Author Archives: Kelly Larson

About Kelly Larson

Kelly Larson is a dental marketing consultant with Advanced Practice Management in Edina, MN.

Debut Client Appreciation Event Was A Huge Success!

Dr. Bruce Christopher

Dr. Bruce Christopher

On Friday, September 25, we celebrated our first APM Client Appreciation Event. We were thrilled by the response and even had to switch venues to accommodate a larger crowd for our dental teams. As dental practice management consultants, when we meet with our dental teams we are continually challenging them in new ways to grow both personally and as teams, so this day was intentionally a day to just celebrate them and for us to say “Thank You” for the opportunity to join them on their journeys.

We began the morning with a delicious breakfast playing a round of “What Did You Say When?” and then enjoyed an entertaining presentation by renowned speaker and entertainer, Bruce Christopher.

Back By Popular Demand – Jib Jab Movies Featuring Our Guest Dentists

Information Coming About Team Photos

During the morning, each practice also had the opportunity to have their team photo taken by our friend, photographer John Magnoski. John will be sending an email to each office with their photo by Monday, October 6th. We will also have a link from this blog page, so stay posted.

“Thank You” Shout Outs!

We have a number of “thank yous” we’d like to share for helping to make this day such a great success:

  • Kudos to Erik and the catering staff at Embassy Suites in Bloomington, MN for a great breakfast and smooth event!
  • Thank you to all of the brave team members who volunteered to play along with us during our game show!
  • Thank you to our dentists for bring your teams out to enjoy a day out together!
  • And a shout out to John Magnoski for a great job taking all of the fun photos the teams will be able to share with their patients to show how much fun they had together.

Regular Meetings Are A Part Of A Healthy Team

At APM, we want to make sure we are walking our talk. For the same reasons that we suggest that dental offices need to meet regularly as a team, we do the same.

Especially since we are rarely ever at the same place at one time, each quarter we meet for a morning to review our progress (both as a company as well as individually), update each other on developments in our respective areas, and set goals for the next quarter. At the end of the calendar year, we run the same drill. Then, in the afternoon we go out and do something fun.

Last Friday, we had our quarterly APM team meeting. (Unfortunately, Robyn as not able to join us.) We worked hard in the morning reviewing, sharing, brainstorming and planning. We also had a photographer, come and update our team photos for our website. (Many of our clients know John Magnoski because they have had John come out to take their team photos, too. For more examples of John’s work, click here.) Then, once the work was done, we went out for an afternoon of croquet and a nice lunch (Thank you, Bill and Matt!).

APM Team MeetingAPM Croquet


(To see more fun pictures from our day, visit our Facebook page or our Google+ page.)

Morning Huddles Set Your Team Up For Successful Days

For many dental teams, morning huddles are an important part of the daily routine. We recommend that you consider meeting at the start of each day if possible. Having the chance to look together at your schedule and plan ahead for potential sticky spots, as well as to communicate about individual patients’ needs prepares you for having smoother days and ultimately happier teams.

Each member of the team should come prepared to contribute:

Clinical Assistants

  • Review your patients’ charts for the day. Do they need pre-medication? Any bleeding disorders? Allergies? Is the scheduled time for treatment accurate? Are there future appointments scheduled? Have financial arrangements been made? Is there incomplete treatment?
  • Review the next two days’ schedules and provide recommendations to the Scheduling Coordinator in regard to special trays and study model impressions.
  • Identify potential bottlenecks in the schedule.


  • Review your patients’ charts for the day. Does anyone need pre-medication? Any bleeding disorders? Allergies? Is the scheduled time for treatment accurate? Are there future appointments scheduled? Have financial arrangements been made? Is there incomplete treatment?
  • For each patient, share with the team when their last appointment was. Do they have past due family members? Any incomplete treatment? Are they a good candidates for using the digital camera?
  • Make sure the Doctor knows if they have or have not met the patient before and give them and a piece of personal information to jog their memory or for a conversation-starter.

Financial Coordinator

  • Are there any problem accounts coming in that day?
  • Are there financial conversations that need to occur that day?

Schedule Coordinator

  • Report on the day’s hygiene schedule.
  • Are there new patients coming in? What information can you share about them?
  • Are there M.A. patients coming in that day?
  • Are there any emergency patients that have been put in the schedule?
  • Ask the Doctor(s) where they want emergencies to be scheduled that day?

Would You Like To Learn More?

If you would like more information about making your team meetings more effective or about morning huddles specifically, email us or give us a call at (952) 921-3360. We are here to help you and your team succeed.

MDA Is To Sponsor HIPAA Seminar

HIPAA Seminar for MDA Dentists by Danika Brinda

Speaker: Danika Brinda

With the many recent changes to the HIPAA rules, privacy, security and HITECH, it is essential that the MDA provide educational opportunities to members and their staff surrounding this multi-faceted and, oftentimes, confusing topic.

A HIPAA seminar, specifically tailored to Minnesota dental clinics, will provide members with facts and myths, as well as information on the changes to the rule, and will answer your most challenging HIPAA questions. More details will be provided in the coming months, but mark your calendar for Friday, November 7! If you have questions or suggestions for the seminar content, please email Bridgett Anderson, Regulatory Affairs Manager @

The speaker is Danika Brinda. Here is her bio

Don’t Miss This Webinar About Clinical Calibration

Clinical Calibration: The Ethical Approach to Practice Growth

teamworkJuly 30, 2014
6:00 pm CDT

What Will You Learn?

  1. How your practice compares to others in terms of patient flow and case acceptance.
  2. How to lay the foundation for substantial and sustained practice quality and growth.
  3. How to create simple exercises to help the whole team constructively empower patients to make treatment decisions that are in their own best interest.
  4. How to establish consistent hygiene treatment protocols and presentation.

It has been my experience that “Clinical Calibration” can greatly increase a practice’s success, but even if it didn’t help make you more money, you’ll be glad you did it anyway! It’s essential for consistency and getting good outcomes for your patients.

Click Here To Find Out More And Register.

Many of you are familiar with this material. However, if it’s been a while or if you have Doctors or team members that have not heard it, I encourage their participation.


Bill Rossi Signature

Google Makes Another Change For The Better

Google My BusinessGoogle has made another significant change. Google Places is now called Google My Business. Now, before you groan let me tell you that this change is for the better and will make managing your dental office’s Google presence easier.

With this latest move, it is clear that Google is continuing to make a significant investment in empowering small businesses. They have rebranded the program and reorganized the business side dashboard to include all of the important controls in one convenient spot:

  • Your business listing
  • Your online reviews
  • AdWords Express
  • Google Analytics

What Should You Do Next?

  1. Log in to your Google account and make sure things transitioned smoothly to the new platform. If I originally helped you to claim your practice’s Google Places listing, you should have your Google login email and password. If you do not, contact me and I will get that to you.
  2. Make sure that you have a single business listing and no duplicates.
  3. Update your listing. Make sure your listing is up to date. Make sure you have a profile photo and cover photo. Are your office hours correct for the summer? Add an extra details and make sure to save your changes.
  4. Add a post. While you are logged in, add an update about your office. Do you have a new summer special for whitening? Have you added a new team member? Do you have a photo of a recent team event? Adding to your Google listing bolsters your online presence. It just takes a minute but the effort goes a long way.

Have any questions, feel free to contact Kelly Larson by email at

How Recent Google Changes Will Affect Your Dental Practice

You may have heard the big news last Wednesday. With another step forward in becoming your integrated online resource, Google Places has been merged with Google’s Social Network, Google+. Essentially, your new Google+ Local page is still your same Google Places page just with a new look. The difference being that Google+ pages also have the social features available to Google+ users.

What Does This Change Mean For Your Dental Practice?

Not much, yet.

As we’ve been coaching our network of dentists, Google is in the process of building a big-time social community that is bringing people together and with local businesses on multiple levels (see graphic below). They clearly want you as a business owner in your community to become a part of the conversation at some level and to interact with your patients online. What that means in practical terms for you and your dental office is still developing, but this is another move in that direction.

Google's Plan for Your Local Business

Right now, you don’t have to do anything. Google has already merged the pages for you. You still log in through your Google Places dashboard and the content is basically the same with the exception of videos and reviews; there are no videos on the new local business listings and your reviews are still there but they have been converted to the Zagat (1-30) point system (a company that Google has recently acquired).

If you already have a Google+ business page, Google will soon be merging local business listings with their actual business pages in Google+. Google says that there will eventually be just one page to manage with information integrated across Google Search, Google Maps, Google+, and mobile. For now, if you already have a Google+ account, you will manage these pages separately.

Update: More Answers To FAQs About Google+ Local

In addition to our observations mentioned in last week’s post regarding the announcement of local Google+ pages, here are a few more insights we have learned from Google:

  • Do you have to create a Google+ account for your dental practice right now?

Not necessarily. Some of the dentists in our network who are active online already have. They post content to their Google+ business page as they do for Facebook and Twitter. You may want create a Google+ page and try out some of the social features. If you do, Google says be sure to choose the Local category so that they can bring your multiple pages together to create one listing later on.

  • Are your patients’ reviews still there?!

Yes, Google says that your reviews will be transferred over. The ranking system has changed, however; instead of gold stars you will be ranked 1-3 with the Zagat scoring system and the score will be multiplied by 10. You may notice that they are now out of chronological order. Above the first review, there is a pull-down menu. The default is set to “Most helpful” which takes into consideration many aspects of each review’s text and author, as well as feedback from users who vote on whether the review was helpful or not.

  • Do your patients need a Google+ account to leave a review?

Yes. Reviewers need to be logged in to Google+ to leave a review. If they have a Google account but they have not yet created a Google+ profile, they will be prompted to do so. Reviews that were transferred over will be attributed to “A Google User” until the user has a Google+ account and then it will be labeled with their Google+ name.
This adds another layer of complexity in getting patients to submit reviews. If we have helped you to set up systems already to facilitate patient leaving you reviews on your former Places, don’t worry; we can help you to adjust to the new system as well.

  • Will This Change Your Google Ranking?

Google says that the Google+ Local launch was “an interface and design change” and that there was nothing specific to this change that will affect your search results, but it’s clear that they want you to join the party! In the same breath, they are clear to state that ranking algorithms are continually changing, so listings are always moving up and down. Unofficially, we are seeing that businesses that are involved with Google+ are being rewarded.

As time goes on we will have more information for you. We know you are busy providing great dentistry and patient care. It is my job to keep you in the know, so that the APM team can help you create realistic strategies that work for you and your practice. You can check back to this blog for timely, concise updates on how developments with the internet will impact your dental practice. If you have specific questions, feel free to give us a call at (952) 921-3360.

Interested in hearing about the update from Google directly?


Google Places + Google+ = The New Google+ Local

Dental Marketing Changes with Google's Announcement of Google+ LocalFor most dentists, keeping up with Google and ranking on Page One in local search are focal aspects of their marketing efforts for attracting new patients.

You know the drill. Claim your listing. Verify it with a PIN number. Follow Google’s guidelines to a T. Try to consolidate duplicates. Check back regularly to make sure things are in good standing. And, try like heck to encourage happy patients to submit reviews so you keep little gold stars next to your name.

This may seem like a lot of busy work, but the truth is that web searchers and potential patients perceive value in having gold stars next to your listing and are influenced by the reviews they read. Also, it’s the single greatest common denominator we’re seeing to help dentists “get found” on line. Let’s face it, Google reviews are your modern day “word of mouth referral from a friend.”

Well, Today The Game Changed Again. Introducing Google+ Local.

A better word might be “evolved.” If you checked out your Google Places page today, it may have looked a little different to you. This morning, Google announced that the merge of Google Places and Google + into the new Google+ Local.

Dentist Reviews on Google+ Local Page

But, don’t worry. Despite getting used to a new format, this next evolution of Google’s local program is considered to be an improvement by the early feedback of local search experts such as Linda Buquet and Mike Blumenthal. And, this is certain not to be the last trick that Google has up it’s sleeve so the game continues.

What we do know at this point is:

  • You can still manage your information via your Places dashboard, verify your listing data and respond to reviews.
  • You can still post offers the same way.
  • You cannot upload videos to your Place page anymore.
  • Instead of the scoring system of receiving 1-5 stars, Google has incorporated the more comprehensive 1-30 Zagat scoring system.
  • Reviews from both Google and Zagat users will reside on your Google+ local page and will be attributed to either “A Google User” or “A Zagat user” until that user chooses to change it to their name.
  • If you haven’t done so, consider setting up a Google+ business page.
  • More updates will follow in the coming months.

We will continue to keep our clients updated on new advancements. Stay tuned for more information. In the meantime, if you would like to learn more you can read about Google+ Local in the Google Help Forum. For questions about your particular Google Places listing or setting up a Google+ Business Page, please contact APM at (952) 921-3360 or

The Truth About Getting New Patients On The Internet:

Friday, July 8, 2011

We have a unique advantage because through our work in the field visiting well over 200 dental offices we can really see what’s going on out there. What’s working and what isn’t. We know that getting more new patients is of great interest to most of our clients. So you can bet we keep our eyes and ears open about the sources of new patients.

Over the past two years the Internet has really come on and in many areas is superceding other sources of new patients such as Yellow Pages and direct mail. Clearly this is where the marketplace is going but there is also a lot of hype. Every week we hear of a new scheme involving special promotions*, social media, etc. Usually the bigger the promise, the more the bull. There is no such thing as a sure thing when it comes to increasing new patients. Believe me, if there were, we would know about it. However, it is a sure thing that if you don’t do anything, you won’t see more new patients.

Over 60% of area dentists now have websites. Most dentists go with the major outfits such as Officite, Prosites, PBHS, IDA, Sesame and The Online Practice. All of these companies have their strengths and weaknesses. Many dentists also hire an acquaintance, patient or relative that “knows websites.”

The common denominator is this. When most dentists get their website up, they more or less ignore it. It just sits there. Getting more new patients from the Internet isn’t just about your website. And no, it isn’t all about Facebook either. It’s a combination of factors of which, leading the pack are your presence on the major search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. Most importantly, the Google “Place Page.” There are many other directories (such as Yelp & Insider Pages) that attention needs to be paid to also.

Since 70% of all web searches take place through Google, the Google Place Page is the “front porch” of your website. You have to have the lights on and make sure that there are positive reviews to entice people to proceed on to visiting and scheduling on your website. Once they get into your website, they shouldn’t have to wait a while for flash or fancy graphics though. Web searches today want quick access to pertinent information. There should be very concrete information about your practice and appropriate copy and design to lead people to act…that is, make an appointment!

Website enhancements can include a “video brochure”, video testimonials, offers, photos and biographies. If you were looking for a healthcare professional, what would you want to see on a website? You wouldn’t want a lot of filler or platitudes, “Fine quality care, comfortable surroundings, blah, blah, blah.” You want to know about that Doctor, the staff, the hours, the services and what to expect. You want to see that they are a nice looking, clean cut group of people in an atmosphere where you will feel safe.

Further enhancements can include Twitter, Facebook and blogs but most of you can get well ahead of the competition by paying attention to your Google Place Page and having a website that truly reflects you…and that can be done even with one of the generic companies such as Officite or Prosites if you work at it.

How many positive reviews do you have up on Google? Do you know? If you don’t, you probably don’t have as many as you should! Yes, you can use “Demand Force” and other companies to help you in gathering reviews and testimonials (reviews are on the website and testimonials are within your website). However, don’t just rely on those.

We’re all very busy and it’s hard to have a lot of time to putter around with your website. There is also a lot of jive out there. We all probably get just as confused by the web peoples’ jargon as patients get confused by dental jargon. So, on the requests of many of my clients, I have lined up top rate Internet marketing help. We can help you tune up your Web Presence all the way through; Whatever website company you are with, wherever you practice. You see, if you are paying attention to and tune up your website, your presence in the directories, etc., you’ll be ahead of the competition in your area. You’ll have a stronger presence on the Internet and you will get more new patients.

The bottom line is this; getting your website to the top of page one on Google and optimizing it to attract potential patients is like aiming at a moving target. Be leery of anyone who tells you otherwise. What you can count on from my team is that we have our ears to the ground and are staying on top of the ever-changing Internet landscape to keep you on the path and a step ahead. The Internet is increasingly where people go to select a Dentist and we’ll help you make sure they select you.


*For example, we have seen some spectacular numbers with Groupon and Groupon Clones but patient retention has been a challenge. We are learning how to improve this.

Posted by Bill Rossi at 5:13 PM
Labels: Advanced Practice Management, Bill Rossi, Economic news for midwest dentists, New patients via the internet, Practice Management

Getting New Patients from the Internet

As I wrote you in my previous bulletin, over the last three years the Internet has come on as a significant source of new patients for dental offices in our area. Just two years ago, fewer than half of area dental practices even had websites (about 70% do now).
In the “old days” of dental advertising, we had the hassles of dealing with decisions regarding which Yellow Pages to be in, Yellow Page ad design and negotiating rates. Or planning direct mail campaigns (demographics, offers, mail lists). Those mediums could be plenty expensive but they weren’t all that complicated to figure out.
Internet marketing is a whole different ball game. It can be less expensive (or not!), but it certainly is more complex. Every day you and I are getting bombarded by pitches for SEO, SEM, and this or that great new Internet marketing scheme. I know that getting new patients is important to you so you better believe that we at APM are keeping our eyes open as to what is working, what is not and what the industry trends are.
You have limited amounts of time, energy and money to spend on advertising (not to mention doing dentistry and keeping your patients and staff happy), so we understand that dealing with the nuances and sorting through the hype of Internet marketing can be overwhelming. I’m hoping these articles will help.
Stage I – Establishing Your Google Places Page & Cleaning Up Directories: When a potential patient searches for a dentist in your area, they are most likely doing a Google search for “dentist in Your City” or “cosmetic dentist in Your City.” Their results will list three to eight dentists’ in the local proximity who best match their search keywords. Clicking on the links for those dentists will take them to their Google Places page, a mini¬website of sorts listing contact information, office hours, photos, driving directions, areas of specialty and most of all credible reviews from actual patients.
An absolutely essential first step is to claim and enhance your Google Places page, complete it with information, photos, videos, if available, and then to collect reviews. Some Doctors have multiple Place Pages, for example, and that does not help you get found and in fact, can hurt you. There is often inaccurate information on these directories. We’ve seen completely wrong phone numbers, old addresses and many long¬established practices that are virtually invisible when you try to find them on the Internet. So the first step is getting your presence in the multiple directories straight. This also includes adding pictures and other content on your “Place Page.” A very important part often is getting patient reviews posted.
Then, we want to submit your practice information to the search engines and directories that are getting traction in your area so that your information is consistent across the board and you have the best chance to be featured in this suggested list of dentists. We correct inaccurate information, eliminate duplicate listings which dilute your presence and help you to establish a consistent and broader footprint across the web. We call this first stage “Cleaning Up The Directories,” a very detailed but absolutely necessary task.
Stage II ¬Website Enhancements: The footwork of “Stage I” will increase your visibility in the local directories and get you impressions, and hopefully clicks through to your website. Then, once they get to your website, it’s a matter of engaging the potential patient and moving them to make an initial contact by e¬mail or phone.
A lot is involved, whole books have been written about this. Best practices for effective websites include having a call¬to-action on the home page, pictures and bios of the doctor(s) and staff, video brochures, patient testimonials, and before and after pictures. This also may include introductory offers such as free or low cost whitening, a low cost complete kid’s check-up, or other type of offer similar to what you would see with direct mail advertising.
Different than the SEO methods that were popular a few years ago to load each page with all of your keywords, effective websites today stratege a purpose for each page and align the keywords, content, tags and descriptive code with that message. This is also an important part of Stage
Stage III – Widen Your Internet Footprint: Once the housekeeping is in order, you can start expanding your presence on the web by adding content and through blogging and social media (Facebook, Twitter) or through paid advertising (such as Google Adwords Express or Pay ¬Per¬Click) and special advertising promotions (Groupon, Living Social). As they say, “Content is King.” With a little organization and persistence, your efforts will pay great dividends in expanding your presence on the Internet and attracting potential patients who are looking for a great dentist!
New directories are constantly coming on to the scene and existing directories update and cross check information sometimes sending bad data around like a virus. Most practices

Kelly Larson
need at least some directory work. And you should be checking your listings periodically to make sure they are still accurate. You may have paid your website company to help you with directories at one point, but it’s been our experience that they are often like bad painters. They’ll throw some stuff together but not really pay attention to the details and therefore, some potential patient traffic is lost. Or, you may be already getting a decent amount of traffic to your website but the website itself needs work. Perhaps it doesn’t really reflect the nature of the office (i.e., it looks too “cookie cutter” or too “Plain Jane”) and doesn’t really give the patient a reason to e¬mail or call you.
The devil is in the details. Just the technical nuances in getting the directories straight, the organization of the website and its pages optimized, pictures uploaded, patient reviews, etc. can be a daunting task. But again, it helps to have your priorities. For example, it doesn’t make sense to have a graphically beautiful website if the directories are haphazard and you get very few impressions. And, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to spend time on Facebook and doing blogs if you don’t have your website in order so that as you get interest, people can learn more about you in such a way that they’ll want to become new patients.
Our clients work with the whole gamut of website providers…everyone from their sister¬in¬law to the big generic companies like Officite and Prosites. It’s been our experience that website providers are happy to take your money each month and not really do much. That’s why we brought Kelly Larson on board. Her job is to “ride herd” over website companies and to keep us and you absolutely up¬to¬date on what is really working in Internet marketing.
I’ve met people with more technical knowledge of HTML programming. I’ve met others who are great graphic designers. I’ve certainly heard from others who are great sales people. I have not yet met anyone who really knows as much as Kelly Larson does in terms of the nitty¬gritty of all this, focused on getting new patients through your door. Whether you are just getting started or already have a sophisticated Internet presence, she can give you a push and help keep you ahead of the competition.