Your dental clinic marketing plan creates new patients, so it is extremely important to do it right. What separates a great plan from just a good one? How do you make a great marketing plan?

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Podcast Highlights:
  • Knowing your fundamentals
  • Location analysis
  • Supply and demand in your area
  • Reaching the top 40% of your local market
  • How marketable are you? Find out here
  • What is your unique selling proposition?
  • Local schools, charities, college
  • Avoid being boring
  • Using what has worked, getting rid of what hasn’t
  • Advertising tech and public relations
  • Using the right mix of messaging
  • How is your competition?

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, everyone. Welcome again to another edition of our podcast. And I’m here along with Mark, who just got back from an exciting adventure. Right, Mark?

Mark: Hi, Howie. Yeah, it’s very exciting. Actually you know, what’s even more exciting was today, we launched Episode Three of License to Drill.

Howie: That’s right.

Mark: And if you’re a listener of our podcast, and you haven’t seen these yet, go to our website, just The ADA special page. There’s a series of animated videos, Mike Brown, our animator is doing a wonderful job. And the whole team is kind of involved in the, in the scripting and trying to create laughs and anyway. Episode three launched this morning, and people are starting to respond to it. They’re asking us what the hell is this ADA special? So, anyway, go ahead. I didn’t mean to take over your greeting Howie.

Howie: No, that’s okay. That’s good. I’m glad you brought that up. Because we’ve got some more recording to do today for episode four and five. It’s good, it’s fun. It’s a fun way to tell people what they can expect if they’re going to either be at or, you know, at the ADA meeting in Atlanta. So we’re getting down there, we’re going to bring practically everybody on our team, half our team at least. And we’re going to put on a big show. So we hope you guys can make it.

Mark: So what is the topic for today?

Howie: Well, you know, for years, we’ve given this way free. It’s called the dental office marketing plan, you know. We gather information from prospective clients, and we tell them what we would do basically if we were running their practice. Spending our own money. Where would we put marketing resources? And you know, we let clients in on that. We thought we could discuss the components of that dental clinic marketing plan and why it is the way it is.

Mark: Oh, you mean the sections of the marketing plan. Okay, well, the sections of a dental clinic marketing plan are, I mean, there’s some subjective pieces of it but 99% of it is just logical and objective. The first piece, or the first most important piece, I think, is the location of the practice, the analysis of the supply and demand for dental services within a reasonable radius of that practice. How far out we have to go to find 15 to 20,000 viable targets that represent the top 40% of the market, because that’s where really, most of our clients want to concentrate their money.

They don’t really want to promote their practice to 100% of the local population. They just promote their practice to the, you know, the top segment. So I guess location of the practice is a piece of a dental clinic marketing plan. What you’re dealing with, the supply and demand for dental services that the competitive makeup of any dental market is certainly a primary concern or primary piece of the puzzle.

Howie: Also, I think, you know, their own marketability. You know, how marketable are they?

Mark: Yeah, well, that’s objective and subjective. For us, it’s objective because you know, for all your services, and amenities, and price and technology, and conveniences, and we have an objective consumer score for all of those things that you possess. Collecting the list of things that you possess. In other words, how do we brag about you?

Howie: Yeah. How do we make you a star?

Mark: How do we make you sound more important than the other four dentists in town?

Howie: Right?

Mark: What’s the big deal?

Howie: Yeah, what is the big deal or unique selling proposition? Basically.

Mark: Yeah, well, yeah. I don’t think there’s not too many dentists out there with a unique selling proposition, but it should certainly could be made to sound like one.

Howie: Yeah. Multiple ones, actually.

Mark: Yeah, exactly. I mean, a dental consumer is woefully ignorant really, of the benefits of today’s dentistry. So almost anything you present them can be perceived as a unique selling proposition. Right? Because it’s them, it’s unique to the audience. Doesn’t have to be really unique.

Howie: Through all cameras could be unique selling proposition if you’ve never heard of one before.

Mark: Exactly, exactly. So your dental clinic marketing plan, that’s good. Your marketing plan collects a list of services, amenities, technologies, public relations assets, that always confuses people. Public relations assets are things like, where are you from originally? Where did you go to school? Do you live nearby? Do you have a spouse and children? And, do they go to the local schools? Do you work with any local charities? Have you been in the military? Did you? You know, prior years. Where did you go to college? Especially if you’re in a college town.

So, there’s a million and one public relations assets, so there’s a big gigantic laundry list. So you pick off all the things that you have, I do this, this, this, this, and this. We have this, this, this, this and that. And, you know, in my past, I was this, this and this, I’ve published articles, I’ve spoken, or given seminars to other dentists.

Howie: That right there is probably the biggest public relations asset because, you know, if your own consumer, who would you rather go to the student or the teacher? And we can we can, you know, if you are legitimately putting information out there for other dentists, you are rightfully considered an educator, a lecturer, someone you know, and if somebody, if you can gather a group of dentists together, to listen to you, well you know, that makes you kind of unique right there.

Mark: Right. And if you’ve given a presentation in Canada, you’re an international speaker.

Howie: Exactly.

Mark: Or Cancun, Mexico, right? So, anyway. So, a whole list of those things of that information is gathered. Because we have to figure out how marketable you are. I mean, you can’t go to a marketing firm in a real competitive area, not take any insurance and be the dentist that refers out all their endo, all their perio, all their ortho and is really concerned about doing single crowns without somebody watching over their shoulder. You just can’t be a boring dentist. Right? You can’t go to your marketing firm and say, “Hey, I’m the most boring dentist in the world make me marketable.”

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: So, because we know marketing firms at least, reputable ones aren’t going to lie for you. Right? So you assemble a gigantic list of why you’re all that.

Howie: Why they should choose you,

Mark: Right. Why a local person should choose you. What’s the big deal? Right. Once we know how competitive your market is, once we know where the targets are, and once we know how marketable you are, um, that starts to, it’s sort of like a paint by numbers at that point. That really starts to, the image starts to come into focus. It starts to become, you know, very clear. We also collect, what have you done in the past? What’s worked? What hasn’t worked? Are you working with someone currently? I mean, that happens all the time. You know, what are they doing for you? How’s that going? How many new patients a month are you seeing? You know, there’s all kinds of questions that we ask.

You know, we make this analogy all the time on the phone, it’s basically information gathering. It’s the same thing a dentist does with a new patient, they take an X ray, that’s information. They take an explorer, they poke around, find some soft spots. That’s basically what a dentist does before they create a treatment plan. Well, a dental clinic marketing plan is a treatment plan. It’s the same thing. All we’re doing is collecting different data. We’re not using x rays, and we’re not using explorers. We’re using almost three decades worth of doing this as our background to help build the dental office marketing plan.

Howie: Right.

Mark: Some other things that we gather, actually, did you want to take a break Howie?

Howie: Yeah, I was thinking about this might be a good spot. Okay. Hang on, everybody. We shall return.

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Howie: Hello, once again, we are back. And we are talking about what a dentist can get from our dental marketing plan. And, what they can do with it after that.

Mark: Well, and you know what? A dentist can do this on their own. It’s just a lot, it’s just more difficult. But if we share with you the components of dental marketing plans that we build, then yes, of course we build one for you. But another way is for you to remember this and so if you’re going to go through your own career, building your own marketing plans you can remember the sections that are the most important. We started with your location and analysis of your doctor patient ratio, the competitive makeup. The analysis of where those better, top 40% targets are within a reasonable radius of your practice. They will ultimately become where you funnel the majority of your marketing budget.

Gathering a list of your marketable attributes, your services, amenities, technologies, conveniences, public relations assets, to figure out how marketable you are. And to have the right mix. If you haven’t already, you can go to our website to the free download area and you can download the marketable attributes score card, that is an objective score, by category of marketable attribute. You can use that potentially to build your own marketing. That’s the same sheet we use, or you can have us build your marketing. It’s all really up to you. Beyond that, the most important section of a dental clinic marketing plan, whether it’s your marketing plan, a marketing plan we build for you, or anyone’s marketing plan really is the budget section. What’s the saying Howie, that’s where the rubber meets the road?

Howie: Yep, that’s right.

Mark: Okay, so now, you know, we’ve dealt with a really kind of a confounding frustration over the last, well, let’s just say forever. When we say budget, it tends to confuse things and it confuses some people. When we say budget, what we mean is a budget is a framework. It’s not, I am committing.

Howie: Right. It’s not an invoice.

Mark: It’s not an invoice. Right. So a budget is how much? Here’s a here’s a good budget question, how much should a million dollar dental practice spend on marketing and each year. Doesn’t mean you’re going to, and it’s not an invoice for it. It just means how much should a business of one million dollars in collections each year spend on marketing? And the answer is 5%. So that’s about 50 grand. And that’s where you start, you can go up and down. That’s fine. Nobody’s telling you can’t, but you have to start with a starting point. Okay. To many people the budget means what I spent this month. That’s not a budget, that’s what you spent this month.

Howie: That’s where your money went, instead of where you want it to go.

Mark: Right. That’s what you did. That’s not where you’re going. Right. It’s a before and after. So the budget section then starts to paint a picture with the competitive makeup of your market and how marketable you are. That’s why we started with those two other sections of a dental clinic marketing plan. If you’re in a very, very competitive market and let me define competitive market anything under a 1 to 1000 or 1 to 1100 would be considered competitive to very competitive.

Howie: Doctor patient ratio.

Mark: Doctor patient ratio, right. National average is 1 to 1650. So if you’re in a one to 1100, you’re starting down the competitive path. We work with practices that are in one to six hundreds. So that’s grossly competitive. Actually, in those markets, there not enough human beings running around for every dentist that works there. So anyway, so now you start to look at that and say, okay, my budget’s 5%. But I am in a really competitive market area and you know, what, I’m really not, I don’t have a good solid mix of services, amenities technologies are public relations assets, yet I’m going to work on them, you know, over the next year or so.

So I’m going to give myself maybe a 7 out of 10 from that standpoint, so either my budget needs to go up, or my expectations from that budget need to be toned down a little bit, just so I can be happy. Right? You can’t put a budget in a middle of a grossly competitive market and expect the budget to set the world on fire. Because it’s not.

Howie: Right. It’s the tortoise and hare, right?

Mark: Right, the more competitive, the more tortoise like you must expect. Now, if you’re in a 1 to 3000, and you’ve got you know, 5% of your gross to spend on marketing, then you’re more like the hare. You should be spending; you should be overspending so that you capture your fair share of the market as soon as possible before some other dentist figures out that you’re in a 1 to 3000 market. Because there aren’t that many 1 to 3000 markets in the US. And it won’t last forever, right?

Howie: You can’t keep those secret either.

Mark: Yeah, it won’t be a secret for very long. So, anyway, so all those pieces, the marketable attributes, the competitive analysis, the targeting, analysis, the budgeting. Now they all start to work within each other to determine what we should do. And really the marketing plan, then, really what a dental clinic marketing plan is, it’s a treatment plan.

Howie: Yep.

Mark: It’s a treatment plan, just like you get patients. The treatment plan is a list of teeth or gums that you’re going to work on and exactly what you’re going to do to them and they should be done in this order because it’s going to be for the best outcome. And that’s exactly what a marketing plan is. Is you should have, you should have a combination of dental internal promotion, external promotion. You should have a balance to your online dental marketing and offline promotion. You should never over allocate to either.

And that becomes your treatment plan. Your dental practice marketing plan is your treatment plan for the business of your dental practice. And then, just like your patients, right? Just like your patients, after you get done doing a treatment plan, it’s not up to the dentist. It’s up to the patient. It’s the same with us when we get done presenting a marketing plan, it’s not up to us, it’s up to the dentist.

Howie: Yeah, exactly. The dentist can very often just say, “hey, thanks a lot, guys. Good advice.” And then run off and do it themselves. I mean, fine.

Mark: Yeah. I mean, yeah, they can.

Howie: That’s valuable in and of itself,

Mark: Right. Or what many do, actually what many do, the majority, they’ll have, it’s sort of like putting your toe in the water in a swimming pool to see how cold it is. Is they’ll give us let’s say, one, two projects to do for a year, let’s say. And we do one or two projects, and we come back, we look at the results. And we say okay, well, you know, here’s what happened. That’s pretty good. You want to do, you want to do more with NPI? And they say either yes or no, and we say okay, and we move forward.

Either with the same projects we were doing or with a greater number of projects. But that’s what a marketing plan is. So whether or not it’s a marketing plan that you go forward with through NPI doing the work or it’s a marketing plan you go forward with for some guy named Bob, who’s a local marketing guy. And you move forward with Bob.

Either way, it’s a plan in place that is based on how marketable you are, how marketable your area is, what your budget is, and you are the marketing assets you already have in place and potentially trying to fix the marketing liabilities you may have in place. A lot of you have marketing liabilities, a lot of you aren’t aware of it. So anyway, that’s what a dental practice marketing plan is. It’s really nothing more than a well thought out well researched and analyzed treatment plan, just like dentists you do every day for your patients. You do well thought out researched, diagnosed, treatment plans for your patients. There’s really, and the process is the same, you don’t kick and scream if a patient doesn’t go through a treatment. And we don’t kick and scream if you don’t go through with a marketing plan.

Howie: No. So if anybody would like to take advantage of that, if you haven’t already, I know many of you already have. Just go to our website and click on client survey, fill out the questionnaire. And you’ll get one of these marketing plans that we just described.

Mark: Yeah, and the process is pretty painless. I mean, the advisor may call you with a couple of questions. Because there’s always questions. You know how sometimes you answer a question, but it creates three other questions, you know what I mean? So they may call you and then at some point, they’re going to call and set time, a day and time and it takes usually about 45 to 60 minutes, maybe over lunch hour to go through the whole marketing plan with a doctor.

And if anybody ever tries to sell you a marketing plan, I want you to call us directly because we will flog them. There are no sales here. So you should not feel uncomfortable. Right, speaking with our advisors. That’s what they’re there for. They’re there to advise you. But anyway, that’s a great way to get a marketing plan by people who do nothing but build and deploy marketing plans.

Howie: There you go. Well, thank you everybody for tuning in again, and we look forward to speaking with you again in the future soon. Bye 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 and