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Business woman sending email marketingHow do you get patients back in your office for their next exam? More importantly, how do you show them available treatments that they might be interested in trying? Selling to your patients is a delicate business, and your staff has an in-office approach that informs and educates them. But backing that up with digital efforts is never a bad idea.

If your practice has never tried email marketing, now is the time to start. We’ve put together a beginner’s guide below – and if you’re looking for expert guidance, just get in touch to discuss your practice’s needs. There are many approaches to take when emailing your patient list – make sure yours is effective.

Ask Yourself: Why Am I Sending Email Campaigns?

Never email just for the sake of emailing. Make sure that there’s a clear message you’re sharing with your email list – and that each email has something unique to offer. The last thing you want is to be written off as a spammer or damage your reputation with your patients. It’s a great idea to do a little thinking and planning before you initiate your first campaign. Identify your goals, and plan out each email so that they build interest in the service you’re promoting.

Kissmetrics has a great article on planning your email marketing mindset – check it out for more detailed guidance.

Protecting Against Spam Complaints

When someone receives an email, they have to be given the option to unsubscribe. Their email server also gives them the option to report the message as spam. If you get too many spam complaints, your email marketing platform could forbid you from sending to that list any longer. This screws up your campaigns and can lead to larger problems with your email marketing.

There are a few ways to make sure you’re only emailing people who are interested in receiving messages from your business. One, you can use an opt-in form. This is a form on your website or in your office that asks for the user’s information. It should have a clear message about the types of emails they will receive, and how often. This helps establish appropriate expectations from the start.

If you use an existing client list that you import into your email platform, you can follow up your first email with an extra opt-in email. This will also help ensure that your messages end up in the primary inbox, as opposed to Gmail’s Promotions tab or the spam folder.

Writing Great Subject Lines

Countless emails languish away in inboxes without ever being opened. Many recipients will delete your email without opening it, or just leave the messages and not interact with them in any way. How do you combat this? With a killer subject line.

There are so many different directions you can go with your email subject. Overall, remember that you’re trying to convince recipients to open the email. You can take any of these approaches:

  • Appeal to their curiosity (“Our patients can’t believe what a difference this one treatment makes”)
  • Tantalize them with a special offer
  • Get personal by using merge fields to automatically add the recipient’s first name to the subject, and make it clear why the email is something they might be interested in
  • Inform them with a practice update or educational tidbit

…and so many more.

Great Starter Campaigns for Dental Practices

These campaigns increase in difficulty – if you’re looking for help implementing one, let us know.

  • Easy Event Announcement – Hoping to get signups for an open house or other practice event? Build a quick form and registration page on your website, then build an email around a prominent link to that page. This way, you can make the event known to your full email database and have your site handle the registrations, saving time for your staff. This is easy to implement because it’s just a single campaign sent to your entire list. You may also want to set up event reminders for those who have registered once the event draws nearer.
  • Automated Follow-Ups – Set up your website’s contact forms so that new leads receive quick responses with more information about how and why to schedule an appointment or consultation. This usually isn’t too difficult – you need to integrate your website forms and your email service. WordPress’ Gravity Forms has a built-in MailChimp integration to make this simple.
  • Effective Appointment Reminders – This email marketing tactic is a little trickier because you will need to integrate your scheduling system and your email platform. Depending on the services you’re using, a third-party service might be necessary. But once you get automated appointment reminders up and running, you’ll see a drop in no-shows and more time for your staff to spend on something other than daily emails.

Looking for guidance for your email campaigns? Get in touch today!

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graphic of targeted dental lead in group of prospectsFeel like your ads are adrift in a digital sea, no lifeboat in sight? Let’s make sure they’re getting found by the people you’re hoping to target in the first place. Google AdWords is changing all the time, and offering up more and more options for small businesses looking to build detailed audiences for their ads. Between location, language, income, general interests, and so much more, there’s a way to target the leads you want, not just hope your ad comes up in front of someone likely to click through.

Below, we’ve put together a quick guide for dentists hoping to up their pay-per-click game. Whether you’re advertising on Google, Facebook, the Display Network, or somewhere else, take another look at your ads and see where improvements might be possible. Feeling a little lost in the great PPC advertising ocean? We’re here to help – reach out today to learn more about what we could offer your ad efforts.

Setting Up Detailed Targeting For Your PPC Ads

Google AdWords and Facebook are the most popular advertising networks for healthcare professionals. We’ve broken down simple ways to adjust ad settings for each one – Google instructions are below, and check back in a couple weeks for Facebook guidance. The two interfaces work very differently – if you need help setting up your initial account, check out this AdWords guide and this Facebook guide.

AdWords Ad Targeting Settings

From within the All Campaigns view, click the Settings tab. In this view, you can see the broader settings for all of your ad campaigns. This is useful if you’re making larger changes that will affect all campaigns. You can check this view to see how all your campaigns are currently set in terms of

  • Daily budget
  • Language
  • Location targeting
  • Networks ads are currently running on (Google Search, Display Network, Youtube, etc).
  • Schedule
  • Bid strategy

If you’re trying to make changes in this view and getting confused, click through to the campaign you’d like to adjust. Some settings, like Budget, can be adjusted in this global view, but most need to be edited within the Settings tab for a particular campaign.

Once you’ve clicked through to a campaign, you can get really granular. This is where you’re able to set targeting by income and interests – explore these options when setting your location targeting. Click through each of the Locations, Ad Schedule, and Devices tabs at the top of the Settings window to access all your options. This is also where you’ll set a tracking template to add parameters to URLs and use a call tracking system or other advanced tracking options.

How to Use Negative Keywords

Negative keywords can seem a little complicated. How is it that you’re setting a group of terms that you don’t want your ads to come up for? Well, it all comes down to similar phrases that don’t actually apply to your services. For example, if you provide porcelain Lumineers, you don’t want to come up for searches for “Lumineers band,” where searchers are actually looking for the popular music group. This is also a great way to disqualify leads before they make it to your website, such as those looking for “free dental work.”

It’s easier to set negative keywords once you’ve been running ads for a month or two. You can check the keywords by clicking the Keywords tab in the main menu, and clicking Keywords again in the sub-menu (you’ll notice that Negative Keywords is right next to it – we’ll get to that in a second.

Here, you can browse the keyword phrases that have triggered your ads. By checking the number of clicks against conversions, and using some common sense, you can figure out which keywords aren’t a good match for your practice.

Once you have a list ready, click through to the Negative Keywords menu and add the keywords. You can do this at the ad group level or campaign level, depending on how specific your keywords and ad groups are.

Ready to implement these tips but not sure where to begin? Get in touch for expert PPC guidance!

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danger box illustrating mobile pop up penalty from Google

With 2016 reigning large as the year of indecipherable algorithm updates, it was almost refreshing to hear about its clearly delineated “intrusive interstitials” penalty. In August of 2016, Google announced that it would begin rolling this out in early 2017. The guidelines were fairly clear (at least at first glance) – mobile site designs with obnoxious pop-ups or overlays that interfered with the user experience would experience penalties.

Now that we’re past the update rollout, we’re left wondering: what happened, exactly? The uncertainty comes from the lack of penalties faced by even sites with problematic pop-ups. Webmasters are reporting little to no impact on rankings, no matter the state of their interstitials. So is it time to learn back and relax? Not quite.

As always with SEO, we want to be proactive. Learning more about what kind of design practices Google is trying to dissuade (and why they’re cracking down on pop-ups) is a perfect intermediary activity while we wait for the full effects to take hold. Read on for what this could mean for your dental website.

What Google Does – And Doesn’t – Want You to Serve Your Website Visitors

Pop-ups are useful for many different reasons – announcing flash sales or other eCommerce opportunities, presenting visitors with a newsletter or eBook signup, or providing live chat support. But the ways in which each website provides this content can vary wildly. There’s an unbelievable difference between a respectful pop-up that can be easily closed, and one that blocks out all navigation and refuses to budge until you’ve promised it your firstborn child.

This is doubly true on mobile. The screen you’re working with is a small one – there’s just not enough real estate there to allow for both pop-ups and navigability. This is why Google is taking this newest step in its battle to make the internet a higher-quality, user-driven experience. As the ruler of all we do (lest we make a misstep and be banished to the long-distance rankings tier), Google is working harder and harder to make websites more friendly. If the user is irritated, Google isn’t going to look fondly on that domain.

The intrusive interstitials rule doesn’t outlaw pop-ups entirely – rather, it dictates their size and their annoyingness factor. Take a look at the graphic below to see Google’s official statement on the update:

In short, as long as the pop-ups don’t detract from navigation or cover the content that the user is hoping to access, they’re ok. We’ve seen live chat providers change chat boxes from mid-screen and floating to a small ribbon at the bottom of the mobile browser.

Why Do Dental Websites Benefit from Pop-Ups?

Wondering why any healthcare professionals like yourself would be using pop-ups? In truth, live chat features are becoming more and more popular on medical websites. This is a great way to capture leads who aren’t quite ready to fill out a contact form, but are interested in learning more about your practice. Many chat providers are fairly inexpensive and will provide basic information to the user before forwarding their inquiry and information to your front desk.

More competitive practices like med spas and cosmetic dentists can also make good use of pop-ups to provide newsletter access. Lock visitors into your email campaigns, and you have a much higher chance of re-engagement (and future business) down the road.

Whether your site design currently makes use of interstitials or not, the pros and cons are plenty. Overall, pop-ups can be a useful tool for engaging site visitors at the beginning of the buyer’s journey – just make sure those pop-ups don’t annoy them along the way.

Looking for help with your site design? Worrying that your website interface isn’t pulling in leads the way it should? Reach out today for a complimentary website evaluation. We’d love to help you move forward & take your practice to the next level!

holiday gift card showing marketing options for dentistsDuring the holiday seasons, your opportunities for online marketing explode. But you need to plan ahead to take advantage of the opportunity. It’s not too late for a boost to December business – follow our tips below to get some new patients into the office before the new year. The best part? This won’t take a ton of effort on your office’s part – just make sure to set aside a little time this week and you’ll see the results come January 1!

Easy Holiday Dental Marketing

  • Try out holiday specials – Some of the most popular specials tend to revolve around whitening or new patient exams – and you can stay along these lines. Just make sure to tie in the season to your offerings. December has plenty of opportunities for gift purchasing (and receiving), and January 1 brings a new year and resolutions for self-improvement. Patients hoping to give their health a little more attention or to brighten or straighten their smiles will be very responsive to special pricing. You don’t have to promise enormous discounts, but make sure to promote your specials as if they’re the best ones available and patients will respond in kind. Use social media to connect with your current followers; tag any relevant brands and hashtag treatments to grow your reach.
  • Don’t forget to update your hours online – This might not seem super important, but prospective (and current) patients take note. The holidays bring special closures that aren’t consistent with your typical hours. If a patient is trying to reach you, they’ll appreciate seeing that you’re closed as soon as they pull up your listing on Google. Not sure how to change your hours? Google My Business is one of the easiest (and most important) places to make an adjustment – follow their instructions for setting special hours and you’ll be all set. Including some kind of note on the contact page of your website is also a good idea – ask your web developer for help.
  • Offer giftable treatment options or packages – Like we mentioned, December brings droves of frantic searchers looking for the perfect gift. Why shouldn’t that gift be of the dental variety? Packages for teeth whitening, Botox or dermal fillers, or other cosmetic treatments are incredibly appealing and offer a special opportunity for buyers to go above and beyond in their gift-giving. Bundle units of Botox or whitening + Botox for smile and skin-boosting opportunities.
  • Tweak your PPC wording to fit the season – One positive of PPC advertising is that it’s always out there doing its job, with or without your input. But this makes it all too easy to forget to update your ad text. Whether or not you’re offering holiday specials, frame services with the time of the year in mind. This will help your ad listings stand out, even among a sea of local options. It’s always better to be specific, no matter what you’re marketing.
  • Use the new year wisely – Now is the time to get patients in the office. The start of a new year is a unique time when we’re all taking a look back at what we accomplished in the prior 12 months. Send out appointment reminders to patients who haven’t made it in since early 2016, or didn’t make it in at all. Now’s the period when they’ll be especially motivated to make positive changes to their lives – and they may have resolutions to get their teeth cleaner and healthier moving forward.

Holiday Marketing Help for Dental Practices

Looking for a little assistance fine-tuning your practice as we head into 2017? We’d love to be a part of your marketing team – just get in touch for details on how we could power up your online presence.

Holiday Dental Marketing | Dental Marketing During the Holidays | Dental Marketing Tips

taking a photo with a smartphone to create content for dental marketingPromoting your practice can be as easy as pulling out your smartphone!

How’s your practice’s social media presence? Do you post on a regular schedule, or just when you remember to, or have you lost the password to your Facebook account? No matter your current approach, there’s probably room to improve your patient engagement. Social media might seem frivolous, but it’s become a driving force for small businesses. Many patients actually ask questions and even schedule appointments via Facebook – if they can find your office’s page. But how do you make sure you’re out in front of current and prospective patients?

Don’t get overwhelmed by the social media machine. The practices with the most engaged followings are the ones posting personalized photos and other content that relates to the individuals connected to the office – both staff and patients. While an educational, eye-catching infographic or a goofy comic can go a long way, patients want to feel a connection to your practice’s community. And that means thinking about online content during the workday.

This doesn’t have to be tedious or time-consuming. By putting some steps in place, getting valuable photos, blurbs, testimonials, and other social media (and website) gold will feel second nature.

 Capturing Your Office’s Personality in the Digital Realm

  • Make posting simple – First off, you need to make sure that it’s easy to connect with your social platforms. Make sure the staff member responsible for gathering content has the Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram apps on their phone. For Facebook, they can be added as a user to your business page, and then post while logged into their own personal account. For Twitter, it’s simple to add multiple users if they already have a private account, and switch between the two – Instagram is the same. This will all make it easy to upload photos and videos, since everything will be ready ahead of time – there’s no reason not to share!
  • Take before and after photos – Have a release form on hand that patients can quickly sign after completing cosmetic or restorative work. Snap a picture before they get started, and one after treatment is complete. Then, upload both photos in a single post or tweet so that visitors can see your beautiful work. These are also crucial for your website – after posting, forward them to your website manager and ask that they add to the Smile Gallery page.
  • Capture fun moments – Is it a staff member’s birthday? Is there a puppy stopping by the office? Satisfied patient sent flowers or a thank you note? Take a quick photo and share online. Your audience will appreciate seeing the human side of your business, and these types of posts receive far more engagement (likes, shares, and comments) than others.
  • List events – If there’s something special coming up, make sure everyone knows. It’s always good to be on a patient’s mind and appearing in their social feeds. Plus, this helps pull in RSVP’s for open houses or sign ups for specials.
  • Ask happy patients to be in brief videos – When a patient has loved their experience at your office, they’re usually thrilled to be a voice for your practice. Ask patients if they’re interested in being in a quick video testimonial. Have some questions ready ahead of time so that they have necessary guidance.

If you’re ever looking for help with your social media, we’re here to offer expert tips. Just get in touch!

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