The best time to plan your future dental practice promotion is NOW! So what should every practice know?

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Podcast highlights:

  • How often should you update your dental office website?
  • Use it or lose it campaigns
  • The dangers of putting all your eggs into one basket
  • Clients who disappear. Where did they go?
  • Skipping or delaying online scheduling
  • Practice management software
  • How are you getting reviews? Where do they go?
  • How much are you budgeting for dental practice promotion?
  • Avoiding stop and go

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, everybody once again. It’s the podcast of the week. We’re so glad you’re here. How you doing, Mark?

Mark: I’m doing fine. A rookie from nowhere kicked a 61-yard field goal for the Eagles victory yesterday.

Howie: Oh, I knew you were going to say that.

Mark: So, I’m doing just fine thank you.

Howie: As my Seahawks went down to crashing defeat. Terrible.

Mark: That’s okay. Next week, it’ll be different. You can rip on me.

Howie: Yeah. Anyway, what we’re going to talk about ladies and gentlemen out there and listening audience is the top five mistakes that active dental marketers will make in 2018.

Mark: Right.

Howie: Sounds ominous Mark.

Mark: It does. It does. We should actually not be negative Nellies. We should turn this around to positive right? So, the title should be The Top Five Things You Should Remember When Making Your Plans For 2018. How’s that?

Howie: Yeah, yeah.

Mark: We’ll change the title in the middle of deciding.

Howie: Things not to do.

Mark: Right. It’s our podcast we’ll do whatever the hell we want. Right?

Howie: Exactly.

Mark: So, okay. So, everybody this time of year, this is what the fourth week in September, first week of October is next week. Everybody is going to start thinking about 2018. Because, well this is the time you’re supposed to. It’s just natural, you just start you know, because you know what’s going to happen from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, you know, you’re going to shut down your outbound dental practice promotion, hopefully. Maybe just limited to you use it or lose it campaigns. You’re just going to shut everything down. And then all of a sudden, January is going to hit, boom.

So right now, is the perfect, perfect time to sit down and plan out 2018. And the purpose of this podcast is to communicate to you, depending on how you look at it five pitfalls or five opportunities. You determine however you want to look at it, that we see all over the place when doctors come to us and say, “Hey Mark, I’m, you know, I’m not really generating the momentum I thought I would.” Or, “Hey, help me through this situation.” Or, “Hey, just take over my dental practice promotion.” Because those are the three types of dentists that call us. Right.

Howie: Right.

Mark: So, the first one is, thinking that you don’t have to renew your dental office website. There’s lots of dental websites out there that are 6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13 years old. And they all need updating. Not just for the reasons of creating a responsive website, although that’s certainly a great reason to refresh it. You really should I mean, every three to four years.

I’m, I’m not going to say completely redo your website. But it’s one of those things that you do a spring cleaning to. Sort of like every time you get a new iPhone, right? Or every time you get a new Samsung, right? A new droid phone. It’s definitely time to take a new fresh look at your dental office website. What are you doing? How is it working? Is it working? Is it positioning organically? Do you have the pages you need for your PPC campaign? Remember, this whole episode, this whole podcast is about helping those who are actively promoting their practices. So, someone who’s actively promoting their practice would obviously have a website. But a lot of these websites are stale. And a lot of them are those free ones? Right?

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: Wix or something. And I don’t know, you give them your email address.

Howie: And a lot of times you see just sites that just have a ton of broken links.

Mark: Yeah, broken links, the wrong Google business page. I mean, the list is endless. So one of the things that you can do now, while you prepare, is just go to your website, you know, just do a few searches, do a few incognito searches for let’s say, 10 of the most popular search terms for dentist and dental services in your area.

See how you show up, see where your review total is? See how that stacks up against your competition? What’s your review score? How does that stack up to your competition? Is there anything odd? Is there anything off like yesterday, not yesterday, yesterday was Sunday. Friday, the last day in the office, we found two people, two people engaged us in chat on our website, and asked us to look at their website real quick. And we did a quick search. And they both had multiple Google Places page for the same physical address.

Howie: How is that even possible?

Mark: Well, it’s a clear violation of terms. Okay. So, and they’re wondering why you know, their reviews aren’t showing up. Well, people have two places to go, where are you sending them? Right? So, fix all the things that are broke. And really take a look at your page, your content, and freshen it up. Maybe it means adding a video, maybe it means changing the text, maybe it means changing a color, maybe it means changing your whole dang website, right? A lot of people, when they first built their website, I hate to say this, but they went cheap. Right? You know, three 400 bucks, or free or 900 bucks or whatever it is. And what they got was kind of a cheap result.

Howie: What they paid for.

Mark: They got exactly what they paid for, right. So, you know, maybe it’s time to move. Because your website, although it is an incredibly passive medium, it is one of the most important things that you can invest in each year. So when you’re when you’re creating your dental practice promotion budget for 2018. And we got to allocate some more, some money to your website. And you do that every year. Not just this year. So the second thing, and we see this constantly, constantly.

And we have old, old clients, maybe they were working with us for three or four or five or six years, and then all of a sudden, poof, they floated off into the abyss. And Howie, you know, reached out to them and they ignored his requests for telling us you know, where the hell did you go you? You okay? You know, that kind of thing. And then two or three later, two or three years later, here they come. And the story is always the same. It’s always the same. Some guy or gal I met at insert trade show here.

Howie: Insert dental meeting here.

Mark: Exactly right. Or, my friend or my colleague at school or whatever has a marketing getting degree in something, whatever. Insert whatever bad influence you can into those quotes. Said, I should put all my money into online dental practice promotion. You know, we always say the same thing we say, really? And they say yes. Wow, that kind of goes against every successful internet company on Earth.

Howie: Yeah, they went off and did it. Right, crashed and burned.

Mark: Well, they don’t normally, here’s what happens. They don’t normally crash and burn completely. Because online dental practice promotion, we do search engine marketing. Sure, we do it all the time, we have statistics. We have so many statistics on search engine marketing. It’s amazing. Yeah, so we see the cost of acquisition of a new patient, not only cost of acquisition for a new patient, but cost of acquisition per category. So, if you want to know what it costs to get an implant patient in a certain market, there’s a really good chance, we’re going to know what it’s going to cost if you do search engine marketing, right?

We also know what it costs if you do print, dental internal marketing, one of our forms of dental direct mail marketing, we have cost of acquisition for everything. And we’re sitting here going, you know, why did you leave? Your cost of acquisition was less before than it is now. And your ROI is much better before than it is now. Because the people that you’re acquiring were targeted properly, and now they’re not targeted at all.

You don’t know who the hell’s clicking on your Google Ad at four o’clock in the morning. You don’t know what shape they’re in, you don’t know how much income they have. And you don’t know what their credit score is. All you know is they went to your landing page and they made an appointment or they sent in a request for an appointment. Right? So invariably, here’s the lesson. We don’t know any dentist who has consistently invested 100% of their dental practice promotion budget in the same market for an extended period of time, let’s call an extended period of time over 36 months, and grown. We don’t know any dentist.

Howie: Using exclusively online dental practice promotion.

Mark: Using exclusively online dental marketing who’ has been able to pull that off. Now, is it possible that you will be the first one? Yes, yes. But if you look at your TV at night, and you see a Nike commercial, and underneath that it says visit us at Nike.com. Every commercial says visit us at something.com. I mean, come on. They’re driving offline traffic. They’re using offline advertising to drive what they believe is qualified traffic to their website. That’s what you need to do. So don’t put all your eggs in the online basket. That’s what we’re saying.

Howie: Yeah. You know what, and we’re going to come back with the next three minutes in just a moment. So don’t go anywhere. We’ll be right back.

Hi, everybody, Mark Dilatush here. I want to take a couple of seconds to remind everyone that the special for all of our electronic products, the free trial is going to expire on October 22nd. The Free Trial includes all of our electronic products and runs until January 1st 2018. So, if you’d like to improve your online reviews, and online reputation, if you’d like to integrate your website in real time with your practice management scheduler to allow more patients to schedule new appointments, if you’d like access to more social media dental content, then you could ever imagine, if you would like a replacement for your texting, emailing, recalling confirmation software, if you’d like all those things for free, I’m going to suggest you go to our website, newpatientsinc.com.

And there’s a link called products and then there’s an ADA special navigation there. And then there’s a form, complete that form so that we have time to give you a demonstration before October 18th. If you are coming to the ADA show, please visit 2755 especially if you’re interested in this offer because on October 22nd, it’s going to evaporate. So thank you for listening to our podcast. And thank you for listening to this message.

Howie: All right, we are back. We’ve got a few more. We have three balls here to discuss here. Yeah, what’s number three Mark?

Mark: Number three is skipping or delaying the connection of your website to your practice management Scheduler.

Howie: Oh, yes.

Mark: Okay, everybody heard of that adaptation curve? Right? I don’t want to be on the front of that wave, I don’t want to be one of the first ones. I want to be like the second guy or the third guy, right? Well, here’s what we’re saying. Don’t be the 100th. guy. All 99 guys and gals before you already squeezed the value and competitive value out of offering on the convenience of online dental appointment scheduling from their website. So, while you think about it, while you mow it over while you, I don’t know. Listen to your office manager tell you how she’s going to leave if you actually do it, right? The more you do that kind of stuff, the longer it’s going to take for you to adapt to it.

And here’s what we’re telling you, it’s probably nothing that’s going to be more important to squeezing every possible new patient out of your advertising in 2018, then connecting your website with your practice management software. You can advertise, you can advertise all you want. You can do SEM, you can do direct mail, postcards to magazines, you can have a kick ass website, even if we build it. And, you can have everything that we do running perfectly. All orchestrated, everything’s timed out. So, the calls come in, you know, in nice, even intervals throughout the month. I mean, you can have everything done by us. And you still won’t squeeze as much as you could out of your advertising if you don’t connect your website with your practice management software. That’s how big this is going to be.

Howie: No kidding. And we’ve had clients that said just exactly that to us. You know, they were totally against it, it was an unknown thing. They didn’t want to jump off the cliff, but they did. And you know what, it was a very pleasant ride on the way down they find out and they’re very glad they did it. So, you know it may not be for everyone. Maybe you’ll try it you go, “Yuck, I hate this”. Okay, great. But many people in your area are going to be implementing this and trying it and I think all Mark saying here is don’t be the last. You know, try it now if you’re going to try it.

Mark: Yeah, I remember, Well, let’s go to number four. So anyway, the bottom line with online scheduling is plan for it in 2018. It’s ridiculously affordable, you won’t even see it hitting your budget. Easy to install, easy to onboard, you get used to it, you’re able to tweak it, it’s just fabulous. Okay, so you’re looking for something to check your box for 2018, online scheduling is definitely one of those boxes. Alright, so here’s another one. This one has to do with online as well. This is your reviews and your reputation management. And one of the promises I want you to make, as you’re looking at 2018 is I want you to assess how you’re getting your reviews, and potentially what company you’re using to send requests to your patients and where those reviews are going.

Because I would like everyone to promise themselves that in 2018 they are not going to spend money on a company that is able to hold your reviews ransom if you stop paying them. Okay? I want everybody to promise yourselves that. Okay. And so, you say, “Mark, what does that mean?” Okay, go look at where the bulk of your review, if you own or if you pay one of these companies to send a text or an email to your patients. I want you to look and see if there’s a review platform where the majority of your reviews go that is not named Google, Yelp, Facebook or Health Grades. Maybe it’s BillyBob’sReviews.com. Okay. If a platform like that exists, that’s what they will hold for ransom.

Howie: Yeah, now explain that.Is that like the dentist decides, you know, I don’t want to do this anymore. just cancel my subscription. What happens then?

Mark: Well, no. Okay. So, here’s, okay. And honestly doctors who are listening to this, that should happen. I mean, we offer Crusader that does the review and reputation management online. And it sends your patients directly to Google, Facebook, Yelp and Health Grades to leave their reviews. There is no third intermediary. It’s the intermediary website. That’s the problem. Yeah. Because the day that you say to yourself, oh, man, look at me, I’ve got 181 awesome five-star reviews. And the nearest dentist to me has 42. It’s going to take them six years to catch up, if they ever catch up. You know what, I’m going to cool it with this review platform for let’s say, two or three years. I can always bring it back, right? I’m going to save myself $140 a month.

So, you call the company and you say, “Hey, I want to delay this. I’m going to give it a rest for a couple years. But I’ll probably be back, you know, can you stop billing me?” The answer from the company who’s providing the service should be absolutely your reviews are yours, they’re all on Google Facebook, Health Grades and Yelp and there’s no reviews that we will keep from you, or potential customers. That’s what we’re saying. If there is no intermediary website, they have nothing to keep from you. They have nothing to hold ransom. Your reviews are your reviews. They don’t belong on somebody else’s web platform, they don’t belong in a different URL.

They belong on Google Facebook, Health Grades, and Yelp. Period. That make sense? I’m hoping that makes sense. Because some of you are going, “I don’t really understand.” Go look and see if you have one of those platforms. I can’t name them, obviously, but they’re very popular. So, go look and see where your reviews are. And if they’re on some other website that’s not Google, Facebook, Yelp or Health Grades, you might have an issue. And if you have an issue, give us a call, we can fix it. So that’s number four.

Howie: Yes. What’s the next one?

Mark: Number five. This is a very, this is a dangerous trap. Howie and I for the last 15-18 years. I mean, I guess we kind of come at this naturally. We say, if we are if we are managing doctors marketing budgets at 5% of revenues. Doctors can manage their budgets at 5% of revenues. And what do we tell doctors when there was the big, the big recession? We said no, no. Keep it at 5%. And when things are rebounding, we say no, no, no. Keep it at 5%. Okay, so here’s number five. Number five is we know dentistry is rebounding. We’re seeing dentistry’s rebound all over the place. And when dentistry rebounds, dentists say, “I can leave the market.”

Howie: Yeah, “I can save a lot of money now.”

Howie: “I can save a lot of money. I’m going to pay something off, or go on a trip, or buy a new whatever, whatever.” Okay. Here’s what we’re saying. We know dentistry is rebounding, we see it, we’re watching it, we know it’s happening. This is just as important a decision that you made, when it was receding. keep it consistent. Keep whatever your dental practice promotion budget was in 2017, if you are rebounding, keep it what it was in 2017.

If you’re one of our clients, you already know that your marketing budget is 5% of revenues unless you have some, unless you’re over a million and a half, and then it goes down. But for the most part, the point is, number five is, keep it consistent. Just because you’re rebounding doesn’t mean you pull back, it just simply means you stay the same. If you stay the same, you will avoid, you will avoid the eventual drop. Because the drop is going to happen. But if you’re consistent with it, you will smooth out the peaks, you will smooth out the valleys and you’ll be a much happier, less stressed dentist.

Howie: Yeah, just because you don’t feel the pinch right now, you’re more comfortable because the practice is probably doing better. Doesn’t mean that there won’t be a pinch coming in the future. So avoid that. Just like marks says keep it consistent. And your new patient flow will be consistent and everything will work right at that point.

Mark: Right. I will tell you that because of the rebound, you can change your budget allocation, we are changing our clients budget allocation.

Howie: Yeah, where it goes.

Mark: Where it goes, but we’re not increasing their budgets, right. In other words, there is actually a rebounding market for you know, same day dentistry, some cosmetics and some, you know, dental niches right now. Alright. So, we will change the allocation from family to more niche services depending on which media type we use. So, you can mess with the allocation to be a little more niche-y right. There’s that word niche right?

Howie: Niche-y I like that.

Mark: But you still want to keep it 70 family, 30 niche-y you don’t want it to be 70 niche-y, 30 family. You’ll reverse what you just gained. I hope these help. I hope these help for the do-it-yourselfer’s who are actively promoting dentistry with your own money. Those five things will help you undeniably, they will help you in 2018.

Howie: Yeah. Hey, everybody. Thanks a lot for joining us again. And we’ll look forward to speaking with you 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, dentalwebcontent.com and newpatientsinc.com