|News You Can Use from New Patients, Inc.|
|Dear Barbara Carneiro, |
Getting high quality new patients to call your practice is what our company has been all about for the last 18 years. The purpose for these periodic newsletters is to give helpful marketing advice that will assist you in building your practice. And to share news about new ways to market your practice. In this issue we have articles by Mark Dilatush, Eddie Facey and me.
| |Radio - Making it Work
By William Howard (Howie) Horrocks, Founder/CEO, New Patients, Inc.
We operate in all advertising mediums for our clients. Radio is one of them.
There are things we've learned about radio over the years that you might find useful if you're going to employ this medium for your practice.
If you are going to proceed on the path to radio (and that's assuming radio is right for you which it may not be - but that's another subject) I would like to outline for you what we've found to be the ideal situation when using radio as a medium.
A client isn't always able to pull this off - and by no means does that make radio an unviable option - but if he/she can make THIS scenario come about then there's a much better chance of the spots being successful.
And making this happen may take a little time, which is why you need to prepare months in advance.
Putting aside frequency and reach for a moment (which is hugely important and Eddie covers this well in his article - see below) but just considering the spots themselves, based on our experience, the best format for dental radio spots is this:
1. The station you select must serve the exact demographics you're looking for.
2. The spot is a testimonial/endorsement type spot delivered by the most popular personality the station has during one of two "drive times" (either morning or afternoon).
3. This personality is also a patient of the practice or at least has visited the practice and experienced it in some fashion so it can be an actual personal endorsement. It MUST be authentic, you can't fake this and don't want to ever fake anything in advertising.
4. The ad run consists of 4 or 5 different spots each focusing on a different aspect of the practice's services. The spots will rotate.
5. Each spot has the same opening, e.g., "Hi, (popular personality) here to tell you about MY personal dentist, Dr. Sherry Smith of Smith Smiles in Boca Raton."
6. Any music or jingles are of course the same from spot to spot.
7. The middle of the spots each features a different customer benefit, e.g., sedation, metal free dentistry, implants, two visit makeovers, emergency care, etc.
8. The close of each spot is identical, just as the opening is.
9. The identical parts of each spot bring about a familiarity over time, and the different parts will communicate a range of benefits that hopefully cast a wide net. Running 5 spots only about teeth whitening will too greatly narrow your appeal.
You Only Have a Few Words
A human can normally speak about 175 unhurried words during a 60 second spot. This word count applies whether there are one or two or more speakers.
The intro to the spots ("How would you like to have beautiful, straight teeth in just 6 months instead of two years? Hi, I'm Ted Jones here to tell you about MY personal dentist, Dr. Sherry Smith of Smith Smiles dot com...") deducts about 35 words. That means you have about 140 words left.
The closing of the spot - "So if you want straight teeth in just 6 months instead of two years call Dr. Sherry Smith at 444-444-4444 today. That's 444-444-4444 or on the web at Smith Smiles dot com" - deducts another 35 words. Now you have only about 100 words in the middle to make your central pitch.
What you do with those remaining 100 words will have the most impact for your practice.
See? It's a very compressed time frame. You CANNOT tell the whole story of the practice in 175 words. And you shouldn't try. That's why you have 4 or 5 different spots (with the exact same openings and closings) so you can cover 4 or 5 different topics. Don't make the huge mistake of trying to present several topics or benefits in the same spot. You won't have enough time.
I hope this helps.
Mr. Horrocks is the Founder and CEO of New Patients, Inc. He is the author of two dental bestsellers, Unlimited New Patients, Volume One, and Unlimited New Patients, Volume Two; Trade Secrets of America's Dental Marketing Guru. His agency, New Patients, Inc. produces advertising campaigns for dental practices all over the US and Canada. For more information call (866) 336-8237 or on the web at www.NewPatientsInc.com
|Let's Talk About Media Math |
By Eddie Facey, CPA, MBA
In grade school, we were taught properties of multiplication, one of which is that multiplication is commutative. This meant that 15 times 9 produced the same result as 9 times 15.
This property needs to be discarded in our 'Media Math' class.
With broadcast advertising, we talk about frequency and reach. Frequency relates to how often ads run, and the likelihood that people will interact with the ad enough to make a meaningful difference. Reach relates to how many people see the ad.
Wasting Your Ad Buy
The biggest waste of money in the history of American advertising was the dot-coms who ran one-time super bowl ads. These had a reach of maybe 40 million Americans, and a frequency of just 1.
The price they paid was based on the reach (which is a logical basis for the television network to price the airtime). So at 40 million reach times 1 frequency, they got pretty much no results (there have been a scant few exceptions of course).
For less money, in a more targeted situation, they might have addressed 1 million people and ran an ad 25 times. In the second case, I can almost guarantee that 1 million times 25 would be greater than 40 million times 1 as far as results.
This is "media math."
If you dilute the advertising budget to, say, three stations, you will diminish the frequency tremendously. When we advertise on mass media like radio and television, we do not expect the ad to be successful the first time the audience sees/hears it. These mediums simply don't work that way. The idea is we want to have a sustained period of time so the ads can become somewhat repetitive.
Frequency + Reach = Memorable
In my daily drive to the office, I have begun to hear more and more ads on Las Vegas radio for dentists. At this point I can only remember one ad - a poorly distasteful one which starts with a blood-curdling scream and the announcer saying, "Is this your idea of going to the dentist?"
I've probably heard the ad about three times in the last couple of months. I can honestly tell you I can't remember the name of the practice running this ad - and I would almost want to remember it so I could go to their website and see if the 'bad ad' is there.
I've heard other dentist ads, but none of them stick with me as far as retention - mostly because they appear with such a low frequency that it seems like I've never heard it before.
In contrast, I've managed to absorb the identity of "Glen Lerner - The Heavy Hitter." I am not in the market for a personal injury attorney, but his frequency is sufficient to have caught my attention. Oh, and he has the largest personal injury practice in Las Vegas.
Frequency is critical in successful advertising.
I'm not so concerned about measuring whether talk radio, country or adult contemporary music gets the most calls. If you only run for three months, starting from ground zero (people have never heard of you before), this will be a challenge. The best chance you have with your radio experiment will be to go with one station (the one that reaches your demographic) and experience the highest frequency possible over the longest time period that you can afford.
Radio success requires a long term commitment and good copywriting.
Mr. Facey is the President and CFO of New Patients, Inc. He is a Certified Public Accountant and holds an MBA degree from UCLA's Andersen School of Business.
Planning for 2009 - Dealing with Economic Uncertainty
By Mark Dilatush, Vice President, New Patients, Inc.
|Every day we watch the news on our TV or piped onto our computer screens. Lately, the news has been dominated by various stories of economic tragedy. |
No doubt, some of you have already felt the impact. This whole thing actually started around Feb/March of 08. Your suppliers are crying. Your labs are really, really crying.
So how are you supposed to plan a marketing campaign for 2009?
I am sure you have heard the saying "sitting on the fence."
The Fence is the result of an elevated emotional state. Intolerance for risk is at an all time high. "What if I get less out of my campaign in 09 than I did in 08?" Let me help you place certainty where there is now uncertainty.
If the overall economy and your local economy are slowing, why would you think you will do the same or better in 09 vs. 08? Wouldn't doing the same or even slightly less be OK given the current circumstances?
Doesn't almost every business in the US have to work harder/smarter to keep things going during a recession? Why is the business of dentistry any different? The truth is that dentistry is and will be impacted negatively by this recession.
Therefore, there is no uncertainty. It is certain that your dental practice will experience some negative impact during 2009. So, what are you going to do?
Kids, Ortho, Convenience, Emergencies, Technology, Existing Patients
These are the staples of promoting a dental office in a declining economy. The market retracts to the basics during these times. You very well may be able to increase your new patient numbers in 2009.
You might have to shift your marketable attributes a bit, or you may have to increase volume to gain the same or better results - but it is certainly possible. If your dental practice isn't "kid friendly", consider a change. If you don't do ortho or short term ortho, consider a change. If you've never promoted your practice (not specifically but partially) as being able and available for emergency treatment, consider a change. If you haven't promoted the new technology you have in the office, consider doing so - you'd be surprised at how important technology is when people choose a dentist. If you are only open from 8 to 5 Monday through Thursday, consider opening up 4 to 6 office hours outside of the 8 to 5 window. You'd be amazed at how many new patients will fill those convenient hours.
If you haven't recently, go run an overdue recall report for 2008. Pretty long isn't it? New patients aren't the only people avoiding the dentist. Most of you have no idea how many existing patients are "sitting on their own fence!"
The difference for many of you in 2009 will be how well you engage/re-engage your existing patient pool. Run your overdue recall report, create/delegate a system for follow up, and stick to it in 2009. The back door of your practice has to be closed in 2009. Well, as closed as you can get it anyway.
Less Dilution - Addition through Subtraction
How do you feel when you see another dentist in your area promoting their practice? Depending upon your market area and how much the other dentists slow down their own promotion - you may be able to take advantage of less dilution of your message!
If ten dentists in your area "sit on their own fence", that's 10 less dentists promoting their own practices! If you mail, advertise in print media, mass media (radio or TV), or on the web, there is a very good chance your message will be seen by more people simply because fewer dentists are advertising! Let those dentists make big mistakes. You should just keep plugging along.
When Will the Revenues Pull Through?
Those of you who know me or have heard me during a seminar, recognize what I mean by "pull through." Increases in revenues will always trail additional new patient volume. In most dental practices, this lag is 8 to 12 months.
The funny thing about this recession is the lack of funding for large ticket dental procedures. The housing market and lack of home equity loan/lines of credit are going to continue to restrict some consumers. Once that restriction is lifted, the dentists who have a good pipeline of great patients are the one's who will experience the resulting economic BOOM!
What you are feeling right now is an artificially generated restriction in demand. In reality, the same number of people want, need, and value the type of dentistry you do - they're just not ready/able to pay for it yet.
Where will you be when the boom happens? Will you have a larger pipeline of newer patients? Or, will you be scrambling last minute to get in on the feeding frenzy?
Getting off the "Fence"
Budgeting for 2009 should be the same budgeting as 2006, 2007, and 2008. You still multiply 08 revenues by 5%. That's your marketing budget for 2009.
Put that budget into only the projects that have statistically proven to work in the past. For many of you, this simply means doing more of what you are already doing. If you shift your service offerings as described above (some of them anyway) and focus on those service offerings (rather than just extreme smile makeovers), new patient volume should stabilize and perhaps even grow. Revenue pull won't happen immediately, but it will set your practice up perfectly for the recovery and resulting "boom."
How do I Recognize and Take Advantage of the Recovery and Boom?
Let's discuss how you can tell when the recovery is coming because the timing will be different for all of you. The first thing you will see are your revenues rising. After the 3rd month of continued revenue increase, it is very important for you to recalculate your marketing budget every quarter!
As revenues rise, your marketing budget (calculated based on last year's revenues) is too low and you will almost assuredly be leaving opportunity on the table. Leaving opportunity on the table during a recovery/boom period is statistically worse than any potential recessionary impact.
Most dentists do not recognize this incredible opportunity and choose to just sit back and breathe a sigh of relief. Now is not the time to sit back, and the recovery/boom period is definitely not the time to just sit back. Come to think of it, there is no right time to "just sit back", is there?
The Bottom Line
NPI has helped clients through 3 of these recessions before. Granted, this one is a little bit different, but the average recession lasts 8 to 16 months. I can't remember a two or three year recession and I am 47 years old. Statistically, that puts us about half way into this recession.
There is no uncertainty. You will certainly be impacted in some way. You have every opportunity to take advantage of the situation and set yourself up for a great recovery/boom period while everyone is still perched on their fence.
Mr. Dilatush is the Vice President of New Patients, Inc. He has a unique combined background in dental technology, dental practice management, practice marketing, and dental business analytics, which was built over the past 23 years in dentistry. He and his team are responsible for building client marketing plans that pose the least risk to client marketing budgets with the highest potential return. Howard Farran said of Mark, "multitudes of dentists have benefited from the wisdom and integrity that Mark brings to every project. His thoughtfulness and sincere approach has aided scores of dentists in finding their path to greater dental success.
First Impression Video from New Patients, Inc.
We are very excited about our new product offering - customized video for your website!
First Impression Video by New Patients, Inc. is a way for potential new patients to actually meet you when they visit your website for the first time. This GREATLY reduces the barrier of distrust and begins the process of "trust." Trust is the first thing you have to accomplish when you want to attract new patients. You can convey this with words but that can only take you so far.
Think about it. Let's say you need some kind of medical care. Your physician refers you to three specialists and gives you their websites so you can go home and look for yourself. Two of those sites are all text and maybe a poorly done educational (too long) video.
But on one of the sites, the doctor him/her self immediately introduces themselves to you and directs you to other points of interest on their website. When you click on those other points of interest, they (or someone else from their office) pop up again and help you with timely information.
Which one of the three specialists are you most likely going to call first for a consult?
Now let's say you weren't referred but you're just searching for a new dentist, which dentist would you most likely call for the first consult?
Now you understand the main benefit of First Impression Video. You are going to convert more of your website visitors into more new patients! After all, what's the use in having lots of web traffic, if you don't convert that traffic into new patients?
To learn more about First Impression Video email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 866.336.8237.
You can also visit our website and download a First Impression brochure. Go to www.NewPatientsInc.com and click on the First Impression link at the top right.
| |We hope you've enjoyed our newsletter. Please let us know if there's a particular subject you'd like to hear about. And we always appreciate your feedback. Howie
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