What low-cost yet effective dental clinic marketing techniques can help out your practice? In this episode of Dental Marketing Mastery, we give a few tips that can help out any practice.
- The dental clinic marketing techniques that never go out of style
- The business card?
- Leveraging local businesses
- Low-cost items
- Exploring the neighborhood
- The overlooked places nearby
- How to contact people who can help you
- How to throw a community day
- Toothbrushes, floss, referral brochures
- How to properly reward referrals
- Utilizing social media
- The line between obnoxious and friendly
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: Hello, everybody. Welcome again to our podcast. How you doing, Mark?
Mark: I’m doing just fine. I’m at the northern intergalactic headquarters of New Patients Incorporated.
Howie: Otherwise known as your vacation house in Maine.
Mark: That is correct. It is a place the earth the earth up here tries to take everything man makes.
Howie: Oh, yeah.
Mark: It just yeah, it’s amazing. It’s just it really is amazing. How, how incredibly dense the forest is and how incredibly cold it gets and how that wreaks havoc on manmade structures. Although mine is still standing here in fine shape, but others around the lake have a fallen victim. So yeah, it’s weird. It’s amazing. Anyway.
Howie: And the bonus here. The bonuses. There’s also bears.
Mark: Yes, that’s correct. That’s correct. Actually, I was I was outside I was power washing, believe it or not, I was power washing the dock and a bald eagle flew right over top of my head about 50 feet.
Howie: Oh, yeah. That’s beautiful.
Mark: It went right over my head. While I’m power washing, which is noisy as heck. Right? Then it’s anyway. So that’s not why we’re doing a podcast we’re doing a podcast to talk about.
Mark: Free or no cost or low or no cost dental clinic marketing?
Howie: Yeah, that’s a good topic. You, you might also describe it as a little bit guerrilla dental clinic marketing, meaning you put more sweat equity into it than you do dollars.
Mark: There ya go, Okay. And then that would be important to, well, here’s my experience. My experience with dentistry has been that that’s incredibly important when you’re first starting your practice.
Howie: yeah, it’s more of a startup.
Mark: Yes, startup or maybe your first five years. startup, infancy, adolescence, and you become an adult, you get lazy, basically. That’s how that’s how it works.
Mark: But, but some of the some of the ways that some of the methods and some of the ways that that you can do this is still true. I mean, none of it has gone out of style. I mean, it’s not like, you know, yellow pages to the internet or anything like that. It’s, let me give you some examples. Um, get yourself some business cards, that’s low cost, or almost no cost, and leave them wherever you go to lunch.
Howie: Yeah, with a tip.
Mark: With a tip.
Howie: Make sure it’s a good tip.
Mark: Yeah, make it and make sure you’re not stiffing the waitress. Here’s another one. Um, you know, I, we get these calls all the time where we do an analysis. And we find that the doctors’ offices in the middle really of more businesses than it is households, or, you know, big apartment buildings. And the doctor comes to us invariably and says, Why I want it. I want to be the dentist, all those people who work there. I want to be available to them before work, after work, and you know, obviously, during our lunch time, here’s a here’s a problem though, how do you penetrate those walls? How do you get how do you? How do you get those employees to recognize who you are, where you are, and what you do.
And here’s a simple low cost, and we know this is effective is know a moderate to good, solid quality coffee mug that says on the side of it “I love my dentist, ask me why.” www.yourdomain.com. And when the employee who is your patient is sitting there at their desk with their brand new mug, and they’re sipping coffee from it in a meeting with 12 other people and the mug and the coffee says I love my dentist ask me why guess what happens? Yeah, exactly. A conversation starts like, Who the hell loves their dentist, and why do you love your dentist? And where did you get that cup? Right?
Mark: Well, the sudden, boom, you know, conversation starts referrals happen. And that’s again, I’m not going to say no cost. But lots of dentists out there are on budgets. That’s very, you know, minimal cost.
Howie: Yeah, it’s an old idea. How about, you know, I’m going to meet your neighbors. Wow. I mean, that goes way back to caveman style.
Mark: Oh, my God.
Howie: But you don’t often see it. So go ahead and meet your neighbors. Let them know who you are and what you do. And obviously, you have some major advantages. You’re right near where they work. They don’t need to drive across town to link up with your practice.
Howie: You’d be available on their lunch hour. So you have some major advantages there. And just be neighborly, that’s all you want to introduce yourself.
Mark: Yes, you know, saying hi, is not a high cost. Um, another thing that works in the same line of thinking is visiting your neighbor business owners. Not just, you know, potential new patients, but you know, business owners, the pizza person, the person who owns the gym, the manager or whoever, um, many cases that they have under 15 to 20 employees, they probably don’t have a dental plan, or if they do with crappy one.
And a lot of the, um, A lot of our offices will have their own in house plan that they can offer those businesses, um, as an adjunct to the benefits they offer their employees. You’ve heard of QDP we have lots of clients who have QDP. Well, if you have QDP, that’s, you know, that could be a benefit plan for you know, a local employee with six a local business with six employees.
Howie: Yeah, right,
Mark: You can offer that plan to them, right, and have their employees come to you, you can treat their employees before work or after work or doing lunch to the employees don’t miss any work. Right, expand this with a relationship, you can expand this into um into placing. I’m not gonna say an ad, but let’s say it’s eight and a half by 11, single sheet framed, you have that in your reception room wall, our business neighborhood might be the title of our top of it, you may have 10 or 12 local businesses, um, exposed to your patients in your reception room with the agreement that those businesses will have an eight and a half by 11 framed exposure for your business in their reception room.
You see this a lot in, um, I see it an awful lot in delis. Of course, I’m from Jersey, right. So we invented delis. But we see these all the time in sandwich shops, delis, we see him in actually, honestly, Jiffy Lubes, you know, that cork board with all the realtor business cards, thumbtacked into it, you know, those kinds of things?
Mark: It doesn’t take a lot to walk into a business and say, Hi, I own a business here in town, and maybe we can help each other out. I have quite a few patients coming through my office every day, you obviously have quite a few people coming in from every day. You know, what if I gave you an eight and a half by 11 spot on my wall? Would you give me an eight and a half by 11 spot on your wall? Or maybe up here on your counter? You know, it’s not a hard discussion to have. I mean, yeah, really only have to have it once. And you know, if they’re a jerk, and you just walk out and go to the next business, no big deal. Right.
Howie: Right. What about sort of adjunct to that is consider all your vendors that service to your practice.
Mark: Oh, yeah, yeah.
Howie: You know, that they of course have to be local, but, you know, they’re delivering supplies to you almost on daily basis, or FedEx or any of those types of vendors, make them an offer, you can offer the offer to, you know, have a look at their do an exam for them, for example, and introduce them to your family and, and, you know, it’s, it’s doesn’t take any money to talk to these people, they’re already coming into your practice. That’s a thought.
Mark: Ya, no, and then the same thing is true with your IT people, your cleaning people, the people who handle might handle your security, um, the people who handle your landscaping, the people who might remove your snow, all of these people. All of these people are, are certainly worth certainly worth having a conversation if they serve the general public as well, the same as you. Yeah, they can become patients and so can their family and friends and co workers.
And you know, it goes on and on and on. Again, it’s not, um, you know, I guess, is it free? Well, you know, an eight and a half by 11 presentation and a frame, you know, yeah, it’s almost free. Right? So it’s, it’s, it’s a low cost or no cost is very beneficial to someone who’s on who’s on a budget. Um, we get I get questions all the time about, you know, wanting to get to all the patients who work at a certain place, and some doctors still believe that you can go through the HR department.
Howie: No, no.
Mark: Yeah, if I had, I think in my entire 26 year career in dentistry, I can count on one hand, I don’t think I have to get to my pinky count, to count the people who’ve been successful doing that. So I’m not telling you to not try, you can go ahead and but there’s a million other things you can do before you beat your head firmly against that brick wall. Um, yeah, there are, it’s it. I’m not gonna say it’s limitless.
I remember a really big event, community day where the doctor said he wanted to do something really unique. And said, Okay, well, you know, there’s a million of these BBQ outfits with the big trucks with you know, smoke coming out of them. That’ll, you know, they’ll be happy to cook up barbecue. Why don’t you have the barbecue pit? Why don’t you be that guy? The guy that shows up with the really good food. Okay. community event? Right? You cannot Yeah, I mean, it can also be your event, you can have a competition, you can bring in eight to 10 of them.
Howie: Didn’t my client actually do it in the parking lot of his practice
Mark: In the parking lot in the parking lot of his practice, right?
Mark: They had clowns they had for the kids. They had games. They had paint face painting, they had all kinds of stuff, right? Again, not. not free. But 90% of the costs were offset by the other vendors who were there. So yeah, I mean, it just got to think outside the box on I know a real famous doctor in the US who initially built his practice hanging door hangers. Those little annoying plastic bags, you know that?
Howie: Let’s tell that story, what, when we come back from this short break.
Mark: okay, yeah.
Howie: We’ll be right back.
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Howie: Hello, we’re back again. Mark, uh, you know, Mark, I don’t think he would mind if we mentioned his name. Pretty sure he wouldn’t. But that’s your call if you want to tell the story about this famous doctor who went around his neighborhood at six o’clock in the morning and meeting people on their front porch.
Mark: Yeah, his wife, he and his wife, his wife at the time, and um, yeah, if you’re in dentistry anywhere, probably in the world, you know who this guy is. And that’s how he, he’s bold enough not to be obnoxious, right?
Howie: Oh, yeah.
Mark: The process is legit. And for him, it is legit. You know, I want to reach out to you, I provide this service. Here’s a toothbrush, floss, and some toothpaste, and these are the things that I recommend, and if you’d like to be a patient, then you’ll get run off by one or two people. Like, I think I think he did I forget the tail end of the story that he tells,
Howie: well, he described the interactions he would get anywhere from like you said, there were a small minority of people that just told him to get lost. But overall, people were actually quite nice to him and actually glad to meet him, and he would, he would say, you know, right there at six o’clock in the morning there, you know, the ladies in her bathrobe, and I’m standing on her front porch, and she’s opening her mouth and pointing to number five. And you’re telling me what kind of a problem she’s having with it. That’s hilarious.
Mark: People just being people. But the point is, is that is it no cost? No mean, you got to pay a little bit for the bags, and you got to pay your vendors for the little sample floss toothpaste and, and toothbrushes takes a little time to assemble the bags. But you can do that while you’re watching your favorite, you know, binge show at home. So it’s not no cost, but it’s very, very low cost. And but it does take your time and when you’re starting out, or when you’re in your first five years, chances are you’re going to have some time, you’re going to have some time to devote each week for dental clinic marketing. And that would be another great way.
Um, what else, Howie, what are some other things that we’ve seen throughout the years? Oh, certainly the referral brochures that those are, those are golden, those are so incredibly low cost. Predictabilities are way over 95% they just work. They don’t work. Like they don’t drive volumes of additional new patients into practice, but they will work, Um, you know, certainly enough to offset their costs probably in the first month. And then after that you’ve got years and years and years of these in supply to use.
Howie: Yeah, and again, this isn’t a new idea. I mean, now I was talking about this 25 years ago in my first book, but you know, and you’ve all heard of care to share cards and that sort of thing. But at that time, I, I wanted to make it something different, a different kind of presentation that wouldn’t be just tossed away, like a business card often is so right, these brochures need to be a nice looking, I mean, nice, glossy presentation, that someone would actually feel guilty if they threw away, it’s in there. And hand them out, and with very minimal dialogue, you don’t want to get into a big thing and explain everything. And just you know, hey, Mary, you’ve been such a great patient, you know, once you give this somebody like, and that’s about it.
Howie: And the doctors should not be involved in that this is something the staff do at certain points in time during the patient’s treatment. And it’s usually at the end of their when their works done. Right Mark?
Mark: Yeah, the Assistant, the Assistant presents these at the end, the last operative visit shortly before the patient gets scheduled for re-care. And the hygienist presents at the end of the re-care visit that does not and in the need for operative treatment. In other words, you’ve cleaned my teeth, I feel great, I can feel the gaps in my teeth again, and I don’t need any more work. Those are the two times in your patients lifecycle in your practice, the bigger the happiest with you their work is done, or they need no more additional work.
And that’s when you present these. So that evens it all out, makes it so you don’t under present and don’t over present they’re ridiculously simple to present you just hand through, you can have three or four or five of’em, someone you know, do you know anybody looking for great dental home. Whatever, just peel off a half a stack handed to them, they can drop in their purse and walk out with them. And what we’re finding is that it’s kind of like Kohl’s cash. That whole concept of rewarding someone for shopping there, um, only in this case, the Kohl’s cash isn’t really cash. But the benefit goes to the patient who’s referred not your patient.
Howie: Yeah, that’s important.
Mark: That’s important that’s vitally important. So then after the patient makes it the referral, then you surprise them with a gift. So you don’t tell them you’re going to give them a gift if they hand these things to their friends. But what do they do, then you surprise them, And then now
Howie: you don’t want to can’t, You can’t be a bribe or even the appearance of a bribe. So you don’t want to do that.
Mark: No, no well all most of the care or share a bribe.
Mark: Care or share is a flat out bribe. Okay, refer your friends, I’ll give you 50 bucks is a bribe. Okay. There are no weapons involved. But come on, it is what it is. So, um, yeah, no, those will get you a nasty gram in about 30 states in the US. But these won’t, these, these avoid all that stuff. Well, anyway, there really, there really are, My goodness, Facebook, here’s another one. And this is actually goes back to us, but not doing this purposely. But you’re looking for a low or no cost dental clinic marketing, you know, Facebook’s a great example of that. You know, I mean, in large part, it’s why we built dental web content. Because it’s very low or almost no cost, you know, marketing that you can grab and use and, and send out through your various social media properties.
Doesn’t have to cost a million dollars to do dental clinic marketing in dentistry. So there really is there really are a lot of different ways, um, You know, what you would normally we find is we find that there’s always we find that there’s always this line, where people are too embarrassed to reach out and say, Hi, how are you? My name is Sally. I’m a dentist, and I practice over in whatever Toursdale, what do you do? That like that conversations kind of hard for some people, right? to just walk up and say that to somebody and give them you know, shake their hands. That’s usually the bottom line between the people who actually implement and execute all these things, and the people who don’t? Um, can’t fix that. We have no remedy. Just gonna have to be obnoxious.
Howie: Or just friendly.
Mark: Yeah, that’s exactly, I’m being facetious. Yeah, just what kind of like how you know, Howie and I. Hi, Howie, how you doing? Hi, Mark, how you doing? How’s Maine? Maine’s fine. You know, it’s just a conversation. Of course, we know each other. But if I didn’t know how I have no problem walking up and say, Hey, my name’s Mark, I’m the president for this company. What do you do? Well, I’m the CEO of the company.
You know, I’m saying it’s just an easy conversation to have. You don’t have to overthink it. There’s no, there’s no manual, you have to just basically become human. Just walk around saying hi to people. Yeah, that is gold. I, I know another really famous dentist in Manhattan, who built his entire practice his entire reputation, an international reputation, by being obnoxious and being at every party in Manhattan. He never spent a he never spent one cent on on regular, you know, traditional dental clinic marketing. Not one penny. He was just always everywhere. Right?
Howie: Yeah, it was a it’s who you know, kind of approach. You know, he had to know, everybody.
Mark: And didn’t Bill Dorfman get that gig with ABC, because he kept having his staff send releases out to the local ABC affiliate. Isn’t that how he got that gig?
Howie: That’s exactly right. He made a lot of, he got himself a lot of attention, just by doing that. Because then when the TV station needed a quote unquote, dental expert to make a comment on something, they were familiar when he was already in their files. And one thing led to another and you know,
Mark: And the rest is history, right? So I hope you I know a lot of times we talk about things like radio and TV and some forms of direct mail and internet and Google PPC and Facebook and all that stuff costs a bunch of money. Right? So we just wanted to take, you know, one of these podcasts at least and you know, for those of you on a budget, you, you got a million things you can do. There’s more things you can do for little to no money than there are things you can do with lots of money, actually. So you know, you’re, you’re never, you’re never done. The list is endless, Howie had a bunch of them in his first two books. We’ve put a few of them in the third book. Um,
Howie: Hey, why don’t we, why don’t we send those first two books to anybody wants them? Would that be a good idea?
Mark: Fine. Un. Yeah, I mean, some of this stuff is dated, but some of the stuff in there is gold. I mean, it’s just you’ve got to sift through them and read them, but I don’t have a problem with that.
Howie: Good. Let Josh know. what’s his email?
Mark: [email protected]
Howie: Oh, it was so simple. That’s why I forgot it.
Mark: Right. Right. Right. Just let Josh know, send Josh an email, say, Hey, I was listening to podcast number, I forget, whatever the number this is, and Howie said I could have his first couple books. That’s fine. The third book is already on our website. It’s a free download.
Mark: But yeah, but your first two books are in. They’re not they’re not in downloadable form. Are they?
Howie: Nope, there are the actual paperback.
Mark: Okay, so you so they’re gonna have to pay for shipping?
Mark: yeah, Okay, so shipping
Howie: is cheap.
Mark: It’s cheap. So, anyway, that’s, uh, that’s our list for today.
Howie: Yeah, some things to do. Thank you all for joining us, and we’ll be back with you again before you know it. Bye now.