Like many industries, the dental profession has been transformed by the digital revolution. Technology has moved from a small but important part of your practice to center stage. Technological change is happening faster than ever before, and consumers expect your practice to offer the same convenience and value they get from other services.
So how do you choose the right software to run your business? It seems impossible — the software has to manage patient records including integrated imaging, keep track of referrals, provide online access for patients, maintain accounting records, send invoices, track collections and more — all while meeting ever-increasing government regulations and HIPAA reporting rules.
Step by Step
Choosing the right system may seem overwhelming at first, but there are steps you can take to minimize risk. First, select the software that can manage your practice now and easily expand as you grow. Next, get the best price from the vendor of your chosen software package —make sure you have a strong support agreement in place. Finally, plan out the installation schedule and make sure your vendor is closely involved.
You want a vendor that has a good reputation for support. Work with them by describing critical software features your practice needs, as well as secondary items you’d like to include if the budget allows. Perhaps electronic prescribing takes precedence over something like extended reporting capabilities. It just depends on your needs and preferences.
Grow With You
Ask about the technology behind the software. Is it a proprietary system that no one but them can service? Will it be able to grow with you as you gain more patients over time? And finally, what support and training do they offer? You’ll never feel lonelier than the day your staff can’t figure out the system because they haven’t been trained, and the vendor suddenly doesn’t answer your support calls.
After evaluating your options, set up vendor demonstrations. But don’t let verbose vendor sales teams take over the process. Stay focused on making sure their product meets your needs. You want a vendor that communicates well, asks proper questions, and is interested in a long-term partnership. If they are long on promises and vague claims yet short on specifics and follow-up, beware.
If all this sounds daunting, don’t worry. You can manage the process yourself or bring in qualified consultants to run the show. Either way, remember that you and your staff must live with the software for years to come, so it makes sense to make a careful choice.
They say a picture is worth a thousands words. In that case, using photography and video to market your dental practice is a great way to communicate with a growing patient base. Instagram is a popular form of social media used by more than 300 million people worldwide, every month. The best part, it’s a free form of advertising for your dental practice.
Why Use Instagram
Instagram users often search their favorite brands and businesses to follow. By posting the right images, you can draw in new followers interested in what you have to offer. Brand recognition is essential. Instagram is such an effective tool to encourage liking and sharing. By setting up a photo booth, having props on hand, setting up a hashtag for use by patients in your practice or even having a patient photo contest, you can get likes and shares by simply being the backdrop for these images and videos. See more on this below. Lastly… be sure you have a HIPAA form signed by each and every patient!
Contests and Promotions
Some dental offices choose to run contests or special promotions exclusively for followers as an added incentive to follow. They will typically require followers to re-post a specific image from the account and use hashtags. Your followers post the image and your name on their Instagram, allowing you to reach everyone that follows them. Anyone who wants to join the contest must follow your account and post the image as well. You may also want to offer a discount for any patients who follow your Instagram account.
Hashtags are very important. When you include a hashtag under the image, that specific image shows up whenever someone searches the hashtag. Not only does it generate likes, but also followers. Don’t be afraid to get creative when it comes to hashtags. Keep them relevant and include a mix of simple and creative hashtags.
Follow other accounts. Ideally, aim to follow your target audience. Many people follow accounts back, especially accounts that like and comment on their photos. A free tip of advice to gain followers and add some validity to your brand… search hashtags for keywords like “follow4follow” or “followback” to get your account established more quickly.
Avoid Paying for Likes or Followers
Since the goal is to reach new patients and get your name out there, avoid buying likes or followers. There are numerous sites that promise “real” followers, but they are typically robots that are eventually deleted from Instagram. Don’t fall into this trap. You can build a solid audience organically.
Advertise Your Instagram
Let your patient base know you have an Instagram account by posting the username on your other social media pages, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Encourage people who visit your website to also follow your Instagram and other pages for support, coupons, promotions, etc.
If you have more questions or you’re interested in having a Free Dental Practice Marketing Audit done of your website, just fill out the form or call our office today! GrowPracticeGrow is a team of dental marketing experts who get new patients in your chair. Want results or more bang for your marketing buck? Contact us, today!