What do you do with your dental office marketing budget? And more importantly, WHY? While preparing for next year, it is important to manage your risks.

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Podcast Highlights

  • Ideas vs. statistics
  • Dental office marketing budget allocation basics
  • The real target market you should be after
  • Established budget formulas
  • Building assets without going overbudget
  • Building your marketing foundation
  • Properly targeted direct mail
  • Risk management real estate
  • Geography and risk management
  • Local PPC
  • Using the internet for niche marketing

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

Howie: Hello, everybody. We are so happy, aren’t we Mark, that you are joining us today?

Mark: I am very happy that I am joining you today Howie.

Howie:And our audience. We’re happy to have you.

Mark:That is correct.

Howie: Oh, geez. Your football guys those Eagles.

Mark: Yes, I know. It’s kind of amazing. Mr. Houdini again.

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: Um, okay. So we are in the middle of an undetermined number of podcasts meant and designed to give you short instructions on how to set up next year’s marketing, for your practice.

Howie: Right, right.

Mark: We are actually on number three, I believe. In number one, we all discuss dental office marketing budget, the various budgets below or above 1.5 million, the numbers to us, yada, yada, yada. Number two, we talked about looking at your current marketing, considering if they are assets, if they’re producing their assets, obviously, if they’re not, they might be liabilities and determining, beginning to determine where you should invest your dental office marketing budget now that you’ve done the math to determine what that should be. And number three, is going to be a dental office marketing budget allocation combined with risk management.

Howie: So like you’ve got your budget now, what are you going to do with it?

Mark: And why?

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: Right. Okay. I mean, the whole I mean, the whole idea, the whole idea behind proper market, proper, effective long term, well we’ve been at this, you’ve been at this now for like, 28 years, right Howie? I think, I don’t think anybody would argue that’s long term. Right?

Howie: Right.

Mark: So how do you get effective long term. And it all really boils down to risk management. Now you’re the creative guy in the leadership role, and I’m more the not creative guy in the leadership role. And I think a lot of dentists think that creativity, like I see them all the time, they’re on dental forums, I need some ideas for marketing, my practice, right?

Howie: Yeah. Right.

Mark:I’m like “No, ideas are expensive as hell, no.” Okay.

Howie: You don’t need ideas, you need something that’s already been tested.

Mark: Exactly, right? So it is creative juice, but it’s creative juice coupled with statistical reference to what happened after you got creative, okay? You can be create creative as you want. You’re just gonna be broke creative guy. Okay, so.

Howie: Broke creative guy.

Mark: That’s right. So today’s episode is about, okay, now you have a dental office marketing budget. And we’ll just use, you know, kind of a mid range budget that everybody can follow along with and what, what’s the proper allocation? What percentage of that budget should we devote to dental internal marketing? What percentage of that dental office marketing budget should we devote to the dental internet marketing, my website and SEO, and so on, and so forth? What percentage of that budget should we allocate to, you know, properly done offline promotion to drive the proper online traffic. So that’s what we’re here to talk about today, and how that all spins itself into risk management.

Let’s start at the very beginning, let’s just use a kind of a typical practice doing 800,000 a year wants to get the 900,000, their dental office marketing budget should be somewhere between 40 and 45,000 for the whole year. So let’s say they already spend, I don’t know 300 a month for things like texting and emailing their own patients, and, you know, their online review generator and their reputation management and some online dental appointment scheduling, whatever, let’s say they’re already spending $4,000 a year for all those things.

Okay, so that comes off the 40 grand that you have to use, and then you have 36 left, and let’s say we already have an asset that was from podcast two of the series, we already believe our website is an asset. It’s, it looks good. It looks good on cell phones, it looks good on tablets, it morphs itself. We get good comments about it.

It’s not obtrusive, we have no pictures of bloody gauze and, you know, implant sites. And in other words, it’s decent, right? No patient has walked in and said, “Oh, my God, your website, take it down. It’s terrible.” So, okay, so that’s an asset. But maybe, you know, maybe what we want to do this year, this coming year is let’s start to position that website organically so that more people in your local market are who might be searching themselves in Google, they’re just typing words like, I don’t know, sleep apnea dentist, or Invisalign dentist, or maybe they saw an ad for sedation dentist in their town and whatever. So maybe it’s time to invest some money in positioning your website. So you know, allocate seven grand there.

Let’s see 36 minus seven, that leaves you about $29,000, you have left over you have now you’re going to have your website, your reviews, your reputation management, your online scheduling, your texting your emails, a good website, good positioning organically. And now you need something to reach out into the local community to drive the proper traffic to your website. Because almost every dentist we talk to they don’t just want all the patients. I know there’s some startups probably listening to this who are sitting there going, “No dude, I’ll do dentistry to a dog, I have nobody in my chair at three o’clock.

Howie: Right they’re, they’re thinking their target market is anybody with teeth, and anybody without teeth.

Mark: Anybody with or without teeth is fine, right for them. Right, let’s, let’s, let’s let’s go to the the established practice, right? So we haven’t established practice been around for X number of years, doing about 800,000 a year budget’s, somewhere between 40 and 45,000. And we got about anywhere from 29 to $34,000. Left to work with. And we have some assets in hand, we’re continuing to build out our assets every year without going out of dental office marketing budget, purposeful hesitation there that should make dentist feel good, that should not make dentist feel bad.

The whole idea about having a dental office marketing budget is so that you stay within it, you can plan for it. And you can cash flow manage it. So the whole idea behind having consistent budget year over year over year is so that you can build out your assets, your marketing assets in a comfortable financial responsible manner. So this year is no different. You already have a website. So this year, we’re going to go work on positioning your website, and we’re going to go to work on driving the right traffic to your website.

So let’s say you have this asset, so you got 29 to $34,000 left over. The next logical question is what do I use this for? Okay, there are many things you can use this for. And we happen to work in all of them. And we have statistical reference on what works, what doesn’t work in types of markets it works in, in the competitive makeup of the markets it works in, on the subject that you’re trying to promote, how to promote them in a statistical spreadsheet, tracked over 20, not 28 years, probably about 16 years. So we can tell you, which of these mediums pose the least risk to the most risk.

For instance, we would not take your 29 to $34,000 and drop it all into television ads on ESPN, no, that would likely be the most risk, we would not put up a billboard with a pretty girls face with the black gap in her front teeth, and say, “got teeth?” and put your phone number on it, we would not do that way. We could do that. We can do anything. Okay. But we purposely would not because those things are on the bottom of the list, those pose the most risk to your marketing dollar. So we always work from the top of the list down, we need to apply this to the least risk first. So the least risk first is always your internal. You always work on your internet, those are the two of the three foundational pillars.

And the third is almost always going to be properly targeted dental direct mail marketing. And everybody listening to this is going oh geez, why can’t I just do PPC campaigns? Or do Facebook ads? And the answer is you can. But none of those are targeted in the way that you can target mail and none of them are going to be for 58 cents per impression. They’re all going to be more expensive when you’re all done. So hopefully we have your attention. And hopefully, you know, we can go through a little bit more of the risk management end because when you assess risk, you almost always come down to a sentence about targeting. For instance, why is a, why would a billboard be so far down the list? Well, what do you think Howie? Lack of message space?

Howie: Well, yeah, that’s lack of real estate, you know, targeting well, you know, there’s no you’re not targeting anybody except those driving by.

Mark: Exactly.

Howie: It could be, you know, who knows who, right. So, yeah, that that’s, that’s why it’s so risky, plus the cost of the medium, right?

Mark: Yes, absolutely. Okay, expensive. So let’s, let’s go down to radio. Why wouldn’t you take 29,000 or $34,000 and tell the dentist look, we’re going to put you in radio for the year and see what happens.

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: Why wouldn’t you do that, because radio is only geographically targetable.

Howie: Right?

Mark: You can target it by listeners or viewers. By the way, when I say radio, you might as well say television, because they’re basically follow the same lack of targeting.

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: With radio and television you have an enormous amount of geographic waste. You’re paying for ads to be delivered to someone who might be 23 miles from you.

Howie: Yeah, they don’t call it a broad cast for nothing.

Mark: Exactly. Okay. So geography is an important risk management topic. Right? Okay. We’re, we’re going to keep whittling these things down until we get to the break. So okay, what about print media? How about a magazine? The magazines that claim that they only deliver to households over 60,000 in earnings each year? How about magazines?

Howie: Yeah, that’s, that’s less risky. Right. Than previous mediums.

Mark: So right, when you look at a magazine, though and you see nine different dentists advertising in that magazine, doesn’t that increase your risk?

Howie: Yes, it does.

Mark: Right? Or you could look at the magazine and say, “Oh my God, I be the only dentist in here.”

Howie: Yeah, you can do your own.

Mark: Well, there’s another see, there’s another idea. Okay. Risk management is part of identifying where your money’s going to be best served.

Howie: Right.

Mark: So print media, while we’re getting further up the list of reliable media types. You have to assess them individually. Let me give you an example that almost always works. Um, church bulletins, um, assisted living facilities, 55, 55, and it was right, I was just gonna say that 55 and older communities, right?

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: And why is that less risky? Because it probably cost you 400 bucks. I mean, whatever you can do whatever you can provide whatever information you want. You know, it’s almost nothing to advertise in them. Okay, so print media. We’re not saying just a newspaper or, you know, what, there’s lots of different print media out there, that can be a very low risk item for you to use at least a portion of your dental marketing budget on. So now let’s keep getting more and more targeted.

What if I wanted to find and deliver my message only to the people within let’s say, a three and a half mile radius of my practice, who only or are only in the top 40% in marketability index income and credit worthiness and within that three and a half mile radius. Is there a print media or broadcast media that I could do that in?

Howie: Hmm, that’s a good question.

Mark: Now, is there any internet property that I could do that with? The answer is no, no. Okay. So if that’s what I want to do, then and and if I’m building a plan for next year, and all I really want to do I want to eliminate as much waste as possible. I only want to deliver my message to really the people who I most want to become patients in my practice. everybody listening to this, you only have one choice. Now it happens to also be the least expensive choice. It happens to be the most predictable choice and at 58 cents an impression, a very affordable choice.

Howie: Right. Let’s talk a little more about that when we get back. Okay, don’t go away. We’ll be right back. Hi, this is Howie Horrocks. Now you can get more online reviews quickly, consistently and automatically with NPI Crusader. 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business. They trust online reviews just as much as personal recommendations. NPI Crusader automates the collection of good reviews to your Facebook page, Google Plus, Yelp and your website.

Bad reviews are filtered back to you so that they can be addressed. All this requires zero upkeep once it’s installed. That’s right, absolutely no doctor or staff involvement whatsoever. Get a quick demo by emailing demo, that’s D E M O at New Patients Inc dot com, or visit NewPatientsInc.com or DentalWebContent.com. Alright, we are back, we are talking about the least risk and the most rewarding and most, the best medium for you, if you are going to consider your 2018 dental marketing budget, right Mark?

Mark: Exactly. We’re going through allocation and risk management. So and for everybody listening to this, many of you are our clients. So many of you are already doing internal promotions, you’re already have internet, your website, your SEO, maybe you’re even dabbling in some of your PPC campaigns. And you are certainly all mailing. Okay, all of you are because that’s basically the foundation from which you you build, you’ve got to get that foundation working and productive in your second, third, fourth, whatever mail year and then all of a sudden, what happens is is your budget goes up, your dental marketing budget goes up because your collections go up.

So now if your mail costs go down and your budget goes up, now you get to expand out into perhaps the more the more risky media types. PPC can be great. It can also be awful. It’s not duplicatable Market to Market, should be used for mostly niche, um, mostly niche type services, right.

Um, some of the clicks are extremely expensive in some markets, and there’s some markets where they’re hardly even discovered. Okay, so all that stuff has to be assessed, but that might be a good place to go. Right with, you know, if you, if you do 2019s budget and 2020s budget, and you’ve got, you’ve got your internal you’ve got your website, your SEO is producing, you have good solid traffic numbers to your practice, your, your online scheduling is there, everything is there, you’re doing mail, you’re in your second or third year, you do the cross reference it’s producing, and you still have money left over in your budget.

Then you go into maybe and you know what, honestly, by that time, most of our clients are in their 40s, maybe their 50s. And if they do another two surface composite, they’re going to stab themselves in the eye with a sharp pencil, right? And they simply just want to do more fun dentistry and more big cases more challenging stuff. Maybe they’re getting into implants, maybe they’re getting into sleep apnea, maybe they’re getting into short term ortho, maybe they’re you know, maybe they’re getting into fill in the blank, right. That’s where PPC or Facebook campaigns would come in. Right? Because those are much better for promoting niches than they are the practice as a whole. But you never want to go too far toward the niche, because then your practice as a whole will suffer.

Howie: Right. Right. People think that’s all you do is the niche.

Mark: Right did we just confuse it? I hope we didn’t confuse everybody. We’re telling you what goes through our head when a client or prospective client comes to us and says, “what should I do next year for my marketing?” All of those things need to be taken into consideration. You should not skip a step. Just because some sales guy says it’s okay. That’s never a good idea. Right? So, you know, if your foundation is not complete, if you have two of the three, let’s say you’re doing mail, and you’re doing internal, but your website is just kind of crappy

And it’s from four years ago, and it’s not optimized, you know, maybe next year, you just focus the new money on your new website, right, and maybe some new SEO, or maybe it’s the other way around, maybe you already have a website, and it’s already good. You put it up two or three years ago, and it’s optimized, well, you’re getting traffic to it. But you’re not currently doing anything really targeted in the local community as far as mail, maybe add that next year, whatever. At the end of 2018, you really should have proper internal proper internet web, SEO and proper mail if you have those three things spinning for you at all times, assuming they’re done correctly. 2018 you’re going to maximize 2018.

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: Now we’re already in a rebound. Dentistry is already rebounding from the eight years at last between 2008 and 2016.

Howie: Yes, we can, we hope it continues.

Mark: Yes. You know, billions were shed from the industry as a whole. Many housing markets have rebounded, most Americans are at zero flat on their mortgages, or maybe slightly ahead. More people can tap their credit to buy larger ticket items and dentists are starting to do more elective dentistry again. Okay. So this is like I mean, honestly, that’s I was going to say this is the time. That’s a lie. I mean, at every year, you if you do the same this process every year for the rest of your career, it could mean millions by the time you retire, right. So I’m not going to say this is the year but if dentistry is rebounding, at the same clip, it receded. Then dentistry is looking forward to pretty good next five years.

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: And the folks who promote properly are going to benefit more than the ones obviously, who kind of sit around and waiting for, you know, the book to fill up. Um, so okay, so allocation and risk management, let me just kind of tie this up in a knot for you. Dental marketing budget allocation is the same thing that your financial investment advisor tells you. In order to minimize risk. You diversify your budget, that’s what budget allocation is you’re going to put 10% into internal 15, 20, maybe 25% into the internet, and the rest into some form of local offline promotion very similar to the way every other successful website company does it. You see TV ads driving traffic to Google, for goodness sake, or TV ads driving traffic to Walmart or Amazon. I mean, they’re all very successful internet companies, and they use offline promotion.

Howie: Yep, they get to, they send out postcards, Google.

Mark: They send out postcards all the time, right.

Howie: Wow, wow.

Mark: Yeah, exactly. So, okay, so, um, that’s what allocation does now risk management is more. Okay, after you’ve determined what media type you’re going to use is now how do I best use that media type, if I’m really going to go into magazine, I have to assess and manage my risk. So I have to look and see how many dentists are in that magazine, if there’s zero, your risk goes down. If there’s eight, your risk goes way up. And maybe to the point where you shouldn’t even consider advertising in that magazine anymore. Risk with mail. Well, if I mail to everyone and I mail a deal, I am I know I am willingly alienating the half of the dental market I want.

If I mail only to the half of the market that I want, I know I am greatly minimizing my risk. And I am improving my chances for robust ROI, about 13, 14 months from now so that’s what risk management is now risk management also takes on you know, what volume, what number of targets? How often should I hit the targets three times, four times, six times during the year. I mean there’s other things to risk management. And we’ll probably touch on most of them in in future episodes.

Howie: Right. Well for today, however, that will that will do it for us. We’re so glad you’ve joined us and we look forward to you joining us again next time. 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 DentalWebContent.com and NewPatientsInc.com.