In this episode of Dental Marketing Mastery, we discuss how to help your dental marketing firm help you, and why!


Podcast Highlights:

  • Clients that have stayed with a our marketing company for years – what do they have in common?
  • The value of responsiveness
  • Avoiding the waiting game
  • Agreeing that the big picture involves a career-long proposal, not a one or two year proposal
  • Doing multiple things correctly
  • How the days of no website, minimal properties online and offline, and still get patients… are over!
  • Websites
  • Reviews
  • Call Management
  • Being honest in your own office and staff failures
  • Knowing the responsibilities of the firm and the responsibilities of your office
  • Being a good client
  • What works vs. What looks “good”

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 is my friend and partner and the president of New Patients Incorporated, Mark Dilatush.

Howie: Well hello, everybody. Welcome again to our podcast. We’re glad to have you along. And I’ve got my buddy back this week because he was off fishing for a while. Mark, how you doing?

Mark: Hey, Howie. I wasn’t fishing last week. Was I fishing last week?

Howie: Oh, maybe I got my week.

Mark: You got your weeks messed up. I wish I was fishing last week. I’m going fishing next week. But I’m not going.

Howie: Well, there you go. I was just being prescient. I could see future.

Mark: Prescient, there’s another one of your words.

Mark: Revelatory and prescient.

Howie: Revelatory.

Mark: Yes, I will remember them for the rest of my life.

Howie: All right, what are we doing here? We’re talking about. Uh yeah, you and I were talking about this a little while ago, we thought it might be helpful for not only our clients, but I mean, anybody who engages a dental marketing firm, to understand what, what’s, what’s the clients responsibility? What’s, what’s his or her side of this? And what, what should they expect? And what should they expect out of their marketing company and that whole subject. What do you think? Think that’s good?

Mark: Yeah, well, I mean, I think part of this idea for this podcast actually came from the Dental Marketing Mastery Facebook Group, because I asked the group. I said, “What do you guys want to hear in a podcast?” And there were several answers. You know, one of them was accountability, one of them was expectations, one of them was actually something that had to do with a, you know, basically, you know, not taking responsibility for you know, their, their end of things. Right.

So, um, and, and some of it is understanding some of its education. So basically what Howie and I decided to do was to create a podcast. And this may turn into a series, I don’t know, but create a podcast, on how to be a great client for a dental marketing firm. Doesn’t have to be NPI can be anybody, because we look at, we have hundreds of customers who have been with us for years, and that’s, you know, kind of unheard of. And what those people have in common are one of the things, many of the things they have in common with each other is that they all participate in the process.

They’re all responsible for their half of the equation making it successful. Right? You know, marketing firms responsibilities are to, you know, whatever create a strategy, have a plan, create the design, produce everything and deploy everything according to the plan. Maybe, you know, track it on a phone calls, maybe listen to a few phone calls report back to you each month. And that’s pretty much where, you know, that’s kind of where the line is drawn, right. And then over time, strategically apply the marketing budget in such a way that it builds value over the years, and over the career for a dentist. I mean, that’s why you pay a dental marketing firm.

And the customers who are doing as well as they are, and the ones who stick and the ones who are constantly happy. And the ones you know, the ones who don’t worry about their marketing, they all have one a few things in common. One of the things is, they’re always responsive. We don’t wait for them. When there’s a request, when there’s artwork, when there’s content when there’s written words, when there’s any question about their marketing. They don’t respond in the next five minutes. You know, it’s not a political Facebook post or anything. Okay. But they respond within the same day. Yeah. So timeliness and communication would be two of the characteristics that would make up a great.

Howie: Because we don’t, you know, we produce all this stuff, and we put it in front of the client, client has to has to approve it, we’re not going to publish anything that doesn’t have his or her stamp of approval on it. Right. Yeah. The longer that takes to get then you know, the further off your marketing program is put.

Mark: And, okay, which brings me to, you know, having some of that responsibility, right? I mean, very few people wait for a dental marketing firm, marketing companies wait for clients. Right? That’s almost true across the board. It’s certainly true with us, okay. Now, another thing that you can do to help is to have a have the big picture. Agree with the big picture with your dental marketing firm. Very few successful marketing initiatives are deployed to create a three month result, or a six month result or a nine month result.

Actually, I can tell you right now that if you tried to do that, you’d be unsuccessful about 95% of the time. Okay. Because marketing, successful advertising and marketing dentistry isn’t a three, six or nine month proposal. It’s a career long proposed, you’re going to be around for a little while. So understanding and agreeing to what the big picture is, why are you marketing? How many new patients do you need? How many good solid new patients do you need? Versus how many shoppers do you need? What is your capacity, just having a general understanding of what the overall objective for your marketing is, is important. Because that’s the buy in that the marketing firm needs. The agreement, the buy in that the marketing firm needs from its client. Expectations.

Howie: Oh, that’s that this is a big one. That’s an important one.

Mark: This is an enormous, enormous, you know, this is the. Remember in the old days Howie, where you know, like, nobody had websites yet. Yeah, nobody was doing mail. And you know, every market we looked at was a 1 to 2500 and you know, there was no such thing or hardly any such thing as corporate dentistry.

And, you know, dental insurance was less than 50% penetration in the US and remember the old days, right? Yeah, where you can say, Doc, man, this is all you need. And it’s going to cost whatever, 3000 a month and, and we got you covered and boom, you could explode a practice, right? In most of those 1 to 2000 markets, you know, now we’re getting 1 to 1200, 1 to 1100, 1 to 900, sometimes 1 to 600. And those dentists are expecting the same thing as the old days.

Howie: Yeah. By the way, 1 to 600 refers to the dentist population ratio, just in case if somebody wonders what that is. But yes.

Mark: Yeah, yeah.

Howie: That is a lot tighter now.

Mark: Yeah, that’s a lot tighter now and you have to do everything right. You can’t do anything wrong and when I say everything, I mean, everything. The list of everything has gotten longer. In the old days, you know, what remember way back probably 10 or 12 years ago, where dentist, some dentists didn’t want to get a website they thought it was a fad. And they said, You know what, I’m just going to do a mail campaign. Right. And they did a mail campaign or whatever, some other campaign an insert campaign doesn’t matter. But they didn’t have a website, and they still got new patient phone calls. And they were still happy. Right? Yeah, guess what? Those days are over.

Howie: Things changed

Mark: Change, right? Yeah, it’s changed a little bit. Okay. So now it’s not just doing one thing, right. And that’s another thing that clients need to understand successful long term marketing is not finding one thing that works well, forever.

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: There is no such thing as one thing that works well, forever.

Howie: No.

Mark: Okay. That’s bad news. Now, I’ll give you some good news, there is a combination of things that works very well statistically Market to Market. And it’s a pretty short list, I mean, you have to do your internal promotion to your patients well. You have to have a good solid website that you update every three or four years. In most US markets, you should have it positioned by a dental SEO agency. Um, we would say that you should choose mail as your offline promotion choice. It is by far the most targetable and by far the least expensive of the offline media choices, it’s even less expensive than say Facebook ads.

So those components, I would also now extend that and I would say, you know what, even if you have all those things, if you’re not winning the review war online in your local market, there’s an area you can pay attention to, that’s an opportunity. I think, if you are listening to this, and you’re one of the one of the first dentists, out of the 50,000 dentists who are going to incorporate online real time online scheduling into their, from their website to practice. I’m not going to say it’s mandatory. But I’m going to say “Wouldn’t you like to be ahead of that wave? Wouldn’t you like to be the surfer who’s still on the board? Or you want to be the surfer who gets crushed?” Right?

So I would say those five things now. And I would say you can’t do any of them wrong. In a 1 to 1200 or 1100 or 700, whatever.

Howie: Yeah, the margin, the margin of error is

Mark: Is shrinking, right? It’s shrinking, it’s not getting larger, right? Anything below a 1 to 1650 is getting harder and harder and harder, then you have to do more and more things correctly. Now, the good news is, is that you can do all those things within the same budget you could 12 years ago, when you were only doing one thing.

Howie: Yeah, isn’t that amazing?

Mark: I mean, we’re not spending any more marketing dollars for our clients. And I assume the other marketing firms aren’t for our clients now than we were then.

Howie: Yeah,

Mark: And they’re just they just over the years, they just added this added that added this added, and over the years within the budget, and within a responsible budget, they have everything. Right?

Howie: And this and this is all part of what you mentioned earlier, understanding the big picture.

Mark: Yes.

Howie: It is the big picture. It’s a longer time frame, it’s a higher level of commitment and higher level of patience, persistence that’s required to win in a very competitive area. It’s just the way it is.

Mark: Right. And, you know, more and more things about this participation, one of the big things that’s coming to light, because now we can measure it, now we can track it. So now we can shed to shed the light on one of the down sides of being a client of a dental marketing firm is now the marketing firm can say to you, Dr. Doc, you’re not answering your phones.

Howie: Right.

Mark:   Okay. Now, for most dentist, you know, like they didn’t know that before so now it’s a shock. So now your marketing firm has to shock you. Right. And that’s never a good position to be in as your as a customer company, you know, relationship. You’re trying to build a relationship with a client and now you gotta go give them bad news.

Howie: Yeah, give him a spanking.

Mark: Yeah. Here’s another one. You know, Mary sucks on the phone.

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: that’s not a fun conversation to have.

Howie: No, no, it isn’t.

Mark: But if you’re the marketing, so here’s, here’s the point. If you want to be a great client of a dental marketing firm, no matter what marketing firm you choose, be honest. Be honest, in assessing your own operation failures, your own operation, maybe even on your own staff failures. Be honest, because every day that you’re dishonest with yourself is costing you thousands. Okay, that’s. So

Howie: this would be a good point for us to break away for a few seconds. But hang on, we’ll be right back.

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 we’ll 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

Howie: Okay. Welcome back, everybody. All right. Yeah. Let’s continue this. This is a this is a very good topic, Mark.

Mark: I hope that was a revelatory commercial we just ran.

Howie: Revelatory.

Mark: Yeah, revelatory. Sorry. Alright. So, so yeah, you know, and then the customer will call and say, you know, I only got whatever 80, 90, 100 phone calls whatever. It’s like, “All right, well, how many of them turned into new patients?” And they say, “Well, I’m not really listening to the phone calls.” And since it’s been, you know, 12 months since we’ve been doing this campaign, they didn’t listen to 70 of them, we can’t go back and listen to 70 of them because they only record 90 days worth. So it becomes this kind of a push and pull. Yes, it’s working? No, it’s not. Yes, it is. No, it’s not.

My patients didn’t say anything about the insert or the website, or the Facebook Ad or the mailer, or whatever we’re advertising them for, or the PPC Ad or whatever, whatever we’re doing, the patients aren’t mentioning it. So we’re not putting it into our practice management software. All of that stuff, is the responsibility of the dental marketing firm client. None of that is the responsibility of your marketing firm. None of it. And I would propose that the difference between the 5, 7, 9, 11, 12, 17, 21 year marketing firm client relationship, and these 1 year here, 1 year there, 1 year there, you know, other place marketing firm relationships, I would say a large portion of the reason why people go shopping every year for a different dental marketing firm is because they might not be committed to their end.

And their responsibilities. You cannot hand another company money, and then at the same time, hand them the responsibility of managing the marketing and advertising on your end. You can’t. Now we might be the bad guys to say that to you. But we’ve also done this for a little while. And we genuinely care. Okay, we. Even if you don’t use NPI, you use Bob and Jerry’s marketing firm, we want you to get excellent results out of Bob and Jerry’s marketing firm. Seriously. So this is not, you know, just a message for our customers. This is a message for everybody that uses any dental marketing firm. All right, be the good client, because if you’re the good client, I bet you end up getting better results. Right. Now, what are some of the things where clients get in their own way in the design process, Howie?

Howie: Well.

Mark : “Hey, Howie tell me what offers I should have?”

Howie: Yeah, there, there you go. That’s always a good one that we were talking about that I think a couple podcasts ago, many dentists think that that’s the most important thing about their marketing initiative, whatever it is; radio spots, or mailer, or whatever. And it’s not. And we covered this, before so I’m not going to necessarily going to repeat it. But that’s how you get your own way really quickly is obsessing over that.

Mark : “Hey, Howie I don’t like the way my mailer looks.”

Howie: Yeah, there’s another one.

Mark: There’s another one.

Howie: Again, our focus, I can’t speak for any other marketing company, but our focus with a 26 year track record is, you know, we just to be blunt, we don’t care if you like it. It doesn’t matter. I mean, you know providing that it’s professionally done, we’re not going to make you look like an idiot.

Mark: Ah no, ultra professional.

Howie: Yeah. Yeah. But the results that the track record of the piece or the whatever it is that you’re doing matters the most. And it’s predictive of the results that you’re going to be getting to a large degree. So you know, okay, don’t like it. We don’t care, you shouldn’t either.

Mark: Print it, deploy it, go. That’s, that’s my response. When somebody says they don’t like it. That’s the perfect time to print it.

Howie: Yeah, yeah.

Mark: Um, okay, so, all right. We have to, obviously, Howie and I, you know, we have to kind of walk this fine line, when doctors or their team members, sometimes team members, it’s amazing. Some of the conversations we have, you know, with Dr. Smith never does anything, he just thinks about stuff forever. Right? And then you get Dr. Smith on the phones as Mary’s terrible on the phone. They’re like telling on each other to us, right? And we gotta, we gotta play the, you know, we got to play the middle and somehow make everyone happy.

So I don’t know it. I think the purpose of this podcast is really, maybe we’re telling the story from our side. And maybe we’re maybe shedding some light for some dentists out there who truly believe that if they just give their money to somebody that that somebody is going to solve all their problems. And I think Howie are and I have been around the block long enough to feel confident in saying to the rational dentists out there. That’s impossible. Half of the success. When when dentists call us and say, “Oh, my God, Mark, I can’t believe it.” I don’t have I don’t have room like we were on the phone with Dr. Jones’s office on Tuesday. He’s down in Georgia, Atlanta suburb, and he doesn’t have an opening in his schedule for three and a half weeks.

And we were talking to him, their office about online scheduling. Right. And, and, and, and I had to actually agree that let’s wait, let’s wait until we get another dentist in there to free up some of this capacity. Right? Well, here’s the point. When we have clients that give us overwhelming praise, we’re very quick to give it back.

Howie and I both understand that if if your staff doesn’t answer the phone, if they don’t onboard new patients properly, if they don’t know how to convert someone who’s a little nervous about going to the dentist into a new patient, if they don’t confirm properly, if they don’t greet them properly, if your staff if your dentist is just watching teeth their entire career, if nobody diagnosis anything, if nobody recognizes what’s on the film, if nobody recognizes what’s on the perio charts, if nobody does any of that stuff in your office, no amount of work Howie and I do will ever succeed.

Howie: Yep, very true.

Mark: So more than half of the failure and the success is on the client. This is not a 100% delegate-able task. Let me give you the flip side. If the most involved dentistry the dentist wants to do is a three surface composite. We got a boring dentist. How in the hell are we going to sell that? If the dental office thinks that nine to three, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday are convenient hours, they’re wrong. If the dentist thinks that they’re going to be a fee for service practice, in Long Island, New York, where I don’t know 101% of the population has dental insurance, okay? These are all things. Um, these are all things that have to be taken into consideration and have to be applied on the client end. All of them.

We take responsibility for the strategy, the design the production, the deployment, the details, making sure everything goes out on time making sure the volumes are right, making sure of all those thousands of details of a marketing plan and going through the calls and going through them with the office and you know, trying to our office will even just say “hey, look at this. This doesn’t sound good.” You know, we’re not we’re not going to cross the line. But we’ll show you where the line is, “Look, look, there’s a line.” Right? And we’ll encourage you to take a look right, but we’re not going to start a war in your office. Right, that’s up to you. That’s your job. Right? That’s not, that’s not our job. And honestly, we don’t want it to be our job. Right?

Howie: No, no.

Mark: We have called management and training services, but then we don’t really outwardly sell them, we only we only really provide we have actually have a really good staff for that. But it’s only by request. Like you don’t even hardly see it on our website, and you certainly don’t see us advertising it. Okay, cause we only really want to do call management and training with the clients that we do the marketing for, we don’t want to do it with Bob Smith, who sending out you know, dollar exam specials on napkins in a helicopter. I can tell you what those calls are going to say. Right? Make sense?

So I don’t want to lose the focus of this. We, if you’re a dentist listening to this, or if you’re a team member listening to this, and you really want to be successful at your marketing, no matter who your dental marketing firm is doesn’t matter. Choose whoever you want, okay. You will line up your ducks. And you will get your ducks in a row. And you will make sure that whatever impressions that you pay for that they put on the street have the greatest chance of being converted into a good solid new patient in your office to enjoy for the rest of the dentist’s career.

Do not expect your dental marketing firm to be able to fix those problems for you the marketing firm like we can refer you to folks that can help. We have asked people on staff here that can help us to call management and stuff. But if it’s, you know, if it’s staff replacement, and you know, full blown practice management consulting, we’re going to refer that. Okay. Yeah, but regardless, actually, you know what, maybe we should change the name of this to ducks in a row. What do you think? What do you think? We’ll ask Josh. Josh is our marketing coordinator. We’ll ask Josh if if he likes ducks in a row.

Howie: Get your ducks in a row.

Mark: Yeah, that’s right. For everybody listening to this, please take all of this constructively.

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: Okay. We’re, we’re just two guys who listen all day, and, and do our best every day. And, you know, we have those, we have those clients, there’s the reason they are there. They’re reasonable people who pay attention to their half. Uh, and I’m sure every dentist on here wants to have the same company handle everything for the next 20 years of their career so that they can go golfing or fishing or whatever, whatever their hobby is, right? So, you can help you can help yourself and those are many ways you know what I should do Howie I should for the Dental Marketing Mastery Series, actually, I’m going to write that down. I’m going to. I created a best practices document for online scheduling. I’m going to create a best practices document to be a client.

Howie: Yeah, that’s a great idea.

Mark: I’m gonna do that. I’m going to do that, I’m probably going to be long, but that’s okay. I’m going to create a best practices slash client. Don’t know when it’s going to be there. But keep your eyes on Dental Marketing Mastery. I’ll get it done and I’ll get it put up there and and that’ll help everybody.

Howie: Yeah. Well, I think we’ve covered this for today. We want to thank you out there in the audience for tuning in. We really appreciate you and we will see you or you’ll listen to us again soon. Goodbye now.

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