Making the Transition from Paper to Digital Marketing

    Decide who will be trained on how to update the site (in addition to you)

image    Assign the team member(s) who will monitor your social media presence and post updates

image    Determine who will have login and password access to your accounts


image    Set a recurring bi-weekly appointment on your calendar to check in on and review your digital marketing projects. Most agencies need your approval at key stages before they can proceed to the next step, and if you pull a disappearing act the project will never get done.

image    Once these projects have launched, keep that bi-weekly appointment so you can monitor progress.


image    Add a digital marketing category to your weekly or monthly team meetings. Discuss necessary updates (Do you have any new team members or technology? Did you take any new continuing education?)

image    Determine what metrics you want to track. Chart and review your growth monthly in terms of fans, visitors, +1’s and reviews to make sure you are making progress.


image    Make sure that any digital marketing initiatives you undertake are compliant with applicable laws, such as HIPAA. Consult qualified legal counsel if you have questions about compliance.

image    If you use call tracking to measure your marketing’s effectiveness, be sure that only authorized members of the dental team have password-protected access to listen to the calls, and that callers are informed they will be recorded.

image    If you are in doubt about anything, remember that you are ultimately responsible, not the company you hired. Check with qualified legal counsel for their interpretation of what you are doing and possible legal implications.

image    If the company will have access to patient information, you may need to have a HIPAA business associate agreement in place.


image    Set a budget for the initial setup of these digital tools as well as what you’re willing to spend on an ongoing basis. Following are some rough guidelines on what to expect:

•   $1,500 – $5,000 to customize a stock website (a rental)

•   $5,000 – $12,000+ to develop a custom website (a site you own)

•   $300 – $1,000/year for website and email hosting

•   $350 – $3,000/month for search engine marketing, depending on your market and level of competition

•   $200 – $500/month for a social media service provider

Select Your Agency Partner

image    Review other dental sites to see what design and navigation styles you like. At the bottom of the site there should be a link to the company that created the site.

image    Interview three to five possible web companies and select your digital marketing vendor. Preferably find one that does site development, search engine optimization (SEO), AdWords and social media, but there may be advantages to choosing a company that specializes in dentistry. You don’t want to have to explain how a CEREC works or what an all-on-4 denture is to a freelancer.

image    Ask a lot of questions so you can be an informed consumer. A sample list of questions broken down by platform is included on the following page.

Sample Questions for Potential Digital Marketing Vendors: A Channel-by-Channel Guide

These questions are suggestions for interviewing companies that you are considering hiring for digital marketing endeavors. They are broken down by various digital marketing channels.


1.   Will I own my domain name? Will my domain name be registered in my own account, and will you give me the login and password?

2.   Will I own my website once it is complete, and will I be able to transfer it to another company if I want to?

3.   Do you build websites on a platform that allows me to edit the content on my own?

4.   Do you build websites using responsive technology so my site will be compatible with mobile devices?

5.   Will my website be accessible to disabled individuals?


1.   How many cities do you optimize my site for (preferably two to three)?

2.   Do I retain rights to all optimization on and off the site if I choose to move it to another SEO company later on?

3.   What is your reporting process? Can I see a sample of your reports?

4.   Do you have a representative who will regularly explain my reports in plain English?


1.   What kind of budget should I have for my desired keywords?

2.   Do you use negative keywords so I can limit unqualified clicks?

3.   What is your reporting process?

Social Media

1.   How often will you post for me and on which social media platforms?

2.   Who should monitor these social media sites to respond to my audience?

3.   Can you train my team on how to use social media in the office?


1.   Do you help me claim and optimize the listings to which I direct patients for reviews?

2.   How can you help me with a negative review?

3.   Do you monitor my reviews and alert me when new ones appear?

Print is Dead. Sort Of.

For over 100 years, consumers have used “analog” media to learn about a business — glossy lifestyle magazines, thick yellow page directories and pretty brochures that highlighted your practice features and benefits. These materials had longevity. Stability. A guaranteed shelf life.

And professionals who once clung to paper-based marketing realized, sometimes reluctantly, they had to move into the modern age. Some dentists who didn’t, continuing to rely on print and word of mouth, may have started seeing fewer new patients. Not having an online presence is becoming akin to not having a phone number.

Despite the title of this chapter, I’m not asking you to abandon traditional media like magazines, TV, radio and direct mail. Instead, I’m suggesting that you see it as an awareness vehicle that pushes prospective patients to learn more about you online.

If digital marketing is not just important, but critically necessary, then what exactly do you need to have? The options can be overwhelming:

•   Websites

•   Landing Pages

•   Microsites

•   Social Media

•   Google Reviews

•   Blogs

•   AdWords

•   Remarketing

•   Display Ads

•   Inbound Linking

•   Directories

•   E-Commerce

What on earth do you choose? Where do you begin? What will have the best possible ROI?

Have your team participate in online training with your agency. Make sure several people in the team learn how to edit the website or post on Facebook. Each one will gain something different from the training, expanding your practice knowledge base.

Websites 101

Let’s start with the easiest and most obvious digital necessity — your website. Consider this your online brochure, telling prospective and current patients everything about you and why you are the best dentist within 100 miles. Done well, this site engages the reader. It allows them to easily get to the information they deem most important and find what they need. It uses patient photography and testimonials (with appropriate authorizations and releases, of course) to build credibility for your craft. It inspires them to pick up the phone.

But how do you know if your site is truly engaging? Just because you think it’s pretty doesn’t mean your visitor will see you as skillful and trustworthy. An ideal website meets several criteria:

Visually Attractive Design

•   One millisecond. Actually, between 50 and 500 nanoseconds. That’s all you get before a visitor decides to stay and look around, or chooses to hit the back button and find another dentist. No one can read anything in that amount of time, so this gut reaction is based solely on your visual design.

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May 10, 2015 | Posted by in General Dentistry | Comments Off on Making the Transition from Paper to Digital Marketing
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