Signs it’s Time to Update Your Website

By Melody Gandy-Bohr, Officite

Your website is your first impression in the minds of many modern patients, and you may never get another opportunity to show them the excellence of your practice. You only have a tiny window of time to convince them to stay — half of online users spend less than 15 seconds on a website. An old, outdated site can cause users to navigate away before they even get a chance to look at your services. Don’t risk losing potential patients. Instead, keep an eye out for these signs that it’s time for updated functionality and a new look.

Your Website Isn’t Responsive

According to Google, more searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries, including the U.S. Mobile search is dominating the internet, and if your website isn’t properly optimized, you are losing out on a large portion of your target audience. A website that doesn’t render well on a mobile device will cause a bad user experience for visitors and damage your practice’s SEO goals. If you haven’t already, upgrade your site to a mobile-responsive design to encourage site visitors to stick around.

It Takes Forever to Load

A slow-loading website can be annoying, especially to a generation accustomed to the instant gratification that the internet provides. This will greatly increase your bounce rate and create a negative user experience. However, your site speed could also be affecting your website ranking. Among the many factors that define its ranking algorithm, Google also takes site speed into consideration. Granted, site speed is just one small aspect of Google’s algorithm, but it is something that can be easily fixed with an updated website.

Your Analytics Are Terrible

The numbers don’t lie; if your website data is showing that visitors are leaving your website without engaging, that’s a clear sign an update is needed. Usually, this means that your outdated content or aesthetics aren’t meeting your user’s needs. A website that isn’t converting visitors into patients is not doing its job. Take a look at your website analytics and consider an upgrade to improve conversion rates.

You Can’t Remember the Last Time You Updated

There’s no shame in being a little neglectful of your website. As a practice owner, it can be challenging to find time in your busy day to spend on your online marketing strategy. If it’s been a few years since you’ve touched your website, it’s long overdo for an update. Website design trends and SEO techniques change often, which can leave your website far behind the competition. Your practice has probably changed as well. Whether you have new staff members, services or an additional location, you’ll no doubt have plenty to add if you want to keep your patients up to speed.

It’s important to remember that your website is an online representation of your practice. An updated, mobile-responsive website can go a long way toward improving your online reputation and reaching your marketing goals. If any of these points applies to your practice, an update could make a huge difference to your bottom line.


Interested in learning how Officite can help you bring your digital marketing up to speed? Contact us at 888.749.3778 for more information!

 

 

Real Estate: The Second-highest Expense in Your Practice

By Ken Jorgenson, Carr Healthcare Realty

When it comes to managing expenses in your practice, there are dozens of categories to evaluate: equipment, technology, loan costs and interest rates, sundries, marketing, and on and on they go.

Many practice owners are quick to shop-out what they believe are the most obvious expenses, but few understand the impact of one of the largest expenses and how it can be dramatically reduced to increase profitability. The highest expense for most practices is payroll, followed by real estate. Real estate encompasses your monthly rent or mortgage payments, along with the property’s operating expenses, maintenance fees, utilities and janitorial costs.

If you consider these top two expenses, payroll and real estate, only one of them is really negotiable. With payroll, you can either pay people their value or they usually find another job that will. You may decide that you can cut staff, but if you need people, you need to pay them what they deserve or they will eventually leave.

Real estate however, is 100 percent negotiable. You have the choice of leasing or owning, as well as being in an office building, retail center, a stand-alone building or large medical complex with many other providers. You can choose the size of your space, the design and the landlord you want to work with — or to be your own landlord. And if you do own, you can decide whether to buy an existing building, an office condo or to develop your own building from the ground up.

When negotiating the economic terms of a lease, you have a say in the length of lease, the desired concessions, including build-out period, tenant improvement allowance, free rent, lease rates, annual rate increases, and many other provisions.

With this many choices to evaluate and understanding that each one affects the final economic outcome, why is it that so many practices fail to capitalize on their real estate opportunities? The short answer is that most practice owners and administrators simply don’t have the knowledge and expertise in commercial real estate to understand how to make the most of these opportunities. They view real estate as a necessary evil instead of an incredible opportunity to improve profitability, reduce expenses and improve the quality of their patients’ experience. When the correct approach is taken, you may actually look forward to it instead of dreading your real estate negotiation.

Let’s take a look at three key ideas that will help you make the most of your next real estate transaction.

1. Timing
Every type of transaction has an ideal timeframe to start the process. When starting too early or too late, you communicate to the landlord or seller that you don’t really know what you’re doing. When that message is communicated, it hurts your ability to receive the best possible terms. For example, don’t wait for your landlord to approach you on a lease renewal negotiation. Start by consulting with a professional so you can understand the ideal timeframe to start your transaction, come up with a specific game plan for what you want to achieve, and then you be the one to approach your landlord with renewal terms.

2. Representation
Landlords and sellers prey on unrepresented tenants who don’t really know the market or what their options are. If the tenant was a Fortune 500 company, the landlord would approach them with a high level of respect, expecting that they either have a real estate broker hired to represent them or have a team of professionals internally that are well-equipped to handle the transaction.

In contrast, when a landlord or seller starts speaking with a tenant who isn’t represented, and who they don’t believe knows the market as well as they do, that tenant is not going to get the same level of respect through the process. This is because the landlord senses an opportunity to take advantage of a small tenant who is not an expert, doesn’t have a full complement of real estate knowledge and skills, and who doesn’t have adequate representation.

When you understand that commissions are paid in commercial real estate just like they are in residential real estate — they are set aside in advance for two parties, not just one — then you understand there aren’t any savings by not having a broker. And if there aren’t any savings by not having a broker, then showing up without one only further detracts from your credibility.

3. Leverage and Posture
It is nearly impossible to emerge victorious from a negotiation without leverage and posture, which are created by having multiple options in the market. If you limit yourself to one property, you are at the mercy of that owner. Since most landlords and sellers negotiate professionally, it is easy for them to know when you don’t have other viable options.

Simply telling a landlord that you have a proposal from another landlord won’t give you a strong enough posture. Most landlords look at unrepresented tenants and assume they do not know the market, do not understand all their options and are not serious about making the landlord compete for their business. Leverage and posture are created when you have the right timing, professional representation, an understanding of all your available options and a detailed game plan of what you want to accomplish in order to capitalize on the market.

These three key ideas are the first of many factors that allow health care tenants and buyers to reduce their second-highest expense, which dramatically impacts profitability and cash flow.

 

Carr Healthcare Realty is the nation’s leading provider of commercial real estate services for health care tenants and buyers. Every year, hundreds of medical, dental, veterinary and other health care practices trust Carr Healthcare Realty to help them achieve the most favorable terms on their lease and purchase negotiations. By not representing landlords or sellers, Carr Healthcare Realty is able to strongly advocate for health care providers and avoid conflicts of interest while saving their clients hundreds of thousands of dollars. Carr Healthcare Realty’s team of experts can assist with all types of real estate transactions, including lease renewals, expansions, relocations, startup offices, purchases and practice transitions. For more information, go to carrhr.com.

What to Do When a Crisis Happens

By Moore Communications Group

Developing a Crisis Communications Protocol for Your Practice

What is a crisis? In the context of crisis communications, a crisis is an incident or issue that can challenge the public reputation of an individual or organization.

As the role of a health care professional heavily relies on trust, it is crucial to have a crisis communications protocol to guide you in addressing a potential crisis situation or issue.
Developing this protocol in advance will help you act more quickly and effectively.

Moore Communications Group has developed a checklist to help you prepare a crisis communications process for your practice, including social media protocols and communicating
with the media.   ​

Click here to access this crisis communications protocol checklist.

The Key to Sustainable Practice Growth

By Dr. Mark T. Murphy

When asked what would solve their lack of busyness problem, most dentists respond by saying they “need more new patients.” Although a steady increased stream of clients would help fill the hygiene and dental schedules in most practices, it is expensive and the most difficult to quickly achieve. Acquisition of new business requires either a strong social and public media blitz (tougher to effectively target market without spending a lot) or steady referral growth (which takes time). Fortunately, there are diamonds at our feet that we can take advantage of, but it requires a bit of a paradigm shift in thinking.

How we look at the problem sometimes is the problem. That’s why a shift in perspective sometimes is needed to move past a recurrent obstacle. By looking at the problem differently, we may be able to see solutions that were previously limited by our point of view. “More new patients” is not always the right answer.

The single biggest opportunity for sustainable growth in most practices is right under our nose. In the average practice that we have worked with or researched, a little more than 70 percent of the existing patients are leaving with a re-care appointment scheduled for a specific date and time. Most of us think we are better at that, but when you actually stop and measure it for one month, you will feel differently. It is easy to significantly increase the percentage and impact how full your hygiene schedule will be.

1. Measure: Just by measuring, your team will become more attentive to this behavior (prescheduling re-care) and the results will improve.

2. Track: By setting an improvement goal and tracking how many patients leave with a next hygiene appointment in real time (using notes on the day sheet, an excel spreadsheet or software like funktionaltracker.com), your future schedule will be more full.

3. Speak: Rehearsing verbal skills around this helps to get more patients to schedule. “Mrs. Jones, I know how you feel. Sometimes I don’t know what I am doing in six months, either. But, let’s do this: Let’s book something for now that looks like it might work. If you have to change it as it gets closer — no big deal. But, it is so much easier to trade a one-hour time slot for another one if you already have an appointment than if you don’t have one.”

4. Celebrate: Re-measure the result each month and share the success with your team. Reward them appropriately so they know how much you appreciate their effort. It is way less expensive to pre-book and stay busy than to try to fill an empty schedule a few days ahead of time.

The obvious part of this story is that it works! The bonus is that when you have more hygiene patients and a fuller schedule, you will de facto have more dentistry to do from that. Most practices range from 25-35 percent of their production from hygiene visits and the rest from restorative. So, for every dollar you find by pre-booking better, you should find $2-3 more of restorative need. Helping more patients have healthier mouths and getting to do more of the dentistry that is fulfilling drives these behaviors. Money never leads, it only follows.

 

Dr. Murphy is the principal of Funktional Tracker and lead faculty for Clinical Education at Microdental, and can be reached at mtmurphydds@gmail.com. He will be speaking at FDC2016 on Thursday, June 16 and Saturday, June 18. “Introduction to Treating Sleep Apnea in Your Practice: From Getting Started to Medical Billing” will be on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. and “Evidence-based Shade Communication in Restorative Dentistry” will be later that day at 2 p.m. On Saturday, he will present, “Improving Case Acceptance, Moving Past Insurance Entitlement,” at  10:45 a.m. during the New Dentist Program, “Success is your Future: The New Dentist Practical Guide for Success.”