Have you reflected on your marketing year? What plans do you have for the next year? In this episode, Mark and Howie discuss how to make a dental marketing plan that works, and how to stick to it.

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Podcast Highlights:

  • Assessing your marketable assets
  • Assessing your website, text & email, appointment software
  • Are your brochures and print material up to date?
  • What are your liabilities?
  • Which assets are working, and which are not?
  • Setting a marketing goal
  • Do you need to increase capacity or marketing?
  • Setting a budget
  • Budget allocation
  • The fundamental channels you should be marketing in
  • Sticking to the process
  • Conserving resources

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, hello, once again, everybody. Welcome to our podcast. I’ve got my good buddy as usual, and the President of new patients incorporated Mark Diltasuh on the other end of the line.

Mark: Hey fine, thank you.

Howie: Should we discuss our football teams woes? And

Mark: Yes, the beginning of December and the Eagles are no longer 3-0, it’s no longer Pennsylvania and I watched Dallas win every game. So

Howie: That just that’s gotta kill you.

Mark: It does. It kills everybody in this part of the in this part of the country. But

Howie: My hawks kind of bounce back yesterday at the Sunday night game.

Mark: There you go. All right. So there’s no, there’s your football update. That’s it at the podcast is over?

Howie: Alright Well, today, I think we discussed preparing for your next year’s marketing.

Mark: Yeah, this time of year. Um, you know, the holidays every year, it was the time frame in between Thanksgiving and January 1 is a time when dentists will look back. And they’ll look and they’ll pretty much measure how they did. They’ll say I was either equal to last year, less than last year, or better than last year. And it’s funny, no matter what the answer is, you still have to prepare for your marketing year. You are slower, you better prepare.

Howie: If you’re just one this is assuming; they have accurate metrics to which.

Mark: I’m talking about production, it’s not hard. You know, you can tell from a production standpoint, whether

Howie: Yeah

Mark: Not you’re low or you’re up. But no matter what the scenario is, you know, a smart dental business person still says I have to prepare for my marketing for next year. So a couple of podcasts ago, we actually released marketable attributes scorecard, which if you go to our website, if you go to dentalwebcontent.com and go to resources, free downloads, you can download the marketable attributes scorecard, that scorecard is a little tiny piece, a very tiny piece of an overall dental marketing plan.

Today, what we wanted to do is we wanted to spend 15-20 minutes going through the sections of an overall dental marketing plan, we’re going to basically tell you how we do it. Alright. So the first thing that you do is you, you look at all of your marketable assets, your marketing assets. So when I say asset, what does that mean? That means, what have I paid for in the past, that is still working for me.

And an example, a really classic example would be, let’s say, a website, you may have paid for your dental practice website four or five years ago, but it’s still sitting there working for you. Right? You may have paid for, I don’t know, you may have one of those subscription services where you text and email your patient base, your recalls and your appointment reminders, you’ve already paid for that. Um, what are some other marketing assets that you may have already paid for, you may have already paid for on internal promotions to your existing patient base that you have on hand to teach them about all the services that you do.

Howie: Right. Also paid for a sign on either side or in office signage?

Mark: Yeah.

Howie: Marketing brochures have described the various treatments that you have to offer that, that you hand out to patients, all of that stuff could already be existing in continuing to work or not work, as the case may be.

Mark: Right? So you line up all your assets, say, Okay, here’s my assets, then you line up the things that you own, that might be liabilities, and everything that we just mentioned could be in the asset or the liability category, if they’re in a liability category, use some of your budget this coming year to fix the problem. Right. So once you have your assets in front of you, you say, Okay, well, what did my marketing assets that I have in front of me? What did they produce in new patients, and average revenue per new patient? For last year? I mean, you’re going to measure your numbers for this year Anyway, you might as well measure that number. And if that’s not supportive of your goal, or if that’s not supportive of your capacity.

So there’s two things in play here. One is your overall goal dentist goals change from dentist, we have dentists, who have been in practice for 30 years would rather not see another two or three surface composite for the rest of their career.

Howie: Yeah,

Mark: Okay.

Howie: Or a kid

Mark: Or a kid, right? Or they, and they want to just do the fun stuff, right? That’s a different goal is a totally different goal than the 30 year old dentist who just got out of school, who is just purchased their first practice in their one year into their practice, and they’re just trying to build a report with the existing patients and get their referral rate up. Okay? Those are two completely different scenarios, two completely different sets of goals. So what are your goals? And what are your capacities? Because it’s one thing to have a goal, it’s a no, it’s one thing to say I want 75 new patients a month. And then another thing to realize that you have nowhere to put them here. Okay.

So capacity is another issue. So, so now, for many of you, this isn’t really that, on this consideration at this point is not that difficult. If you are not booked out, eight work days, if the doctor can be seen within the next eight work days, um, you still have capacity that can be filled. If you’re already eight work days out, you need to expand capacity, and then go to work on your dental marketing plan. You never you never work it through more than eight days of capacity. Okay.

Now, now we get to budget. So what you do, this is exactly what we do. We look at your assets, we look at your capacity. And then we look at your numbers. So you come to us and say well, last month last year, I produced $800,000. Okay, what we do is we multiply that times 5% 5% of $800,000 is $40,000. And then we say to the doctor, doctor, if you did 100,000 last year, what do you want to do next year, and a doctor would say, Well, if I did 800,000, last year, I want to do 900,000 this coming year, okay, so we multiply 900,000 times 5%, and you get $45,000. So in this case with this scenario, this doctors market total marketing budget expenses for everything in the marketing category should be no less than $40,000. And no more than $45,000.

Budgeting is simple. Paying for it is painful. Budgeting is a number. It’s not a marriage, it’s not a certificate. It’s not a blood of it’s not a handshake, it’s a budget. It keeps you in line. It keeps you honestly from overspending. Because given the ability to do so a dentist will almost always overspend for their marketing. Because they’re not. They’re not getting the results they want. Right? They keep throwing money at the problem, I should throw more money at it.

Howie: It’s not working. Sorry for laughter but

Mark: What we hear people say this all the time, and they call us and they say Wow. You know, anyway, so budgeting 5% of trailing 12 months revenues to 5% of gold revenues. That’s your range. That’s your range for next year stay within that range. So in our scenario, we had 40,000 to 45,000. Now the question is, what do we have to allocate? Where do we invest that money? Do we put it all in the radio? Do we throw it all into a? One second Super Bowl commercial? Yeah. The answer to those is No. Okay, obviously. Right. So. So how do we allocate it like, like, how much do you put into internal? How much do I put into the internet? How much do I put into offline? And, How much do I put into online ad advertising? It, it doesn’t have to be confusing.

What you want to do is you want to make sure that the three primary principal, foundational staples of your practice are absolutely rock solid better than anyone else in your market. Those three staples are internal, the internet, your dental practice website, specifically, and some form of properly targeted offline promotion to your local community. 99% of the time, that means mail. So those three pieces working in tandem orchestrated blended together, those three, if you haven’t, if you don’t dominate your market, in those three, you have no business investing your money anywhere else. Do you agree with that? Howie?

Howie: Yeah, I do. Because, you know, from 27 years of experience, we realized that, that the violations of that sort of foundational rule, lead to disaster, your

Mark: nice word pal. No, that’s it’s true. It’s just all it does is add risk. Yeah, the more you stay now, for the dentist out there, who maybe they’re in their mid 40s, early 50s, they still got plenty of years left, they want to rock and roll, they have a solid rock solid foundation, they have their internals, they have their web and their SEO, everything’s all cranking.

They have a great mail campaign going, it’s driving high quality targeted traffic to their website on a continual basis, things are just cranking along. If that if they still have capacity to fill, well, then you can go into alternate media types, maybe you might want to put $1,000 a month into Facebook, a PPC campaign on Facebook or into Google or you might want to go maybe there’s a print media via a viable print media near you, who knows.

You can start to branch out, but not until that foundation is you. You need to use that foundation to go out into your local market area and claim it as yours. And when I say your local market area, I don’t mean the shoppers. I mean, the moms who won’t choose health care provider based primarily on price, right, that’s your market go claim in 2017. Go claim that market as yours. Let everybody else go use price.

Howie: Right now that that’s a very good point, Mark. Let me take a second to explain what happens if you violate that, for example. So you haven’t got the three, three basic fundamentals in place to a workable degree. And you think and you think to yourself, maybe I can just make a big shot out into the market area in order to claim it with a radio campaign. Okay, that sounds that doesn’t sound crazy. But it oftentimes doesn’t work. Because the people out there in in your market area that you want to claim don’t know who you are yet, really.

And so if you send an audio message out a broadcast message out, it’ll just bounce off them. What the foundational principles do the internal and especially the direct mail and the website is it gets you gain a familiarity in that area that you want to claim, at least some familiarity. And then you know, because you’re in their mailboxes, and that you know that your signage is visible and your patients are talking about you. So you’ve already established yourself to some degree. All we’re all we’re pointing out is don’t blow it by trying to skip several steps ahead.

Mark: Right? That’s Yeah, just follow the dental marketing plan. In 70, sixers land it’s called follow believe in the process. So now we have three big guys and we have I have no idea what to do with it.

Howie: Yeah, exactly.

Mark: So okay, so. So now we’re getting back to your plan. Ok. So now you have your dental marketing plan, and you have 45. Let’s say it’s 40 to 45,000 to spend. So if it were me, I would say I would put probably 5% of that. Maybe 8%. somewhere between five and 10% into internal. And internal promotion expense might be smile, reminder, lighthouse demand force those types of systems, that’s fine. On You may actually dental web content. One of our products is a great example of internal promotion, you can use it for external promotion as well. But that would be a great a great example of internal promotion. Now we go after internal we go external, we still have 90% of our 40 $45,000 budget left, what do we do? Well, if you already have your assets, remember we say started with assets, right?

Well, I’m going to go look at the website I know is our advisory team, that’s the one of the first things we do is we go look at the website, the website is something that will change over time, it always morphs it always. It always ebbs and flows. But we want to make sure that if we do offline promotion and drive good targeted traffic to the website, is the website ready for prime time? Is it going to receive that traffic in such a way and convert them into new patient appointments? That’s something that’s you know, you don’t want to build the rest of your house on a cracked Foundation, right?

If your website is truly an asset you’ve already paid for that you don’t have to pay for your website, again, if your SEO person is, is really positioning your website properly, and you’re coming up really well, in Google on a first page search for most of the keywords and phrases for your local market. That’s fine., that’s already an asset that you’ve already purchased, you’re probably going to continue to spend 10 to 15 grand a year on your website, that’s fine. That’s not out of the ordinary. You still have 30 or 40, maybe $30,000 leftover. We’re going we’re putting that money into mail.

Howie: Yeah,

Mark: Not specific, not postcards, especially not postcards. But a properly designed. And this is key. Properly targeted, properly deployed, proper timing, proper volumes, keyword proper. Everything has to be done right in order for it to become um predictably successful, if you pull one, one of those qualifiers out, you lose all the success, if you leave all the qualifiers in your always, well 96% of the time, you’re going to have success. So we would put 50 to 60% of that budget into offline targeted dental direct mail marketing, we would put about 35% of that budget into the internet, maybe a little more, maybe we pull a little bit from mail and, and put some more into the internet, maybe a pay per click campaign. And then the remainder would just go to internal. And that’s how we would build our dental marketing plan for 2017.

Based on a marketing budget of 40,000 to $45,000 a year. We could put it all in radio, we could put it all in Google AdWords for dental implants, we could put it all on TV, but every other iteration of where we put it would present more risk to us. And Howie and I are no different than you guys and gals. We don’t want our marketing dollars to go to greater risk than the be.

Howie: Right.

Mark: Right. What Yeah, we, we, we sponsored and promoted a seminar Howie and I did a seminar on how to pee your money away in 100 easy steps, right? Howie remember

Howie: Yeah, but look really cool doing it.

Mark: But look really cool doing it right? Yeah, we didn’t get anybody to those seminars, nobody wanted to sign up for this

Howie: Yeah,

Mark: On how to do things the wrong way. So anyway, so while you’re while you’re, you know, you have this time, hopefully, between Thanksgiving and New Year’s and you’re pondering what you’re going to do for 2017. I just gave you the steps that our advisors use, I mean, they analyze the market area, look for the places of opportunity, look for the places where it’s going to be really tough. I mean, there’s a whole bunch of other stuff that they do, but for the for the framework, the framework, I just, we just gave it to you.

Now you can look, you could also if you wanted to, you could log on to newpatientsinc.com and click that little rotating iPad, it’s at the very top of the webpage. And our advisors will do this for you. I mean, you don’t have to be a customer to guess to build a dental marketing plan for you. We do this all the time. And there’s no fee for it. So it’s just a document on what Howie and I think you should do with your marketing dollar on a conversation to explain it. And then, you know, you make up your own mind what you want to do.

Howie: You know, Mark, we’re going to take a little break here. And when we get back, there’s a little bit more we’d like to give our audience about the dental marketing plan and its function on us. How’s that sound?

Mark: Sounds good.

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 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: Here we go. We’re right back again, we’re talking about marketing plans and your plans for the coming year. And allocation of budget and marketing mediums and that sort of thing. So we’re going to continue to discuss this a little bit in relation to perhaps hopefully you’re thinking about, what are you going to do with your marketing budget next year?

Mark: Yeah, and we’ll pick right back up, it’s, it’s now that you have your dental marketing plan. What are some ways that you can conserve resources, money time? staff? What are some ways that you can get a better pool from your investment no matter what you invested in? So let me just quickly go through the list. Because this whole list should be part of your dental marketing plan. Really? Okay.

Let’s go back to our example, let’s say that okay, we 40-45 K a year, revenues at 800. They want to go to 900. Let’s say you already have an asset of a website and an SEO person, that’s fine. You need a good solid targeted offline promotion, that’s a mail campaign. And we’re going to do some more internal promotion, that’ll pretty much pretty much consume our entire budget, maybe there’s a little bit leftover. So if there is a little bit leftover, what should I use it for?

Well, I would definitely have a call tracking number on those dollars. It’s like, it’s that’s very, very inexpensive. Um, I’ve already mentioned the WC, if I had a website, and I didn’t have the ability to schedule appointments from my website, um, that’s very affordable. It’s $99 a month. It’s just ridiculously affordable. On I know, that’s scary to some people, but you look into it some more. It’s not scary. And the customers we have on it, and actually, their staff would revolt, they would quit if we took it away. If that gives you that gives you any indication. Okay, so don’t discount that. Wouldn’t it? Isn’t it cool to have 24*7*365? appointment service?

Howie: Yeah, yeah,

Mark: that is awesome.

Howie: I mean, think of the labor expense that you don’t have.

Mark: I don’t even look at the labor say I don’t even look at the labor savings, because the labor is going to be there doing something else, probably spending time with your patients face

Howie: Exactly.

Mark: Like they should anyway, but um, I don’t even look at the labor expense I look at I’m at the other side at the opportunity loss because you know, as well as I know how 19.8% of all new patient phone calls go to a voicemail as hang ups.

Howie: Yeah, that’s right.

Mark: And in these offices, less of those hang ups are happening. And that’s if you talk about transferring, afford in an affordable manner, increasing the value of whatever marketing you’re doing. That’s, that’s pretty obvious at that’s all that’s as close to a no brainer as you can get.

Howie: That’s the easiest thing you could I was just going to say that

Mark: right?

Howie: This thing to do to increase your marketing punch and effectiveness by you know, 20%, almost,

Mark: exactly. So now the other things I mean, we have Crusader too, so you can real easily. Um, you know how hard it is to get Google reviews your patients to leave, you hear us, you ask them, your staff ask them, you go to a you go to a course to learn how to ask them, you get all excited, and you do it for a week, and then you forget and then it never happens. And you end up with four Google reviews at the end of the year anyway.

So for all of you, dentists who have already been through all that we have this system called NPI Crusader, and basically does it for you stop going to courses, just use Crusader and your patients will get texts. Look at a smiley face or a frowny face frowny face responses go to you smiley face text responses, go to Google, God bless America, all of a sudden, you own the Google war in your marketplace, and you don’t really have to do anything. That’s the beauty. I told the dentist the other day I said your entire office could call in sick in your patients are still going to leave your reviews he lacks.

Howie: Exactly it’s all automated.

Mark: It’s all automated. So anyway, so if you do have any room left in the budget, like these aren’t primary things, these are, but they’re really affordable, really important secondary items, right? Anyway, on so but if you want our team, we have a team of advisors here. You want our team to build your 27 team marketing plan, just go to newpatientsinc.com, click on the little rotating iPad at the top, answer the notice 55 or 60 questions there.

If they’re doing it over the holidays, get a nice meal, maybe a coffee, couple pieces of chocolate, have your grandkids in your lap and fill out our survey of questions. And then you know, in about two or three days, you’ll see a document come into your email. And an advisor will probably call you to set up a telephone time and just go through the dental marketing plan with him. That’s all if it’s something you want to do through us awesome if it’s something you want to do through somebody else. Hey, at least you have the right dental marketing plan.

Howie: Yeah, that’s right. Well, we’re going to wrap it up here for today. Thank you, Mark for being on that end of the country and holding things down. And we’re grateful that we have the audience that we have it appears to be growing so

Mark: Yeah, great. 3000 are you crazy people?

Howie: Oh, really? Yeah,

Mark: Have a life. Like Come on. You’re listening to Howie and I.

Howie: Pour them. Anyway, until next time. Hallelujah by now.

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