All posts by Julie Chamberlin

Setting up professional email addresses for your practice

Email was one of the first online modes of communication to catch on in a big way. Now it is the standard for sending fast, reliable messages to family, coworkers, and friends. Even if you do not consider yourself a tech-savvy person, you probably have a personal email address and/or a work email address. Free email hosts like Gmail and Yahoo make it quick and easy to get a functional email account up and running, but setting up a unique set of professional emails can be a bit more challenging. Here are a few pointers to get you started on setting up professional email accounts for your practice. Even if your dental marketing company is setting up the email service for you, you’ll know which questions to ask every step of the way.

 Why have a professional email rather than a free account?

While Gmail is great for a personal email account, many people like keeping their personal emails and work emails separate. Since spammers are more likely to switch between free accounts than risk getting paid accounts blocked, many people see a professional email address as a sign that your practice is legitimate. Incorporating the name of your practice in a free email account can also be awkward: yourname_yourpractice@gmail.com is far less succinct and memorable than yourname@yourpractice.com. A common email domain among staff members makes communication with patients or referring doctors clear and consistent. It also ties your email address in with your website’s address!

 How do I get a professional email address?

Creating your professional email addresses is not quite as simple as setting up a Gmail account – but the good news is that it is well worth the effort!

 If you don’t currently have a website or domain name:

A domain name is a unique online address that you can purchase and register with a web host; it will be the online “home” of your website and email addresses. Your dental marketing company will likely take care of all the technical logistics, but if you’d like to learn more see our <a href=”http://blog.cluedentalmarketing.com/?p=105″>Website 101</a> post. The first step is to choose an easy-to-remember domain name that is specific to your practice, such as www.yourpractice.com. Once your domain name is registered, you can set up an email address @yourpractice.com through the web hosting account.  Some accounts come with a limited number of email addresses, while others come with unlimited.

Once you’ve registered your email address with your web host, you can begin to send and receive emails from your new address. For convenient access to your emails, we recommend setting your email address up on an email application such as Mail or Microsoft Outlook. If you have an old email address, you may want to back up all your old emails if you would still like to have access to them. You can also set up your old email account to forward to your new address, as long as your former address was a free account or you are continuing to pay the hosting service for an old email.

 If you already have a domain name:

If you already have a website and domain name, you’ll need to transfer your domain name to your new site’s host account in order to set up your email addresses. You’ll have to go into your former web host account and get a permission code to transfer the domain to a new host. Once the domain is transferred, your dental marketing company can register email addresses under the domain. If you had previous email addresses with your old hosting account, be aware that these will no longer work once you transfer the domain name. The same will occur if you stop paying for an old email hosting account. We recommend that you back your old emails up before switching. In the end, it will be worth it to have the same email domain as your website!

Clue Dental Marketing welcomes the opportunity to assist you with any questions or concern you have about emails. Feel free to post a question or comment or contact us at info@cluedentalmarketing.com!

Happy Birthday, Bob!

Group photoWe recently celebrated our printing consultant, Bob’s 60th birthday. Bob prints all the brochures, banners, and other printed media for Clue. He has always been extremely helpful in producing high-quality products for our company and our clients, which is why we wanted to surprise him with a special birthday treat.

Though there was much debate, Tom’s vote for red velvet cake was overruled by a majority vote in favor of the bavarian cream. Since it was a surprise, we couldn’t ask Bob, so we had to settle the matter ourselves. We also bought a balloon cane, which had the unintended effect of frightening Duke, our office dog, more than it served the purpose of teasing Bob.

We toasted Bob’s 60th birthday with champagne (shhh…don’t tell!). Here’s to hoping for many more successful years of working together!

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Meet Duke, the Office Dog

Car WindowIf you’ve ever heard of “therapy dogs,” we at Clue Dental Marketing have one of our own. With their relax attitude and unconditional affection, interacting with dogs can relieve tension and stress in humans. What better place to have a dog than an office?

Our company owner, Andrea, has a dog named Duke that she often brings into the office. Duke is the most laid back dog you will ever meet. When he’s not sleeping behind someone’s office chair, he’s patiently waiting at the door for Andrea to come back from meetings. Our office dog is part of our atmosphere here at Clue. Working hard to design creative material, meet deadlines, and make sure everyone is satisfied with the product can be stressful, but you can always count on Duke make you laugh.

Duke has one grand delusion: he thinks he is a lap dog. It doesn’t matter if there’s an inch of cushion available or an entire seat, he’ll try to get up there. We reenacted the cartoon below and Duke gladly complied. Who would have thought there was room on that chair??

Duke Cartoon

Duke Collage

Clue Dental Marketing Customizes Office with Dry Erase Wall

The past week at the office everyone has been waiting patiently (or not-so-patiently) for the dry erase walls to dry so that we can start testing out our artistic skills on them. The walls were supposed to be given two weeks to dry properly – but that doesn’t mean a couple “test marks” weren’t made behind the printer… Now we are in full force, recording our increasing Facebook “Likes” on the wall and getting an entire side of the conference room decked out with dry erase paint as well.

Here is our painter, Steve, who has become part of the Clue family in the past few weeks, working on the conference room:

painting

We also tried a little experiment to determine whether to use specialized dry erase paint or high-gloss paint before we decided which to use on the conference room. Tom’s office has the specialized dry erase paint while Brian’s has the high gloss stuff. The results: erasing capabilities are about the same, but the prep work and affordability of the high-gloss paint are more reasonable. So high-gloss paint it is for the conference room!

Now that the paint in Tom and Brian’s offices is dry, we have begun to write to-do lists, document projects, and put some fun drawings on the walls. The best part is it can all come off whenever we need it to (or at least we hope so!)

We have even been recording the “Likes” on our Facebook page after we started a new contest in which dentists can win a free lunch for their entire practice. Whoever likes our Facebook page will be entered in a drawing to win the free lunch for their practice. We’ve been refreshing the Facebook page a few times a day to see who has entered the contest!

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Website 101

Ever wonder how websites are designed and how they become accessible on the Internet? Maybe you’re looking to create a website for your company or revamp and old site to reflect fresh, modern trends. Doctors’ practices can benefit greatly from having a website. Websites attract new costumers, keep your existing clients up-to-date, and allow people to get a sense of the atmosphere and offerings of your practice before setting foot in your office. However, if you do not understand how websites work and what services are best for your company, you may not know what you can do yourself and what services you need.

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Here are some of the basic questions regarding websites and hosting asked by our clients:

What is a website, exactly?

A website starts as a file that contains information on how content should appear on the Internet. You need a program like DreamWeaver that allows you to design the webpage, just as you might use Word to type a letter or PowerPoint to design a slide show. Just because you have designed a webpage does not mean that it is automatically on the Internet. Let’s start with an analogy: imagine your home. A website is like the physical structure that is your house. If you have the code written for a website and a software program that allows you to translate code into webpages, this would be like having the blueprint and raw materials for your house.

What do you mean by “code”?

Code is like a blueprint. It describes exactly where everything should be positioned on the website down to every color and piece of text. Before your website goes online, it starts as a blueprint of how the site should appear once it is on the Internet. Every web page is made up of two types of code: HTML and CSS. HTML describes the content of your website, telling your web browser which headlines, subheadings, paragraphs, lists and other objects should be displayed. CSS styles your content, defining the fonts, sizes, colors and position of all the objects.

Why do I need a Web Host? 

If you only have the blueprint and materials to build a house, you won’t get very far. You need a plot of land to build it on. The company that sells you the plot of land on which to build your house is similar to the Web Host. The web host has physical hardware and servers needed to put your website on the Internet. Without the web host, your website has no way of getting online.

shutterstock_62162776What is the difference between a website and a domain name? 

When you purchase a plot of land, you are given an address that designates where exactly your home is located. All the rooms in your house, your porch, garage, and backyard are grouped under a single address. This is akin to your website’s domain name. It’s the address that determines where on the Internet your website can be found. You are given a domain name when you purchase the space from the web host. Purchasing your own domain name is like owning your own home with a unique address, while “free” websites from hosts like GoDaddy are often like renting apartments; you get your own space but your address is still attached to the whole building.

If a domain name is your address, what is the URL?

A URL is a little bit trickier to compare. It’s as if each floor and room in your house has a separate address. If your living room had a URL, it might be https://www.100DruryLane.com/firstfloor-livingroom

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. When your website is optimized for search engines, it means that someone looking for what you’re offering (i.e. “Chicago Dentist”) will find you website as one of the primary options when they type those search words into Google, Yahoo, or another search engine.

How do I customize my website?

Like deciding whether to buy a house, condominium, or apartment – and whether to rent or own – the more time, effort and money you are willing to spend, the more customizable your website can be. If you start from scratch in creating a theme and format for your website and your buy your own domain name, the options for customizing your site are very open.

If you have the resources and knowledge, you can buy a plot of land and build your own house from scratch. However, most people choose to go through a real estate agent and building company, and when they need maintenance done to their house, they hire a contractor. If you do not have the tools and time to build a website, you will need a third-party company to design, host, and maintain your website.

Some higher-end companies will do all of these services at a cost. They will design your website and customize it to your personal brand, put it online, and then update it as you request changes. A completely original and customized website with ongoing maintenance services is the most costly option, but it is also the most professional and comprehensive option for building your website.

When you rent an apartment rather than buying a house, you may not be able to paint the walls or remodel the layout of your apartment. Similarly, if you purchase a inexpensive template site from a large web host company, you will have less freedom to cater the site to your tastes and brand. Every route you chose when deciding options for your website will come down to this: the more your are willing to pay for creative design services, the more personalized and professional your website will be.

Overview

  • shutterstock_122664076Webpage – a file saved on a computer containing information on how a content should appear on the Internet
  • Website – multiple webpages, linked together via a common domain name
  • Domain Name – a unique address describing where your website is located on the Internet
  • URL – a more specific address that ties each webpage in a website to a hierarchy branching out from the site’s domain
  • Web Hosting – a service that has the capability to put your website on the Internet

Idea Drafting: Pamphlets

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Thinking “Out of the Box”

Creative design and thinking “out of the box” is a key component of dental marketing. Catering to our client’s individual sense of identity, or brand, is one way in which we make our company stand out from the other marketing services. We don’t create templates that “box in” clients or prescribe to them a certain standard.

The drawings below are the first draft of a folding pamphlet. We wanted the look to be sleek, bold, and stimulating to the senses. In other words, not your average advertisement.

Pamphlet Design Page 1

What is a brand?

Looking back to when I first received admitted student packets and from schools, I remember how each school exuded a different brand. One university send a shiny postcard that displayed a graphic with my name in the clouds – showing off the reaches of their technology in a flashy manner; it made you want to be part of their exclusive club.

Another sent a handwritten card discussing one of my admissions essays on the back of a picture of one of the school’s famous gargoyles. This school was smaller and offered a more personalized experience, drawing upon older senses of prestige more so than new-fangled technology.

Our job is to create the same type of “brand” for dental practices. So, before we even begin to work with a client, we have to think about what type of brand will appeal not only to a doctor’s practice, but to the type of clients that practice might attract.

Pamphlet Design Page 2

Branding by design

The pamphlet at right is designed to appeal to those who like a visual and sensory experience. You might imagine their office stylized with bold colors and modern decorations. For their clients, the potential discomforts of going to the dentist are mitigated by the experience of being treated specially. Products and services don’t inherently market themselves, people sell products, and every person has a unique identity.

What we do is make sure that information is not simply conveyed, but that the package itself transcends what is in writing. Dental marketing is all about the brand, and every brand needs to be “out of the box.” 

What is your practice’s brand?

 

Tips for Effective Dental Marketing with Social Media

small social mediaBeing active on social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter is a great way to build relationships with current and prospective patients. Take a look at these 3 important tips for enhancing the image of your practice with social media.

Educate Your Patients

I am a firm believer that social media is not the place to advertise your practice as you traditionally would in a flyer or mailer. Provide your followers with value, such as helpful dental tips and industry news. If your online community doesn’t believe they are receiving value from your page, they will leave and find someone else who will.

Ask questions and encourage feedback! Use these platforms to build a more personal relationship with your patients. When your online community thinks highly of your practice, word of mouth can be an extremely beneficial dental marketing tactic for your practice.

Updates & Promotions

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Does your practice have a special deal or monthly promotion? Be sure to let your patients on social media know about it (value!). Attract your leads with offers that are only available online to encourage patients to find your practice on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. It is also a good idea to let your online communities know about updates around the office, which makes patients feel more engaged with your practice.

Engage Your Audience

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When it comes to social media, there are two major things you want to accomplish: engage and get people involved. Ask trivia questions, offer contests or sweepstakes, and incorporate some fun quotes and photos that your audience can share with friends and family.

You might be surprised by how much you can learn about your patients and your business through sites such as Facebook and Twitter. When your patients contact you through your social media pages, make sure you answer them. Think of your social pages as an extension or your company. Customer service is very important in order to gain and retain patients!