A Quick 4 Online Reputation Checklist

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As the owner of a small medical or dental practice or small business, your online reputation is important to establishing your credibility to your patients and customers, attracting new business, and growing your bottom line. However, if you’re just starting out on the online world, you might not know where to start. But you need to stay conscious of what you’re posting on the Internet, and how quickly it can spread.

Here’s a quick 4 checklist you can use to determine the strength of your online reputation, and what you might need to focus on.

✓ Set up a Yelp business page, Facebook page, and Citysearch page for your business.

If you don’t have, or don’t maintain, a public profile on any or all of these sites, you’re missing out not only on the opportunity to attract new clients; but you also might be allowing a negative reputation to build itself online without your knowledge.

✓ Google your business and set up a Google Alert

You should always be aware of how your practice or business is being represented online, and who’s talking about it. Setting up a Google Alert for your business name, and even say—a competitor’s name or keywords for your industry—keeps you aware of what’s trending, and who’s talking about you.

✓ Collect testimonials and positive reviews to share on your website, on your storefront, and online.

Don’t know how to collect reviews? With Demandforce, you can send one-click online review requests to your patients and customers to help you collect more and better online reviews.

✓ Survey your customers to see what you can improve upon and what it is you’re doing that they like

Sending patient and customer surveys helps you keep appraised of what’s working for your customers, and what might not be. Plus, it shows your customers that you care, and that you’re proactive in accepting feedback and always looking to improve the customer experience.

Once you have addressed and set up these four aspects of your online reputation, you’ll be on your way to discovering a whole new world of potential patients and customers, and owning your online reputation.

Improve Your Practice’s Productivity in 2017 with These Top 5 Healthcare Automation Processes

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It’s a new year, which means it’s time for another set of resolutions. But rather than deciding to choose the same old resolutions that never quite motivate you enough to follow through on them, why not focus on just 5 of the easiest, yet most effective, healthcare automation processes that will boost your practice’s productivity and keep you connected with your patients.

All patients enjoy a friendly, attentive practice—so if you’re too busy on the phone, or handling paperwork when you should be focused on your patients, you might lose patients, referrals, or new business.

Here are our Top 5 picks for healthcare automation processes that will help you better manage your time and eliminate time-consuming or repetitive tasks.

If you’d like to learn more about marketing automation and how it can help your practice, visit www.demandforce.com.

Appointment Reminders

Spend less time chasing down confirmations by setting up automatic appointment reminders for your patients. You can send advance email reminders, text alerts, or even an automated voice call to cut down on no-shows and forgotten appointments.

Recall & Check-Up Reminders

Increase the number of patients you bring back time and again by automating your recall and check-up reminders. Save time by setting up a schedule for when to send out recall emails and notifications so you’re not overwhelmed by all the scheduling.

Patient Surveys

Gathering patient feedback about the quality of service you’re providing, and showing patients you care about giving them a great experience goes a long way in attracting new patients, and keeping the ones you have. Setting up an automated system of sending and collecting patient surveys allows you to constantly gather data about your practice without worrying about this practice slipping through the cracks on busy days. 

Birthday Greetings & Special Offers

Sending birthday messages to your patients, or sending an exclusive offer to long-time patients is a proven way to retain lifetime patients, and promote practice advocates and referrals. Sending cards in the mail is costly and time-consuming, so why not automate this process and/or send email greetings to your patient base?

Requests for Online Reviews

These days, your online reputation is so important in attracting new patients, and establishing your practice as reputable online. That’s why the more online reviews you have from patients, the better. But we know that sometimes asking for those reviews, and following up with patients, can take up a lot of time. So why not automate your request for online reviews, so that a friendly email request is sent to all your patients shortly after they finish their appointments, asking for their review. Then you can quickly review and post these on the most popular social media sites; saving you time and the headache of sorting through various sites, and reposting.

These are our top 5 healthcare automation processes, but there are so many that we didn’t mention as well. With so many choices to help you better leverage your time and schedule, there’s no reason your should be sacrificing productivity in your practice. If you want to learn more about healthcare automation, and your options, click here.

The top marketing trends of 2016

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Wow, what a year! As 2016 comes to a close, we thought it would be a good time to take a look at the top marketing trends of 2016, and how they relate to your business.

Mobile email and mobile first

Mobile marketing saw a continued steady growth in implementation and use. It’s no surprise that more people are on-the-go and on their phones, and so marketing that is tailored to not only be mobile-friendly, but mobile first, did much better in 2016. 

Social media: not a strategy, but a channel

This was the year that saw a shift in how social media has traditionally been viewed. Social media is not a strategy, but instead a channel, one of many your business should utilize to support its broader campaigns. This is often why social media marketing as a tactic is often more effective than if it’s utilized as a campaign on its own.

Marketing automation

With better UI came a way to create easier multi-channel touch campaigns, and 2016 saw the merging of email marketing and marketing automation. More time was spent on marketing automations, and less on scheduled campaigns and email broadcasts. As it becomes easier to import third-party data to enhance a company’s information about its customers; and as technology continues to improve, marketing automation will become a foundation of future marketing campaigns and strategies.

Hyper-personalization and relationship marketing

This was the year of hyper-personalization and a trend towards relationship marketing versus the hard sell. Again, technology advancements in deliverability, testing, live content, remarketing options, and analytics helped create new ways to connect (and stay connected) with customers and prospects. Many businesses chose to focus on relationship marketing, which meant changing their marketing strategy to be longer-term in focus—building stronger loyalty and long-term customer engagement, rather than quick, short-term customer acquisition and individual sales goals. This helped many businesses develop strong, emotional connections to their brands that drive word-of-mouth promotions and lead generation. Relationship marketing and hyper-personalization go hand-in-hand, as the ability to know how to market to your customers comes from knowing more about them – through data.

Modular templates and interactivity for emails

An interesting marketing trend of 2016 was the choice of many major brands to begin a shift away from one-off, complex and unique emails for every campaign to choosing a more modular template design—one where you can have several different versions of an email from the same template. This saves time and creates a familiar brand identity for your customers, as they begin identifying a certain look to your company or service. Added to this was a rise in animation and interactivity in emails, as marketers sought to keep content fresh, unique, and engaging.

More visual content

Today’s world is one filled with so many different things competing for the attention and eye of your customer. This goes for emails and marketing as well. Your customers need more than plain text to engage. They want valuable content that not only educates, but entertains them as well. That’s where visual content can help. People remember visuals 6x more than plain text, and platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat are great forums for visual content.

Debunking Email Marketing Myths [Infographic]

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As 2016 comes to a close, we’re still talking about email marketing because it’s that important to staying connected to your customers. As the leading customer communications platform for dentists, doctors, veterinarians, salons, spas, and auto shops, the team at Demandforce knows emails.

One of the most powerful features of Demandforce is one-click email campaigns. These are campaigns that you can send out to your email database with—you guessed it—one click!

But before you send your first email, you might be wondering about some Best Practices for Email Marketing. There’s so much information out there, it can seem overwhelming sometimes. That’s why we created this helpful and simple infographic that outlines the 4 Email Marketing Myths we hear the most. Don’t fall for the hype and take the first step in elevating your email marketing!

We hope you enjoy this infographic, and if you want to chat with our team about Demandforce, set up a free consultation with a Demandforce expert by clicking here.

Email Marketing Myths

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Demandforce is the perfect holiday gift for your office

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The holidays are almost here, and if your business is shopping around for a holiday gift that will benefit the entire office, why not try Demandforce, and enjoy the benefits all year long.

Demandforce is a patient & customer communications solution that offers features including automated appointment reminders, online reviews, and custom email campaigns.

What are the benefits of Demandforce for your business?

Time

It takes nearly eight minutes to schedule an appointment over the phone, but you can do it in less than one online. With Demandforce, your patients and customers can make an appointment online 24/7, and then get a text, voice, or email reminder when it’s time for their appointment, saving them—and you—valuable time.

Growth

When it comes to growing your business, your online reputation matters. What your patients and customers read about you online plays a huge role in whether they choose you over a competitor. Demandforce automatically collects reviews after patient or customer visits, and allows you to review them, and post them onto popular social media sites, all from within the Demandforce platform. In a 2015 survey of Demandforce customers, 87% of them saw a significant jump in their online reviews within one year.

Happy Patients, Happy Customers

You will generate more referrals and gain advocates by making it easier for anyone to schedule an appointment with you, communicate and get their questions answered, and get reminders for when they need to come back. Stay in touch in between visits with pre-made and customizable email campaigns to increase spend and patient recall.

Want to learn more about Demandforce or speak with our team today? You can either call us at (800) 220-1136 or schedule a live demo with one of our consultants to see the platform in action!

Why Word-of-Mouth Marketing Still Matters

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In business, word-of-mouth marketing often involves a happy customer who promotes your business, product, or service to other people, through referrals, recommendations, online reviews, or social posts. These mentions are most often unpaid (though some referral programs provide incentives), and can be incredibly effective at attracting new customers and providing social proof.

Some important statistics:

  • Word-of-mouth marketing is still the most trusted form of marketing, trusted by 84% of consumers (source: Nielson)
  • 91% of B2B buyers are influenced by word of mouth when making buying decisions (source: USM)
  • 65% of new business comes from referrals (source: Womma.org)
  • 27% of consumers would pay 15% or more to receive superior customer service (source: Womma.org)
  • Customers acquired through word-of-mouth spend 200% more than the average customer, and make up to 2x as many referrals (source: Business Pulse)

As more businesses focus on organic marketing strategies such as utilizing social media and online reviews to boost business, it’s important to understand why word-of-mouth marketing is valuable and why it still matters.

Word-of-mouth marketing is about trust, and building trust with your customers, vendors, and partners. This is why word-of-mouth marketing is so powerful, and also so trusted. Within our daily conversations, we discuss brands, products, and businesses. It’s part of human nature to want to share good experiences (and bad!) with others, and everyone enjoys being able to recommend a business or product that might help out a friend, relative, or colleague.

Setting up a simple, yet effective, referral campaign

One of the most effective byproducts of good word-of-mouth marketing is a referral from a happy customer. Follow these steps to make it easy for your customers to recommend your business to their friends & family.

  1. Create a compelling offer
  2. Promote your referral program through an eblast and on social media
  3. Make sure the referral process is simple, quick, and easy
  4. Personalize the initial referral messaging and onboarding process
  5. Keep your referral program top-of-mind with social posts & reminder emails
  6. Monitor and optimize your referral program based on results

If you are looking to create your first (or next) referral campaign, Demandforce can help. You can send a pre-written referral campaign email and get help requesting online reviews from happy customers. Get more 5-star reviews and gain more customer advocates with word-of-mouth marketing and grow your business!

How Clickable Are Your CTAs?

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A Call-to-Action (CTA) is a vital part of any business website and digital campaign. CTAs are the buttons or links that push traffic to where you want it to go. They drive sales, are important indicators showing how effective your campaigns are, and they are crucial in moving prospects further into the sales process.

Therefore, you should care how clickable your CTAs are, and take the time to test different messages and words to determine what phrases connect to your customers. In this article, we will discuss how to determine how clickable your Call-to-Action buttons are, and we’ll give you some examples of CTAs you could use.

How to build & test your CTAs

When done right, your Call-to-Action button can act as a visual attention-grabber that, when paired with a compelling message and offer, drive people to action. But even creating the CTA can seriously impact your click-through and conversion rate. So here are a few hints on how to test (and build) your CTAs.

Use active language

This might take you back to your high school English class, but active language motivates people much more than passive phrasing. Remind people why they want to take action to encourage clicks as well.

For example, when A/B tested, the phrase “Create My Account & Get Started” converted better than just “Create My Account.” And “Download to Save Time” converted more than just “Download.”

Show the benefit

It follows, then, that providing information about the benefit of clicking also helps. This doesn’t have to be within the button itself, but you can provide information within the same landing page or area your button shows up.

Test button design

The button itself has proven to matter for conversions, so always test certain variables to see what works best for you. Here are our favorites to test:

  • Color – consider contrasting colors that don’t blend into the background
  • Position – test placing the button above the fold, or below all the content needed to explain the offer
  • Size – Don’t get too crazy, but remember the button should be large enough to be easily seen among the other elements on your page
  • Special Effects – Consider graphic enhancements such as rounded corners, drop shadows, or a different hover color
  • White Space – Remember to keep white space around your button, and play with how much so that the eye is quickly drawn to and can stay focused on the CTA

It’s all in the language

So now we come to arguably the most obvious, and most difficult aspect to test in a CTA – the language itself. An ad adage to remember as you think about CTA copy is: people buy with emotion, but follow with logic.

You might have heard that CTAs must convey an urgency to attract impulse clickers, and that CTA should clearly communicate what will happen once you click the button. This is not an area for cleverness or subtlety.

For example, you might be surprised at the lower conversion rates for “Buy Now” buttons, but when you consider that some users might believe their credit card will be automatically charged if they click it… that’s why you see more “Add to Cart” or “Download Now”

Of course, the text does need to match what type of business you are, and what you are trying to get the visitor to do. But if you’re looking for help, Demandforce has done the heavy lifting for you. Our custom email campaigns use optimized language that is proven to drive click-throughs and engagement with your customers.

Some tips:

  • Once you pick a button, keep it consistent on your page. Carry the format and even language through so that your visitors know and familiarize themselves with your buttons.
  • Keep the opportunity. Sometimes soft CTAs work better than hard sells. Language such as “View offers”, “Learn more”, “Shop all” can keep people interested and clicking more than immediate sells, like “Buy now” or “Sign Up.”

Test, test, test!

The best advice we can give you to improve your CTA is to research, test, and tweak! Work with your designers and website guru and A/B test your CTAs on your site and on landing pages. Run user tests to figure out what colors and layout resonate the most with specific demographics. Check in on your analytics and remember – don’t test or change everything at once, or you won’t be able to tell what aspect affected your conversion or click-through rate.

Our Top 5 Favorite Customer Appreciation Ideas

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Sometimes, it’s easy to forget the power of a simple “Thank You” – but as small business owners, we should always find ways to show our customers and patients we care. As Thanksgiving and the holidays approach, the team at Demandforce thought that now was the perfect time to reflect on what we’re thankful for, and compile a list of our Top 5 Favorite Customer Appreciation Ideas.

Some of these ideas cost money, while some can be done for a nominal price, or none at all. Before you brush off spending money on customer appreciation, remember this: it costs less to cultivate a customer relationship and retain that customer than it does to find entirely new ones… so sometimes the price is worth it.

Our customers count. So show them you care with these Top 5 Customer Appreciation ideas.

Send a handwritten note or card

Sending a handwritten note or card can foster friendship and goodwill from your customers, and doesn’t cost you much at all! You can print cards from Staples or several online card printing sites, and then send them on their way.

Give a freebie

Sending a gift to your client from a gift basket to a personalized branded knick-knack can not only express your gratitude, but also cement your business in the minds (and hearts) of your clients. A gift can be personalized to show your connection with them, or it can represent your business in some way. Some ideas are: logoed mugs, keychains, or bottle openers. It could be a notebook, or even something like a free muffin that week for customers.

Offer an upgrade

Everyone loves feeling like they’re getting more, and that’s the idea behind the upgrade offer. This works well if you’re a technology business, or can offer a different tier of service to your customers for free, or for a discounted price. You can offer a coupon or entire price cut as a thank you gift, and you might even get more sign-ups for your premier levels.

Say thank you via video on social media

You don’t need to be a videographer or stellar actor to shoot a video on your smartphone and upload it to social media, or send it out in a dedicated email. This is a great way to thank you customers with a 30-second shout-out, or thank you statement that you can share on your website, on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can tag the customers you want to show it to, and it doesn’t cost a dime!

Host a Customer Appreciation Night

The holidays are always a good time to host a party or celebration, so if you have the budget, you can always host a customer appreciation event and invite your VIP customers to it as a Thank You. This is not only a great way to bond with and spend time with your clients outside the work environment, but it also gives your client the opportunity to network, and allows them to see the diverse group that you work with. A customer appreciation night doesn’t need to be a huge event; it can range from a casual get-together at your local coffee shop or a networking event at a rented restaurant. You can introduce upcoming upgrades or products, hold a raffle, or even provide hors d’oeuvres and drinks for a cocktail party feel.

Plus, if you’re looking for a way to connect with your customers, or get the word out about any events you’re hosting, or send your photo to your base, you can use the customizable email campaigns that Demandforce offers, and then you can also track open rates and engagement as well! If you don’t know what Demandforce is, you can schedule a personal demo with a Demandforce expert, who will take you through the steps on how you can market better to your customers!

Do you own your online reputation?[Infographic]

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If you’ve ever wondered why your online reputation is important, then this infographic is for you. In a world increasingly driven by online reputations, knowing how to leverage your online reputation and how to best utilize social media will only help you stand out among the competition, attract new customers, and gain more positive online reviews.

This infographic will help you figure out if you truly own your business’ online reputation – and what you can do to reclaim it.

If you’re looking for ways to own your online reputation, Demandforce can set up a personalized demo for you. From one-click review requests and automatic posting to social media sites; pre-written email campaigns; and integration with sites like Facebook, Yelp, Google Local, and Citysearch, Demandforce can help your business take control of its reputation, and boost your rating and reviews online.

It’s easy and quick to schedule a live demo to learn more about the product – just click here!

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Effective Email Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

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As the season changes and the holidays approach, we thought it would be a good time for a refresher on effective email marketing tips for small businesses. Keeping your finger on the pulse of what’s working in email marketing can mean the difference between percentages in open rates, engagement, and – in the end – revenue.

The following is our newly compiled list of effective email marketing tips to help your business drive email opens, CTR, and customer engagement.

Plan out your emails and know your holiday dates

You might be surprised at how many businesses don’t give any thought to even a simple email marketing strategy; and yet then wonder why their opt-outs are rising and their emails are not connecting with their customers. Before you send out your next email, take some time (even just half an hour) to sit down and think through the next couple emails you might send out. Know your upcoming holiday dates—such as Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday—and think about how you might want to connect your emails to these dates.

Not only that, but plan what types of emails you’ll send. Which ones will have offers, and what offers; which ones will be content, and which will contain imagery. Planning out your emails helps take your customer through a journey that keeps them engaged and connected in your business.

Utilize email marketing automation

The holidays are always a busy time for businesses, and your customers as well. So instead of spending time setting up and wrestling with a series of individual emails, let email marketing automation do the heavy lifting for you. Once you have an idea of your email-marketing plan, you can create all your emails at once, and then set them to automatically send on a certain date. This saves you from headaches and last-minute emergencies, and also provides a consistent experience for your customers.

Consider offering opt-down, not just opt-out

Every business has to deal with subscribers who, for whatever reason, decide to opt-out of your emails. The good news is, you’re not alone in having to tackle this issue; the better news is, we have a way to cut back on complete unsubscribes! One way you can keep potential unsubscribers in your email marketing database is by offering an opt-down option, not just an opt-out. An opt-down means you’d send these individuals fewer emails, yet keep them in your communication stream.

Get creative with your content

Keeping your content different and fresh is a great way to drive CTR and engagement. A major study showed that a large majority of U.S. adults in fact enjoy receiving email communication from businesses they use and like, as long as that information is relevant and informative. If you establish yourself as a thought leader who has interesting things to say, or provides useful information, then your emails will be opened more and shared, and you will gain more legitimacy as a business. Another effective tip for your emails – using big, bold imagery that fills the frame for the hero images, and graphics over stock imagery.

Utilize segmentation and personalization

Another email marketing tip to remember – you should be utilizing segmentation and personalization in all your email marketing. Emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened, and (according to DMA) marketers have found a 760% increase in email revenue from segmented campaigns. This means that you should be sending email offers and messages to your customers based on past purchases or behavior patterns, to foster open rates and stay on their radar.

Add social sharing buttons

Adding social sharing buttons to the bottom of your emails is an easy way to expand the natural reach of your email marketing campaigns, funnel readers to your social media channels, and integrate your marketing efforts.

Weed out inactive subscribers

An important email marketing tip is to pay attention to your inactive subscribers and make sure that you’re removing them from your email database so that they don’t end your email campaigns before they even have a chance to begin. You can use engagement scoring to determine engagement levels, and clear out from there.

Create events to drive customers to your business

An email marketing tip to remember in this digital age is that while it might be almost all about digital, you cannot forget the importance of in-person interaction, especially if your business has a brick and mortar side. In-person, a subscriber has more of a likelihood of making a purchase once they arrive, so consider tailoring an email marketing campaign around driving people to a special event hosted at your business, offering them exclusive deals that can only be used in person.