9.6.13 Issue #600 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Take Your Practice on the Campaign Trail
By Sally McKenzie, CEO

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Ours is a “campaign” culture - political campaigns, military campaigns, advertising campaigns, educational campaigns, and the list goes on. You’ve likely been involved with a few campaigns of your own over the years, but how familiar are you with “search campaigns”? Simply put, a “search campaign” is an effort to ensure that when patients are searching online for a dental practice using popular search engines such as Google, yours appears at or near the top of the first page.

As you probably know from your own Internet search experiences, placement is critical. Those products, services, and businesses that are listed high on that first page are likely to be the links that you click on first to learn more. The same is true of patients who turn to the Internet to find a dentist or to learn more about you when a friend has recommended your office.

If you search for your practice online, where does it appear in that list? How do you improve its placement? This is where your “search campaign” comes in. The first step is to ensure that your practice website is optimized. Search engine optimization, or SEO as it is often referred, is the process of improving your website’s “organic” or natural visibility on search engines. The listings are ranked according to what the search engine considers to be most relevant to users.

If you take the effort up a notch by integrating a social media campaign, such as creating a Facebook page and adding a weekly blog to your website, the likelihood that your practice will appear higher in the search engine listings increases exponentially. Search engines like what they interpret to be “fresh” or new content, thus your site is more likely to rank higher if it appears to be active. It’s not just a website that has been sitting dormant since 2009.

As for Facebook, as I discussed in last week’s article, this is where people are gathering. It’s important to note that your practice’s Facebook page must be a “business” page and not a personal Facebook page. What’s the difference? On your personal page, you have “friends” and you see what they post on their status updates as you scroll down your “newsfeed.” Your business page is different in that patients and others can “Like” your page, and they can post comments on your page. When they “Like” your page, essentially they are giving your practice permission to appear in their daily newsfeed. And that means you can post practice-related news, information, and updates on your business Facebook page that are seen by those who “Like” your page. Thus, the more people who “Like” your page, the more people your practice can engage.

Once you have created your business Facebook page that reflects your practice’s brand, it’s important to maintain your practice’s social media presence. That means posting something of interest at least once a week. Sesame Communications offers dental offices 365 days of posts that they can copy and paste directly into their own Facebook accounts. You can plan your posts according to the calendar, such as new school year reminders for parents, holiday greetings and the like. Your posts might also include individual accomplishments, such as completion of a marathon or participating in a community volunteer effort. If your team dresses up for Halloween, a photo of the group makes for a fun post that is sure to get multiple “Likes.” And the more “Likes” your page attracts, the more likely your practice is to appear higher on the search engine listings.

One of the most effective means of generating “Likes” is to offer a sweepstakes. Sweepstakes are jet fuel for your social media strategy. Sesame Sweepstakes drives in particular have the potential to attract a lot of attention to your Facebook page. Consider the numbers below, which reflect an average sweepstakes drive:

  • 217% increase in “Likes”
  • 30% of contest participants are not active patients
  • 238 new “Likes” during the initial sweepstakes
  • 21 Facebook recommendations
  • 4 appointment requests
When you combine a fully optimized website, a practice blog and an active social media strategy, the results of your practice’s search campaign can be powerful. According to Sesame Communications, practices with three Sesame search services receive an average of 93 calls per month with 21 specifically identified as new patients. With numbers like that, maybe it’s time your practice hit the search campaign trail.

For more information on this topic, visit my blog: The Lighter Side

Interested in speaking to me about your practice concerns? Email sallymck@mckenziemgmt.com
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