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Website 101 with Mike Pedersen – Episode 47

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Is your website doing its job? Does it really drive new patients, or does it just sort of exist? Mike Pedersen, founder of The Dental Boost, helps hundreds of dentists showcase their practices with powerful websites that make it easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for. In this Dentist Money™ interview, Mike explains what it means to build your website with the user in mind, how to incorporate video content, and the best way to layout your homepage. He also describes the kinds of images you should never post on your website.

Show notes:


Podcast Transcript:

Reese Harper: Mike Pederson, how is it going man?

Mike Pedersen: I am doing good Reese, how are you, sir?

Reese Harper: I am living the dream up here, just watching a little snow fall. You still in scorched Earth down there in Arizona?

Mike Pedersen: We are still melting, yes melting.

Reese Harper: Have you said hello to my man Sir Ryan Isaac who is roaming around down there in the desert? A little shoutout to the man.

Mike Pedersen: I have seen him. We had lunch a couple of weeks ago, he is rocking and rolling in AZ.

Reese Harper: He is living the dream.

Mike Pedersen: He is loving it, good for him, another transplant.

Reese Harper: It is great man. We have been growing a lot and it has just been cool to see him be able to realize his childhood dream of having a palm tree and swimming pool at his house.

Mike Pedersen: That is great.

Reese Harper: Anyway Mike, today’s episode is coming at a really good time. I interviewed a consultant on last week’s show where we talked a lot about the importance of marketing and I was just really excited to be able to have a marketing guest come on. It just seems like this is an area where so many people have gaps in both their knowledge and execution. You have got event, digital, print, mailers, internal, networking, branding, content, and all of this crazy new technology that makes marketing change so rapidly. I am excited to have you here, thanks for taking the time to come on the show.

Mike Pedersen: I appreciate you having me on. I’ve been looking forward to it.

Reese Harper: Let’s just start by having you talk about how you got into dental marketing and how the dental boost came about.

Mike Pedersen: Ok, you know I have got to tell you Reese, this is funny, but I was thinking about talking about my background earlier today on the show. I won’t do it now because you want to get right into dental marketing. I am not going to do it, but the millennial out there would not get this. I have been an entrepreneur since the age of eight. For real, eight years old. Now I am fifty three. I had this long story, the whole deal..

Reese Harper: You know, we would edit most of that out Mike, I’ll be honest with you. I am just kidding you, Mike.

Mike Pedersen: I am kidding, I won’t do that. To make it quick, how I got working with dentists was in 2000. I launched a golf website. It was the first of its kind in the world in golf. It was pretty cool. It was a golf fitness membership website. Back then was when there was none of these tools. Nothing like wordpress, smartphones, none of that. This thing was like $50,000 just to build it. Things have changed. Long story short, I built that to a seven figure business all by myself, one guy behind a computer. I took it all the way to 2008, then something that you know as a wealth management guy, something in 2008 happened, that was not good.

Reese Harper: Ya, I was in the industry then in case you listeners didn’t know. That was Bernsteins, Lehman Brothers, AIG, Mortan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Washington Mutual…remember all of those names? They are not around anymore!

Mike Pedersen: The crash. Ya, exactly. The crash. Unfortunately, my demographic for my golf business was the semi retired to the retired guy. They watched their retirement evaporate basically so our business dropped 80% in six months after that. 80%! As an entrepreneur, I rode it out for a couple of years and then by 2010, 2011 I thought, “I am an entrepreneur, let me make another pivot”. I just got my wife to jump on board with me. I made a pivot and I thought I know a ton about the internet and internet marketing. What can I do? I was just thinking, thinking, thinking. I thought, “I love local business”. I always have, as a kid, looking at local business like the hardware stores and all of that stuff, I remember just loving it. I thought “local business”, I like it. Then all of a sudden, I met a few people in the dental industry. I just sort of fell into it Reese, to be honest with you, and then I started reaching out to them via social media. Then before I knew it one of the people I had met liked everything I had to say and loved my background and he said let’s go with this. Give me some advice on how to approach dentist but he knew my background was solid. Then all of a sudden, I had five or six referrals and those turned into a few more referrals than the business was born. That is what brought me into dental marketing, in a nutshell.

Reese Harper: That is cool. Well, let’s talk a little bit about the mistakes that you have seen dentists make with their marketing in general. If you are interviewing ten people, this is the most common mistake of all, or at least in the top five or something.

Mike Pedersen: First off, just their website. It is unfortunate out there a lot of the big dental marketing companies, no names mentioned here, that is not the point, but a lot of these dentists bought cookie cutter websites that are not branded for their practice. They are templated websites and there are 500 of the same websites for different dentists across the country including the stock images and duplicated content on the website. So if there is one thing that the listeners can take away from this, you have got a brand. You have got some uniqueness to you in our practice. Whether you are a brand new start up practice or you have been around for 20 or 30 years, you have got to showcase that brand on that website. Your website is you online storefront. If you ever want to attract patients from the internet then it starts with your website. You have got to have an updated, current looking website, that has uniquely written content and all of the images. If at all possible they should be of your your staff, and then of patients. Do not use websites that have all of these stock images that are all over the internet with these dental websites. That would be mistake number one. Along with that mistake though, Reese, let me say this. A lot of these companies build these websites on their platform. What happens is that means the dentist not knowingly does not own that website. We have done dozens if not hundreds of transfers now over to uniquely purchased hosting platforms that pull them away from those big platforms and it was a shock to the dentist to find out that they didn’t own the content. They can’t easily move away from the current company because it was built on that platform. Unfortunately, we do it all the time so it is not that big of a deal, it is kind of scary, but you have to start over. It is unfortunate, but you have built it on this platform so you are kind of handcuffed a bit.
Reese Harper: If we narrowed this down a little bit we could say that one of the big mistakes is the assumption that the website is a commodity that they can just purchase for the lowest cost possible. Then they use stock images and we all know how that feels. When you see “that guy” and “that hand piece”. I know him!

Mike Pedersen: I have seen him before!

Reese Harper: He is on T.V., and the dental website, and Merrill Lynch’s happily retired couple website. I’m kidding, but fresh photography goes a long way. Maybe people don’t realize this, I am sure I have some stock images somewhere, but on my website (plug for the website, just kidding) there is authentic photography that I paid for to get done. You might think that cost a lot of money. No!

Mike Pedersen: No!

Reese Harper: Here is a trick people. I called a couple of friends of mine. One is a talented photographer in my neighborhood that I had take some pictures. I grabbed some scrubs from one of my clients offices, and I took one of my neighbors who is not a dentist. I put the scrubs on him, and took pictures of him in his house playing with his kids and hanging out. I probably spent $150 or $200 for the images. Some people think this would be super expensive, but it is mostly just taking the time to actually hire your own photographer. That makes such a big difference in design. I am just seconding the tip you gave. You also said that the content needs to be original. That is something that not everyone realizes. Why does it help to have original content on your website and what does that mean?

Mike Pedersen: Original content means that it is unique to your website and practice. It is not duplicated anywhere else on the internet.We provide content marketing, shameless plug, for all of our clients and we have got some of the top dental writers in the country. So a porcelain veneer page, anyone listening might say, “how can you write something about porcelain veneers when you have 50-100 clients and you have wrote that many porcelain veneer pages, how can mine be unique?” Obviously there will be phrases that are dental phrases, but you have got to make sure that it is at least 70% unique. If you do not have the time then you want to hire a content marketing company to write it for you. I do urge the dentists to do it themselves. I spend time on the phone telling them that they know the topic. They need to do one page a week. That is four a month. In a couple of months, you will have your whole entire website written out with 10-12 service pages. Those are the most important pages, which is surprising. The home page and service pages. Do not think that it is hundreds of pages, just look at all of your main service pages and your home page. Those should have the uniquely written content. When google crawls those web pages and when their little crawlers realize they have never seen this before then you get a big green checkmark from google.

Reese Harper: Why do the service pages matter? Some of these questions, Mike, I am not asking you because I don’t know the answer. I want to expound on some of these points for those who haven’t thought through these things in so much detail. I think most people would anticipate the home page would be very helpful to have that be authentic and very original content. What about the services pages, why do they make the difference?

Mike Pedersen: Those are the big ones in google. A dentist in any city has the opportunity to rank for lots of terms right? That is a whole different topic that we can talk about on a different podcast. When it comes to search engine optimization, dentists main thing is, “Mike, I am in Chicago, I want to rank for ‘Chicago dentists’”. You think, ok, well that is one of the biggest cities in the country. SEO prices for that would be outrageous, you will be competing against 500 different dentists in Chicago. The opportunity for a local dentist is ranking for secondary terms. Those are service terms and long tail keyword phrases. Those are more buyer intent by the way. So if somebody types in “Chicago dentist” that is somebody sniffing around google right now that is not someone who is really, really looking for a dentist. If somebody typed in “male, Chicago dentist, near some neighborhood” right? That is a long tail phrase, and somebody typing in that long of a phrase they are actually looking for a dentist right now. Those content/service pages if they are uniquely written then you have an opportunity to get picked up on the first page of google with that content. If somebody is searching for veneers and they land on your veneer page and it is written correctly and it is written to get that visitor to pick up the phone and call them then you just picked up a six or eight veneer case that can be worth up to $12,000. Ya, one search result can turn into a $15,000 veneer case.

Reese Harper: I think one take away here is that we talked about the website. We talked about authentic images. Authentic images do not help google as much, that is more for the sake of design. You talked a little bit about having a fresh site, a site that looks like it is not taken from a template. Talk to us about the difference between a desktop site and mobile site.

Mike Pedersen: It is so funny, a lot of dentists, most everybody, especially young dentists know this. They will say, “my website works on mobile, there it is.” It is their website all scrunched up on a mobile device. When you talk about mobile websites really the key, Reese, is this, you can really simplify, especially the home page, on a mobile device. The key factor is prominent map, a prominent phone number, those are the two main things that you need to have that should be on the first fold when somebody lands on your mobile website there should be a map or at least a link to a location and an easily clickable phone number. If they are searching on mobile, their intent is there, and you had better make it very easy for them to find out where you are located. They will want to know that. They will not hit the phone number first, they will hit the location first. The mobile website doesn’t need to showcase all of the content. People are not going to read an 800 word veneer page on a mobile website. But they will look at some before and after photos, or a 60 second video. You have got to think of the end user and don’t showcase all of this long content. Get the stuff that they can consume really quickly and make their decision to call.

Reese Harper: Let’s talk a little bit about the S.E.O terms that you said would be on a another episode, but I think it is important for people to understand those terms. Ranking by terms etc. I think there are some nuances here that people probably could benefit knowing a little bit about. Let’s just clarify why I would want to pay money to be ranked by a term that may not be as common than some. How my market, where I live, could affect what terms I want to start targeting?

Mike Pedersen: It definitely is knowing your demographics for sure. If you are in a semi retired community versus young family community changes things. A lot of dentists, when I get them on the phone, they all say, “we do it all.” We have got the family, the old, the young, that is fine too. The great thing about digital marketing, though, which gets me excited, is that you can target every single one of those via content on your website. You can draw them in. You can draw them into those certain pages and almost picture creating these mini funnels within your custom website and the websites we talked about beforehand are not the kind of websites we are talking about. We are talking about the ones that are strategically designed and laid out to entice these demographics to a certain page to call. Just to talk about rankings really briefly, one thing that google is doing now, and google as we all know does five to six major updates annually that rock the internet landscapes and then they do 600 little tiny updates that don’t affect too much. As a dentist, you can’t look at your SEO as key words anymore. A lot of SEO people will get on the phone and use the term keywords. That is like circa 2012 as far as SEO goes. You used to say we have got our key word phrase, our content, and now we try to rank for that. People now, their intent on the internet is more specific and that gets into what we talked about with a long tail search. That means they are going to be looking for something really specific. I’ll give you an example from a client in Indiana. The dentist asked a new patient, “how did you find us?” The patient responded, “I typed in female dentist, inner city”. I jumped all over that and thought female dentist, inner city. I went to google and she was ranked number four. This is our job as SEO companies. I went back to the website that we had built for her and we had the word female in there. Well I went in and created a whole new content piece around her using the word female and all of these different things. We built it up perfectly, she ranked number one in less than two weeks for that term and started averaging four new patients a month. You might think that is not much, but that is for one content page.

Reese Harper: Minor adjustment, yah.

Mike Pedersen: One minor adjustment got her four new patients a month, recurring. Just imagine if you create a strategy with your SEO guy or team and you build out your content pages that serve more of the long term phrases that are more human. It is what a human would sit and type in their copper as opposed to porcelain veneers Chicago. You have got to think more like the user and not just keyword phrases. That is over. That kind of SEO is over and done.

Reese Harper: I think that is really good insight. People are searching for things that you don’t always realize that will result in patients for your practice. Those long tail searches are more human. People don’t type in one word anymore. They don’t type in two words, they never have. Over time, however, the authentic content on your site can attract people to those more natural searches. That is a great reminder, for most people, that will be the first time they have ever heard that.

Mike Pedersen: Content is king right? Google is looking for authority websites that have all of this great content that answers all of the searchers questions. Every piece of content is not written about the dental practice so when you land on a veneer page you should compose a content piece. For veneers you should answer all of the questions that a visitor might have. When google crawls a page like that they will give you a lot more value in their rankings because that is what google knows. They basically go on the internet with a question. Veneers versus crowns? That is a popular topic. So you answer all of those questions and you have a beautiful content piece. But if you just talk about your own crowns, and how you do it in your practice, then you won’t be answering the visitors questions.

Reese Harper: That is a good point. How does social media play into this? Let’s pivot just a little bit and talk about social media and content. It seems like dentists use Facebook more than any other social platform. Is that fair to say?

Mike Pedersen: Yes, I agree.

Reese Harper: What are some of the mistakes you see that happen on a regular basis using Facebook? Or strengths that you see that people leverage inside of Facebook.

Mike Pedersen: Let me say one mistake really quick, do not show these gnarly open mouth pictures on Facebook or on any social media. You know these dental implant cases that are just gnarled and the mouth is wide open and the camera is right in the mouth and you post that on social media? Do not do that! For me, I have been eating my lunch before and got on and came across that and my lunch just about came back up, to be honest with you. That is a big mistake. Now before and afters? Yes, that’s ok. Don’t make them super close though. Do not have that image on your social media super close to where it is kind of scary. Like, that mouth is jumping off of that screen! What dentists are starting to learn, which is very powerful, with Facebook and it is not very expensive. it is called boosting your post. If you have got a good post and let’s say that you did a good new content piece on your website and it is written for conversions and you post that in your Facebook and you put a link in there then you can boost that post. If you are on your own Facebook page, you can boost your post. It is not as thorough as doing a full blown Facebook add, but let me give you an example from a client in Idaho. I got him to shoot a great little short video. He had to do it over five times, the poor guy. I coached him through it, and he did it. He put it on Facebook, boosted the post, and got a new patient within three hours.

Reese Harper: Wow.

Mike Pedersen: Boom! Just like that, I said that is one patient for one new video. If you could give me a new video a week or a month, and then do the math. That is another strategy for digital marketing to add to the mix to increase your new patient numbers.

Reese Harper: That is a really good insight, let’s go to video just a little bit. How do you think people should use video and how should they not use it. What is effective about using video as a dentist.

Mike Pedersen: I don’t want to get professional videographer’s hating me on this, but a lot of dentists out there think that they have got to hire a videographer. That’s great. It can be beautiful, but don’t let that be the hurdle to shooting video. We have now got all of our clients to grab a smart phone, hold it horizontal, get in a well lit room with a nice simple background, and shoot. Be off centered, by the way, so when you shoot that video you are on one side of the screen and on the other side have a plant or certification on the wall and then shoot an authentic thirty to sixty second video as if you are doing a consolation and you are answering one question that the new patient that is sitting across from your desk might have. That is how you shoot video. It is authentic, it doesn’t have to be perfect. People are endeared to those videos. They know that it is real because the dentist might have slurred his words or something or something flashed or a dog barked or something. Keep them authentic and people will love it. That’s why Facebook live is booming right now. Authenticity is a big deal right now. Don’t get too caught up in having it be a perfect commercial. Here is the thing I tell all of our dentists about video. You have talked about this topic a hundred times in consultation or when the patient is in the chair. It is like second nature, just get used to someone else holding the camera. Just record it. The great thing about video is once you’ve recorded it, it is evergreen. You can use it in all your social media platforms, you can email blast it. It is so valuable to have video. I cannot speak strongly about how important that is. Internet traffic now is over 60% video.

Reese Harper: That is crazy.

Mike Pedersen: 60%! Netflix is skewing it for sure, obviously, but youtube is the second biggest search engine right now.

Reese Harper: Your viewing habits of Netflix probably skew it a lot too. You are watching it fourteen hours a day. You might??

Mike Pedersen: Oh ya. (laughter) I am working fourteen hours a day!

Reese Harper: You are like, ya, fourteen minutes a day maybe!

Mike Pedersen: That’s a good one, Reese.

Reese Harper: If you are meeting with a new dentist for the first time and you had to pick out the things that you felt like he needed to focus on or that you wanted to ask him right out of the gate, what would they be? Pretend I’m a new dentist and run through a diagnostic with me as you try to figure out where my weaknesses might be. I want to come up with a prioritization of how you would go through in your own mind where someone is at in their marketing.

Mike Pedersen: Starts with the website, Reese. It always starts with the website.

Reese Harper: Ok, so if we are running a diagnostic you are going to tell me to look at my nav bar. You see some things, like what would you tell them about navigation.

Mike Pedersen: First off, I want to see where your phone number is. Where is my phone number? All of our custom dental websites are in our upper right hand corner so people know that it is there. They are reassured that it is there and available. They know where it is at and they don’t have to think about it. Now they can consume some content and know that it is up there.

Reese Harper: On mobile, where would you want it?

Mike Pedersen: At the very top.

Reese Harper: Can you see the number or can you see a phone button, or does it matter?

Mike Pedersen: Doesn’t matter.

Reese Harper: You want to be able to push it and have it pop up and dial.

Mike Pedersen: Second thing would be, honestly, location. People are not going to consume that much content. They are going to find out when they are searching for a local service they want to know how far they have to drive to get to that service. Here in the Phoenix valley, I mean from one end to the other it is like fifty minutes if you have got traffic. Somebody is going to get on the internet and type in “Phoenix dentist” go to that map and go, “wow, I am not going to that one, it is too far away. Let me find one that is within a ten mile radius.” The phone number and map are the two most important things on your website, for sure, bar none. Then it trickles down from there to ease of navigation to find services they are interested in.

Reese Harper: Let’s talk about my navigation bar what is the ideal way you would like to see that put together if I am a dentist?

Mike Pedersen: That top bar that has got the links, the home link, services link, about link, you do not want to litter that navigation bar. I will see like ten or twelve links across the top of a navigation bar. That is too many. That is way too many. Narrow it down and get the most important things that are going to lead to a conversion. Keep reminding yourself as a dentist, the most important thing is to keep it simple.

Reese Harper: We have covered so many different topics today, it has been a great broad depth of information. Let’s wrap up with some takeaways about what to implement or change that you would warn them about.

Mike Pedersen: We just talked about the website. After you listen to this episode, get on the computer and look at your website. See if your phone number is recognizable quickly. Make sure that there is a call to action like, “call us today.” People subliminally need you to grab them by the hand and tell them exactly what to do. Go look at your website and try to look at it through different eyes this time. Try to imagine being a visitor. How would you react to this? Another thing, dentists, do not hide behind your website. Do not be four pages deep into your about page. Be on your home page.

Reese Harper: That is so hard. Visitors don’t know where the guy is at.

Mike Pedersen: Visitors want to know who is going to be inside their mouth, and they want a good picture! Do not have a twenty year old picture so the patient walks in and doesn’t recognize you.

Reese Harper: I thought you were thirty-two and you are in your late eighties!

Mike Pedersen: That is one big take away, just look through different eyes on your website. It really is the first impression on the internet of your business. It is your website. That is a critical one. The second one would be to take a look at your content pages are they written for the visitor or are they written all about you. How good you are at veneers and how long you have been doing them. Is it you, you, you, you, you. Or is it written for this visitor? Are you answering questions for them via your content?

Reese Harper: That is really good, man. In marketing you just kind of take that for granted if you have studied marketing a lot. They call it benefit statements right? You want to write things that are in the voice that is relatable to someone and that expresses what they actually wanted to get out of it and not just have it be a promotional piece. It is just something you are totally right on.

Mike Pedersen: That is critical.

Reese Harper: Those are really good takeaways. I really appreciate it. I think we could do this every six months or so? For the next ten years we would get good content out of it.

Mike Pedersen: I would love to be back again.

Reese Harper: I just appreciate the effort you put forth in the dental community and the good work you are doing. Thanks again!

Mike Pedersen: Appreciate it.

Reese Harper: We will catch up to you soon!

Mike Pedersen: That sounds good.

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