What is the niche trap? How can you avoid it? In this episode of Dental Marketing Mastery, Mark and Howie explain.



Podcast Highlights:

  • Cosmetic Dentistry’s past niche trap
  • A budgeting error that can lead to the niche trap
  • Spreading your message across your marketable attributes
  • Radio spots
  • Is reduced price a niche trap?
  • The right messaging in your take-home pieces
  • Breaking out of the niche trap with your existing ad pieces

Podcast Transcription:

Hello, and welcome once again to the Dental Marketing Mastery series. This podcast is brought to you by DentalWebContent.com and New Patients Incorporated. I’m Howie Horrocks, the Founder of New Patients Incorporated, along with me once again, as my friend and partner and the President of New Patients Incorporated, Mark Dilatush.

Howie: Well, here we are, once again for our podcast. I’ve got my good buddy Mark Dilatush out there in New Jersey and this is Howie Horrocks. How you doing Mark?

Mark: Hey, Howie your Seahawks beat my Eagles.

Howie: Let’s get that out of the way first,

Mark: yeah, sign out, whatever.

Howie: Well, you know, you got a heck of a rookie quarterback. He made a few rookie mistakes, man can that guy check the ball downfield?

Mark: No, there’s always the kind of second cowboy game. So we always have something to look forward to.

Howie: Well, on we go. today. We’ve touched on this topic, occasionally here and there. But I don’t think we given a very full treatment until now. We’d like to talk about niche or niche. However, you want to say it traps.

Mark: Yeah. And I think we’re bringing it up because we’re seeing it more and more and more and more and more and more, more and more. Um, let’s take it back to 2002 through 2008. Where, basically, anyone with a dental license all of a sudden became a cosmetic dentist. Yeah,

Howie: yeah. Right.

Mark: And then any dentist with a license decided to spend 80% of their marketing budget on communicating the benefits of the wonderful cosmetic dentistry they did.

Howie: Right?

Mark: And let’s go to 2008 and a half, when the market tanked, the consumer could no longer run up credit cards and pay them off with home equity. And basically 95% of the cosmetic dentistry on the planet evaporated.

Howie: Yeah, that’s pretty much what happened. And when they evaporated, those dentists were left high and dry. Like what do I do now?

Mark: Right. Well, I think the beginning of this is to is to communicate the dangers. We just saw this happen. And I know the dentist on this, listening to this podcast, who will either experienced this themselves or they know a dentist, a colleague, a friend, person they went to school with or went to with some CE course with that has, you know, a bad story to tell about niche trapping themselves. So, now, cosmetics is one. But now, general dentists are doing all kinds of new things like implants and Invisalign and Botox and sedation. And basically, every one of them is a niche. Right?

Howie: Exactly.

Mark: Okay, so what you what you really never want to do is over allocate a percentage of your budget to one specific message. And I think that’s, that sounds very general. So let me let me break it down into tools, or media types. Um, I think the biggest broadest media type there is where you have basically endless opportunities to communicate what you want to communicate is a dental practice website. Right? I mean, if you wanted, you could have 173 pages on your website, right? Doesn’t cost you anymore. You’re still in the same amount every year for hosting right?

Howie: Now, a good idea, but you do have that much real estate?

Mark: Yeah, yeah. Well, basically, the real estate is, is mostly endless. So the dental practice website is one. And a common example of a media that you control where you’re really not getting charged a whole lot extra for more space, okay, and there’s another one, it’s in its dental direct mail, you really don’t get charged a whole lot extra.

If you make your mailer the size of a postcard, or eight and a half by 17, or even 10 by 18. You really there’s no extra postage, it’s just maybe a little extra paper and a little extra print. Right? Okay. So with those media today, what you want to do is you want to organize and list all of your marketable attributes, your niches, so to speak. But you don’t really want to leave any of them out. And you don’t want to just highlight any one of them for a long period of time. And why is that Howie? Well,

Howie: Let me give an example. that illustrates this a few years ago. Some good folks invented this thing called sedation dentistry. It’s a wonderful, wonderful service. And then there were radio spots available. And they ran radio spots, many dentists did this. We know them. And it was all about sedation, every spot was about sedation, sedation, sedation, classic niche trap, because listener gets the idea that Well, Dr. Schmo here, that’s all he does, I’m going to him I’m going to get knocked out. That’s attractive to a good segment of the population, but it’s also not that attractive to others. And it ends up, you end up looking like that’s all you do for people is sedation?

Mark: Well, that’s all they know.

Howie: That’s all they know,

Mark: All the consumer knows,

Howie: Right so that those dentists track themselves,

Mark: Right, let me let me go through another one, which may be a little less obvious to people, but is probably the single most important niche trap. And many of you listening to this, don’t know that you’re actually doing this to yourselves. A reduced price is a niche trap. If all your marketing has on it, your website, your mail, whatever you radio, TV, print newspaper, I don’t care what it is, if all you’re doing with that, is creating a call to action based on a reduced exam fee or some kind of a free whitening deal. Then you are niche, trapping yourself your niche trapping yourself as the low cost dentist in your area.

Howie: Right.

Mark: And if you continue to do that, the consumers who are not necessarily interested in the lowest cost dentist in the area are going to tune you out. Just like the people who are not really interested in sedation. Right? Just like the people who aren’t necessarily interested in cosmetic dentistry. Now I remember back. Oh, 204, whatever through 2008 Howie, we were the ones screaming from the rooftops saying, don’t just promote cosmetics, right?

Howie: Right.

Mark: And then there was all these dentists were looking at us and going man, this is the heyday these guys don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. Right? So they didn’t work with us. They didn’t listen to us. They didn’t take our advice. Okay, that’s fine. A lot of people don’t take our advice, but in 2009 when their patient base was down 90% and they had to quickly turn it around and somehow make this local market read understand them. Right? When you remember all those practices, Howie the ones that you know, somewhere in their name was a statics right, or we don’t know how to spell it. It was either EST or a. Right. I’m sure they came up with some other four different ways to spell a static, right. Yeah.

But you know, and we’re making a little bit of fun right here. But trust me, there was a lot of pain involved for a lot of dentist in that in 2000. And it all depended upon how they set up their local market and how their local market believed what they were how they branded themselves right in their local market before June 2008 hit. So our point is, is that now we’ve come what another eight, nine years beyond that dentists are doing a lot more stuff now. They’re doing, you know, sedation, dentistry, they’re doing sleep happening. They’re doing all kinds of different dentistry. And we’re seeing it again, we’re seeing dentists, overspending are over allocating their budget to talk about one thing, right?

Howie: Right. Right. And there’s also the possibility not only can you niche trap yourself, to the general public out there, you can miss trap yourself to your own patience.

Mark: Yes.

Howie: And when we get back, we’re going to take a short break here, when we get back, we’re going to tell you how that happens and what not to do and what to do about it.

We hope you are enjoying our podcast. Let me ask you “do you have a roadmap for your marketing?” Why not let New Patients Incorporated do it for you. Our marketing plans have been proven effective for over 27 years for hundreds of practices across lots of different countries. We will give you the marketing data for your area, a marketing budget will show you how to allocate your budget. And then we will show you the proper deployment strategies for each medium. Click on the header where it says Complimentary Marketing Plan when you go to www.newpatientsinc.com.

Howie: All right. So Mark, we were going to talk about how a dentist can actually get into a niche trap with his very own patients.

Mark: Yeah, it’s when and then we’re going to go into how to avoid a niche trap. Because I think after presenting all the pitfalls, people are going to want to know, how do I avoid them? How do I you know, get through this minefield. Yeah, so Okay, so yeah, you can niche trap yourself with your own patients, the easiest thing to do with your own patients is to simply let them believe the only thing you do is what you physically did to them.

In other words, don’t communicate anything else to. Don’t let them know that you offer sedation or sleep apnea, or dental implants, or, I don’t know, cosmetic dentures or Invisalign, or any of those other things. One of the ways to easily disrupt yourself with your own patience is to simply assume that they know the full breadth and scope of everything that your dental office provides.

Now, the way you fix that, is, you do it in little pieces. Every year you allocate usually about 5% of your annual budget, maybe 10, to internal pieces to communicate the full scope of your whole practice to your existing patients that might be in the form of new content on your dental practice website, it might be in the form of a reception room, a reception room loop that plays on a flat screen in your reception area. It could be take home pieces, take home, people are getting away from take home pieces. But really, there’s only one thing that really is going to grow legs in a message. And that is if mom can take it home.

So if you’re talking about fixing loose dentures, and the person in your waiting room hasn’t parent at home, who has loose fitting dentures, if you put that up in your internet, or whatever you may not, they may never get that message. But if you have something they can take home, they will get that message. So anyway, throughout the years, you create new pieces that present everything, or at least a representative sampling of everything that you do. And you make sure that your patients know this, when they walk out the door, you make sure they know everything you do, not just what you just did to them.

Howie: Right. And this also extends to, you know, Facebook postings as well. And any electronic or even print newsletters that you send out

Mark: exactly.

Howie: If you’ve got an older patient base. Don’t. Don’t shy away from using the printed newsletter. There’s plenty of people who still get those and like on them and read up.

Mark: Yep. Okay. Now, how do you avoid a niche trap? Well, we touched on it a little bit of it at the very beginning, when we talked about the length or the size of what you have to communicate on. And we gave you an example a website, you can have unlimited number of pages. I mean, there is a logical limit, but let’s just say you have lots of room, and the extra room doesn’t really cost you anything.

Not really, you gotta pay for somebody to design your website anyway, right. And if your pages a page long or a page and a half long, it really doesn’t cost that much extra. Same thing can be held true with something like dental direct mail. So in media types, where you have lots of space, here’s what you want to do. You want to organize your priority marketable attributes, and you want to say at least a little bit about as many as you can. That’s what you do when you have enough space to do it on newspaper inserts is another great example.

Howie: Oh, yeah.

Mark: I know, I know, lots of people don’t, you know, they don’t use them, or they don’t even think about their local paper anymore. But who still reads the paper, it’s the older folks probably over 45 years old, and who has all the money in your market might be the older folks. So you know, you might want to take a look, right? So the line with avoiding a niche trap is in media types that you have the room, you talk about everything.

Now, there’s also media types that gets really expensive for paying for the room. And a great example might be a print ad, in a magazine or a newspaper. A wonderful example is radio. And oh, yeah, right. In other words, you only have to 30 seconds, or you only have 60 seconds. That’s, that’s the room I’m talking about. Right? You barely have enough room to intro yourself and extra yourself. Right? And then you have maybe, what did you say? 100? And some words hundred and 20 words in between to talk about one thing, right?

Howie: Yeah, yeah, the typical of human can speak about 165-175 words in a minute. But then if you throw in the intro, Hi, I’m Dr. Blah, blah, blah. And then the exit where you give your contact information, that leaves you up about 35 words. Right?

Mark: Right. You can’t possibly talk about your whole practice on a radio ad. Okay. So the only thing you can do with media types like radio, TV, magazine print, you know, things like that is, is you talk about one thing at a time. But you rotate your ads. Okay, so in other words, if you’re going to pay for a 32nd radio ad Anyway, why would you make it only about sedation? Why wouldn’t you have six different radio ads, and just rotate them through the airtime that you’re paying for anyway.

Howie: Each one is a single topic.

Mark: Yeah.

Howie: And then you have five different topics that you rotate through the app by or the or the time that you’ve paid for, and you keep doing it. Now. People know you do all kinds of things, not just sedation, or Invisalign.

Mark: Exactly. Now, here’s, I want to go back to the internal promotion. And one of our favorite ways to subliminally professionally, consultatively, get the benefits of the dentistry you provide in the minds of your own patients is through a silent reception room video loop. Right? That loops through the many benefits of being there, you might have a page on the free Wi Fi that you offer. Or you might have a page about you know, it’s easy to review your office and give them the instructions, you also might have a page about a Family Dentistry kids love it here sedation is offered. You have a you know, a parent, or someone you know has slipping dentures or what have you.

So what you do is you build six 810 of these pages, and you create a reception room loop out of them and they just loop continually. You wouldn’t think of having a still framed picture on your wall that just talked about implants. Think about that. Or maybe you would, if you did, you’d be making a mistake. Okay.

My point is, is that with limited room, limited space limited size, you create one ad every time you place the ad. And then you create a second one, a third one, a fourth one and a fifth one. And then you simply rotate that through the size through the space that you’ve purchased.

On that will be the bottom line is that the potential new patients, the consumer, if they hear you do sleep apnea, then a week later, they hear kids love it at your office. then a week later, they hear that you take care of slipping dentures, then a week later, they hear that you take care of you know what if you have a missing tooth? And then what if you have a gap in your tooth, and then you take care, pretty soon that consumers belief is going to be that, Hey, man, if I need anything done with dentistry, I’m going to this person because they do everything.

Howie: Right. The all under one roof attribute is an extremely attractive, marketable attribute.

Mark: It absolutely is.

Howie: Even if you don’t do it all, there’s a lot that you do. Right.

Mark: Exactly. We can’t diagnose the you know, the new patients before they come in and qualify them, right. So the idea is to make them believe that you are the ultimate dental authority in your marketplace. And a great way to do that is to make them believe that you do basically anything that that whatever pop up for their kids, their parents themselves, their husbands that you know, they’re going to drag into your office six months from now. That’s what you need that dental consumer to believe that you can handle all of her dental, her family’s dental needs you do that? You’ll never niche trap yourself ever.

Howie: Right. Well, I think we covered that for today. Hopefully you all enjoyed that.

Mark: Course wonderfully.

Howie: All right, well, we’re going to look forward to our next podcast and we’ll see you all then. Thank you.

Mark: Bye.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our podcast today. You can find more podcasts on our YouTube channel, on Stitcher and iTunes. Also on our websites, dentalwebcontent.com and newpatientsinc.com.