists across the country will be trying to educate, motivate and communicate positive oral health messages in a targeted campaign to improve smiles around the country.

You could run a Direct Mail campaign to lapsed patients, or a new patient examination discount. You could start an e-Newsletter to your patient list to remind them of key dental facts, your latest cosmetic treatments and any practice news.

Organised by the British Dental Health Foundation, the campaign hopes to raise awareness of important health issues.

National Smile Month will see hundreds of events and activities up and down the UK engage local communities about the importance of a healthy mouth, and hopes to make a positive difference to the oral health of millions of people.

The campaign, which takes place May 18 – June 18, encourages all dental and health professionals, schools, pharmacies, community groups, colleges and workplaces – in fact anyone with an  interest in good oral healthcare, to join in.

For advice on how to best use this PR opportunity and help your community, contact 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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Marketing with Payment by Results

The most forward thinking marketing companies are now looking at different ways of structuring their pricing, and many are introducing payment by results for a proportion of their fees.

When you think about this, it makes sense. An experienced, skilled marketing agency will be confident in their ability to achieve results – it’s about partnership and sharing success.

Having spent many years working with dentists who often have very little experience with marketing, (and why should they?) it’s not surprising that if your clients are employing a marketing agency for the first time, you need to reassure them – not only with your experience, expertise, success stories and client recommendations – but for some having a proportion of your fees based on results, whether enquiries, new consults, practice income or ‘bottom line’.

Measurement and Transparency

Measurement and transparency are of course essential and both parties need to pre-agree the campaign budget, objectives and targets. Ambitious dental practices looking for continuous support to grow their business are more than happy to share management and financial information. That’s a true partnership. The more we know about the dental practice and the way it is set up and run, the better the outcomes will be from our business development and marketing activities.

To find out more about how this approach is being embraced by more and more dental practices and other businesses in the sector, contact us on 0845 287 3051 and ask for Steve Davey.

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