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PBHS Q&A: Internet presence key to new patient growth

April 07, 2014

Dr. Buzza
Editor's note: This is the second in a series of articles about Internet marketing that features interviews with ADA members to describe how PBHS, the website and marketing services provider endorsed by ADA Business Resources, is helping dentists address today's marketing challenges.

Dr. John Buzza, an ADA member since 1983 in Santa Rosa, Calif., has been practicing for more than 30 years, with a staff of 13 employees.

Over the past decade, Dr. Buzza's new patient growth strategy has evolved with the help of PBHS, the website and marketing services provider endorsed by ADA Business Resources.

To view his practice's website, visit santarosadentist.com.

Q: When did you begin working with PBHS?

A: Back in 2002, I looked to some local Internet-savvy resources but couldn't find anyone who could design to my exact specifications until I came across PBHS. From the beginning, PBHS understood my vision for our practice's website, and they've continued to suggest updates when appropriate. I wanted a truly functional website, so patients can find us easily and make the choice to call us.

Q: Why do you think so many dentists don't have a website or one that is rarely updated?

A: I think that some dentists just don't understand the value. When we look at a marketing investment, we always look at that investment's return. For instance, I was spending almost $5,000 a month on advertising in radio, cable and newspaper. At that time, we had a new patient value of about $1,500. I knew this wasn't really working because when I stopped the "dinosaur" marketing, my new patient numbers didn't go down. Now I've moved my marketing budget to our website, social media and search engine optimization with PBHS, and I'm paying far less. Our new patient value is almost four times what it was before, and our new patient numbers have doubled. I believe in staying on the cutting edge of anything that makes it easier for patients to find us. So what I would say to dentists who don't have a well optimized and up-to-date website is, "If your practice is not growing, it's shrinking. If patients can't find you online, you won't have any credibility, and they won't call you."

Q: How does your practice manage reviews like Yelp?

A: In my opinion it's vitally important to have some decent reviews of my practice online. Patients now put as much value in reviews as they have historically put in word of mouth referrals. When Google changes an algorithm, it can really mess up access to reviews. It happened once when we lost 40 good reviews on Yelp, and we suddenly went down to only one. PBHS has helped us optimize our website and key words in dentistry, and the reviews are slowly building. They have also improved our presence, and that translates to more phone calls. It's just too cumbersome for us to manage this internally. We've tried, but PBHS is just much better at it.

Q: What's next for your practice?

A: I'm working on refining our website with a responsive design by PBHS. Responsive design enables my website to detect the device the patient is using, such as a mobile phone, computer or tablet. My website will now automatically adjust itself for optimal viewing on any of these devices. From what I understand, Google rewards responsive design in mobile search results. This is important because Google and I want it to be even easier for patients to find us on a smartphone, see what our practice is all about, and give us a call. Our goal is to be in front of patients wherever they are, and we find that more and more often our patients are finding us from a smartphone. PBHS helps us every step of the way.