Okay, very good. Let’s move on to question number ten.
What is the best way to use the Internet as a marketing tool?
Daniel Bobrow: Well, the Internet has Arrived, and will continue to grow in importance, both as a patient communication and new patient marketing tool. When it first came on the scene, I remember 10 years ago [in 1997] we were beginning to hear rumblings about the Internet. I thought it was E-mail. I had no clue.
You can find anything on the Internet now. But it is becoming very important and even the direct mail strategies we employ and recommend are used to feed in to the Internet. We prominently feature the practice’s website address on all of our mailings, which is called a bricks to clicks strategy. It’s conventional marketing used to generate interest in the website.
You certainly want them to call your office, but it’s also very nice that people have a means to first check you out comfortably from their home or office, and we want to make sure that the message and the images we’re sharing on your website are an accurate and compelling portrayal of what web surfers may expect from you as your patient. Remember this: you can have a wonderful web presence, but if no one can find it, it (and you) are going to be a very well kept secret.
So this is where, as I mentioned, direct mail can come in. But also Internet marketing strategies, and people’s ability to find a website really depend upon how the website is structured, and promoted to the search engines robots, or bots. It’s internal pages actually play a critical role in getting cataloged by search engines, and that’s what translates into high ranking and visibility.
The site needs to be what they call ‘optimized’ by keywords and phrases. If you’re in Chicago you want to say ‘Chicago dentist’ or ‘Chicago cosmetic dentist’ or ‘Lincoln Park dentist’ or other specialties, whatever the case may be. Because that’s what people are going to be using to find you, that how your site needs to be optimized. As I mentioned earlier, another key to using the Internet is to be sure your office is collecting E-mail addresses from all new, current, and prospective patients, and that these E-mail addresses feed in to your internal marketing system. That’s an incredibly low cost and effective way to keep in front of your patients.
Dr. Frank Wolf: I have to say it’s no cost.
Daniel Bobrow: Yes, well, it’s no cost once it’s up and running. There’s an investment to be trained and sometimes to acquire the tools. But it’s incredibly low cost and over the long-term it’s zero. You’re right.
Dr. Frank Wolf: I have to say this: If you’re taking somebody’s name and their address and their phone number, and any other pertinent information, it doesn’t take you any more time to ask a patient for their E-mail address, or have it as part of an intake form, or part of the hygiene update, medical update.
Daniel Bobrow: Absolutely not. But my only point, Frank, is to do it right you may want to invest a little in some software and training.
Dr. Frank Wolf: Got it.
Daniel Bobrow: Because it’s garbage in, garbage out. Once the information is in there, I’d want to know about the age of the person, their family situation, their birth date, what treatment was presented. Because then you can parse, segment, and mine your database. That takes time and a little money.
Dr. Frank Wolf: And most practice management software has that in it, so that’s actually the part of Internet marketing that I see the most leverage from.
Daniel Bobrow: Very exciting, yes.
Dr. Frank Wolf: Being able to communicate with existing patients. Letting them know what’s happening in your office on a frequent basis. Just touching base with them and to be able to personalize correspondence, especially events – birthdays, anniversaries, treatment completion, follow-up, post-op – there’s just so much you can do with communicating care and concern and interest with your patients through the Internet.
Daniel Bobrow: That’s right. And it’s a great marketing tool – not just for enrolling new patients. It’s also a very useful tool to streamline and make more efficient your operations. You can communicate. Patients can communicate with you if they have a question about a procedure or an appointment time. New patients can even be given the option of enrolling, filling out forms online that they don’t have to duplicate and take time themselves or from the practice while in the reception area.
Dr. Frank Wolf: Right. And I think when most people hear the word marketing or marketing tool, how to use the Internet as a marketing tool, they’re thinking of new patients. I think there’s some shortsightedness without seeing the immense opportunities of marketing to your existing patients. And again, marketing is nothing more, as far as I’m concerned, than developing relationships with people and working those relationships deep.
That concludes the questions. I hope you found this information interesting and valuable.
Danny, thank you so much for being on the call. I wish you much success and I hope our paths cross again soon.
Daniel Bobrow: They will in the Grand Canyon in about 6 months!
by Danny Bobrow