Marketing Tag Archive

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Dentist Marketing Ideas: New Way to Track ROI

As a consultant, one of the first things I normally do with a new client is to work with the front desk team to set up a system to track new patient referral sources. This often requires making sure the health history includes a question about referring, the front desk team asks new patients on their initial call – and we set up a report at end of month to look at every new patient missing a referral so we can fill in the blanks. It works, but as you can see, it requires some effort.

Recently, I was introduced to a new company that has developed technology that allows you to track your marketing efforts and skip the heavy lifting by the administrative team. They shared some ideas on marketing tracking that I thought you may find helpful.

Dental Marketing ROI (Return On Investment) – How Marketing Tracking Can Help Grow Your Practice

The only real way to keep your marketing budget in check, while increasing your new patient flow and growing your practice, is to make smart, fact-based marketing decisions. Making these decisions requires good data.

The key to having good data is meticulously tracking your marketing ROI. But before you can track your marketing ROI you have to understand what marketing ROI is and how it is measured.

Marketing ROI is made up of 3 components

  1. Incoming leads
  2. New patients
  3. Revenues

It is important to remember that incoming leads that do not turn into patients may seem like failures which should not be included in your measurement of ROI, but they can be very useful as indicators of other problems.

For example, the yellow pages ad you have been running for years may seem like it is not generating any revenue if you only measure it by surveying patients who come in and pay for service. If no one reports that the ad brought them in then your inclination would be to discontinue the ad. What this method of reporting doesn’t account for is that perhaps many potential patients saw the ad, called, and were turned away by an underperforming staff member at the front desk.

So, how do you track this marketing ROI?

How do you track the leads, the patients and the revenue?

How do you track the callers to be sure your staff is converting leads?

Some dental practices work to track ROI, for example:

  • Surveying patients on the phone and in person
  • Google reports
  • Reports from the practice management system
  • Spreadsheets
  • Paper files
  • The dreaded and ever growing pile of sticky notes

The problem with these methods is that now your staff has even more work to worry about, they may forget, or they may write something down incorrectly. Even more importantly, patient responses are in the moment and are often incorrect. You don’t really know where the patients are coming from.

A great example is pay per click online marketing. A patient may have clicked one of your pay per click ads online, made their way to your website, and then called your front desk to schedule an appointment. When they call in they may tell your staff that they found you “online” or “through your website.” Through no fault of your staff, or the patient, you will never know that it was really your pay per click ad that drew the patient to you.

A new solution to accurately track marketing ROI is an automated tracking software like Local Patient ROI.

Local Patient ROI is a fully automated system that connects to your dental practice management system and tracks your new patient leads, new patients, and revenues from each of your individual marketing campaigns. ROI can track virtually any form of marketing that you may be using at your practice. Direct mail, newspaper, TV, radio, PPC, SEO, SEM, blog posts, webinars, patient referrals, etc.

Through the use of tracking numbers and form tracking on your website Local Patient ROI is able to match new patients against records in your practice management system and produce a live, easy to read dashboard that will finally allow you make smart, efficient marketing decisions for your practice. Even better, your staff doesn’t need to manually input ANY information once the tracking is up and running. This leaves you and your team free to focus on the patient.


You can see a sample of the Local Patient ROI dashboard here. This shows that $1.1 million in revenue has been tracked from the variety of marketing programs this practice has invested in. It also shows the number of leads and new patients.

We can see that this practice has two specific marketing programs: the website and postcards (old and new). We can see the leads and patients documented clearly – along with the revenue generated by each. Easy to see what is working here!

When you know exactly how many leads, and patients that yellow pages ad produced yesterday, last week, last month, or last year it becomes much easier to decide if you should re-buy the ad or discontinue that spend. Furthermore, as an added advantage, Local Patient ROI provides call recording which gives you a training tool to ensure that you convert your leads into patients. When you see a campaign has generated many leads but very few converted to patients, this is a great time to listen to those calls to get to the root of the problem.

If you are marketing without using call recording to monitor and train your staff then no amount of good marketing will solve your problem. Making your front desk staff an active part of your marketing program by focusing on lead conversion will magnify the results of any marketing campaign you invest in. Automated ROI tracking allows you make confident, accurate decisions that drive revenue and new patients up, while pushing costs down. It also frees up your staff to spend time with patients, and it allows you to market successfully.

Request a Demo

If you’re interested in checking out the Local Patient ROI software that automatically tracks the referral source for each new patient and provides an easy to read dashboard to show you how much each marketing program is producing for you, then request a demo. Local Patient ROI is offering a discount of $96/month for anyone who follows this link: Request a Demo.


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Marketing Really IS Everything


Today on my way to picking up hubby from his dialysis treatment I saw an excellent example of what is meant by Marketing really is everything! We live in a large city with many apartment complexes and having been an Apartment Manager for several years, I know that keeping them in “full occupancy” can become quite a challenge.

I had been noticing two apartment complexes in particular that were across the street from each other. Both had put out small yard signs in an effort to bring in some new tenants. The complex on the left had 3 signs out and each sign listed a different amenity:

  1. Beautiful Hardwood Flooring
  2. All Stainless Steel Appliances
  3. Granite Counter Tops

The complex on the right also had 3 signs out however, they all 3 were the same:

  1. Stop In Today
  2. Stop In Today
  3. Stop In Today

Consumers today are very busy and no matter what they are looking for they want the information instantly. With that said, what’s one of the first things a person wonders about when they are looking for a place to live? What’s going to be included.

Riding down the road and passing these two apartment complexes, you already know the apartments on the left have beautiful hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances, and granite counter tops!! What do you know about what the complex on the right offers? Nothing!

Just this simple marketing technique had already set them apart from the apartment complex across the street and many others. It’s highly competitive out there today! No matter what type of business you’re in, you have to find a way to successfully set yourself apart from the rest of the competition. Read  Livvie’s advice on How to Set Yourself Apart from Everyone Else

Now if you’re one of those saying “Livvie, there’s not anything unique about me, I’m just like everyone else”, let me say this:

You have more right there at your fingertips than you realize. You are a very unique person. No one else has your skill set, your experiences, your way of viewing situations and solving problems in your niche.

You are the only one with your skill set and experiences! It’s the quickest way to set yourself apart and the least expensive, because it’s all right there at your fingertips.

Your competition can’t bring to the table what you have to offer. How can you apply this to you and your business? By creating something that your viewers/clients can’t get anywhere else but from you.

It doesn’t matter if there are hundreds of people doing what you do, they are not you! Don’t forget that.

Simple Action Step:

Create your systems using your uniqueness, experiences, and skill sets. Then focus on being seen as a client-focused business. Most clients are willing to spend more when receiving quality service. This also sets you apart by putting you in a position above your competitors and will allow you to even charge more for your services. I’d love to hear how you are setting yourself apart from your competition. Right now, go to Reply and start typing.

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What makes a sign GREAT!


Our research shows that 44% of the people on the floor have become aware of a new business because of signage. One of the keys to effective signing is that Attendees walking down a given aisle only have a 20 degree cone of visibility. This means that signage that is parallel to the aisle is 50% less likely to be visible to Attendees as they pass-by the booth. Good signage is placed at an angle to the aisle so that it has a higher propensity of being seen by Attendees as they walk the floor.

Based on the average 3 mph speed which Attendees move at, signage using 3 to 6 inch block letters and three to five words in length, have proven to be the best in visual impressions of 10 to 20 seconds. Signage with accent color schemes to call out special information has proven to be 78% more effective in promoting reader retention than signage that does not utilize accent color schemes. The best color schemes to use are black letters on a yellow background, black letters on a white background, yellow letters on a black background or white letters on a blue background.

To watch a short video about signage click the play button.

The book: Design and Typographic Principles for the Visual Novice spells out four basics of effective graphic design:

  • CONTRAST: If the elements (type, color, size, line thicknesses, shape, space, etc.) are not the same, then make them verdifferent.
  • REPETITION: Repeating visual elements helps develop the organization and strengthen the sense of unity.
  • ALIGNMENT: Nothing should be placed on the sign arbitrarily. Every element should have some visual connection with another element on the sign.
  • PROXIMITY: Items relating to each other should be grouped close together.

There are four fundamental purposes of signage:

  1. Directional or Way Finding.
  2. Information/Education Delivery.
  3. Promotional Action.
  4. Recognition/Reward.

First: Directional or Way Finding

This is the most familiar type of signage as it is commonly used for way finding or to provide logistical information. As a person drives down the road looking for the airport a sign with a picture of an airplane and an arrow is a welcomed sight. When it comes to directional signage, the old adage “less is more” is true. Here, symbols can be used as a mechanism for thought, and this important reality applies for all signage purposes.

Through symbols, such as images, icons, or wordmarks, people are also able to create meaning and form valuable experiences.

In addition, the ability to use symbols allows people to store information in memory that can be used to drive behavior.

(Directional signage should be simple.)

Research indicates that much of thinking is linguistically based, and that there is a correlation between cognitive development and language acquisition. The most effective directional signs for all cultures, classes, races, religions and all humanity across all boundaries use symbols such as an icon or picture, (e.g. an arrow). Typically the more Exhibitors use standardized symbols instead of words the better off they are, it is that simple.


   Airport               No Left             Turn Toilet

Second: Information/Education Delivery

(This depth of information is necessary for credibility in specific venues.)

This is the biggest signage category as it encompasses most of the internal value streams, and it is an extremely effective mechanism in the awareness building phase. Any and all data, specifications, uses of a product, how to use information, where to get it, what the prices are and related education elements are part of awareness building. These value streams are, again, most efficient when done with as little text as possible. At a minimum, 30% of the sign space should be blank in order to provide enough open “white space.” If the signage is all the same and/or has too much text without white space it can become difficult to read. Signage with too much print can often result in a “blur affect” which occurs when there is so much text without white space that the signage becomes difficult, even impossible to read.

Adding more space makes the signage easier to read and consequently allows the Attendee to receive your message.

(What is this sign saying? It was supposed to mean “no strollers allowed”.)

The goal of this type of signage is to quickly convey some information or educational content to Attendees.

If the content projected is coded (into symbols) they can then be used as a motivator for future action. It is important to develop intrinsic signage as a mechanism to overcome objections. For example, if people object to buying a product because they have never heard of it, then the signage should say” four out of five dentists choose Crest”, if it is a new product try “introducing our new extruder max available at your local hardware store” or “widget service launched in May 2010”. If they don’t buy because they think a company doesn’t have good distribution, a sign showing global channels of distribution by locations with connecting lines would really help Attendees to see that an Exhibitor could readily serve their global needs. Often, these signs are not directional in nature. For example, a “no smoking” sign informs people that they cannot smoke in this area, but it does not direct them to areas where smoking is acceptable.

Third: Promotional Action

Promotional signage is used to generate a defined call to action regarding an event, activity, product or service offering which makes it ideal for the preference phase. Unlike an intrinsic sign, the call to action is by nature, directly or implicitly, participation or conversion oriented. Examples of this type of signage might be something that says “try our new drill press today,” “attend the president’s banquet,” “sign up for next year’s event today,” “take advantage of our show special”. This form of signage is designed to create an emotion in order to drive a physical response or call to action. For example this next sign is attempting to draw dentists into practicing in the Northwestern United States by connecting to their emotional appreciation for the wilderness and outdoor lifestyle just minutes from the city.

(Notice the strong call to “come practice”.)

Fourth: Recognition / Reward

This type of signage is used to identify the contributions of a person and/or entity which make it an ideal mechanism for subgroup building. Often it involves some sort of “thank you” message for the time, treasures or talents of the person or entity being recognized. They can also be lists of Customers (using branded icons) who currently use the products thanking them for their commitment to the company. This can be helpful in creating bonds between the members and building a sense of community. It can also recognize the “local heroes”. Local heroes are necessary for the growth and nurturing of a community because it gives Attendees someone to look up to and aspire to be like. These are the kindred spirits who ventured out into the frontier and mapped the way for others. These are the people who fought the fight and paved the way or who rose from nothing to become the leaders today. These are also the people who give back to the subculture.


(This signage promotes the global community of the event)

Often these four types are used in combinations; for example, a sign may have directional information that guides an Attendee to an educational session while simultaneously recognizing the company that sponsored the educational session.

Or a sign may have a recognition piece such as a brief statement about someone donating a large sum of money to research which will be performed by a drug company who also uses the sign to show a promotional piece about the cutting edge new research they are performing. Or it might combine information about some innovative humanitarian efforts with recognition of the supporters like th water for children sign on the next page (who wouldn’t want their name on this support list?).


(Recognition creates a desire to belong.)


(Who wouldn’t want to support unifying causes like this?)

Some shows like the True Value Hardware Show and the American Association of Criticalcare Nurses use signs that recognize Attendees by highlighting their success stories from the show along with directional information to the booth that helped them. They have a picture of a store owner with information telling how he saved 20% on his paint by implementing a system he saw in booth number 1105 at the show. This recognizes the Attendees and injects soulful social capital. It also promotes the show by providing clear examples of the benefits of actively attending.

(Recognition creates local heroes. Nice job!)

Good signage motivates a response. It moves people to perform specific predetermined “call to action” behaviors. However, never ask a sign to do too much. The more things you try to do with a sign the more difficult it is for the Attendee to receive the essential message. It also makes it difficult for Attendees to execute the appropriate response. For more examples of good and bad signage please visit our website.


(A strong call to action.)

With that in mind, take a look at the booth signage and ask yourself what the signage is accomplishing. Ask if it is brief and to the point where necessary. Make sure the message and the branding match. Identify how to use symbols like pictures and icons optimally. See if you can cut the text down and keep it all consistent. Signage and displays should be self-serve and should express the soul of the company clearly in harmony with your Target Attendee. At the awareness building phase signage messaging should provide the intrinsic value stream of information to Target Attendees in order to help achieve goals and objectives. If a company is brand new the signage should clearly tell who they are and what they do in order to establish the brand. If creating awareness about a merger provide a list of the five benefits of the merger. Include pictures of all the products that can now be purchased together.


(Textures show the range of offering.)

A booth space with the correctly focused signage and graphics can create a great lasting first impression.


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Marketing 101: Be Unique to Make your Dental Practice Stand Out


Your brand is not just a logo – it is commonly defined as your customer’s experience with your dental office. A brand is what your customers think of you and IS a reflection of everything you do: the way you send emails, your website, your Tweets, how you describe your business, and the logo on your business cards. It’s a complex mixture of feelings and personalities that make your customers love your work.

Therefore, your first plan of action should be to make define the difference that makes your practice unique, then create your identity pieces to coordinate. Here are some specifics on how to accomplish a successful and unique brand.

Step One – Determining your Brand’s Identity

First you have to define your market position – the features of your office or services that makes you different – also known as your Unique Sales Position. What follows is to create pieces such as a logo, business cards, website, and other marketing materials that are representations of that position.

For example if your dental practice specializes in state of the art surgery, your website would seem more credible with images of a sleek and shiny dental tools and equipment. An image of a dental chair with a retro dental chair in an old school setting would be contradictory and create brand confusion for your potential clients.

Your dental practice will need a logo, tagline and color scheme to define its professional identity online. Fortunately there are some online resources that can help you do just that –

Kuler is a website that includes some beautiful color schemes that you can use to create your brand’s identity

Logo Pond has an impressive collection of logos. Click on the search option at the top right corner for immediate results and search for “dentist” for immediate results.

Step Two – Your Letterhead and Business Card

Once you have created an online identity for your brand, the next step would be to use certain resources to produce a physical expressions of your brand. You cannot afford to be cheap with your marketing, be sure to hire a professional designer – a professional designer will have a considerable amount of experience creating business cards so it is best that you hire their services instead of trying to design these items yourself. Your business card, like your online identity will be what your clients will associate your dental practice with. This in turn will have a bearing on your status as a professional service.

Offer your clients an elegant, thick letterhead, business cards, or appointment reminder cards that gives them a tactile experience of high quality and contrasts with all of the digital contact that is increasingly common.

Here are a few places to find inspiration for business cards:

  • Flickr Art of Business Card Pool and Inspiredology simply give you a pool of images of business cards.
  • Corporate Identity Designs and All Graphic Design have images of sets of cards, letterhead and envelopes to give you ideas of how to put it all together

Market your dental practice by investing in items that will help you express your unique position and be memorable. Spending time thinking abut your branding is a valuable exercise that can reveal and redefine your business to be best positioned to set your dental practice apart. It is never just the logo or business card and should always consider the overall customer experience you want to offer.

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e-Reminders Reduce Missed Appointments

No one needs to tell you that time is money and nothing undermines your practice productivity more than missed appointments. The good news here is that technology, when properly implemented, can reduce your practice no-shows substantially. E-reminders, that is reminders sent via email and/or text message, are much more effective and less costly than postcards and phone calls. Furthermore, most patients actually prefer electronic reminder to phone calls.

How does an e-reminder system work?

There are a multitude of solutions providers to help your practice implement e-reminders, but here is a typical process with recall appointments.

  1. When your patient checks out for their current cleaning appointment and schedules their 6 month recall, they will receive a “Save the Date” email immediately. This email increases the probability of the patient adding the appointment to their personal calendar.
  2. A week before the appointment, the patient will get an automatic email reminder and/or text message reminder.
  3. The day before the appointment, the patient will get an automatic email reminder and/or text message reminder.
  4. The day of the appointment, the patient will get a final text message reminder.

Naturally, most systems allow you to customize the time-frame parameters and frequency of e-reminders as well as default to a phone call system when you do not have the patient’s email address or a phone number that accepts text messages. The biggest advantage of most of these systems is they are implemented automatically by your service provider. That means that your staff will not need to spend time running reports, making phone calls or printing reminder cards and can focus on tasks that require their personal touch.  Not only are e-reminder systems more effective than phone calls, they are much less costly.

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