Take a page out of the millennials’ notebook: Use technology

As you know, the playing field in dentistry is always changing. More recently, though, we have a new group of millennials that are entering the dental field, which is creating a lot of changes. Millennials were born between 1980 and 2000, standing at 96 million people–the largest population in U.S. history. Then we have Baby Boomers at 77 million and Generation Xers at 61 million. What sets them apart is that Millennials demand instant access through technology, efficiency and superior customer service. 

Millennials have entered the dental world disappointed in how things were run and the technology available. To them, the dental system is outdated, inefficient and ill-equipped to handle their needs and their patients. 

It’s time to upgrade your technology

Because millennials are so used to being able to quickly order products and services from their smartphone or tablet with next-day delivery, they want their patients to have the same. And this isn’t a bad thing at all. Waiting days to see the dentist with only a small set of office hours in an area riddled with dental practices, millennials are drawn to Internet searches. 

No one wants to wait weeks to see a dentist. In this instant gratification generation, millennials want an appointment and they want it now. With the need for easy access to dentists, it is time for you to take advantage of the technology in front of you. 

The future is digital

Millennials are leading the way for the future design of dental practices and the ways we reach our patients. There is a demand to meet the needs of a sophisticated group that wants instant gratification and easy access to the care and information they need. We need to cater to their needs of convenience and preventive health. 

Where do millennials turn to for help? Google. Where do they shop for products delivered next day? Amazon. They want the information they are looking for and they want it now. This is why we need to continue to pave a path toward improved technology and advancements so we can keep up with their constant demand. 

So what should we do? Keep providing the tools necessary for our patients. Take advantage of marketing, websites and even apps to help maintain instant access to your dental practice.

Where is your online content? Add more information now.

Knowing how to write a blog, website content, press releases, educational content and other marketing materials might now seem important. After all, your priority is treating patients, right? While that is correct, you do also need to fulfill marketing efforts to reach those patients. Whether you, a member of your team or a freelance writer works on content marketing for your practice, it is key to establishing your brand. From social media management to blogging and other options, it’s time to get started on developing your online content.

Maintain an up-to-date blog

It doesn’t matter if you are just starting out as a general dentist or you are an established dental sleep medicine practice, it is important to blog on your website as soon as you can. I am aware of how busy you are and how hard it is to juggle multiple projects, but that is why you will need to get a member of your staff or a freelance writer to help. The extra help with writing will eliminate the stress of needing to think of topics to write about in a weekly blog.

So how do you think of topics? It’s actually quite simple, so try not to overthink it. Begin with the services you offer and explain them for your patients. A better understanding of those services is helpful. From there you can dive deeper into topics based on the initial services. And once your writer knows what you want, the easier it will get! The availability of weekly blogs can help to reach your patients while developing trust because you are showing you are an expert in your field.

Hop on social media

While you may already have your own personal Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Instagram, but does your practice? And if your practice is already on social media, are you using it to your advantage? Your writer can keep your social network up-to-date with important information, while also sharing your blog posts each week.

Share important articles, updates on your practice, photos and blog posts so your patients are constantly in-the-know for important information. The number of times you should be posting varies from each network and how often you want your patients to be updated. Try for at least once a week and increase posting with each special message you want to share.

It is important to become an expert in your field, not just at your practice, but online as well. Working with a writer can help you reach your patients and other doctors. It takes the stress off of you and allows you to have creative, up-to-date content for easy access in all areas.

Guidelines for choosing blog post topics

The best part about blogging is that your topics are limitless. This means you can write about just about anything that relates to you, your practice, important events, etc. Be sure to choose what people want to hear. An easy way to determine good topic choices is to think of questions that your patients commonly ask. You can use your blog as a way to answer each of these questions. And your patients can then visit your blog for answers to those questions. Let’s find out more about choosing blog post topics and making it work for you.

Do your research

When choosing blog post topics, search for other blogs in your industry. Look at popular blog posts to get other blog ideas. Viewing what other blogs are posting can help give you a good idea of what your industry likes to talk about and read. Additionally, in the past your blog and press releases were separate areas.

However, blogs can now often be a better choice than releasing a press release. By using your blog for not only educational information, but to announce new procedures, upcoming events and other newsworthy topics, you can complete a well-rounded blog that reaches your patients.

Look forward to blogging

Blogging might feel forced at first, but over time you may begin to look forward to blogging and may even leave yourself notes as you think of new topics to share with your patients. Blogging is fun and can significantly improve your web presence and credibility, so start now! You will find that the rewards of blogging are worth that extra effort.

Remain active online

I owe my success to active blogging. You might be thinking to yourself, “But Dr. Patel, you are always on the road or helping patients. Where do you find the time?”  An active and up-to-date blog takes a lot of work, but it shows that you are an expert in Dental Sleep Medicine and other areas of dentistry. While I understand how you may not have enough time due to your busy schedule, I personally utilize a freelance blogger, Sara Berg. Through her efforts and help I have been able to maintain an active, engaging blog for my patients and other dentists.

I highly encourage you to do the same in order to maintain an educational blog for your practice! If you are blogging, how do you choose your blog post topics? I’d love to learn how you make it work too!

Marketing Your Dental Office in 3 Easy Steps

Great news! You’ve decided to expand your practice by including Dental Sleep Medicine and Craniofacial Pain services. So, what is the next step? Let’s start marketing! Whether you decide to higher a big-name marketing company or a freelance writer, creating an effective and successful marketing campaign is important for educating your patients and referring doctors.

1. Get Out There and Introduce Yourself to Your Community

Reach out to your community. Don’t be afraid to let your community know who you are and what services you provide. Introduce your practice to your local sleep specialist or family doctor. By doing this, your local sleep physician or family doctor will be aware of the services you provide, while building a relationship for proper diagnosis and treatment planning.

Introducing yourself to a local sleep physician and family physician is a good way to establish a solid relationship because you’re informing them that you:

  • Are screening your dental patients for sleep apnea
  • Will be referring to them for an evaluation and diagnosis

When you have evaluated and placed an oral appliance in a patient, a follow-up sleep study is recommended to determine the success of your therapy. Once again, this opens up doors since you will utilize the sleep physicians in your community to retest your patients.

2. Learn How to Properly Bill Medical Insurance

It is also important to gain an understanding on how to file a medical claim for oral appliance therapy since dental insurance offers no coverage. There are companies and products one can invest in to better understand medical billing. An example is Nierman Practice Management.

Like many companies, Nierman Practice Management provides a comprehensive suite of products, educational courses and software solutions to help grow your sleep practice. You should also consider being “in network” with medical insurance plans since your patients ask for it. This helps your office become more visible and easily accessible for patients.

3. Enhance Your Web Presence

As you know, your patients utilize the Internet on a daily basis. From shopping to socializing, they can use the Internet for all of their needs, so why aren’t you doing the same?

Creating and improving your web presence is essential in marketing your Dental Sleep Medicine practice. From social media management to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), it is important to establish a proper plan for the maintenance of your web presence.

As you know, the Internet is endless, which means your marketing efforts are as well. To begin, I personally utilize a freelance writer, Sara Berg, to manage my marketing and web presence. She provides me with:

  • Custom blog posts
  • Web content
  • Press releases
  • Social media management
  • Professional articles
  • Ghostwriting a book
  • Reviews

Through these services, I am able to maintain a well-rounded web presence and marketing plan—you can, too. You’ve taken the biggest step already—choosing to incorporate Dental Sleep Medicine into your practice.

Now it is time to take charge of marketing your Dental Sleep Medicine and Craniofacial Pain office to reach new patients. What are you waiting for? Get going!