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How to master the power of outsourcing your practice management

Dental Products ReportDental Products Report-2013-08-01
Issue 8

When it comes to implementing new business solutions, dentists have two options- hire an expert, or take the time to figure it out on their own.

When it comes to implementing new business solutions, dentists have two options- hire an expert, or take the time to figure it out on their own.

For anything in the practice that requires professional expertise, whether it is tax preparation, bookkeeping, lab work, or even collections, dentists have the option to either do it themselves or choose to outsource it.

In fact, a common debate and internal dialogue for any business owner is over how much to outsource versus what can be managed in-house.

However, when it comes to marketing, outsourcing should be a no-brainer. There are so many quality vendors who have proven success within the dental industry, and as a result there is simply no need for dentists to go it alone or be anyone’s guinea pig; these companies are experts in what they do with strong track records.

Whether it is search engine optimization (SEO), website design, or patient financing systems, there are plenty of dental industry professionals who will work directly with dentists to create custom marketing strategies.

Website design

Website design is another area dentists are well-served by outsourcing. Certainly there are many do-it-yourself, template design formats available. However, a website should be designed with the belief that it is a powerful tool for the dental practice, and that there’s quantitative research and best practices that have been established to determine what works when it comes to attracting and retaining patients online.

The reality is that cookie cutter design will not provide the return on investment dentists need, and that customization, including the latest and greatest website features, is key in dental practice website design.

As more and more patients turn to the Internet when researching health care providers, a dentist’s website is often the first impression patients will have of the dentist and the practice. The site should accurately reflect the experience and the personality of the practice-telling the community why the dentist/practice is better than the competition.

Custom features such as videos, a blog, online appointing, SEO tactics and social media links are necessary in connecting with the online community and driving new patients to the practice.

Search Engine Optimization

Sure, dentists can take the time to teach themselves some tricks or even become experts in SEO. They can read books and articles and stay updated on the latest trends, strategies and algorithms. But the reality is that as for many technology-based arenas, SEO is a constantly changing beast, and it’s a full-time job to keep up.

Try fitting this into an already busy schedule of treating patients, managing the practice, and keeping up with the latest clinical advancements and technology in dentistry. For dentists who don’t have time to add another responsibility to their job description, hiring a website design and SEO company is an easy solution.

Sesame Communications and Televox, for example, are industry leaders that provide dentists with quality websites and SEO solutions, keeping dentists visible online while giving them the peace of mind that comes along with having a qualified marketing partner.

Affordable patient care

It is frustrating for dentists not to be able to provide patients with the necessary treatment because of financial constraints.

Dental patients are not often aware of the difference between medical insurance and dental insurance, leading them to forgo treatment any time they hear the words “out of pocket.” Creating an in-office patient membership plan solves the problems of patients’ affordability issues while simultaneously instilling a feeling of loyalty to the dentist or practice. It also reduces reliance on dental insurance, relieving the dentist and staff of the burden of dental insurance administration.

However, setting up an in-office patient membership plan is much more involved than it may appear at first glance. Creating a program like this from scratch requires the dedication to develop and painstakingly work through the program creation through trial and error, not to mention the administrative tasks, PR and marketing efforts and legal issues to address.

Fortunately, a fellow dentist has done just this, and is sharing his successes with a growing number of dentists across the country. Dr. Dan Marut started Quality Dental Plan in 2001 to enable a greater number of patients to afford the oral health care treatment they desperately need, while freeing the dental practice from the burdens of traditional dental insurance.

There is no need for dentists to reinvent the wheel when it comes to making dentistry more affordable for patients. The QDP patient membership program offers a straight-forward alternative to dental insurance, saving patients and dentists both time and money.

Hiring the right vendors

Red Adair, the late American businessman, once said, “If you think it’s expensive hiring a professional, wait till you hire an amateur.”

There are countless, self-proclaimed “experts” ready to assist dentists with their SEO and website design, all with varying degrees of costs and experience.

So what should dentists look for in a vendor when choosing to outsource?

First, be sure the company has a history of proven success within the dental industry. Be specific-not the medical industry as a whole, or professional services at large, but a company with a specific background of working with dentists that understands the unique aspects of dental practice management and the nuances of the dentist-patient relationship.

Second, the right vendor should offer different levels of service and pricing. And be wary of companies that require payment in full up front before any work has been completed.

Next, look for vendors who offer a range of expertise. Whether a dentist is looking for e-communication solutions, social media marketing, SEO or website design, he/she will be best served by hiring one company capable of doing it all. This leads to a long-term business relationship as the vendor’s successes enhance the growth of the practice.

Hiring one vendor to manage a variety of the online marketing tactics, for example, ensures the practice has a single point of contact rather than multiple partners to manage.

Plus, in this scenario, all online marketing efforts are coordinated and working cohesively, while increasing the vendor’s accountability and investment in the practice’s success-all of which ends up saving the dentist time and money in the long run.

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