In this episode of Dental Marketing Mastery, Howie and Mark explain offers, copywriting, features vs. benefits, and creating digestible dental advertisements for your potential new patients.


Podcast Highlights:

  • Are you overly concerned about your offer?
  • The different offers you make based on the demographics you are targeting
  • How do people REALLY choose a dentist?
  • Using patient-friendly language
  • Copy is for people, not for you!
  • Understanding features vs. benefits
  • The flaw behind “We have CEREC”
  • How to advertise your technology
  • “We can take care of this today”
  • Convenience
  • How to advertise your new gizmos
  • Understanding the difference between dentist benefits and patient benefits
  • Marketable attributes
  • Writing easily digestible content for dental advertisements

Podcast Transcription:

Hello, and welcome once again to the dental marketing mastery series. This podcast is brought to you by 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.

Mark: Well, hello, everyone, this is Mark Dilatush. Welcome to podcast number 9463. Actually, no, it’s 52 I think. Welcome Howie, Howie is on the other end of this line?

Howie: Yeah. Hi. This is a this kind of a switch.

Mark: This is an absolute switch. We had someone send us a response to the podcasts. And it says “I want to hear more from Howie, Mark never shuts up.”

Howie: What..what that, what that poor guy doesn’t know is that, that’s intentional. Well, I don’t want inflict myself too heavily on

Mark: No, no, no, no, no, no, that’s not true. So um, so this podcast is going to be mostly how he and mostly his definite forte, his swing zone his is it’s all content, it’s copywriting. It’s being able to communicate the benefits of dentistry to mom in such a way that you don’t bore the hell out of her. And you do interest her enough to dial seven numbers or log on to your dental office website and schedule her first appointment from there.

So today’s title is, if your best foot forward is your offer, you have no feet. And when we say that to people, they kind of look at us like, well, if I don’t offer something, if I don’t give them a deal, if I don’t look as desperate, or as nice as the dentists, other dentists in my market who are advertising their services, what do I say? And how do I say it? Like what’s interesting about me, the dentist? So that’s what this podcast is about and um Howie?

Howie: yeah

Mark: it’s all yours.

Howie: Well, yeah, well, don’t go away.

Mark: I’m not I’m not going away.

Howie: I need your commentary as well. Anyway, yeah so, Mark’s right. It, that’s a very good way to put it what, you know, dentists often are the most concerned about their offer. When we’re doing any kind of promotion, be it radio, or on their website, or dental direct mail marketing or anything like that, they become very concerned about well, you know, is 500 dollars off of Invisalign, too much or too little, have this anxiety around the whole subject. And, and it’s kind of I don’t want to say I, I’m chuckling at them, I mean, I understand why it is, it is an important subject.

But it is actually the least important thing about any kind of dental clinic promotional message you’re sending out. Now let’s clarify something offers are made to one or both halves of the market. Okay, if you’re promoting to the bottom half of the market, that is two women are moms, who will choose a health care provider for their family based on price, then you’re going to make some offers. That’s how you, you reach that. That’s how you get the phones to ring from the market called the we’ve called the bottom half the market.

Now, if you’re going for the top half of the market, which is more lucrative and more remunerative than in the bottom half, then you still have offers, but they change in the way they’re presented, the content of them change, they’re completely different than any offers that you offer, to the bottom half the market. Okay, so basically, any, any dentist who has this anxiety about offers, I tell them look, we want to make some kind of an offer, either a top half offer or a bottom half offer. But it’s not the most important thing, the most important thing about the mailer or the radio spots or anything is, you know, giving people multiple reasons to choose you.

As opposed to just one, like, you know, hundred dollars off exam on a postcard, that’s just one reason to choose somebody it doesn’t, doesn’t cover the multitude of other reasons that a person could have for choosing a dentist. And we want to get those reasons in front of the dental consumer in a language that communicates to them a patient friendly language. So that that has been our effort over the years. And that’s what we mean by saying, if you’re if you think your offers the most important foot forward, the best foot forward, you can you can do, then you’re really not standing on anything, you have no foundation to reach and communicate with the dental consumer.

Mark: Yeah, and I’m going to throw something in here, Howie, and that is we’ve heard countless hundreds of times that dentists don’t particularly like what we do, our designs or copy or what have you.  And you know, you had mentioned something, you know, it has to be made in such a way that it resonates with the consumer. And a special note, I would, I would caution folks is it’s not made for a dentist, or an office manager of a dentist or a wife or a spouse of a dentist. Yeah so, we’re on target market, wrong target market, the actually it’s the home in most cases, it’s the exact wrong target market.

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: So. But I just didn’t want you to hide that that was a very important point. It has to be words arranged in such a way that it resonates with the dead center, the middle of the group of women that you’re speaking to.

Howie: Right. Right. And, and much of this involves or revolves around a concept that we’ve come to call features versus benefits. Okay. A feature is an aspect of something like, we have CEREC technology in our practice

Mark: big picture of a machine.

Howie: Yeah, yeah, that’s a feature to the dental consumer. They’re going okay, so what’s a CEREC? And what’s it got to do with me? And, you know, what will it do for me? That’s what they’re asking.

Mark: Well, actually, they’re, they’re mispronouncing CEREC terribly.

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: I’m sorry.

Howie: That’s okay, so you have to give the dental consumer the other side of the equation, which is the benefit, which is, what will it do for somebody? Another way to look at a benefit is it’s simply a solution to a problem that the dental consumer might have.

So for example, sticking with the CEREC example of there’s tons of benefits with that, you know, that allows you to do same day dentistry for one thing, you know, with, you know, the patients in the exam chair and got a bib on and is already made arrangements to take care of her kids. And she’s there. You know, we can take care of that for you today. Would you like to do that? It’s a great way to, you know, great revenue builder right there. So you can do that sort of thing with a CEREC because the restoration can be done in a single visit.

Mark: Yeah, the benefit to the patient is one visit.

Howie: Yeah, get it all done. I don’t have to come down here again, a second time.

Mark: Right. Yeah.

Howie: Yeah, so tremendous benefit there, we would probably put that in the category of convenience. Way more convenient for the for the patient.

Mark: Yep.

Howie: So anyway, that if you can figure out here’s another tip to that we just got through with a dental town meeting. So dental shows have been on my mind. Good meeting, by the way, was great to meet up with a lot of old friends. Anyway, say you’re at a dental meeting, and you’re contemplating the purchase of a whiz bang new gizmo, okay, a dental toy, something that will just save you lots of time and make your life easier as a dentist, and you’re contemplating putting your credit card down.

Here’s what I urge you to ask yourself, in addition to what is that thing, whatever it is going to do for you also ask what is the benefit to the patient? Okay, because ultimately, if the patients don’t see any benefit in it, they’re not going to want it, they’re not going to ask for it. And, and, and any kind of promotion of this new technology is going to fall dead. Because if there’s no immediately identifiable benefit to the patient, they just won’t care about it. Okay,

Mark: right.

Howie: So let me give you an example. intra oral camera, they’ve been around forever. And when they first came out, and my thought was, well, you know, or the dentist would call me and say, What do you think about this? I say, and not tell me well, I can, I can save more time. And it’s easier to just show the patient what’s going on in their mouth and on all kinds of dentists benefits, including a real big one, which is I can diagnose more dentistry, right?

So, and I’m thinking, well, what’s, what’s this mean for your patient? Think about that, work it out in your mind. And eventually, you will arrive at the fact that it benefits the patient because one thing that patients have trouble with is trust. They don’t know, if you’re diagnosing correctly or too much, or too little. They want to know, and intra camera’s a great way to show them that your diagnosis is just exactly what you said it is

Mark: you can show you what you see.

Howie: Exactly. And that’s the benefit to the patient is now I can now I can trust it gives us a lot of times the patient will go God if it’s, you know, you confined tiny little cracks with that thing. Well, you know, can we just leave it till next time, if it’s so tiny, you know, and they’ll balk at the whole idea of being able to, you know, find problems before they get real big.

Mark: That’s when the magnification of those internal cameras went way up, you could make any crack look like the Grand Canyon,

Howie: like to Grand Canyon, Exactly.

Howie: And so they now trust you more trust is a major requirement that any dental consumer is going to have to have in order to, for them to use you as your their dental provider. So anyway,

Mark: now what if, what if you wanted, let’s say, a website or a mailer, let’s say you had plenty of room, like a tri fold or a magazine mailer? Let’s say you had plenty of room. Would you tell the whole story about each benefit? Would you How would you? How would you arrange the content? Because in everything, marketing, the space costs money.

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: Right.

Howie: Real Estate. Yep.

Mark: If you’re doing radio advertising, man, those 30 or 60 seconds costs you dearly. Right?

Howie: Yeah. Yeah.

Mark: And if you’re, you know, if you have a website, and I’m sure you have a web developer, and you add a whole bunch of pages, or let’s say landing pages for some Dental PPC or PPI ads, all that stuff costs money. Okay so, if you had your way, and you were going to use one of these avenues to promote the practice as a whole, how would you prioritize and arrange the content that you would use?

Howie: Yeah, that that’s a good, that’s a very good point. Those of you who remember our marketable attributes check sheet or checklist, you might recall that those marketable attributes came from a consumer research study that we commissioned, and they are the top marketable attributes things to say about your practice. So you can take that and put that in, you know, into your design. And lead off with, you know, seven or eight of these, these kind of things in a magazine or a tri-fold presentation.

And, you know, basically, it dawned on me many years ago that what we what we needed to do was to make our content easily digestible by the dental consumer, okay? What dental consumers will balk at what any consumer of any media really will balk at is a solid wall of copy, or a whole bunch of meaningless pictures with very little description. So there has to be a happy medium, arrived at there, where you can present the benefit. In a, you know, sort of a bite size vignette, kind of like the old or not the old, the USA Today magazine, you know, when that came out, or newspaper actually is not a magazine.

When that came out in 1974, something like it was revolutionary, because it took, you know, for one thing, it had color, you know, that that was unheard of in the newspaper world. And, and another thing, they were sold in little boxes on the street corner that looked like TV sets, because, you know, they were competing with television at that point for news consumers. So they wanted to have a have a way to get to the those consumers quickly and easily. So their format was, let’s present a main topic a headline, and then let’s write a little bit about it. And then then they have to turn, you know, to the inside of the magazine to get the rest of the story

Mark: More on page 23.

Howie: Exactly, which exposed them to more dental advertisements. It was pretty ingenious. Back in the day, but the same concept, I took a look at that. And I said, you know, we need to do that with our mailers at the time. We also need to do it with radio and any other medium. And that’s and that’s presented in small bite sized chunks with headlines that grab mom’s attention,

Mark: Like teasers.

Howie: Teasers, right?

Mark: Right.

Howie: And even if the theory is even if they just scan a few of the teasers they if they’re good enough teasers they might get the consumer to read the copy underneath and then eventually go to your website to get more information.

Mark: Let me let me interject something here a teaser is not the laundry list of pain you probably design on your postcards. I’m talking to the audience right now.

Howie: Right?

Mark: Okay, if you have dental advertisements on your postcards or your mailers or your website, and it says root canals, dentures, extractions, it’s just like a bullet list with little, you know, with little arrows next to each one. That’s not what how he’s talking about.

Howie: Right, right. Yeah.

Howie: Well, for example, you know, say you offer the NTI treatment, migraine relief treatment in your practice. And you know, we came up with this headline you know, do you sometimes feel headachy? Well, headache ease isn’t even a word, and you know, my English comp 101 professor in college would roll her eyes at some of the words that we put up, but, but we’re not writing an essay, we’re not writing a clinical piece, we’re writing dental advertisements.

Mark: Yep.

Howie: Dental advertisements job is not to educate so much as it is to attract. We just want to attract them. And headachy communicates to migraine sufferers who the vast majority of women, they feel headachy, so if they, if they see that, that as a headline there, they’re going to read the box of copy that is associated with it. And, you know, that’s just one example of communicating on their level things that they’re concerned about. If you another example, if you offer MAD devices, so for snoring, she may not snore, but her husband might.

Mark: Yeah.

Howie: Is snoring keeping you up awake? up at night? You know, yeah, it’s keeping her up. It’s not keeping her husband up, he’s snoring away, you know. So these kind of, of copy tricks of if you want to call them that are copy technology is, is what we’ve been attempting to do and help our clients do for many, many years now, and, you know, judging by, by their success, you know, we’ve had a real good run. It’s been very successful for our clients.

Mark: Yeah, it’s, um, it’s, it’s very funny, you know, well, we work with highly evolved highly educated, high IQ humans, as clients, dentists. And we, in our work, we speak in an eighth grade level.

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: right, we communicate in an eighth grade level, and a lot of times that content gets called into question. You know, for obvious and understandable reasons. We have highly educated human beings questioning why we’re communicating in an eighth grade level to the people they’re trying to attract to their, to their practice. And the answer is, is because that’s how you have to do it.

Howie: Yeah, the answer is because you’re not you’re not marketing to dentists.

Mark: Exactly.

Howie: Unless you’re Frank Spear. And then Okay, go ahead. But yeah, if you need actual real people into your practice, you have to speak on their level.

Mark: Well, Howie, I’m, I’m really glad you had this shot. I think you know what, every once in a while, we ought to give you more of a opportunity.

Howie: Go take the leash off, man. Take the leash off.

Mark: There’s a leash on you. That’s amazing, but um, I hope I hope this helps everybody out there in our podcast land. Um, if you have, obviously, if you have any content questions, or having a hard time trying to fit what you want to say into a tiny little space, right Howie?

Howie: Yeah, that’s it.

Mark: That’s such a fight. Right?

Howie: It’s a hard part. Yeah.

Mark: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, reach out to us, we have a really pretty good little group going. It’s Dental Marketing Mastery Group on Facebook, just look for us and ask to become a member, it’s really easy. Um, and join in on the discussion because every, every week there we post the podcast, the whole group, you know, well, at least we assume the whole group has an opportunity to listen to them. And then we start a discussion about them. So. So come join the join the group.

Mark: Well, thank you, Howie.

Howie: Yeah. Thank you, Mark. And thank you all to our listeners.

Mark: Yes, we will. We’ll see you next week.

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 and