Archive for the ‘Recent’ Category
Been there, seen that.
Think about where your website’s photos came from. Hopefully you can recall their origin. They probably came from somewhere on the internet, a website specializing in stock photos perhaps? Do you know who uploaded that picture? Do you know how many other companies have used that exact same image? Probably not. And if you did, you probably wouldn’t be using it.
Don’t get us wrong; the occasional stock photo is great. They often come through in a pinch, they’re readily available, and most alluringly, they are easy.
Unfortunately though, that probably wouldn’t be something you would like to admit to your customers. Additionally, it may be sure fire way to lose a customer. Your customers probably compare your company’s website and products to others in the same industry. What if a potential customer found you to be using the same stock photos as competitor? Not the best way to separate yourself from the pack.
We highly recommend you invest in custom photographs.
Spend the extra bit of time and effort on custom photography. You’ll get the reward of the exact photo you had in mind, and it’s safer advertising. A lucrative benefit of custom photography is the ability to showcase your exact product. The danger of stock photography is not only advertising the exact same “Band-Aid,” but not advertising as attractively or accurately as possible. Show exactly what you have, when you have it, and customers will appreciate your work. It will keep your product library up-to-date and looking sharp.
Photography is definitely still an art form and practiced skill, but it’s a much more approachable task than it used to be. Try your hand at it, or seek out a marketing company (a-hem a-hem) to help you along the way.
No customer wants to fight for your attention or feel like they are jumping through hoops when it comes to interacting with your company. About the only digital-space people will crawl over one another for a product is eBay. And, you’re not eBay are you?
The easier a customer can interact with you, the more likely they will be to do business with your company. Today, especially online, it may seem like competition is infinite. What can you do to reduce that competition? Make business easy and keep your work concise and organized. If you think your company’s website is even minutely scattered, sprawling or disjunct—what do you think your customers will think of it?
We are not the only ones thinking like this: “To Keep Your Customers, Keep It Simple”
13 Dental Trends That Will Affect Your Brand in 2013
*This article, written by AMG’s founder William F. Neal, CDT, is excerpted from Spectrum Dialogue Vol. 12 No. 2.
Now that 12-21-12 has come and gone (and we are all still here) we need to look at the coming year and determine what we need to do to weather 2013. The number 13 has long been associated with bad luck, however if you address the following 13 trends carefully you might find more success than those who do not.
1. Changing Demand in Your Product Mix
Rapidly advancing technological changes have permanently changed the dental laboratory landscape. No longer do laboratories have to labor over pouring of models, waxing with Bunsen burners and casting with torches. CAD/CAM technology, although expensive, has altered the production environment enabled the precision milling of dental restorations resulting in greater workflow efficiencies. This change will not stop and those who do not embrace the change will find the coming years more difficult to be competitive.
2. Pricing for The Future
It’s no secret that the North American Free Trade Act and the globalization of dental services have both put downward pressure on pricing. Rather than going along with this pressure, laboratories have to get a good handle on their cost of goods sold. Material costs have increased and yet direct labor costs have decreased. Laboratories today are spending large sums for equipment to remain competitive and those who budget and plan accordingly will enjoy a profitable business.
3. Need for Added Value
Laboratories are scrambling for the same customers with the same types of products; so what differentiates them from their competitors? Added value services and “perks” will go a long way to help some stand out from the crowd.
4. Provide Solutions Not Problems
Dentists today rely on the expertise provided by laboratories in materials and systems more than ever. White papers, technical bulletins and CE courses will help to educate dentists in the new technologies and help to eliminate problems between dental offices and laboratories.
5. Meet Higher Expectations of Dentists
Many of the newer systems, equipment and materials have provided dental laboratories, dentists and their patients with products and services at a higher level of precision and esthetics. Laboratories who educate their staff in how to apply their knowledge in their use will find it much easier to communicate with dentists and meet their expectations in the services and products provided to them and their patients.
6. Social Network Influences
Social media is playing a much larger role in business worldwide. The question is: Are laboratories ready to accept a role in social media? Will dental laboratories include social medial activities in their marketing efforts?
7. Customer Engagement
Engaging your customer is critical and social media is driving that fact. Consumers are becoming more aware of other peoples’ attitudes toward companies based on what is read in blogs and social media sites. It’s no longer about blasting out information; it becomes more about communication with them not at them.
8. Simplicity Will Win
Don’t over complicate your messaging. Consumers are a lot more aware of what is happening in the world and this applies to dentists. Keeping messaging simple and to the point is much more effective.
9. Mobile Marketing
Smart phones and tablets have changed how consumers do their purchasing research. Will you be ready? Apps and websites that are mobile friendly (accessible through Smartphones) will go a long way to help you reach potential and existing customers.
10. Educate to Create
Seminars, lunch and learn events and courses designed to provide needed CE continue to be one of the most effective tools to gain new customers. By educating potential customers you gain their confidence in your ability to be the company that can deliver what they need and want.
11. Consistent Branding
With so many different marketing channels to choose from it becomes more difficult to maintain consistency in your messaging and branding. Your logo, company message, color schemes are all important to portray consistently. This is especially important for those laboratories that do business out of their local area as any loss of identity might be a reason for them to look more closely to local laboratories.
12. Lasting Relationships
Maintaining good and long lasting relationships requires getting to know your customers’ objectives and goals better than anyone else. Excellent customer service, properly trained technical phone personnel and customer service representatives go a long way to support customers and keep them.
13. Watch Your Back
Be diligent in paying attention to what your competition and suppliers are doing. Who is buying whom and what companies are introducing new products and services. These indicate changing trends that will affect your business. It’s better to become aware of these changes before they can negatively impact your business.
We have all seen tremendous change in just the last two years and what will happen in the next year or two will definitely have an impact on all of dentistry. How you prepare yourself and your company will go a long way to insure your longevity as a dental industry participant.
Smell the fresh air and feel the sun on your back—the official start to spring is only a couple of days away, and you know what that means… spring cleaning! It’s high-time you started cleaning up, organizing, and updating your website.
Start with these two simple questions:
Is it broken?
Well, when is the last time you checked? Have someone comb through your website to make sure all the links are working correctly and it’s easily navigable. And if it is broken, do you really need us to tell you what do? Take care of your website’s unresolved issues today. Your customers will be happy you did.
Is it old?
Get it out of here. We’re not bashing seniority or experience, but we are bashing seniority or experience that thinks time will wait for them. In fact, seniority and experience are probably the most valuable assets your company can have, but if your marketing and advertising is stale, you’re not doing yourself any favors.
Feeling overwhelmed starting the process off? Give us a call or shoot as an email. We’ve got just the cleaning crew for you and we would be happy to help!
Can’t be two places at once? With video conferencing you absolutely can. Video chatting or conferencing is an incredible way to easily address concerns or answer complex questions. It allows you to eliminate possibly confusing conversations and greatly enhances technical support to your clients. There are many options for your video conferencing tools, including Skype, Apple’s Facetime, Google’s Video Chat, GoToMeeting and WebEx. If you plan on doing many interactive video conference calls, it is a good idea to invest in a comfortable, high-quality headset. This allows you to receive and send the best audio (speakers sometimes have feedback) plus this gives you the ability to work hands-free. Incorporating video conferencing can afford you the opportunity to avoid costly rework and improve overall product satisfaction. This means a savings in time and money for you. If a picture is worth a 1000 words, then a video has to come in at about 5000 plus.
Active listening is one of the most important skills needed to help your business succeed. Many people have their minds made up before they even hear what another person has to say. Leave your own prejudices and preconceived ideas at home. These prevent you from actually learning something new and from actually hearing what the speaker is trying to say.
If something is unclear, speak up. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to get clarity. Mark Twain said, “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” This does not happen to be true in business. A good way to make sure you have a solid comprehension is to reiterate or paraphrase the points conveyed by the speaker. Proceeding on a project without understanding the true needs and expectations of your clients is definitely not advisable.
Try not to interrupt people and let them finish their thoughts. It is not only rather rude, but it makes you look like a bit of know-it-all. Just breathe and remain quiet until the person stops speaking. I have definitely been guilty of not heeding this advice in the past. I grew up in a loud, Irish family and getting a word in edgewise was a tough challenge. You had to try and jump in when you could. Recently, my boss pointed this fault out to me and I have been struggling to try and not interject (even though School House Rock made interjections look cool).
Every year, our clients send out thousands of postcards promoting their businesses. These campaigns have been a staple of the advertising world for decades and continue to have a strong impact on revenues. We are currently offering 50% off our mailing lists, which are good for 12 months from the day of purchase. These lists are available in a wide range of formats (including emails), and can be customized in order to find the right target demographics from the start. This saves time and money, and makes your campaigns more effective.
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.
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.”
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