Archive for the ‘Tips’ Category
It’s likely that every member of your target demographic uses the internet to research who they do business with. If you don’t have an easily accessible portfolio of your lab’s work, you could lose potential customers. So how can social media help you?
The Crowded Modern Market
We live in a “Just Google It” world, and the value placed on esthetics has become more and more emphasized. This is especially true in the dental world, where patients and doctors alike have increasingly strict demands on the final restorative product. With thousands of labs out there, how will your lab stand out?
Defining Your Business Through Your Camera Lens
It’s one thing to have a website filled with product information and prep guides, but without actual pictures of your work, your lab could be lost among the competition. Facebook and Twitter both provide the ability to upload and share pictures of your lab, examples of your work and more. This is where you should start.
Social photo sharing applications are becoming all the rage, and include the widely praised Instagram. It has over 100 million users, and the application allows you to take a photo, make a few quick edits, share it across your social media networks in seconds. Snap a picture of a recently completed case, put a few classy filters on it, and let the world enjoy. The possibilities are truly what you make of them, and can give your lab the edge needed to succeed.
Let us know what social photo apps you have used. We’d love to hear how you are using them.
As always, we’re here to help. For information about making your lab more successful through social media, give us a call at (970) 221-5756 or email email@example.com
Originally published in Inside Dentist Technology
The best and worst times for online communication.
By Bill Neal, CDT
The Internet has dramatically changed how marketers reach their audiences. Although direct mail is still a major force in marketing products and services, e-marketing is running a close second. We all use e-mail to communicate with customers, vendors, family, and friends. Other than the occasional special invitation or a personal birthday card, e-mail dominates in both our personal and business lives. When was the last time you wrote a letter, printed out an envelope, stamped it, and dropped it in a mailbox? Plus, you never knew if or when the recipient would receive your communication.
E-marketing, on the other hand, has tremendous benefits when done correctly and is an ideal delivery platform for e-newsletters. Not only are e-marketing newsletters less expensive to produce and deliver than direct mail, but with e-newsletters, you can also track open rates, what articles have been accessed, and thereby begin to develop a good set of metrics on what is working and what is not. However, there is a different set of rules and things to consider when sending e-newsletters or other e-marketing promotions. You need to do a little homework to make sure your efforts are going to give you the exposure and ultimately the return you want.
One key element, and obviously the last one in the process, is deciding when to “blast” your e-newsletter. We all want our e-newsletter to be the first opened, and timing plays a critical part of the campaign. There are other factors at work when determining the success of an e-newsletter campaign, such as:
• Subject line and company name
• Relevance of content
• Number of articles
• Blast schedule consistency
• Eye-catching graphics and images
• Use of an identifiable and pleasing masthead
• Brand recognition
• Readability and proper use of white space
• Working links to your website
• Opt-out options
While this is not a complete list, these are the most important considerations in a successful e-newsletter campaign. Our experience has taught us that there are no hard and fast rules that we can apply to the dental industry or, in fact, to any other industry. E-marketing companies are all over the map about the proper way to handle e-newsletters, but some obvious considerations are:
• List source
• Subscribed or not (this is critical with some e-mail blast providers)
• B2B or B2C customers or prospects
• Industry type
• Company brand recognition
Again, more considerations could be added to this list. In our industry, you can develop some good insights on timing to send e-newsletters to dentists. You know your customers better than anyone else, and you also know how they operate, when they get to their office, how they work, their schedule, and when they usually go on vacation, take days off, etc. All of this gives you a good profile to work from.
You should think about the times it is difficult to get your dentist customers on the phone or when they like to return calls (other than the obvious case problem). You have a wealth of information regarding your customers’ habits. The task is to use that information to determine the best time for sending e-blasts and e-newsletters in order to get a high open rate and better results.
There is no point in building a form of online communication to send to clients during times where they are more likely to ignore your message. Many different opinions exist in the reports reviewed during the research for this article. One key element mentioned by several marketers was that every industry and target market responds differently. It has been suggested to check your analytics and then test, test, and test some more to better understand what works best for you.
The biggest key is to pick a frequency schedule and stick to it. Change your delivery dates and times based on your test results, and you will find the best days and times to reach your customers.
Reaching Your Audience
According to recent surveys and marketing reports from e-mail marketers, there are, however, some best and worst times to send e-newsletters that are more likely to reach your intended audience.
• Between 9:30 am and 11:00 am
• First Tuesday and Thursday of the month
• Some reports suggest Sunday
• Other reports suggest delivery around lunch time
• The 1st and/or 2nd day of the month
• Last day of the month
• For dental, Wednesdays and Friday may not work well
• Around holidays—day before and day after
• Early morning e-mail delivery has lowest open rate
Last time we blogged about Facebook, there was something we neglected to mention and that is the importance of creating a business page that is separate from your personal one. This has become even more apparent with the animosity surrounding the recent elections. Your opinions and personal activities are yours and you may not want to share them with all of your clients.
If you choose to use your personal page for your business (which we don’t recommend) you absolutely have to keep the messages professional. Even if you have a separate page for your business, you may have clients that you are friends with on Facebook, so you need to keep that in mind before you decide to vent your feelings.
You wouldn’t bring up touchy subjects with your business associates at a social gathering, would you? This “social manners” theory goes deeper than just not sharing your personal opinions. Just as you run a professional business, your page should reflect this in all aspects. Use proper grammar, spelling, and respond appropriately to all posts. Let your social media pages reflect the high quality of your business!
The bottom line is, think twice before you post, and when possible, let someone review your posts before you hit the submit button.
Everyone is on it, including your dentists. Facebook isn’t just a trend, and it offers a great way to reach new customers. Through advanced targeting filters and controlled spending, you can get your lab’s name out with a low monthly budget, reaching thousands of potential customers.
We have used Facebook ads for several of our clients. They have seen success in adding new and potential customers from those who have clicked on their Facebook ads and liked the page as a result. Facebook and other social media tools are becoming more and more effective at bringing additional revenue to companies, and this cannot be overstated. The best time to get into social media is now. What makes a successful ad?
- Use an appropriate image
- Facebook allows you to put a small picture next to the text in your ad. Make it count. It needs to be interesting and related to your ad.
- Create a special offer
- Your clients (or potential clients) need a reason to click on your ad. Give them a good one. Feature a discount or free product in order to entice them to click…and act.
- Create a call to action
- Without a reason to click, why would they? Use persuasive copy to gain attention…and keep it.
- Set your spending limit, and monitor your pay-per-click bid price
- You generally should use the PPC method for Facebook ads. Just remember to check your statistics daily, and keep the bid within the recommended range.
These tips will help form a successful ad campaign, and we can help you make it even better. To get started with Facebook Ads for your lab, please contact us at 800-264-7448 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of the newest options from 3M, this nano-ceramic material has been impressing doctors who have had early access to it. Featuring zirconia particles held together by a resin, Lava™ Ultimate has a 10 year-warranty and should be an easy go-to choice for your clients. It solves one of the most common problems faced by dentists today, which is open contacts in where the crown doesn’t fit snugly. Lava™ Ultimate makes modifying crowns easier than previous materials.
Interview with Travis Zick, D&S Dental Laboratory
AMG: Lava™ Ultimate is one of the newest products from 3M right? What makes it so special?
Travis: Yes! We have been lucky enough to get our hands on Lava™ Ultimate early. This material is great because it is very easy for the dentists to use. Making a restoration fit snugly is one of the most difficult tasks a dentist has to deal with, and Lava™ Ultimate lets us get a case right before it leaves the lab.
AMG: That sounds great. What have your customer’s been saying about it?
Travis: We have had several of our doctors use Ultimate for their cases and so far we have had amazing results. The feedback has been very positive.
AMG: Any final words on Lava™ Ultimate?
Travis: Basically, that it has been very well received. Lava™ Ultimate is a fantastic product because it has top of the line esthetics and durability at an affordable price. We expect more and more of our incoming cases to be made from the material as time goes on.
AMG: Thanks for your time Travis! Lava™ Ultimate has a lot of potential.
- A nano-ceramic material, developed by 3M, indicated for single unit crowns, inlays & onlays, and veneers
- Comparable in strength and esthetics to a milled Lithium-Disilicate restoration but is much more resilient & very easy to work with
- Easy to adjust (it just needs to be polished after adjusting)
- Recommended for use as an implant supported restoration
- CAD/CAM generated fit
- Backed by a 10-Year manufacturer warranty
- From the lab’s standpoint, Lava™ Ultimate requires little hands-on time to finish after milling
- RelyX™ Ultimate Adhesive Resin is recommended for cementation
Has your lab used Lava™ Ultimate? What do you think? Let us know!
You’ve heard the warnings:
- Don’t use the same password for every account
- Use a mix of lowercase, uppercase letters, along with numbers and symbols
- Don’t leave your passwords written down where there is potential for someone to find them
And you’ve followed those, right? …Right?
Don’t feel too bad if you haven’t. Turns out, you need to be much be more proactive in order to prevent your company’s information from being compromised.
In a recent report by the Internet’s finest at Arstechnica, the true fragility of the password is exposed. In general, when you make a password, the database you are inputting it in should convert the password to what’s known as a “hash”, or a combination of letters and numbers that form long strings of information. The goal is to secure your passwords: if your information gets hacked, your password will show up as “i99727hsjaJha” instead of “chocolatebluediamond.”
So what’s the problem?
Many sites aren’t using modern hashing programs to store their passwords, even worse, some aren’t using them at all. If a website stores their passwords on a database using an ineffective program, hackers can break in, take the information, and crack the passwords in little time.
If your passwords get stolen, the primary concern is your bank account. Identity theft, misplaced money, and fraud have all resulted from stolen passwords. If your business gets broken into, your clients, employees, and everyone associated with your company could be at risk.
Password assault figures
(Originally published on Arstechnica)
Average number of passwords for a Web user (despite maintaining an average of 25 separate accounts).
Number of passwords published online in the past year.
Years since the first believed password-database leak in 1965.
Average password combinations per second able to be tried by a PC running a single AMD Radeon HD7970 GPU.
Disk space needed to store a table of every possible 10-character password with lowercase letters, along with its corresponding MD5 hash.
Space needed to store a rainbow table expressing 99.9 percent of the combinations above.
So what can you do?
You don’t want your business to come under assault from hackers. Arstechnica’s Dan Goodin recommends the following:
- Use a program such as Password Safe or LastPass to generate and store all your passwords, and make sure they are protected by a master password that’s truly strong, unique, and memorable.
- Use this password management app to randomly generate passcodes that are a minimum of 13 characters. If you won’t be typing the password into a smartphone or other device with a limited keyboard, make sure each password has symbols. Otherwise, a mix of lower-case letters, capital letters, and numbers will suffice.
- Generate a unique password for every account that contains any personally identifying information about you.
- Change your password at least once every six months, and more often for your most sensitive accounts or after you’ve used a network you don’t trust. Change your password immediately if you learn the site it’s used to access has been breached.
- When signing in to websites, try to use a login URL that begins with “https.”
This article was originally published in the April 2012 issue of Inside Dental Technology.
Combine different marketing channels to target your customers for a higher response rate.
By Bill Neal, CDT
Multi-channel marketing has different definitions depending on the type of business you operate. For example, a B to C (business to consumer) manufacturer would use different channels in getting its products to the consumer than a B to B (business to business) manufacturer. The B to C manufacturer might use a distributor, an online source, or various chains or stores that will promote or sell its products, whereas the B to B manufacturer might use direct mail, e-mail, or even a Facebook page.
Multi-channel marketing is sending the same message or offer out to your existing or potential new customers using different channels or marketing mediums. Different product campaigns may also use either the same channels as previous campaigns or include other channels not used previously. The tip here is to use different channels to support your message as some channels may get a better response or act as the final buying trigger.
The most effective marketing is based on developing a coordinated campaign usually keying in on a particular product or service. It could also be a campaign centered on one or two products giving the prospect an option that he or she might be most interested in trying out.
Regardless of the marketing channel mix you use, it is vitally important to convey a consistent message on a regular basis to your target market. You may send your first message out early in the month and follow that up using a different marketing channel. However, you will need to remember to keep the message, as well as some visual elements, the same. Marketing strategies are developed to produce results over time, as one message builds upon another. Keep these tips in mind as you develop your marketing campaign:
- Use different channels to reinforce your messaging
- Understand that different channels may reach different prospects
- Keep the messaging similar across products to “brand” your company
- Track the results to guide your future efforts
- Give the process time to produce results
Multi-channel marketing is a positive process and should be considered in any marketing campaign or strategy. Keep in mind that the consistency and frequency of getting the message out to potential clients is the most effective way to sell your products and services. This is a branding process, and it embodies everything that your customers and potential customers see or hear about your company. Make sure all of your visuals and messages are what you want your customers to think and know about you and your company.
“How do I make my website show up first?”
This has been the eternal question for anyone who has tried to get their site noticed on the vast aisles of the internet, or in other words: be the proverbial “cool kid” on the web.
Traditionally, your website would become a sort of keyword calzone, stuffed to the brim with any word a potential client might search for. This is true no longer. Search engines have picked up on the sometimes misleading tactics of websites, and have developed advanced methods of determinging if a site is “quality” or not. How do you make sure your site ranks high on search results?
The most pressing solution is one that is becoming ever more powerful: SOCIAL. Social media shares are intensely important in this day and age, and they’re influence is not going to go away anytime soon. Think about it, when you’re talking to a person face-to-face, what do you do when they recommend a restaurant or product? You’re more likely to try something that your friend likes, then a random stranger, and this concept of information sharing carries through to social media networks.
So…get a blog! Get a Facebook page! Get a Twitter! Much like the rest of the net before it, you are going to have to take on these social media strategies at some point, and now is better than later.
For more information about improving your SEO and social media influence, please contact us at (970) 221-5756 or send an email to email@example.com.
Our founder and CEO, Bill Neal, has a mouthful of dental knowledge. As a longtime CDT and marketing expert, he writes many articles for popular dental and dental lab publications. His latest article, titled “Mix It Up!” is featured in the June issue of Inside Dental Technology. Click here to read it.
We suspect you’ve heard this message before, but experience has taught us it cannot be overstated enough:
Simple is better.
No one wants to put much effort into figuring out your marketing concept. Taglines that are short and to the point are your best bet, as well as ads that relate to the viewer on a personal level.
Care about what your audience cares about!
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