Livvie Matthews on Attracting Dental Patients
Livvie Matthews, creator of The Power Up For Clients System, shares her thoughts on getting and keeping dental patients.
Tell us about the work you do for dentists and dental specialists.
I help dental coaches and consultants, as well as specialty practice dentists, hygienists, dental assistants and dental office managers who are either just starting out or looking for growth in their client base. I provide step-by-step guidance on how to expand and leverage their online presence to get more clients and increase their income through the power of online marketing and social media. I do this through workshops, courses, coaching programs and private coaching. It’s all about step-by-step guidance, skilled coaching and accountability.
How would you say your experience as a dental office manager helped teach you dental marketing?
During my 30 years working in various dental offices, I progressed from dental assistant to the front desk to dental office manager. I saw that one of the largest practice expenses is marketing, and one of the most challenging elements of that is keeping the practice’s name in front of their market. Getting and staying top-of-mind with your audience represents a huge expense, not to mention a major challenge to practice coaches, consultants and practice management teams.
When did you learn that dental specialists could market effectively with social media and other online marketing tools?
I had been online since the mid ’90s. When social media came on the scene with its free platforms and free usage, I immediately saw the benefit it could present, not only for practices getting and staying in front of their market but for those marketing directly to dentists―dental coaches and consultants, hygiene coaches and consultants, front-desk coaches and consultants, and so on.
Social media, along with online marketing, offers the opportunity to market locally as well as nationally like never before. Dentists and those serving them can have a 24/7 presence. They can answer questions, blog about ways to solve a practice problem, create tip videos and more—and link it all to their primary “working” Web site. Viewers then have one place to find everything they need to know about a practice. In addition, when comments or questions are posted, practices and consultants can respond right then and there, live, in real time. It doesn’t get any better than that. An online presence is a true game changer!
What excites and energizes you most about your work with dentists?
In my many years working in dental offices, I’ve seen firsthand the struggles practices have to keep new patients coming through the door. That nasty nine-letter word—marketing—can be one of the biggest drains in a practice budget. It doesn’t have to be. With online marketing and social media, dentists and dental specialists can now reach an audience that once cost thousands of dollars to influence. And it can be done at little-to-no cost.
What are the top three dental marketing tips you’d like to share with dental specialists?
- Know WHY your practice is special. What sets you apart from the crowd? Share this information with your market.
- Understand your market and speak directly to their specific issues. Those issues keep them awake at 3 a.m. Your practice needs to offer their solution!
- In your online marketing, be sure all your social media profiles and biographies are complete. Be thorough and be consistent. Use the same head shot. Always pull your viewers back to your primary Web site by employing compelling marketing messages. This is too easily taken for granted. Most importantly, always remember to connect with, respond to and engage your online community.
Bonus tip: Remember, it's all done in real time. Patients are looking for dentists like you, even as you read this. Your online presence must help build trust and convince them to come to you for their dental needs.
What is the biggest mistake you have seen dental specialists make over the years?
The biggest mistake I’ve seen dental coaches, consultants and practice management make is to talk exclusively about themselves and their services, rather than focusing on the needs of the people they are trying to reach. The mind-set of the specialist needs to change. Effective marketing must come from a place of service and a patient-first attitude. They must know what problems their patients face. Then, through targeted, compelling, online marketing messages, dentists must showcase themselves as problem solvers.
What are the biggest changes and trends impacting dental specialists in recent years?
When the bottom dropped out of the economy several years ago, many practices were unprepared. Many fee-for-services practices had to turn to insurance to keep their practices going, whether they opted to go in-network or just accepted assignment of benefits. These changes have caused dental specialists to market more strategically, because they’ve had to spend more wisely. This is where online marketing and social media can have a significant impact.
We all know word-of-mouth is the best form of marketing. Social media is word-of-mouth—on steroids! When done with integrity and authenticity, online marketing and social media can yield huge benefits for dentists seeking to connect with their ideal patients.
What do you think the future holds for dental specialists?
With the explosion of social media and online marketing, marketing methods have been changed forever. Dentists, whether they like social media or not, must understand that their prospective patients DO like it. And those patients are on social platforms looking for dental services!
In many cases, if you can’t be found on Facebook, your business might as well not exist. How long can dentists stay in practice if they “don’t exist”? We all know the answer to that. Today’s specialists must be social-media savvy, not only to move their practice forward but to survive.
How does your work help dentists address the changes and challenges in dentistry?
Dentists have many resources they can leverage. With online programs, teleseminars, Webinars, online coaching programs, social platforms, interactive Web sites, blogging and so much more, they can move quickly from one-to-one contact to one-to-many. We help them expand their online presence using social media and online marketing, literally opening the doors to thousands. What a game changer!
Livvie Matthews is a dental office manager turned client attraction coach at www.SimpleSocialMedia.tv. She is the creator of The Power Up For Clients System and coaches small service-based businesses around the world.
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