10 ways to get a patient referral

Posted on by Neil Sanderson

Social Media For Your Dental Practice

social media for your dental practiceFirst of all can I dispel one myth that many social media guru's promote when it comes to social media for your dental practice!

Unless you are very lucky or happen to say the right thing at the right time, social media will not drive thousands of new patients to you! So why should you use social media for dental practice?

32 million people in the UK use Facebook. That's half the population and according to the latest statistics most of them spend around 30 minutes per day on Facebook which means that half of your patients are on this platform alone for a good portion of the day.

In addition to Facebook 15 million people use Twitter and 14 million use Instagram. So it's as simple as this you just have to be there you need social media for your dental practice.

There is no magic formula to marketing its as simple as this. The more people that know about you, the more people will use your services

Utilising social media for your dental practice is just another way to put yourself on the map. It gives you a chance to tell people what you do. It gives you the opportunity to engage with your patients and potential patients and yes it may well get you new patients too.

So just what are the do's and don'ts when it comes to social media for your dental practice?

Do's and Don'ts

Firstly don't post adverts. This is the biggest turn off for social media users. If you want to advertise use Facebook's advertising platform which is excellent and everyone knows it's an advert.

Secondly don't continually nag your readers about dental hygiene. Or what to eat and not eat. People don't like being lectured to, whether or not its in their best interest.

Your posts should be engaging, funny, always have images and should not always be about dentistry.

Don't keep the same theme, mix it about. Have different photographs on every post. Just think about what you share with your friends and relatives when you see an interesting post.

Remember social media for your dental practice is all about being social.

Ideally post as often as possible. Our social media service posts for you five days per week, which is a good number.

Always respond when someone asks a question on your social media platform.

I'm often asked this question "how can I stop people leaving negative reviews on my Facebook page"? The simple answer is you can't, but if you are really concerned about this you can turn off the review section of your Facebook page.

Search Engine Optimisation

One of the biggest and least known reasons for using social media for your dental practice is to boost your website's ranking. You should always put a link to your website on every post you create. Google will pick up on this and normally moves your website up the rankings the more social media links you have.

We post for you five days per week. If you would like to know more about our social media service, call me on 01767 626 398. Visit our website at Dentalmarketingexpert.co.uk. You can visit our Facebook or Twitter pages too. Or you can email me at sales@dentalmarketingexpert.co.uk


Posted on by Neil Sanderson

Increase Your Facebook Likes

Facebook likesGetting patients and potential patients you "like" your page has always been difficult. So how can you increase your Facebook likes without paying Facebook?

Well there are the obvious methods, such as having a sign or two in your practice with the Facebook logo on it and say "please like us on Facebook".

You can ask your receptionist to remind your patients that you have a Facebook page. Ask if they would "like" you the next time they are on-line. There is also another more discreet way to increase your Facebook likes. This is how you do it, it's very simple really.

Getting Likes

First of all find all the companies who sell goods and services to the public in your area. So long as these companies don't compete with you it can quite literally be anyone. For instance it could be the local cafe, florist, gym, beauty spa, local clubs like cricket clubs, football clubs etc. etc. The more people who like their pages the better for you.

They need to be in the same catchment areas as you, because you want to attract the same people, who are likely to become your patients.

Then go onto their business page as your business page (not your personal profile) and "like" their page. Ideally you want to be liking pages that have as many likes as possible, so go for the bigger ones first.

You will then start to see their posts in your timeline and this is where the magic starts.

All you need to do is comment on their posts. Always ensure that you don't ever advertise, and always be complimentary about their post. Try and make your comment as topical as possible. For instance don't just say you agree, or say that's nice etc. You need to look as though you really are empathising and have read their posts

This will increase your Facebook likes simply because whenever you put a comment about their post you are immediately being put in front of all the people who have "liked" their page too.

As well as this the company that you are being complimentary to will see this and will hopefully like you back. This gives you even more reach and stature in the local community.

Just a few minutes per day

Doing this every day will only take you a few minutes. It will increase your Facebook likes quicker than any other way, with the exception of paying Facebook to do it for you.

If you would like to market your dental practice but don't know how. Call me on 01767 626 398. Email me at enquiries@dentalmarketingexpert.co.uk. Visit the website at www.dentalmarketingexpert.co.uk or check out our Facebook page


Posted on by Neil Sanderson

Introducing The Complete Digital Marketing System

The digital marketing system

It would be great wouldn't it, if all you had to do was create a website for your dental practice and forget about it. New patients would flock to your door and your existing patients would tell you just how much they enjoyed the content on your site.

Unfortunately that isn't how things happen in the real world, if you don't actively promote your site it will simply be a waste of your money. This is why you need a digital marketing system. To drive traffic to your website and convert that traffic into paying patients.

Here are the consequences of not being pro-active on the web!

  1. You won't be found on Google desktop, your website will almost certainly not be on page one.
  2. Your patients won't visit your website because there is no reason for them to do so.
  3. Your mobile rankings will fall and so you won't be found on a mobile device either.
  4. Anyone who does find you won't have a reason to do anything when they arrive.

The fact of the matter is that most dental practices may as well not have a website at all, simply because people can't find it and when they do, there is no call to action!

This is what a digital marketing system does.

You need to ensure that your website is on the first page of Google and ideally Bing and Yahoo too. There are two ways you do this (a) search engine optimisation and (b) advertising with Google/Bing/Yahoo. This means you simply have to have a digital marketing system in place.

Search engine optimisation makes your site relevant and vibrant, the search engines see that your site's content changes regularly, that there are relevant links back to it and that it is mobile ready.

Google advertising pretty much automatically gets you to the top of the search engine rankings, this is particularly crucial with mobile search.

Social Media You have to be active on Social Media. Whether you like it or not, Social Media is a reality, 50% of the UK's population spend 25 minutes every day on Facebook, and that doesn't include Twitter, Instagram etc. Quite literally if you're not on Social Media you are missing out on a massive opportunity.

Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to get your message out. When we build a website we build in an auto-responder, which will automatically start sending out a series of emails to people who have visited the site, this is crucial for high value treatments such as implants, veneers and straightening.

Video is the new phenomenon that is driving the web forward. If your site doesn't have the right type of video you are simply not in the game. A site with video is 80% more effective at generating business than one that doesn't have video, particularly in dentistry.

Remarketing This is a new technology available from Google and Facebook, it works like this. When someone comes to your website we put a cookie on their computer. When they then visit sites like The Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, Sky, Ebay, Facebook (Google has millions of partners) your advert will be shown to them, they think that you have a massive advertising budget and you are all over the web, whilst in fact your ads are only being shown to people who have visited your site. This technology is making a massive difference to the conversion levels.

So if you are really serious about building your dental practice and increasing the number of new patients that you register you need a digital marketing system, so call me today on 01767 626 398 or email me at enquiries@dentalmarketingexpert.co.uk you can visit our website at www.dentalmarketingexpert.co.uk or click here to go to our Facebook page.

Posted on by Neil Sanderson

Start Using Facebook For Research

It wasn't so long ago whenever you took to the high street or went to the supermarket that there was a nice lady or gentleman with a clip board who would ask you if you had a few minutes spare to answer a few questions was it?

It seemed that they were everywhere asking you questions on every subject from which biscuits you prefer to where you go on holiday or what car you drive etc. etc.

But now you barely ever see one of these people, because the smart corporations have started to use Social Media or more particularly Facebook for Research.

Using Facebook for research is not only a lot cheaper but it is much more accurate too. So what do you need to do to use Facebook for research in your dental practice?

Once you have a couple of hundred fans of your page you can start to see patterns. The best tool for this is the insight tool under people, which gives you just about every bit of information you can think of about the people who "like" your page.

You can see the split between gender, how many people fit into particular age groups, when people are online and looking at what you do, the information is invaluable to build your audience and communicate with them, Facebook for research purposes really has no rivals at all.

If you are thinking of launching some sort of promotion or launch a new product or service, you can test this out on Facebook before you invest your time and effort into it.

There are several aps you can run on Facebook that will let you run surveys. So for instance one of my clients was thinking of changing his opening hours and offering late opening or weekends. We ran a survey for him on Facebook and it turned out that most people didn't actually want late evenings they wanted to come to the dentist before work e.g. early mornings.


You might think of going on a course for straightening or offer a new type of whitening, so run a survey with your likes and find out if there is a ready market waiting to take your new products or services.

But you don't really have to go to the time and effort of running a survey if you don't want to, simply ask your fans what they would like to have on your page.

Facebook is a very interactive medium and is ideal for simply asking your audience questions. So once you have decided that you are going to launch a particular service or you are going to make a special offer Facebook is also great for telling you how large your market is too.

First you create an advert for something like teeth whitening, you can then target it at exactly the audience you want and Facebook will tell you how many people fit that profile. Let's say you are going to launch straightening and your Facebook research told you that the best age group for this would be 30-40 year olds.

You can specify that you want to just target this age group in your area and Facebook will tell you exactly how many people your advert will reach. As far as I know there is nothing that comes close to this type of market information and how this can give you laser focus with your advertising.

If you would like more information on Facebook for research or any other type of Dental marketing information, call me on 01767626398 or email me at sales@dentalmarketingexpert.co.uk or visit the website www.dentalmarketingexpert.co.uk


Posted on by Neil Sanderson

Twitter For your Dental Practice

Strange isn't it how something as basic as a 140 character message has become such a phenomenon in the 21st century but that's exactly what Twitter has become.

When I wrote my book "How Your Practice Can Survive The Recession" at the end of 2012, I barely gave Twitter a mention, at that point whilst it had millions of users it wasn't particularly suitable as a marketing platform, all that has changed.

In November 2013 Twitter floated on the US stock market, a float that valued the company at $17 billion, which was astounding because during that year it only managed to sell $425 million.

The problem was that whilst Twitter had millions of users it simply wasn't making any money and realistically the only way it can make money (just like Google and Facebook) is by selling advertising, something Twitter has now embraced.

It has to be said that those of you who have become used to advertising on Google will find Twitter more difficult, just at is Facebook. Google has been selling advertising now for many years and have become extremely good at it. The Google interface is very good and so long as you know what you are doing it is relatively easy.

Facebook is more difficult and limiting than Google and now the fledgling Twitter advertising is even more constrained and difficult to navigate. That said they have already incorporated many of the features that Google and Facebook have in their advertising.

So how do you go about adverting on Twitter? Well its very similar to Facebook except because you are limited to 140 characters you can have a banner advert as you can on Facebook, but the concept is similar.

With Facebook advertising, you can target gender, age, location, likes, dislikes, interests etc. The same is true for Twitter too, having said that the range of groups you can target are much lower. For instance there is no group that includes dental professionals, dentists, hygienists ext. all of whom can be targeted on Facebook.

But can for instance target males in your town in a certain age group and who like classic cars for instance. Effectively you boost your tweets just as you boost your posts in Facebook, this means that you allocate funds to a campaign and Twitter will boost your tweets to the group you want to target.

So for instance if you have targeted males in your town who have an interest in Rugby, you may want to tweet something about mouth guards for Rugby players. Twitter will then send your tweets to all the people in your town who have an interest in Rugby, which is pretty good.

I would just caution you though on the amount of pure advertising you do, you need to mix up your tweets with something interesting too, which links nicely with my blog last week on the importance of blogging.

Basically you write a blog on something you think your audience will be interested in, you then create a tweet and put a link back to the blog, this gets around the 140 character limit very well.

So start marketing your practice today on Twitter, at the moment because very few people are using it, it's incredibly cheap.

If you would like more information on marketing your dental practice, call me on 01767 626 398 or email me at sales@dentalmarketingexpert.co.uk or visit the website www.dentalmarketingexpert.co.uk

Posted on by Neil Sanderson

Wedding Smile Makeover On Facebook

Smiling-BrideWe're having phenomenal success advertising Wedding Smile Makeover on Facebook and I thought I might share this success formula with you all. It's not often I get so excited about a particular form of advertising that I actually write a blog about it, but advertising this particular item on this platform has really hit the spot.   When you give it some thought it is the perfect platform for the following reasons:

  1. The majority of Facebook users are female.
  2. You can target by relationship status.
  3. You can target by location.
  4. You can target by interests e.g. weddings, wedding cakes, wedding receptions etc. etc.

So how do you go about promoting a Wedding Smile Makeover on Facebook? Well there are a several steps. Firstly you need a Wedding Smile Makeover package, this can be Smiling-Bride-II whitening and straightening, straightening and cleaning, whitening and cleaning or straightening, cleaning and whitening, its up to you really.

You then need to (a) create a landing page on your website, or write a blog about this on your website, either will do simply because this where we are going to send people from the advert to. The page needs to be very clear and concise and the URL (the name of the page) should include "Wedding Smile Makeover" or whatever it is you are going to call it.

Then you need to create your Facebook advert. This is NOT a post on your Facebook page, although you might want to create posts that compliment your advert too. When you set up your advert you need to decide how much per day you want to spend, design your advert and put in the targeting criteria e.g. your location, aimed at females who are engaged, interested in weddings etc. etc. Smiling-Indian-Bride

When you have done all this you are ready to post your advert on Facebook, remember these adverts will be displayed down the right hand side of the users screen when they are in Facebook so try and get your message very clear, with a clear call to action. The simpler you make it for the person reading your Wedding Smile Makeover advert the more success you will have.

Incidentally we now offer a service that just looks after your Google and Facebook advertising for you, so if you don't feel comfortable doing this yourself, call me on 01767 626 398 or email me at sales@dentalmarketingexpert.co.uk or visit the website www.dentalmarketingexpert.co.uk

Posted on by Neil Sanderson

Blogging For Your Practice

Blogging is now essential if you want to have a successful Social Media presence and at the same time get your dental practice website up the Google natural rankings, so first things first, what is a blog?

Well you are reading one now, this is my blog and I write one every week, for two reasons, the first is to communicate with my clients and potential clients, the second reason is that blogging is one of the best ways to keep your website on the first page of Google.

A blog is simply an article written by you, usually on your website, but you can have a separate blog area too if you don't have this as part of your site. I would recommend to anyone that if you are thinking of building a new dental practice website or changing your existing one you must have the ability to write a blog.

I recently asked for a quote on behalf of one of my clients to have upgrade his website which currently doesn't have the ability to start blogging. Both he and I were staggered when I was quoted £950.00 + VAT.

All websites should have a blog built into them, if you build a website in one of the two major "content management systems" e.g. WordPress or Joomla, this will be provided for you automatically. Don't buy a website without either (a) a content management system or (b) a blog section. Incidentally all the websites we build have both as standard see my site Dental Website Design and Build.

So why is blogging so important? Let's look at Social Media first. The two main Social Media sites you should have your practice on are of course Facebook and Twitter. Neither are really geared up for having lots of content in a single post, in fact Twitter limits you to 140 characters in total.

So if you are going to engage with your patients you have to link to something else, this is where blogging really comes into its own and this is how you do it. First you write your blog (remember a blog can be any size you want) on whatever special offer you are running or something interesting about the practice. You then create a post on either Facebook or Twitter and put a link back to your blog.

This does several things, firstly it takes the person who is reading your post back to your website which is ideally where you want them. Hopefully they will take advantage of your offer or maybe have a look around your website, either way this is what you want to achieve.

Secondly Google loves this type of traffic, so the more traffic you have coming to your site from Facebook and Twitter the higher Google will rank your site. This is the modern equivalent of "link building" but one that Google approves of and rewards you for doing it.

Blogging has another great positive effect on your website ranking. Google is encouraging everyone to update and create new content for your website. A blog is the single best and easiest way to do this. If you start to blog ideally once per week or once a month even once a quarter, your website rankings will improve.

So remember, if you are ordering a new website, insist it has the ability to blog (all ours do). Insist it has a content management system (all ours do). Start blogging and see your website rise up the rankings and your Social Media engagement soar.

If you don't have time to blog yourself, we can do it for you, simply call me on 01767 626 398 or email me at sales@dentalmarketingexpert.co.uk or visit the website www.dentalmarketingexpert.co.uk

Posted on by Neil Sanderson

Facebook Advertising For Your Practice

I'm sure when you think of Facebook Advertising you probably think of having to post all the time and interact with your friends or the people who have liked your Facebook page, which by and large it is, but there is another way to manage Facebook Advertising.

As I mentioned in a recent blog, Facebook recently became a publicly listed company, which means that is now has to answer to its share holders, and they are interested in just two things (a) increasing their share value and/or (b) getting a regular dividend.

In order to satisfy this requirement, Facebook has suddenly become very business minded and they now offer a wide range of advertising opportunities for the likes of you and I and Facebook Advertising has become a very good and relatively cheap way to get your message out there.

To advertise on Facebook you have to have a Facebook page and of course be the administrator of it, but you don't have to post regularly on it, the advert will do the job for you. Facebook Advertising works very similarly to Google PPC (per per click). This means that whenever someone clicks on your advert and is taken either to your website or to your Facebook page you are charged a fee.

Compared to Google this fee is very reasonable (usually about a quarter of the price), however it has to be said, it will never be as targeted as Google is simply because there is nothing that is as targeted as Google Adwords.

However if you are trying to reach a particular group of people with a particular profile, Facebook advertising (PPC) is very, very good.

With Facebook advertising you can not only decide which area you want to aim at e.g. your postcode but you can also target whether the person who sees your advert is female or male, what age group they are, what is their marital status (even if they are engaged). You can specify particular interests they may have.

So for instance you could run an advert that will only be shown to someone who is female, who is between 25 and 35, who is engaged, who likes dogs, who likes going on holiday etc. etc.

There are no other platforms that will  let you get down to this level of detail for display advertising (Google is search advertising). You can set up a Facebook Advertising campaign for just a couple of pounds per day and so long as you get your targeting correct it will almost certainly pay for its self.

Facebook advertising is also the quickest way to get people to like your Facebook page and the best part is that you will only be getting likes from the people you are directly targeting, as opposed to buying likes from disreputable sources (don't touch them).

The best thing about Facebook advertising is that you can send traffic from Social Media to your website with is where you ideally want people to go.

If you need help and advice with Facebook advertising, call me on 01767 626 398 or email me at sales@dentalmarketingexpert.co.uk or visit my website www.dentalmarketingexpert.co.uk

Posted on by Neil Sanderson

10 Ways To Get A Patient Referral

I think just about everyone is in agreement that a patient referral is the best way to get new patients, even I as a marketeer would have to agree with that, however you can only get so many new patients by referral only, so I would still recommend a proper marketing strategy. That said if you are going to increase the number of referrals you get, here are a few hints and do's and don'ts.

Most dental practices have no patient referral strategy in place at all, getting patient referrals has to be ingrained into the philosophy of the practice, you should view every single patient you see as someone who is going to recommend your practice and services to someone else.

Obviously to do that you have to offer great dentistry, that goes without saying but simply doing this isn't good enough, because you patients expect you do deliver that anyway. Your services are no different to any other service or product that they are willing to spend their money on, you simply have to deliver quality.

So now we have that part out of the way how can you increase the number of patients who are willing to give you a patient referral?

  1. Strange as it may sound Social Media is becoming more and more important in this area. Quite literally social media is the new "word of mouth" marketing, so if you have an active Facebook and/or Twitter account which has lots of interesting content on it you are likely to increase the number of referrals you get.
  2. The appearance of your practice is incredibly important. If you have a practice that looks shabby, do you really think that your patients are going to refer you to their friends and relatives, I don't think so.
  3. Don't think that only long term patients will refer you, in fact quite the opposite is the case. You are just as likely to get a patient referral from a new patient than you are from someone who has been using you for years.
  4. You don't have to deliver fantastic results to get a patient referral either. Courtesy, smart appearance and attention to detail and giving them exactly what they want is just, if not more important.
  5. Just because a patient has referred you once don't think that they won't do it again, you should encourage your patients to refer you as often as possible and reward them for doing it.
  6. Your staff are incredibly important in getting patient referrals, you might be the best dentist in the world and offer a fantastic service, but if your patients don't have a great experience on reception, you won't get those much needed patient referrals, reception staff have to be well trained, just as you do.
  7. Communicate regularly with your patients, a newsletter is a great way to share things with your patients along with social media. It's not rocket science, the better they think they know you the more they'll give you a patient referral.
  8. Market your referral program everywhere in your practice. Tell them what you are prepared to offer in return for a patient referral, it could be a bottle of wine or a big thank you, but you need to have a rewards system of place and tell everyone about it.
  9. Every new patient that comes to your practice should be given a welcome pack and that should include information about your patient referral program and the benefits they can achieve if they refer a friend or relative to you.
  10. Finally and here's the real big one. ASK FOR THEM you'll be astounded the difference this simple little thing does.

If you would like more information on implementing a patient referral program or how to promote this using your social media or training your reception staff, call me on 01767 626 398 or email me at sales@dentalmarketingexpert.co.uk or visit the website www.dentalmarketingexpert.co.uk